Friday, October 11, 2019

The Lord God will "Joseph" a marvelous work among the Gentiles

1 Nephi 22 contains one of the best examples of how an understanding of Hebrew greatly enhances the richness of the text. The verb in verse 11 "will proceed to" is "yasap" which shares the same root with the Hebrew name "Joseph."

8 And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.


11 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to make bare his arm in the eyes of all the nations, in bringing about his covenants and his gospel unto those who are of the house of Israel.
12 Wherefore, he will bring them again out of captivity, and they shall be gathered together to the lands of their inheritance; and they shall be brought out of obscurity and out of darkness; and they shall know that the Lord is their Savior and their Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel.

In other words, God will "Joseph" a latter-day work.

In light of the known prophetic significance of the name Joseph (see 2 Nephi 3), this is pretty great stuff.

This paper by Matthew Bowen goes into exquisite detail on the significance of this Hebrew root in the writings of Nephi and Isaiah:

However, the active participle yôsīp, a form of the verb yāsap, may ultimately represent the more important term here. This participle implicitly modifies the Lord as doer of the action: hinĕnî yôsīp; literally, “I am proceeding [to do … ].” As has been noted previously, this participle greatly resembles the name “Joseph” (yōsēp) in form and sound. From a Latter-day Saint perspective, it is tempting to see Isaiah making a deliberate wordplay on the name “Joseph,” per ipsum. However, we can conclude with greater certainty that Nephi not only sees a reference to the name Joseph in this passage but repeatedly uses and adapts it as such

1 Nephi 22:11 is particularly interesting to me, as it makes clear that this latter-day work would include a restoration of the ancient temple covenants to all the world, which is exactly what is happening today. Joseph Smith, if a fraud, would have needed to have this concept already in mind by 1829 in order to justify going to such great lengths to embed this concept in Nephi's writings. 

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