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David and the Book of Mormon


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So, I actually stopped reading that thesis (when I first encountered it) the moment I saw that it did not mention me. This leaves something of a huge hole in its basic premise.

But ... on the topic of Psalms and David in the Book of Mormon, I have the framework of an unpublished essay which has been languishing on my computer for a decade now. I had tentatively titled it: "Jacob 1-3 Text and Intertext". Here are the source texts that I used:

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Psalm 95

The first use of Psalm 95 occurs in Jacob 1:7. Jacob’s text reads:

Wherefore we labored diligently among our people, that we might persuade them to come unto Christ, and partake of the goodness of God, that they might enter into his rest, lest by any means he should swear in his wrath they should not enter in, as in the provocation in the days of temptation while the children of Israel were in the wilderness.

The source text in Psalm 95 reads:

To day if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, and said, It is a people that do err in their heart, and they have not known my ways: Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter into my rest.

Psalm 95 appears again in Jacob’s text in Jacob 1:15: the Nephites “began to grow hard in their hearts”. Psalm 95 is alluded to by Jacob at least two more times in the remainder of his book. First, we have these comments in Jacob’s prophetic interpretation of the Zenos allegory in chapter 6:6:

Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die?

And then in his narrative ending for the entire book, the last verses of the Plates of Jacob, he writes to his audience that (7:26):

the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

While this last piece does not use a longer phrase from Psalm 95, as do the earlier occurrences, it continues the idea of the allusion – that the Nephites were in the wilderness, waiting for their (re)entry into their promised land. Jacob’s plates as a whole then are framed by this allusion to Psalm 95.

Deuteronomy 17:14-20

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 contains a section that is often titled “The Torah of the King”. It’s contents help to create the basic framework of Jacob’s sermon in Jacob 2. It’s use is presaged in Jacob 1:15-16:

And now it came to pass that the people of Nephi, under the reign of the second king, began to grow hard in their hearts, and indulge themselves somewhat in wicked practices, such as like unto David of old desiring many wives and concubines, and also Solomon, his son. Yea, and they also began to search much gold and silver, and began to be lifted up somewhat in pride.

In this introductory material, Jacob relates to us that the major themes of his upcoming sermon, and provides us with a bit of a glimpse into the societal changes that may serve as the impetus behind those changes. We have a new king, whose reign is associated with the desire for many wives, and the accumulation of wealth leading to pride – a situation typified (as Jacob suggests) by David and Solomon. Similarly, Deuteronomy 17 reads (vss 14, 16-17, and 20):

When thou art come unto the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; … But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. … That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

These themes occur in Jacob’s text: a new king, the accumulation of wealth, leading to pride, and the accumulation of wives (or at least the desire to accumulate wives). The next of these textual connections is found in 2:12-13:
And now behold, my brethren, this is the word which I declare unto you, that many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver, and for all manner of precious ores, in the which this land, which is a land of promise unto you and to your seed, doth abound most plentifully. And the hand of providence hath smiled upon you most pleasingly, that you have obtained many riches; and because some of you have obtained more abundantly than that of your brethren ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts, and wear stiff necks and high heads because of the costliness of your apparel, and persecute your brethren because ye suppose that ye are better than they.

Here, the Nephites, after accumulating many riches, find themselves lifted up in pride, and consider themselves better than their brethren. In Jacob 2:16, Jacob entreats the people that “O that ye would listen unto the word of his commands,” while the king is told in Deuteronomy 17:19: “… that he may learn … to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them.” Jacob then moves on to the second set of issues, which reflect another concern from Deuteronomy 17 – acquiring many wives. He tells the Nephites in 2:24: “Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.” Comparisons made between the two texts suggest that while there is some significant connection between the Book of Mormon text and the King James Version, the verbal similarities are not as strong due to some extent to apparent translational preference.

Deuteronomy 18:9-14

This section of Deuteronomy follows immediately the Torah of the King, and is short enough to be presented in full:

When thou art come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord: and because of these abominations the Lord thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.

The highlights of this passage deal with a single predominant theme. When Israel enters their promised land, they are told to be careful of following the example of those they encounter – that the things which those nations do are an abomination. In particular, it is because of these actions that the Lord allows Israel to drive the people out of their promised land, and the Lord does not want Israel to engage in the same evil practices. The connections between this text and Jacob’s sermon are more verbal in nature. As with the previous section, this one begins with the phrase “when thou are come into the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee”. The evil acts are labeled abominations. This is the catch word that Jacob uses repeatedly to describe the sinful behavior he is confronting the Nephites about. Consider the following:

Jacob 2:5 I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable unto me, yea, and abominable unto God.
Jacob 2:10 I must do according to the strict commands of God, and tell you concerning your wickedness and abominations,
Jacob 2:16 O that he would rid you from this iniquity and abomination.
Jacob 2:21 Do ye not suppose that such things are abominable unto him who created all flesh?
Jacob 2:24 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
Jacob 2:28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
Jacob 2:31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.

Eight times, Jacob uses the term abomination to describe the wickedness of the people. Then Jacob uses the other statement from Deuteronomy 18 – in Jacob 2:26 and 2:32:

Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old. ... And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.

There is also a strong connection between Deuteronomy 18:8: “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God” and Jacob 2:25: “Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.” The purpose of bringing these two groups to their new place is to create a righteous people – blameless before God.
The final verse of this narrative unit in Deuteronomy, 18:14 uses the phrase “hearkened unto” as a bridge into the next narrative unit in Deuteronomy 18:15-22, a section which is also used by Jacob. First we are told what those wicked nations who were to be replaced by the Israelites hearkened to, then we are told what the Israelites should hearken to. Likewise, in Jacob’s sermon, there is an implied sense that the wickedness being emulated isn’t coming from those in the land that the Nephites have come to possess . Rather those being emulated are “them of old” (2:26) who were earlier explicitly identified as “David of old …  and also Solomon, his son.” (1:15).

Deuteronomy 18:15-22

This is perhaps one of the most recognized sections of the Old Testament used and quoted in the Book of Mormon.  It is quoted explicitly in 1 Nephi 22 and 3 Nephi 20. Within the context of Jacob’s sermon, this section of Deuteronomy is alluded to largely to set the authoritative voice for Jacob. From Deuteronomy 18:15, 18-19:

The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; … I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

Jacob first evokes this text in 2:4-5:

For behold, as yet, ye have been obedient unto the word of the Lord, which I have given unto you. But behold, hearken ye unto me, and know that by the help of the all-powerful Creator of heaven and earth I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable unto me, yea, and abominable unto God.

This idea of “unto him ye shall hearken” appears also in Jacob 2:27, 2:30 and 3:11 .

At any rate, there is a fair amount of Psalm usage in the Book of Mormon. The context is fascinating because this comes after the Nephites have left the land of their first inheritance (when the Nephites separate from the Lamanites for the first time) and have moved into the wilderness. The text of Jacob's book is, at least in part, about a desire to come back from the wilderness and re-inherit their inheritance. The over-arching parallel is that Nephi (and Jacob) left Egypt, got to briefly see the promised land, were pushed back into the wilderness and were then wanderers waiting to be given their promised land for real. This entire vision is later lost. The Nephites are later forced from this second home - and this second home becomes identified as the land of their first inheritance - and becomes the destination of a couple of expeditions.

The other issues that this thesis cannot deal with (because of the context of its authorship) is the complex discussion about kingship and its value (or lack of value). This is connected to various historical layers of the biblical text in the documentary hypothesis - something that isn't going to come up in a Masters Thesis for a Theology degree at SBTS.

This section of your text:

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We do not have an exact picture the brass plates’ contents. We can only assemble this picture through what the Book of Mormon specifically tells us and what is quoted or clearly alluded to. One of the things it tells us is that the brass plates contained “a record of the Jews from the beginning, even down to the commencement of the reign of Zedekiah” (1 Ne. 5:12). This would appear to mean they had a version of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, and 2 Kings up to chapter twenty-four.

This has some embedded assumptions about authorship. Why? Because the 1 and 2 Kings are post-exilic texts. They would not have existed in the Brass Plates. The Books of Samuel would have been significantly different than they are now (they were heavily edited by the DtrH). And while there might have been five Books of Moses - even they would have been quite different in places, especially Deuteronomy. You can see how this model of textual history for the Bible impacts not only your response but the original thesis.,

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3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

But ... on the topic of Psalms and David in the Book of Mormon, I have the framework of an unpublished essay which has been languishing on my computer for a decade now. I had tentatively titled it: "Jacob 1-3 Text and Intertext". Here are the source texts that I used:

Fascinating! Is the essay complete enough that you are willing to share?

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Deuteronomy 17:14-20

Deuteronomy 17:14-20 contains a section that is often titled “The Torah of the King”. It’s contents help to create the basic framework of Jacob’s sermon in Jacob 2. It’s use is presaged in Jacob 1:15-16:

 

3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Deuteronomy 18:9-14

This section of Deuteronomy follows immediately the Torah of the King, and is short enough to be presented in full:

I find these sections to be particularly useful. I'm not sure how this would fit in the context of this particular essay (which after all, is responding to a specific argument). I do note that how you're approaching Jacob 2 here is not contradictory to the approach I am taking in this essay. An expository could easily combine both by talking in terms of what and how.

A question occurs to me though. I felt I had to deal with 2 Sam. 12:8, even if in a footnote. The problem as I saw it was that Jacob's audience could throw that verse back at them. It seems to me there is a similar problem with Jacob's allusions to Deuteronomy, especially the Torah of the King passage. Deut. 17:17 specifically says the king "must not acquire many wives for himself" (NRSV). But saying one cannot multiply wives is not the same as saying one is limited to a single wife, as Jacob commanded (2:27). I presume at least some of Jacob's audience would have caught these allusions and could have thrown this argument at him. What, if anything, do you think is going on there?

4 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

This has some embedded assumptions about authorship. Why? Because the 1 and 2 Kings are post-exilic texts. They would not have existed in the Brass Plates. The Books of Samuel would have been significantly different than they are now (they were heavily edited by the DtrH). And while there might have been five Books of Moses - even they would have been quite different in places, especially Deuteronomy. You can see how this model of textual history for the Bible impacts not only your response but the original thesis.,

Well, I did specifically note I was tackling the thesis from the perspective of an environmentalist. 😁

Kidding aside, I am aware of the issue. That is a reason my language in this section was so tentative. However, the bigger reason is that even from a Smithian perspective, it is still difficult to ascertain what is supposed to be on the brass plates. I don't think we can just assume the plates have the biblical books in their present form, particularly in light of 1 Nephi 13. Hence, without BOM textual clues like quotations and allusions, conclusions about what is supposed to be there have to be tentative.

I am also aware of the impact biblical scholarship would have on both the thesis and my response. I actively chose not to engage here. I think both sides will agree that we need to be tentative about what is on the brass plates, even if we don't agree on the reasoning. If someone wants to pick up this issue and use it against my response, I can deal with it (or not) then. Meanwhile, why pick a fight I don't need to?

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4 minutes ago, tagriffy said:

I presume at least some of Jacob's audience would have caught these allusions and could have thrown this argument at him. What, if anything, do you think is going on there?

It's been a long time since I have engaged this issue - I just have notes (and lots of them - probably a couple hundred pages).

I think that Jacob's sermon comes without a lot of context. He gives us an argument that addresses the question of polygamy touching on at least two of the most important Old Testament texts related to polygamy (Deuteronomy 25:5-10 is the other). Historically, these texts keep coming up over and over again. In our discussion on the thread about baptismal covenants, you will see references to a text called the Damascus Document. It addresses this issue of David and Solomon's polygamy in a novel way (David and Solomon couldn't keep the law because they had no access to know it). Because of these other ways of responding to the question, I think that we can be reasonably certain that the people Jacob was speaking to were engaged in these kinds of arguments. Jacob's real argument is that Lehi was the prophet (like Moses) who issued a commandment, and that outside of any other special instructions, it is his commandment that should be followed. It is more difficult in that he doesn't provide us with the entire context of his opponents - but what we have is really interesting.

There is something else I like about the text. He ends it twice. We don't have a lot of information about why he does this. But his first ending seems much more hopeful than his last ending. This sermon about polygamy, if I am right, compares this to the challenges faced by Israel in the wilderness. Jacob seems to be blaming their failure to inherit their land of promise on these shortcomings. And from our perspective, they deal with it - and yet, in that last chapter, Jacob is facing the reality that they will not return in his lifetime, and he offers a rather mournful commentary at the end:

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I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

This one bit of text has always resonated with me. Even though they have built a new community, Jacob never sees themselves as being where they are supposed to be.

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Does anyone address why there would be intertextuality with Davidic themes/scripture in the BoM while never actually dealing with him head on, other than being the poster boy for many wives and concubines. The text certainly isn’t obligated to say anything about him, but it seems like a missed opportunity. During 1 Nephi and all of its intertextuality with the Exodus, Moses is brought up more than once, so it’s interesting that David is omitted. 

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3 hours ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

Does anyone address why there would be intertextuality with Davidic themes/scripture in the BoM while never actually dealing with him head on, other than being the poster boy for many wives and concubines. The text certainly isn’t obligated to say anything about him, but it seems like a missed opportunity. During 1 Nephi and all of its intertextuality with the Exodus, Moses is brought up more than once, so it’s interesting that David is omitted.

Indirectly, yes. I think that among those of us who look at this issue, the closest you get to a consensus is the idea that Lehi and his family are members of the northern tribes, and their response to the monarchy is much more negative than the response from those in the south. There were a lot of reasons for this (which we can discuss if you want). The Book of Mormon has a strange sort of back and forth. It is both anti-monarchy and pro-monarchy at the same time. This mix of pro- and anti- monarchy statements start early - compare 1 Nephi 2:22 and 3:29 with 1 Nephi 16:37-38 -

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And inasmuch as thou shalt keep my commandments, thou shalt be made a ruler and a teacher over thy brethren.

Know ye not that the Lord hath chosen him to be a ruler over you, and this because of your iniquities?

And Laman said unto Lemuel and also unto the sons of Ishmael: Behold, let us slay our father, and also our brother Nephi, who has taken it upon him to be our ruler and our teacher, who are his elder brethren. Now, he says that the Lord has talked with him, and also that angels have ministered unto him. But behold, we know that he lies unto us; and he tells us these things, and he worketh many things by his cunning arts, that he may deceive our eyes, thinking, perhaps, that he may lead us away into some strange wilderness; and after he has led us away, he has thought to make himself a king and a ruler over us, that he may do with us according to his will and pleasure. And after this manner did my brother Laman stir up their hearts to anger.

 

This third verse sounds much closer to the prophet Samuel at the beginning of 1 Samuel when he is warning the people of the risk of replacing the system of Judges with a king. The Book of Samuel also contains the story of the rise of David and the beginning of his kingship as the successor to Saul (who was a northern king chosen by Samuel), wasn't originally a narrative about the success of the monarchy, but of its failure. And, especially in the north, where the monarchy went downhill much faster than it did in the south (after the kingdom split following the death of Solomon), the monarchy was not viewed as a success (there was a lot of blame placed on David and Solomon for moving the heart of the united kingdom to Judah from the north among other things). Given that the Nephites had kings early on, the text makes a much bigger deal of the system of judges and prophets - and seems to downplay the early monarchy among the Nephites - and after we get finished with the early Nephite kings, nearly every king mentioned after that is discussed in terms of how badly they violated the commandments. So on the assumption that the Book of Mormon has a distinctly negative view of the monarchy, it doesn't seem all that surprising to us that David isn't mentioned much at all.

There is a second bit to all of this - and that is a degree of uncertainty about the state of messianic traditions in Judah/Israel prior to the Babylonian period. Much of why modern Jews and Christians have a lot of interest in David stems from traditions that were developed after the destruction of the first temple and the fall of the southern kingdom and its monarchy. All of this sits outside of any potential influence on the Nephite texts - except where these modern views may have influenced the translation of the Book of Mormon. In particular, the Book of Mormon quotes Isaiah 11 (the seed of Jesse chapter), but in its original context, this prophecy was about the restoration of the Davidic king following the predicted collapse of Assyria. Assyria collapses, but it falls to the Babylonians - who then reconquer Jerusalem, and the Davidic king in this context doesn't restore the monarchy, he continues to capitulate to either Babylon or Egypt depending on the politics of the moment (this is the complaint of Jeremiah and is still occurring when Lehi leaves). This passage is subsequently reinterpreted messianically by later Judaism and Christianity, but it wouldn't have the same impact for the Nephites as it did for the the Jewish people in the Old World - even with the introduction of a Nephite Messianic tradition provided by Lehi and Nephi.

At any rate, there's a lot of speculation I could make - but these points form a core view of the reason why the Book of Mormon comes with a rather dim view of the Davidic monarchy.

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3 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

Indirectly, yes. I think that among those of us who look at this issue, the closest you get to a consensus is the idea that Lehi and his family are members of the northern tribes, and their response to the monarchy is much more negative than the response from those in the south. There were a lot of reasons for this (which we can discuss if you want). The Book of Mormon has a strange sort of back and forth. It is both anti-monarchy and pro-monarchy at the same time. This mix of pro- and anti- monarchy statements start early - compare 1 Nephi 2:22 and 3:29 with 1 Nephi 16:37-38 -

This third verse sounds much closer to the prophet Samuel at the beginning of 1 Samuel when he is warning the people of the risk of replacing the system of Judges with a king. The Book of Samuel also contains the story of the rise of David and the beginning of his kingship as the successor to Saul (who was a northern king chosen by Samuel), wasn't originally a narrative about the success of the monarchy, but of its failure. And, especially in the north, where the monarchy went downhill much faster than it did in the south (after the kingdom split following the death of Solomon), the monarchy was not viewed as a success (there was a lot of blame placed on David and Solomon for moving the heart of the united kingdom to Judah from the north among other things). Given that the Nephites had kings early on, the text makes a much bigger deal of the system of judges and prophets - and seems to downplay the early monarchy among the Nephites - and after we get finished with the early Nephite kings, nearly every king mentioned after that is discussed in terms of how badly they violated the commandments. So on the assumption that the Book of Mormon has a distinctly negative view of the monarchy, it doesn't seem all that surprising to us that David isn't mentioned much at all.

There is a second bit to all of this - and that is a degree of uncertainty about the state of messianic traditions in Judah/Israel prior to the Babylonian period. Much of why modern Jews and Christians have a lot of interest in David stems from traditions that were developed after the destruction of the first temple and the fall of the southern kingdom and its monarchy. All of this sits outside of any potential influence on the Nephite texts - except where these modern views may have influenced the translation of the Book of Mormon. In particular, the Book of Mormon quotes Isaiah 11 (the seed of Jesse chapter), but in its original context, this prophecy was about the restoration of the Davidic king following the predicted collapse of Assyria. Assyria collapses, but it falls to the Babylonians - who then reconquer Jerusalem, and the Davidic king in this context doesn't restore the monarchy, he continues to capitulate to either Babylon or Egypt depending on the politics of the moment (this is the complaint of Jeremiah and is still occurring when Lehi leaves). This passage is subsequently reinterpreted messianically by later Judaism and Christianity, but it wouldn't have the same impact for the Nephites as it did for the the Jewish people in the Old World - even with the introduction of a Nephite Messianic tradition provided by Lehi and Nephi.

At any rate, there's a lot of speculation I could make - but these points form a core view of the reason why the Book of Mormon comes with a rather dim view of the Davidic monarchy.

I guess those lost 116 pages would have shed some more light on the topic then.

Im curious to hear the non-historicist take as well.

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Ben could also mention the allusive commentary on David in the stories of Nephi and Ammon.

For Nephi, see Ben's landmark essay here:

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol18/iss1/12/

Ben explains that:

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 All of the thematic parallels exist in the same order in both narratives.
First, we have the introduction of the antagonist, who is described in terms of his feats of strength
and who inspires fear. Then the protagonist responds, claiming that there is no need to fear—
the God who has historically acted on the protagonist’s behalf will again act to destroy this threat, not
only to save the protagonist, but also to ensure that God is recognized in the future. Next the antagonist and protagonist meet, and the text announces
to us that the antagonist is delivered into the hands of the protagonist by God. Finally, the antagonist
is reduced to a helpless state, and the protagonist takes his enemy’s sword, pulls it from its sheath,
decapitates the antagonist, and then gathers his foe’s armor as his own

Ben also makes the notable discovery that:

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There has been a long-standing debate with regard to the original composition of the Samuel texts.
This debate has lingered because of the differences between various manuscripts and textual families.
For the purposes of this study, this is particularly significant because, as Johan Lust writes, “As far
as the Books of Samuel are concerned, the story of David and Goliath is by far the most important of
the contexts in which several manuscripts of the Septuagint, among which the early majuscule B, differ considerably from the present Hebrew text. The
Greek version . . . is much shorter than the Hebrew.
It omits 1 Samuel 17, 12–31.41.48b.50.55–18,6a.10–12.17–19.21b.30.”70 Lust further asks: “Which text
is to be preferred, the longer or the shorter one? Which criteria allow us to make a proper choice?”71
The contribution of this study with regard to these questions is to note that the specific markers that
Nephi uses within the Samuel text fall exclusively within the shorter source. Nephi only references
17:4–7, 11, 32, 34–37, 45–46, 51, and 54. The notable omission of the longer (and arguably later)72 additions to the text may well represent the notion that
the text of Samuel contained in Nephi’s brass plates did not include these additions.

For Ammon, see Alan Goff's review of Harold Bloom's comments here:

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1178&context=msr

Among other things, Goff points out that 

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Unlike David, who takes up sling and sword in order to become king, Ammon preaches to the Lamanitcs instead of accepting the
kingship proffered by his own father. A royal son, Ammon is the man who wouldn't be king. Born a country boy, David's
ambition drives him to become king, resorting to any means necessary. Ammon, the shepherd, refuses the worldly ambitions
that are the consuming passions of David's life, who puts down his staff to take up the sword. Ammon also refuses the marriage
that would make him the king's son-in-law; David accomplishes two bloody feats in order to become the royal son-in-law. The
Ammon story is a "narrative analogy" for the David story and is clearly intended as such in the text-you are supposed to see the
connection between the Ammon story and the Goliath narrative and if you think the connection is one of plagiarism you just
don't understand biblical narrative.

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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5 minutes ago, Kevin Christensen said:

Ben could also mention the allusive commentary on David in the stories of Nephi and Ammon.

For Nephi, see Ben's landmark essay here:

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/jbms/vol18/iss1/12/

Ben explains that:

Ben also makes the notable discovery that:

For Ammon, see Alan Goff's review of Harold Bloom's comments here:

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1178&context=msr

Among other things, Goff points out that 

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

These ideas all feed into my question above, frankly. Why is it that the BoM tackles David intertextually but not by name. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.

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8 minutes ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

These ideas all feed into my question above, frankly. Why is it that the BoM tackles David intertextually but not by name. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.

And there is Steve St. Clair's detailed essay on THE STICK OF JOSEPH: THE BOOK OF MORMON AND THE LITERARY TRADITION OF NORTHERN ISRAEL by Steve St. Clair.   I saved a copy a long time ago.  This used to be online, his extension of Sorenson's The Brass Plates and Biblical Scholarship, which places the Book of Mormon in the Northern Tradition.

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In the case of Northern Israel, a set of heroes and villains appears that is different from those of the Jews. Specifically, the northern tradition has great interest in and respect for Joseph, Moses, and Joshua, and a corresponding disdain for or lack of interest in Judah, Aaron, and David. 

...

In contrast to the positive feelings of the northern sources for these heroes, the northern tradition tended to disparage - or ignore - Judah, Aaron, and David. None of the Biblical stories of Judah that give him a personality are found in the northern "E" source. Aaron does receive some notice in "E," but it is uniformly negative; he is given full blame, for example, for the golden calf incident. A modern scholar notes that "only in E do we notice the propensity to find fault with Aaron." As important as he is in the Bible, Samaritan writings pay little attention to Aaron, other than grudgingly allowing that he is the brother of Moses and the start of their line of High Priests. As would be expected, the northern tradition had little interest in the line of David or the covenant with David, since his descendants after Solomon were kings exclusively of the southern kingdom. Schechter, in his study of the Zadokite Fragment, wondered at the propensity of the Essene tradition for "abusing its heroes, as in the case of David." An examination of the attention paid to these Israelite forebears in the Book of Mormon is most instructive. Joseph, the ancestor of the nation, is considered as a hero whose blessings on his posterity had an ongoing effect on their success. In all, the Biblical Joseph is named twenty-five times in the book of Mormon; and when Lehi gave his youngest son that name, he specifically borrowed from the Biblical Joseph. Moses is also looked upon in the Book of Mormon with supreme respect, and his leading of the exodus out of Egypt is seen as a pattern for much of the typology of the book, including the flight of Lehi's family through their own wilderness, across their own Red Sea, and to their own promised land. He is named sixty-three times, more often than any other Old Testament character. Incidentally, in all its accounts of Moses and his doings, the Book of Mormon never mentions the ark of the covenant --- a trait it shares with the northern Israelite "E" pentateuchal source. Joshua provides a puzzle. The biblical individual is never mentioned in the Book of Mormon, and the name is used only once for an obscure town. If he was such an important character to the people of the northern kingdom, why were no stories about him recounted in the Book of Mormon? While Joshua the individual is never mentioned, though, his name appears everywhere. Whenever the English translation contains the name "Jesus" (two hundred five times) or the word "Savior" (thirteen times), the original would have been "Joshua" (Heb. Yeheshua), since "Jesus" is the Greek form of the name, and "Jehovah Saves" is the English translation of its meaning. With the important role given to Aaron the brother of Moses in the Bible as we know it, it is hard to imagine that the Book of Mormon could say so much about Moses without ever mentioning Aaron. But that is indeed the case. "Aaron" is used as a place name and as the name of several people including the famous son of King Mosiah. But the biblical Aaron is never mentioned, not even to be credited as the source of the name. The Book of Mormon uses the word "Judah" in obscure passages three times, besides incidental Isaiah quotations and the title "king of Judah." It is always the name of the tribe and never the person. Sorensen's study has already noted that the Book of Mormon ignores the Davidic covenant, and mentions David only six times, two of which are incidental quotations from Isaiah and two of which are strong condemnations. The suggested strands of northern Israelite tradition appear to be consistent in their treatment of the founding heros of their religion and their nation. It would also be fair to say that, almost without exception, the Book of Mormon chroniclers handled each individual the way they would have been expected to as part of the northern Israelite literary tradition. 

...

Sorensen's study has already noted that the Book of Mormon ignores the Davidic covenant, and mentions David only six times, two of which are incidental quotations from Isaiah and two of which are strong condemnations. The suggested strands of northern Israelite tradition appear to be consistent in their treatment of the founding heros of their religion and their nation. It would also be fair to say that, almost without exception, the Book of Mormon chroniclers handled each individual the way they would have been expected to as part of the northern Israelite literary tradition.

Noel Reynolds and Neal Rappleye have shown, in various places that 1 Nephi and 2 Nephi have political purposes, justifying Nephi leadership.  As Deuteronomists thanks to popular currents in Jerusalem Laman and Lemuel would be impressed by Moses and David, and therefore, Nephi makes an effort to impress them by making allusions to Moses and David in his accounts.   But Nephi is far more explicit in his references to Joseph and a prophesy about a forthcoming seer through Joseph (2 Nephi 3).

FWIW,

Kevin Christensen

Canonsburg, PA

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Also:

Val Larsen (2007), "Killing Laban: The Birth of Sovereignty in the Nephite Constitutional Order," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 16 Iss. 1, 26-41, 84-85.

https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1416&context=jbms&fbclid=IwAR3OlR4O0cdPlyE0wCfDxpC75Zurvsb8D8mvnXfJFn1dtsEa4hy7zHHkK8E

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25 minutes ago, Benjamin Seeker said:

These ideas all feed into my question above, frankly. Why is it that the BoM tackles David intertextually but not by name. It’s an interesting juxtaposition.

There is another answer to this question, that I indirectly discussed here.

Quote

 

If Nephi is aware that certain knowledge is necessary to understand Isaiah, and is in possession of that information, then he as an author would be expected to provide that knowledge so that his text too could be understood. Rabinowitz explains that a novel dealing with the political environment of the 1960s might achieve its intended “sense of impending doom only if the reader knows that John F. Kennedy will be assassinated when the events of the novel reach 22 November 1963.” The effect would be lost on an audience unfamiliar with that history, and if the author anticipated this in an audience, he would need to “rewrite the book accordingly.”13 Nephi, on the other hand, while recognizing this issue, takes us in the opposite direction:

Quote

For I, Nephi, have not taught them many things concerning the manner of the Jews; … But behold, I, Nephi, have not taught my children after the manner of the Jews. (2 Nephi 25:2, 6)

Nephi has deliberately prevented his authorial audience from being able to understand Isaiah in the same way that Nephi understands Isaiah, and at the same time, he is letting that audience know that this step in his writing is not merely accidental, or caused by Nephi’s own flawed assumptions in creating his authorial audience. This development is deliberate. What remains is something even more radical. The authorial audience is an audience that doesn’t have this social and cultural knowledge and, in fact, that may have no recourse to receive it. Nephi withheld this information from the authorial audience.

 

And I note a bit later:

Quote

As we just noted, he explains that he likens scripture unto his community to “more fully persuade them to believe in the Lord.” And he justifies this by suggesting that the Jews “works were works of darkness, and their doings were doings of abominations” (2 Nephi 25:2). The Jews had Isaiah, they had read Isaiah (in the manner in which Nephi had been taught) and yet this scripture didn’t (apparently) persuade the Jews to come to God and be saved (as evidenced by their impending doom).

One possible answer is that, especially after the context of Jacob 1-3, the Nephite leadership/priesthood simply neglected to teach the people much about David. This sort of perspective may only have been reinforced by the debate over polygamy. I am not tied to this particular application of this idea, but, I think that it could be used explain the intertext without the signifiers. There just isn't enough information in the text for me to draw any tentative conclusions (at least not information that I have uncovered).

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On 11/1/2022 at 12:06 PM, Benjamin McGuire said:

Because of these other ways of responding to the question, I think that we can be reasonably certain that the people Jacob was speaking to were engaged in these kinds of arguments. Jacob's real argument is that Lehi was the prophet (like Moses) who issued a commandment, and that outside of any other special instructions, it is his commandment that should be followed. It is more difficult in that he doesn't provide us with the entire context of his opponents - but what we have is really interesting.

I like this. Do you mind if I said something like this and attribute the thought to you?

On 11/1/2022 at 12:06 PM, Benjamin McGuire said:

There is something else I like about the text. He ends it twice. We don't have a lot of information about why he does this. But his first ending seems much more hopeful than his last ending. This sermon about polygamy, if I am right, compares this to the challenges faced by Israel in the wilderness. Jacob seems to be blaming their failure to inherit their land of promise on these shortcomings. And from our perspective, they deal with it - and yet, in that last chapter, Jacob is facing the reality that they will not return in his lifetime, and he offers a rather mournful commentary at the end:

But did they? Getting puffed up in pride because of their riches seems to be a recurring theme in the Book of Mormon. Even polygamy rears its head again. Perhaps Jacob is feeling like he is playing a game of whack-a-mole. That's almost the Book of Mormon as a whole.

On 11/1/2022 at 12:06 PM, Benjamin McGuire said:
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I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

This one bit of text has always resonated with me. Even though they have built a new community, Jacob never sees themselves as being where they are supposed to be.

There is theological significance in this, I think. Promised lands never turn out the way one hopes. Our humanity keeps getting in the way. Jacob is right--we're not where we're supposed to be.

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Tim,

Your paper appears to be no longer linked above, but I'm interested.

You and I are connected via email. Send it to me? I'd love to see what you've come up with.

 

Ben,

Your work on this is brilliant, and I use it in my book on the lost pages. Well done!

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17 hours ago, DonBradley said:

Tim,

Your paper appears to be no longer linked above, but I'm interested.

You and I are connected via email. Send it to me? I'd love to see what you've come up with.

Check your email!

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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

A bunch of descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh not being gung-ho about that king from those obnoxious descendants of Judah?

Wouldn’t it be more surprising if they were pro-David?

It could be. The wildcard is the Mulekites, who are Judahites and whose leader is descendant from David. That's why my response focuses on the political situation being pictured.

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3 hours ago, The Nehor said:

A bunch of descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh not being gung-ho about that king from those obnoxious descendants of Judah?

The argument might make more sense if the text didn't emphasize the fact that they didn't actually know this in the beginning. From a historical perspective, after a couple of generations (the northern kingdom fell in the mid-8th century), they might not have really been aware that they weren't descendants of Judah. (Just playing devil's advocate here). I think that for the later parts of the text (not the small plates), the mixing with the larger group of Mulekites is probably is where we have some of these issues - except they aren't identified in these terms (Kingmen?). By identifying the Mulekites with the Davidic kingship line, this may have been an issue that crops up later in the text - and the lack of identification of it on these terms would be an interesting point of discussion.

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2 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

The argument might make more sense if the text didn't emphasize the fact that they didn't actually know this in the beginning. From a historical perspective, after a couple of generations (the northern kingdom fell in the mid-8th century), they might not have really been aware that they weren't descendants of Judah. (Just playing devil's advocate here). I think that for the later parts of the text (not the small plates), the mixing with the larger group of Mulekites is probably is where we have some of these issues - except they aren't identified in these terms (Kingmen?). By identifying the Mulekites with the Davidic kingship line, this may have been an issue that crops up later in the text - and the lack of identification of it on these terms would be an interesting point of discussion.

I went with a different track here, though I relegated the possibility to a footnote. I would also place Lehi's family among the refugees of the Assyrian conquest of Samaria circa 722 BCE, perhaps in response to Hezekiah's invitation as recorded in 2 Chr. 30:1. Like many refugees today, Lehi's family probably did not break off all relations with their Northern friends and family. Retaining such links could give Lehi a more personal reason to have a grudge against the Davidic monarchy: Josiah's invasion of Samaria as recorded in 2 Kngs. 23:15-20.

I think a lot would depend on how we should read 1 Ne. 5:14: "And it came to pass that my father, Lehi, also found upon the plates of brass a genealogy of the fathers; wherefore he knew that he was a descendant of Joseph...." Does this mean Lehi discovered this fact for the very first time? Or does it mean he confirmed stories passed around in his family? Good cases could be made for either view.

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8 hours ago, tagriffy said:

It could be. The wildcard is the Mulekites, who are Judahites and whose leader is descendant from David. That's why my response focuses on the political situation being pictured.

The Mulekites weren’t too excited about their king considering the first they did on meeting the Nephites was let the foreign king take over. Probably intense factionalism from those internal wars they were having and the desire for an outsider not already aligned with any faction.

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2 hours ago, The Nehor said:

The Mulekites weren’t too excited about their king considering the first they did on meeting the Nephites was let the foreign king take over. Probably intense factionalism from those internal wars they were having and the desire for an outsider not already aligned with any faction.

That's an idea!

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I'll note that it was the tradition of the Nephites to call settlements after the man who founded them, and the main city of the Mulekites was not named Mulek. It was named Zarahemla, the name of their leader when Mosiah I encountered them. 

This suggests to me (it's not the only interpretation, but it's the most reasonable to me) that Zarahemla was not the original Mulekite settlement, and might not even represent the bulk of Mulekite population. If Zarahemla was the home of a splinter group of Mulekites and not the main line, then it would explain why they accepted Mosiah's rule so easily and why David wasn't politically relevant. It also raises the possibility that a lot of the Lamanites were lineal Mulekites.

There's also the fact that the Mulekites had brought no records with them, lost the language, and denied the Lord. Not sure enough memory of David would linger. 

Edited by OGHoosier
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17 hours ago, Benjamin McGuire said:

and the lack of identification of it on these terms would be an interesting point of discussion.

Maybe because it was thought inappropriate and unwise to give the dissenters any hint of legitimacy?

Edited by Calm
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