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What 1830 readers might not have understood when reading the Book of Mormon.


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Is it possible that even 190 years ago, readers encountered obscure, archaic meaning in the Book of Mormon that they misread?

Contributions that might fit the bill are welcome.

I'll begin with two lexical possibilities (of many) that might have been misread. Perhaps later I will add some more, as well as some higher frequency items and some syntactic usage that might have been misread in 1830.

“therefore he was about to flatter away those people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren // and . . as he was about to do this / behold he was taken . . tried . . and condemned unto death / for he had raised up in rebellion” (Helaman 1:7–8)

Paanchi was not just on the point of doing these things, he was actually scheming to persuade others to rebel. As he was conspiring to raise a rebellion, he was condemned to death.  There's another one of these later in the chapter that someone else might like to point out and dissect.

This next one is curious, and an archaic reading is possible and perhaps the best reading. The typical reading is 'nevertheless', but but here might mean 'unless'.

“I greatly fear my case shall be awful but I confess unto God” (Jacob 7:19)

Sherem has just confessed to the people, and then utters this prospective line right before dying.  This prospective remark could have conveyed his intent, upon meeting God in the afterlife, to confess in person.

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43 minutes ago, champatsch said:

“I greatly fear my case shall be awful but I confess unto God” (Jacob 7:19)

Sherem has just confessed to the people, and then utters this prospective line right before dying.  This prospective remark could have conveyed his intent, upon meeting God in the afterlife, to confess in person.

Could he be saying that he fears he is beyond the point of being forgiven by God, but he is repenting anyway, just in case he's not?

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1 hour ago, champatsch said:

................................

This next one is curious, and an archaic reading is possible and perhaps the best reading. The typical reading is 'nevertheless', but but here might mean 'unless'.

“I greatly fear my case shall be awful but I confess unto God” (Jacob 7:19)

Sherem has just confessed to the people, and then utters this prospective line right before dying.  This prospective remark could have conveyed his intent, upon meeting God in the afterlife, to confess in person.

Mosiah 3:19 currently reads "For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man....."  Talmage changed the "but if" (P 1830) there to "unless" in 1920, thus making it easier to understand.

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2 hours ago, bluebell said:

Could he be saying that he fears he is beyond the point of being forgiven by God, but he is repenting anyway, just in case he's not?

Yes, that's the nevertheless reading, which was probably the 1830 reading as well. Who knows, it might be the most likely reading. The clear "but if" reading in mh0319 does make an 'unless' interpretation in Jacob 7 more plausible that it would be otherwise.

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Thanks for that list, Bob.

On Alma 46:40 • 1830, page 353, lines 40–42 • Alma XXI:  "to remove the cause of diseases which was subsequent to man, by the nature of the climate.

This one means 'resulting', an earlier northern usage.

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1 hour ago, Robert F. Smith said:

3 Nephi 6:15, "Satan had great power, unto the stirring up of the people to do all manner of iniquity, and to the puffing them up with pride, tempting them to seek for power, and authority, and riches, and the vain things of the world."

"puffing" has been the reading since 1830, and seems straightforward enough.  However, the Printer's MS reads "buffeting," which is an OED archaic and obsolete Scottish version of "buff, buft," meaning "puffed out."  E. B. Grandin caught that one on the fly and updated it for the 1830 edition.  I have heard that apostates are "given over to the buffetings of Satan."  So is there room for confusion here?

Alma 63:5, "Hagoth, he being an exceedingly curious man, therefore he went forth and built him an exceedingly large ship,..."

The usage here is OED obsolete meaning "skilful, ingenious, clever, subtle," etc., comparable to KJV usage in Exodus 28:8, 35:32.  However, Webster's 1828 Dictionary lists meaning #7, “wrought with care and art; elegant; neat; finished; as a curious girdle; curious work."  So, maybe it was well understood 200 years ago, even though it is not understood today.

Helaman 8:11, "Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither,.."

Royal Skousen frequently calls attention to this modern meaning, which Grandin inserted on the fly into the 1830 ed.  The Printer's MS has "departed," which is the OED and 1828 Webster's archaic and obsolete usage.  One can find that old usage in the 1388 Wycliffe translation of Isaiah 59:2, and in the 1557/1599 Geneva Bible at John 19:24.

Alma 40:26, "they are cast out, and consigned to partake of the fruits of their labors or their works, which have been evil; and they drink the dregs of a bitter cup."

Both the Original and Printer's MSS here read "drugs," which is an OED plural in early use.  Here again Grandin correctly interpreted drugs as dregs, or did he?

Alma 41:1, "behold, some have wrested the scriptures, and have gone far astray because of this thing."

Both the Original and Printer's MSS here read "arested," which is OED archaic for "wrested."   The 1830 edition has "arrested," which could be confusing.  P corrector put in "wrestid," which was printed as wrested in the 1837 edition and ever since.  See Alma 13:20 for the same phenomenon.

Alma 56:10, "his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because their forces had slain a vast number of our men,.." which is the current reading.  However, in 1830 it read:

"his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because of the numerority of their forces having slain a vast number of our men" (O P MSS), which was removed and altered in 1837.

Alma 11:44, "shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works,..."

The P MS has "reigned," which sounds like something a king might do, but is actually OED archaic for "arraign," in a courtroom.  Thus, P corrector and the 1830 ed have "arraigned."

Alma 17:31, "we will preserve the flocks unto the king"  (so also Alma 37:18 where O MS has "preserve")

P MS and the 1830 ed reads "reserve," which is a good OED word, but is much clearer as "preserve."

P MS had "scrawl" at 3 Ne 26:3, Mormon 5:23, 9:2, which is an OED spelling for "scroll" (cf. 1611 KJV "scrowle," Rev 6:14).  Once again E. B. Grandin came to the rescue for the 1830 ed.

O P 1830 "subsequent" doesn't make good sense in Alma 46:40, which is why Joseph changed it to "subject" in 1837 (P corrector), "diseases, to which men were subject by the nature of the climate"

Alma 7:12, "he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities."

Why did P MS and 1830 read "suffer"?  Did the confusion stem from Hebrews 2:18, "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted"?

 

Other words with archaic meanings which have been replaced since 1830 include retain, retained, and wrecked.

Holy cow.

Just plain HOLY COW!

How do you get that brain of yours through a door way?

🤔

Edited by mfbukowski
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On 3/6/2021 at 1:58 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

"puffing" has been the reading since 1830, and seems straightforward enough.  However, the Printer's MS reads "buffeting," which is an OED archaic and obsolete Scottish version of "buff, buft," meaning "puffed out."  E. B. Grandin caught that one on the fly and updated it for the 1830 edition.  I have heard that apostates are "given over to the buffetings of Satan."  So is there room for confusion here?

On the puffing reading, wasn't that Gilbert, not Grandin, making the changes?

Also, in this case the 1830 is a copy of O, not a copy of P.  O, which isn't extant here, could have been puffing.

I saw Scottish buff, but I didn't see a link between Scottish buff to buffet in the OED.  Is the link stated somewhere, but I missed it?

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On 3/6/2021 at 1:58 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

"his army had been reduced by the Lamanites because of the numerority of their forces having slain a vast number of our men" (O P MSS), which was removed and altered in 1837.

As you note, here numerority is in O and P.

Because Oliver Cowdery wrongly copied enormity as enumerority in the very next chapter, immediately catching his mistake, Skousen went with enormity as the reading (see ATV).

Another possibility is numerosity, which would follow persistent usage from 1589 forward.

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On 3/6/2021 at 8:19 AM, champatsch said:

Is it possible that even 190 years ago, readers encountered obscure, archaic meaning in the Book of Mormon that they misread?

Contributions that might fit the bill are welcome.

I'll begin with two lexical possibilities (of many) that might have been misread. Perhaps later I will add some more, as well as some higher frequency items and some syntactic usage that might have been misread in 1830.

“therefore he was about to flatter away those people to rise up in rebellion against their brethren // and . . as he was about to do this / behold he was taken . . tried . . and condemned unto death / for he had raised up in rebellion” (Helaman 1:7–8)

Paanchi was not just on the point of doing these things, he was actually scheming to persuade others to rebel. As he was conspiring to raise a rebellion, he was condemned to death.  There's another one of these later in the chapter that someone else might like to point out and dissect.

This next one is curious, and an archaic reading is possible and perhaps the best reading. The typical reading is 'nevertheless', but but here might mean 'unless'.

“I greatly fear my case shall be awful but I confess unto God” (Jacob 7:19)

Sherem has just confessed to the people, and then utters this prospective line right before dying.  This prospective remark could have conveyed his intent, upon meeting God in the afterlife, to confess in person.

What are you suggesting is the misunderstanding in Helaman 1? "About to" means "At the very point when one is going to do something; intending or preparing immediately to do something" (OED lists this usage as beginning in the 16th century), so "actually scheming to persuade others" is already included in the prototypical sense of "about to." He had not yet begun, though, which is made clear by the fact that no co-conspirators were put to death, just him. 

What would you say are the reasons for better understanding "but" as "unless"? Sherem says as the beginning of the verse "I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin." He finishes the verse with an inclusio that constitutes virtually the same construction : "I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful." An unpardonable sin is not one that can be resolved with confession, so the parallel nature of these two statements strongly suggests that "I confess unto God" is adversative and not conditional.

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One obvious candidate for misreading has been the nature of the Lamanite curse in 2 Nephi 5:21, although that is due to the colliquial Ancient Near Eastern meaning of "skin of blackness", a phrase that only Nephi uses and that just once, Nephi being the only Book of Mormon author who was actually raised in the Ancient Near East, and therefore, the only one who would not even think about the possibility of being misunderstood.  Though I gather you are focusing on the archaic English aspects rather than those coming from the other side of the translation we have. 

Still, another one I like to ponder is the difference between Paul Hosskison's approach to the "the mark" in Jacob 4:5 here:

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Even Noah Webster’s 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language contains nineteen definitions among three entries for mark.[5] More recent dictionaries, which do not usually give the meanings of words in their historical context, can be just as confusing. Therefore, an indirect approach that takes advantage of historical context may prove more fruitful. For example, is mark used in the King James Bible, and if so, what does it mean? Mark occurs twenty-one times in the Old and New Testaments. By limiting the search to the Old Testament (Jacob spoke of the Jews in Lehi’s day) and by eliminating all occurrences except nouns, only seven verses contain the word mark. Three of those seven verses can be eliminated because they do not meet the criteria mentioned above, namely, that a mark was an object that, when used in its real-life setting, was supposed to be looked at and that it was desirable to look at.

With only four Old Testament verses left to consider, 1 Samuel 20:20, Job 7:20, 16:12, and Lamentations 3:12, the meaning of mark quickly becomes evident. In all four of these passages, mark as a noun consistently and exclusively denotes a target. The most straightforward example is 1 Samuel 20:20. In the context preceding this verse, Jonathan, Saul’s son, had decided on a signal to let his friend David know, three days hence, whether it was safe for David to come to a feast Saul was giving. But Jonathan had to be able to let David know without anyone at his father’s court realizing that Jonathan had contacted David. Therefore, Jonathan told David to hide himself three days later by a large rock known to both of them. Jonathan would then go out with his servant on that day as if to practice with his bow and arrows near the rock. He would then “shoot three arrows on the side [of the rock],” as though he “shot at a mark” (1 Samuel 20:20). The servant would then be sent to fetch the arrows. If Jonathan called to his servant that the arrows were between them, it meant it was safe for David to come to the feast. If Jonathan called to the servant that the arrows were beyond the servant, that was the sign for David not to appear at the feast.

From the context of this passage, it is clear that the specific meaning of mark is a target for bow and arrow practice. This meaning is confirmed by the Oxford English Dictionary.[6] In fact, the word target in its current meaning is not attested in Modern English until a few decades before the translation of the Book of Mormon.[7] On the other hand, the word mark already meant target in the sixteenth century, decades before the King James Bible was translated, as is evident in the 1535 Coverdale translation of Lamentations 3:12: “He hath bent his bowe, and made me as it were a marck to shute at.”[8] It is from this traditional meaning of mark that English has derived the noun marksman, the verbal phrase “mark your target,” and the expression “He is a marked man.” Therefore, when the Prophet Joseph used the word mark in the English translation of the Book of Mormon, his nineteenth-century readers would have known that a mark was something to aim at.[9]

In the context of Nephite culture, mark meaning a target in Jacob 4:14 also makes perfect sense. The Nephites would have been familiar with targets because their lives partly depended on their ability to hunt with bow and arrow. Even the children in the audience would have had experience with various marks they had used. That is why Jacob would have felt no need to explain what a mark was, or even to clarify why looking beyond a target would cause blindness. It would be anachronistic to imagine that the Lehites or any other ancient people had bull’s-eye targets. In fact, I am unaware of the existence in our day any examples of ancient targets. In considering targets in Lehi’s day, including the biblical examples, it should be born in mind that any object can serve as a target, whether or not that object was ever intended to be used as a target. In fact, most readers can list many objects they might have used as targets that were only targets because they were singled out to be shot at. It would not have been any different in ancient times.

Knowing the meaning of the key word in Jacob’s phrase also leads to an explanation of the “blindness” that came by looking beyond the target. If a person looks beyond a target, the target becomes blurry. In fact, no matter where a person looks, if it is not at the target directly, the target will be, at best, fuzzy. Looking even farther afield means that the target may not be visible at all. In any case, with respect to being able to hit the target with an arrow, looking beyond the target means that the target is not in focus and that the archer will miss it. Thus, it is not that the Jews could not see at all. It is, rather, that the farther they looked beyond the mark, the more they became blind to what they should have been looking at and the less likely they were to hit it. Therefore, the blindness of the Jews was not total blindness; rather, it was a relative lack of seeing what they should be seeing.

https://rsc.byu.edu/witness-restoration/looking-beyond-mark

And then there is my reading here, drawing on the mark in Ezekiel and Margaret Barker:

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Also pointing back to the upheavals around 600 BC, Barker provides the best clue to what the “mark” Jacob refers to actually was. Barker points to Ezekiel, like Jacob a temple priest and Jacob’s exact contemporary. In a vision of the angels of destruction [Page 188]summoned to the Jerusalem temple, Barker explains how Ezekiel saw that:

[A]n angel was sent to mark the faithful: “Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark upon the foreheads of the men who groan and sigh over all the abominations that are committed in it” (Ezek. 9:4). The LORD then spoke to the other six angels: “Pass through the city after him and smite . . . but touch no one upon whom is the mark . . .” (Ezek. 9:5-6). The mark on the forehead was protection against the wrath.

“Mark,” however conceals what that mark was. The Hebrew says that the angel marked the foreheads with the letter tau, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the ancient Hebrew script that Ezekiel would have used, this letter was a diagonal cross, and the significance of this becomes apparent from the much later tradition about the high priests. The rabbis remembered that the oil for anointing the high priest had been lost when the first temple was destroyed and that the priests of the second temple were only “priests of many garments,” a reference to the eight garments worn on the Day of Atonement (m. Horayoth 3.4). The rabbis also remember that the anointed high priests of the first temple had been anointed on the forehead with the sign of a diagonal cross (b. Horayoth 12a). The diagonal cross was the sign of the Name on their foreheads, the mark which Ezekiel described as the letter tau. ((Barker, Revelation of Jesus, 162.))

Jacob’s “mark” must be a reference to the anointed high priest of the first temple. Those who received the anointing were those who took upon themselves the name of the anointed, the Messiah. 

https://journal.interpreterfoundation.org/prophets-and-kings-in-lehis-jerusalem-and-margaret-barkers-temple-theology/

Now, sometimes, multiple readings and meanings are possible.   In this case, however, we can't both be right, even though we are both committed believers.  "The different teachers of religion understood the same passages of scripture so differently as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to the Bible."  Though, one aspect of that comment is that Joseph seems to me to be discussing the issue in terms of proof texting during debates, rather than contextualizing.  Jesus explained via the parable of the sower that the same seeds can produce different yields, depending on soil, nurture, and time.  "Know ye not this parable? How then shall ye know all parables?"  Context matters to meaning.   Nephi says that we cannot understand the things of the Jews like unto them, save we are taught after their manner of the things of the Jews.  Matthew Bowen has recently been doing a lot of enlightening and mind expanding reading using that method, as have many others besides.

Notice that Hosskison does not mention the mark in Ezekiel, nor the fact that both Ezekiel and Jacob are contemporary first temple priests in exile, nor does he discuss the Deuteronomist reforms, and Lehi's stance in 1 Nephi 1.  And notice that I don't bother with the 1828 Websters dictionary and bow hunting, nor, do I look back to earlier archaic English as do Skoussen and Champasch, and Robert Smith, and Dan McClellan here.

So the issue becomes, how do we decide which reading is better?  Which is the most testable, accurate, enlightening, mind expanding, fruitful, and promising  context? (Alma 32 and Thomas Kuhn).

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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43 minutes ago, Dan McClellan said:

What are you suggesting is the misunderstanding in Helaman 1? "About to" means "At the very point when one is going to do something; intending or preparing immediately to do something" (OED lists this usage as beginning in the 16th century), so "actually scheming to persuade others" is already included in the prototypical sense of "about to." He had not yet begun, though, which is made clear by the fact that no co-conspirators were put to death, just him. 

What would you say are the reasons for better understanding "but" as "unless"? Sherem says as the beginning of the verse "I fear lest I have committed the unpardonable sin." He finishes the verse with an inclusio that constitutes virtually the same construction : "I greatly fear lest my case shall be awful." An unpardonable sin is not one that can be resolved with confession, so the parallel nature of these two statements strongly suggests that "I confess unto God" is adversative and not conditional.


Paanchi must have taken steps to justify a death penalty. The OED distinguishes senses of 'on the verge of, on the point of' and 'scheming to'. There's also a supporting instance later in the chapter, where it doesn't make sense to mention Coriantumr not tarrying if the preceding "about to" just has the persistent meaning. This undoubtedly has been noticed by many; I noticed it reading the passage as a teenager.
 

Yes, you're right that we can say Sherem has just confessed to God by confessing publicly and that the statement is an inclusio with an adversative but. "But I have confessed unto God" would have made this a clear reading for an adversative but. I actually tend to favor such a reading.

The conditional reading for but is that it's a forward-looking statement all the way through, expressing the hope that a direct confession to God after death might make his pending case less awful. (Sherem just confessed to God, if indirectly, when he said "I have lied unto God".)

An archaic sense was proposed as a possibility in 2015 by Monte Shelley.  As mentioned, I'm ambivalent on the reading.

(This raises the question whether his public confession did not save him from a verdict of having committed an unpardonable sin.)
 

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4 hours ago, champatsch said:

On the puffing reading, wasn't that Gilbert, not Grandin, making the changes?

Also, in this case the 1830 is a copy of O, not a copy of P.  O, which isn't extant here, could have been puffing.

I saw Scottish buff, but I didn't see a link between Scottish buff to buffet in the OED.  Is the link stated somewhere, but I missed it?

Yes, it certainly could have been a different O reading.  When I say Grandin that is shorthand for both him and Gilbert, both brilliant.

I don't have an OED at hand, but I saw "buff, buft" meaning "puffed out."  That was over 30 years ago in the old OED.

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2 hours ago, Kevin Christensen said:

One obvious candidate for misreading has been the nature of the Lamanite curse in 2 Nephi 5:21, although that is due to the colliquial Ancient Near Eastern meaning of "skin of blackness", a phrase that only Nephi uses and that just once, Nephi being the only Book of Mormon author who was actually raised in the Ancient Near East, and therefore, the only one who would not even think about the possibility of being misunderstood.  Though I gather you are focusing on the archaic English aspects rather than those coming from the other side of the translation we have. ..........................................

The mark is certainly best understood as self-marking, as we can see in the following passages, which not only claim that God did the marking, but simultaneously claim that it was self-marking:

Quote

Alma 3:6-8,10 “And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren…and the Lord God set a mark upon them, yea, upon Laman and Lemuel, and also the sons of Ishmael, and Ishmaelitish women. And this was done that their seed might be distinguished from the seed of their brethren….whosoever suffered himself to be led away by the Lamanites was called under that head, and there was a mark set upon him.

Alma 3:13-16, “Now we will return again to the Amlicites, for they also had a mark set upon them; yea, they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads. Thus the word of God is fulfilled, for these are the words which he said to Nephi: Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed, from this time henceforth and forever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them. And again: I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also.  And again: I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed.”

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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Posted (edited)

Here an archaic meaning makes sense in context, something like 'was busy with plans to' or 'began to prepare to':

“his heart took courage / insomuch that he was about to go forth against all the land //
and now he did not tarry in the land of Zarahemla” (Helaman 1:22–23)
 

Here the verb give has an archaic meaning of 'describe, portray . . . as' (now it reads named ) :

(Alma 46:17 • page 351, lines 21–24 • Alma XXI)
And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul
to  God,  he  gave  all  the  land  which  was  south  of  the  land
Desolation ;  yea,  and  in  fine,  all  the  land,  both  on  the  north
and  on  the  south,  a  chosen  land,  and  the  land  of  liberty.—

This is Shakespearean usage, c1616, see OED def. 25. The last non-poetic example is dated 1638.

Edited by champatsch
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On 3/6/2021 at 1:58 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

Helaman 8:11, "Moses, to smite upon the waters of the Red Sea, and they parted hither and thither,.."

Royal Skousen frequently calls attention to this modern meaning, which Grandin inserted on the fly into the 1830 ed.  The Printer's MS has "departed," which is the OED and 1828 Webster's archaic and obsolete usage.  One can find that old usage in the 1388 Wycliffe translation of Isaiah 59:2, and in the 1557/1599 Geneva Bible at John 19:24.

The verb departed found in the printer's manuscript is intransitive. (As shown above, departed didn't make it into the 1830 first edition.)

So the relevant OED definition is †1b, not †2.   This intransitive usage is not in Webster's 1828 ADEL.  The transitive usage is in ADEL and in the 1557 Geneva Bible (see above).

The latest OED ex. for the intransitive is dated 1577, but EEBO has examples into the 17c, at least as late as 1615.

The wording of Helaman 8:11 is very similar to this, which has intransitive divided, providing confirmation of the meaning:

(1 Nephi 4:2 • pages 11–12 • 1 Nephi I)
For  he  truly  spake  unto  the  waters  of  the  Red  Sea,  and  they  divided  hither  and  thither,

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35 minutes ago, champatsch said:

The verb departed found in the printer's manuscript is intransitive. (As shown above, departed didn't make it into the 1830 first edition.)

So the relevant OED definition is †1b, not †2.   This intransitive usage is not in Webster's 1828 ADEL.  The transitive usage is in ADEL and in the 1557 Geneva Bible (see above).

The latest OED ex. for the intransitive is dated 1577, but EEBO has examples into the 17c, at least as late as 1615.

The wording of Helaman 8:11 is very similar to this, which has intransitive divided, providing confirmation of the meaning:

(1 Nephi 4:2 • pages 11–12 • 1 Nephi I)
For  he  truly  spake  unto  the  waters  of  the  Red  Sea,  and  they  divided  hither  and  thither,

Yes, and in both cases, it is the equivalent of the passive construction in II Kings 2:8 ("they were divided hither and thither"), where Elijah parts the waters of the Jordan River.  Cf. also I Ne 17:26, "the waters of the Red Sea were divided hither and thither"

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On 3/9/2021 at 2:48 PM, Robert F. Smith said:

The mark is certainly best understood as self-marking, as we can see in the following passages, which not only claim that God did the marking, but simultaneously claim that it was self-marking:

 

There's a big difference in the mark of red on the forehead (self-imposed) versus
the skin of blackness (presumably covering the entire body) which God imposed
on the Lamanites so they would not be enticing onto the Nephites.

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1 hour ago, telnetd said:

There's a big difference in the mark of red on the forehead (self-imposed) versus
the skin of blackness (presumably covering the entire body) which God imposed
on the Lamanites so they would not be enticing onto the Nephites.

No, the main point is that God declares that he puts that mark in the forehead, and then simultaneously declares that it is a self-marking.  How can it be both?

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Alma 3:13-16, “Now we will return again to the Amlicites, for they also had a mark set upon them; yea, they set the mark upon themselves, yea, even a mark of red upon their foreheads. Thus the word of God is fulfilled, for these are the words which he said to Nephi: Behold, the Lamanites have I cursed, and I will set a mark on them that they and their seed may be separated from thee and thy seed, from this time henceforth and forever, except they repent of their wickedness and turn to me that I may have mercy upon them. And again: I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also.  And again: I will set a mark upon him that fighteth against thee and thy seed.”

How is it possible for God to be responsible if it is self-marking?  You are ignoring the figurative language which goes both ways, in order to take the "skin of blackness" in the same chapter as literal, and you attribute that entirely to God -- thus further ignoring the figurative language elsewhere in the BofM and the Bible having to do with black  or dark skin pigmentation (or whatever is actually intended), which is regularly done in order to make the BofM text as racist as possible in modern terms.  Yet, even if we take the BofM text solely in modern terms (apriori), this doesn't make sense in light of the Amlicite experience just cited above (which even includes miscegenation: "I will set a mark upon him that mingleth his seed with thy brethren, that they may be cursed also"), which is actually self-marking.

Similarly, describing hearts “like unto a flint," and "a skin of blackness” (2 Ne 5:21), etc., are figurative expressions, and not to be taken literally – same as Mormon 9:6, “perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day.”  So how should we take the following description?

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Now the heads of the Lamanites were shorn; and they were naked, save it were skin which was girded about their loins, and also their armor, which was girded about them, and their bows, and their arrows, and their stones, and their slings, and so forth. And the skins of the Lamanites were dark, according to the mark which was set upon their fathers, which was a curse upon them because of their transgression and their rebellion against their brethren, who consisted of Nephi, Jacob, and Joseph, and Sam, who were just and holy men. (Alma 3:5–6)

Or this:

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Mormon 5:15, “this people shall be scattered, and shall become a dark, a filthy, and a loathsome people, . . and this because of their unbelief and idolatry.”  16, “For behold, the Spirit of the Lord hath already ceased to strive with their fathers; . . .” 17, “They were once a delightsome people, and they had Christ for their shepherd; . . .”

or  these verses:

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2 Nephi 30:6, “their scales of darkness shall begin to fall from their eyes; and many generations shall not pass away among them, save they shall be a white [pure] and delightsome people.”
Acts 9:18, “And  immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith”

And these:

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Daniel 12:10 "Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried"; 11:35, “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white,
Psalm 51:2,7 “Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. . . . Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Lamentations 4:7–8 “Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire:  Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.”  5:10 “Our skin was black like an oven because of the terrible famine,”

Song of Songs 1:5-6 “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.  Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother’s children were angry with me;”

Alma 32:42, “ And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.”

See also Stephen Temmpest, “Was King Charles II of England, Scotland, and Ireland black?” Quora, June 6, 2020, online at https://qr.ae/pNKDxl .

John A. Tvedtnes, “The Charge of Racism in the Book of Mormon,” FAIR Conference, 2003,

 

Edited by Robert F. Smith
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2 hours ago, telnetd said:

There's a big difference in the mark of red on the forehead (self-imposed) versus
the skin of blackness (presumably covering the entire body) which God imposed
on the Lamanites so they would not be enticing onto the Nephites.

Did the black skin of Job and Jeremiah (and other Jews who remained in Jerusalem) cover their entire bodies? Was it a permanent feature or a temporary one? And if temporary, where did it come from?

Edited by Hamba Tuhan
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This one was probably not fully understood in 1830. The part in bold means 'until'.  Even today we use to to mean 'until', but not in this context.

The to was deleted in 1837:

(1 Nephi 18:9 • page 48, lines 11–15 • 1 Nephi V)
behold,  my  brethren,  and  the  sons  of  Ish­-
mael,  and  also  their  wives,  began  to  make  themselves  merry,
insomuch  that  they  began  to  dance,  and  to  sing,  and  to  speak
with much rudeness, yea, even to that they did forget by what
power they had been brought thither ;

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On the title page, scattered doesn't mean 'dispersed', it means 'separated from the main group':

“which is a record of the people of Jared which were scattered at the time the Lord confounded the language of the people”

That's an archaic meaning, similar to this:

1577, A03448
who being so suddenly taken, could not stand to bicker, but some fled this way, some that way, the earl was scattered from his company, and the lord Butler unawares was hurt,

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This is an archaic usage, maybe the meaning in Shakespeare's Othello. Definitely the meaning in Malory, c1469.

whereby hath my father so much sorrow?” (Ether 8:9)

†3. For what reason? why? (by prep. 36). Obsolete.
1470–85   T. Malory Morte d'Arthur viii. xvi. 297   Be ye a knyght of Cornewaile? where by aske ye hit? said sir Tristram.
a1616   W. Shakespeare Othello (1622) iii. i. 9   Clo. Thereby hangs a tayle. Boy. Whereby hangs a tayle sir?
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What does "it supposeth me" mean in these passages?

Jacob 2:8
And it supposeth me that they have come up hither
to hear the pleasing word of God,
The Words of Mormon 1:2
And it supposeth me that he will witness the entire destruction of my people.
Alma 54:11
But behold, it supposeth me that I talk to you concerning these things in vain,
or it supposeth me that thou art a child of hell.

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  • 1 month later...

The Book of Mormon has 12 instances of "from time to time". This one in Alma 49 conveys an obsolete meaning of 'at all times' (a1500–a1679), the opposite of the usual reading:

(Alma 49:21)
        the captains of the Lamanites brought up their armies
        before the place of entrance
        and began to contend with the Nephites,
        to get into their place of security.
        But behold, they were driven back from time to time,
        insomuch that they were slain with an immense slaughter.

time

Definition:  P2.j.(b) from time to (formerly †unto) time.

†(b) At all times; continuously, or for an extended period; in an unbroken succession. Obsolete.

1553   T. Wilson Arte of Rhetorique 14   Heaven is theirs, saieth David, that doe justly from tyme to tyme.
1586   T. Bowes tr. P. de la Primaudaye French Acad. I. 550   Therefore nothing was more esteemed from time to time among the auncients, than the institution of youth, which Plato calleth Discipline.
1615   E. Grimeston tr. P. d'Avity Estates 1195   It was held for certain that the institution comes from the Apostles, who ordained seuen Deacons, the which haue continued from time to time.
a1679   M. Poole Annot. Holy Bible (1683) I. sig. 5D2/2   I will therefore wait on God,..and will continue waiting from time to time, until my change come.

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