Scholarly Notes on Helaman 13–16
The following notes are meant to assist readers in pursuing a close reading of the story of Samuel, found in Helaman 13–16. Some notes focus on variants in the manuscript and print history of the Book of Mormon, but the vast majority concern connections between the text in Helaman and the text of scripture elsewhere—both in the Bible and in the Book of Mormon (and, on occasion, elsewhere in Restoration scripture). The literary references in the notes are primarily derived from the English texts of the Book of Mormon and the King James Version of the Bible—with only minor attention paid to the underlying Hebrew and Greek of the King James Version—since it is impossible to analyze the ancient text underlying the English translation of the Book of Mormon or of the brass plates. They thus, of necessity, point more to biblical connections available to the modern translator and audience than to those available to the ancient authors. When the footnotes refer to “biblical” language, this should primarily be understood as the English translation found in the King James Version. The term Hebrew Bible should be understood as synonymous with the term Old Testament as it is used in the King James Version, rather than as pointing to the Hebrew text behind the English translation.
Chapter number: Chapter 13 in the current version of the Book of Mormon begins “Chapter V” in editions prior to 1878, and that chapter comprises the current chapters Helaman 13–16.
13:1 remain in wickedness: In scripture the phrase “remain in wickedness” is found only in the Book of Mormon, appearing here and twice more in 3 Nephi 2:10 and 4 Nephi 1:47. great wickedness: This phrase appears several times elsewhere in scripture, but its use earlier in the book of Helaman, where it again describes the Nephites (see 4:13), is of particular relevance. law of Moses: The Lamanites appear to have a particularly close affinity to the law of Moses, according to various texts in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 17:22; Alma 25:15–16). Samuel himself mentions the Lamanites’ observation of the law of Moses in Helaman 15:5.
13:2 Samuel: Samuel’s name appears sixteen times in the Book of Mormon. The first three involve the sermon itself (Helaman 13:2, 5; 14:1). The next eight involve the various reactions among the Nephites to Samuel’s prophecies (Helaman 16:1–2, 5–6; 3 Nephi 1:5–6, 9; 8:3). The next three involve Jesus’s sermon to the Nephites (3 Nephi 20:24; 23:9–10). The final two appearances of Samuel’s name occur in Mormon’s record at the end of the Nephite nation’s existence (Mormon 1:19; 2:10). While traditional interpretations of the meaning of “Samuel”
(shǝmû’ēl Elohim) in Hebrew most commonly include “name of God,” other arguments point to either “asked of God” or “offspring of God” as possible etymologies. one Samuel, a Lamanite: Mormon refers to him as “one Samuel, a Lamanite,” and Samuel similarly introduces himself as “I, Samuel, a Lamanite,” which likely influenced Mormon’s introduction of him. came into the land of Zarahemla: The phrasing here echoes the Lamanite missionaries described in Helaman 6:4, though Nephite missionaries are described in similar language when they went among the Lamanites in Zarahemla (5:16). many days, repentance: The printer’s manuscript has “many day repentance,” which was interpreted by the typesetter as a compound adjective modifying repentance (“many-day repentance”). The 1837 edition changed this to “many days, repentance.” See Royal Skousen, Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part 5: Alma 56–3 Nephi 18 (Provo, UT: FARMS, 2008), 5:3076–77. they did cast him out . . . about to return to his own land: The description of this scene seems deliberately reminiscent of Alma’s rejection in and initial abandonment of Ammonihah (see Alma 8:6–13).
13:3 voice of the Lord: The only other instance of “voice of the Lord” in Helaman comes just a few verses earlier, where Mormon writes, “Blessed are they who will repent and hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God” (12:23). the voice of the Lord came unto him: If this scene is meant to imitate Alma’s preaching in Ammonihah, then it seems significant that Samuel hears the voice of the Lord rather than receives the appearance of an angel (see Alma 8:14–17). prophesy: In the Ammonihah story, Alma is told to “preach again” rather than to prophesy (Alma 8:16). into: The printer’s manuscript has into, but the 1830 text had in. The mistake was corrected in the 1837 edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3077). come into his heart: The text states three times that Samuel’s message is based on what has “come into his heart” (Helaman 13:3), what “the Lord put into his heart” (v. 4), or (in Samuel’s own words) “the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart” (v. 5). His heart was open to revelation, and it came. This contrasts with how Samuel describes the Nephites later in the chapter: as having “hardness of the hearts” (v. 8), having “harden[ed] their hearts against [God]” (v. 12), or having “set their hearts upon their riches” (v. 20; compare v. 21). Further, they readily follow anyone who says to them, “Walk after the pride of your own hearts; yea, walk after the pride of your eyes, and do whatsoever your heart desireth” (v. 27).
13:4 wall: The city of Zarahemla is noted to have been enclosed by a wall earlier in Helaman 1:21. The cities of Gid (Alma 55:20) and Nephi (Mosiah 22:6) were also walled. Hastily built walls are also noted for some Nephite cities as fortifications, such as the city of Bountiful (Alma 53:4–5). The wall that surrounded Zarahemla was likely not exceptionally tall, as that would not account for the people’s amazement at not being able to hit Samuel with their projectiles. stretched forth his hand: Stretching forth the hand is a common prophetic gesture in the Book of Mormon, perhaps an echo of the destructive stretching forth of God’s hand in biblical narrative and prophecy. Nephi stretches forth his hand to his brothers to shock or shake them (1 Nephi 17:53–54), Abinadi stretches forth his hand in preaching to Noah’s people and then to his priests (Mosiah 12:2; 16:1), Amulek and Alma stretch forth their hands in condemning the people in Ammonihah (Alma 10:25; 13:21), and Alma does the same among the Zoramites (Alma 32:7). cried with a loud voice: Several figures in the Book of Mormon cry with “a loud voice”—the Spirit in 1 Nephi 11:6, Lamoni’s wife in Alma 19:29, the Zoramites in prayer in Alma 31:14, Moroni gathering troops in Alma 46:19, and celebrating victors in 3 Nephi 4:28. whatsoever things the Lord put into his heart: See the comment on “come into his heart” at 13:3.
13:5 my: In the printer’s manuscript, my was originally written as mine, but my was likely the original intent (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3077–8). the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart: See the comment on “come into his heart” at 13:3. sword of justice: The phrase “sword of justice” appears seven times in the Book of Mormon but never in the King James Version of the Bible. However, the symbolic imagery is shared by other biblical authors, for example, “If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me” (Deuteronomy 32:41). In the Book of Mormon it appears as “the sword of justice” (Alma 60:29; Helaman 13:5), “the sword of my justice” (3 Nephi 20:20), “the sword of his justice” (Alma 26:19; 3 Nephi 29:4), and “the sword of the justice of the Eternal God” (Ether 8:23). Clear allusions to this phrase are found in 3 Nephi 2:19 (“the sword of destruction did hang over them”) and Mormon 8:41 (“the sword of vengeance”; compare Doctrine and Covenants 97:26; 121:5). In the original manuscript, 1 Nephi 12:18 also read “sword of the justice of the Eternal God.” However, it is likely that Oliver Cowdery mistakenly wrote word instead of sword when creating the printer’s manuscript. Thus all editions of the Book of Mormon from 1830 on read “the word of justice” in 1 Nephi 12:18. The original reading is almost certainly the correct one, however (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3078). four hundred years: The specificity of the time period of “four hundred years” is characteristic of Samuel’s prophecies. There are likely cultural reasons for the precise number of four hundred. Samuel quotes the Lord directly in Helaman 13:9 that “four hundred years shall not pass away before I will cause that they shall be smitten.” Alma had similarly prophesied that “the Nephites, according to the spirit of revelation which is in me, in four hundred years from the time that Jesus Christ shall manifest himself unto them, shall dwindle in unbelief ” (Alma 45:10). Confirming this prophecy centuries later, Moroni carefully noted that “four hundred years have passed away since the coming of our Lord and Savior. And behold, the Lamanites have hunted my people, the Nephites, down from city to city, and from place to place, even until they are no more; and great has been their fall; yea, great and marvelous is the destruction of my people, the Nephites” (Mormon 8:6–7).
13:6 heavy destruction: This is the only example of the phrase “heavy destruction” in the text. The adjective heavy is relatively rare in general, only appearing in reference to “heavy taxes”
(Ether 10:5), the “heavy blows” of Nephite warriors (Alma 43:37), and “heavy burdens”
placed on the backs of the Nephites (Mosiah 21:3). awaiteth: Nephi also speaks of destruction awaiting the people in Helaman 9:22. repentance: There are eleven references to repentance in chapter 13, in verses 2, 6, 8, 10–11 (four times), 13, 33, 36, and 39. Samuel will return to this theme in later chapters as well. See especially the discussion of the “conditions of repentance” at 14:11. repentance and faith: The coupling “repentance and faith” does not appear in the Bible but appears seven times in the Book of Mormon—first in the words of the angel whose words
King Benjamin reports (Mosiah 3:12, 21), then in describing the foundations of the Nephite Christian church (Mosiah 18:20; 25:15, 22), here in Helaman 13:6, and finally in instructions Alma gives to Helaman (Alma 37:33). Lord Jesus Christ: The titular phrase “Lord Jesus Christ” appears fourteen times in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 3:12; Alma 37:33 [twice]; 38:8; 46:39; Helaman 13:6; 3 Nephi 7:16, 18; 10:10; Mormon 9:37; Ether 12:41; Moroni 7:2; 8:2; 9:26). come into the world: In the Bible this language of coming into the world is Johannine, appearing in John 1:9, 3:19, 6:14, 11:27, 12:46, 16:28, and 18:37 (but see 1 Timothy 1:15; Hebrews 10:5). In the Book of Mormon it appears in 2 Nephi 9:21, Mosiah 16:6, and Alma 11:40 before this point—and then in 3 Nephi 1:13, 2:7, 11:10, 27:13, and Moroni 8:8. suffer many things: The phrase “suffer many things” is biblical, often specifically applied to Jesus (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31; 9:12; Luke 9:22; 17:25) but also used in other contexts (Matthew 27:19; Mark 5:26). The phrase appears twice elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, but only here in Helaman 13:6 in the context of Christian prophecy (compare Mosiah 7:16; Alma 21:14). slain for his people: No other passage in scripture speaks of Christ being “slain for his people,” although two passages speak of him being “slain for the sins of the world” (Alma 30:26; 3 Nephi 11:14).
13:7 angel of the Lord: Samuel will refer to the words of this angel later in Helaman 14:9, 26, 28. glad tidings: The phrase “glad tidings” is commonly associated with the New Testament (Luke 1:19; 8:1; Acts 13:32; Romans 10:15). In Greek the verb is εὐαγγελίζω (euangelizo), meaning “to announce good news” and “to preach (the gospel).” The origins of the phrase, however, are found in the Hebrew Bible in the Hebrew term בּשַָׂר (bāsar). my soul: Only here in scripture do tidings come to one’s “soul.” ye would not receive: Samuel will later speak of receiving a nonprophetic person as a prophet (Helaman 13:27), apparently by way of contrast with his own reception described here.
13:8 thus saith the Lord: The phrase “thus saith the Lord” obviously appears frequently in scripture. It shows up in the book of Helaman just three times before this instance, in Helaman 7:23 and 10:11, 14—always spoken by Nephi in these passages. Samuel uses the phrase just once more, in Helaman 13:11, shortly after the present passage. hardness of the hearts: This is the only passage in which Samuel speaks of the hardness of the heart, although it also appears in Helaman 6:35. the people of the Nephites: This phrase is a term or title never used in the Book of Mormon before the book of Alma. It shows up in that book six times (2:12; 16:15; 19:10; 43:4; 51:9; 54:14) and then seven times in the book of Helaman in addition to the present verse (1:1; 3:22; 6:4; 7:1; 10:3; 15:17). It then appears just five times in the rest of the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 2:5; 5:1; 6:1; Mormon 5:6; Moroni 8:27). Elsewhere in the present chapter, Samuel instead speaks simply of “the Nephites” (v. 16, as also the narrator in v. 1). He never uses any such title in Helaman 14, and Helaman 15 speaks of “this people who are called the people of Nephi” (v. 3), “the people of Nephi” (v. 3), and “the Nephites” (v. 4). take away my word: The only other passages in scripture that speak of taking away words are versions of the parable of the sower (Mark 4:15; Luke 8:12), although see also Revelation 22:19. my word: The expression “my word” appears twelve times in the Book of Mormon in various contexts. For example, it will “hiss forth unto the ends of the earth” (2 Nephi 29:2) and will be “brought forth” (2 Nephi 3:11; 29:7) and “established” (2 Nephi 11:3; Alma 12:17). Further, the earth will shake at “my word” (Ether 4:9), but oppositional forces will “fight against my word” (2 Nephi 29:14). withdraw: The Lord here states that because of the “hardness of the hearts of the people of the Nephites . . . I will withdraw my Spirit from them.” Similar language is found in Helaman 4:24 (“the Spirit of the Lord did no more preserve them; yea, it had withdrawn from them”), Helaman 6:35 (“the Spirit of the Lord began to withdraw from the Nephites”), and Alma 34:35 (“the Spirit of the Lord hath withdrawn from you”). suffer them: The transitive use of suffer with an animate direct object appears in two semantic contexts in the Book of Mormon. First, and most commonly, the phrase “suffer them” is equivalent to “allow them.” For example, “the Lord did not suffer them that they should take me” (Alma 9:33), “the Lord would not always suffer them to take happiness in sin” (Mormon 2:13), “I will suffer them that they be smitten by their enemies” (Mosiah 11:24), and “but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not” (3 Nephi 18:22). Parallel English usage is found in Leviticus 22:16, Joshua 10:19, Judges 1:34, and Luke 8:32. The use of “suffer them” in Helaman 13:8, however, is somewhat distinctive: “and I will suffer them no longer,” that is, “I will not put up with their iniquitous ways any longer.” I will turn the hearts of their brethren against them: The image of one’s heart being turned against another may derive from Exodus 14:5 and appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in 1 Nephi 19:15.
13:9 four hundred years: See the comment on this phrase at 13:5. visit: The verb visit is often used in a specifically destructive sense in the Book of Mormon and six times in the book of Helaman besides the present verse (Helaman 7 preface; 11:30, 33; 12:3; 13:10 [twice]). famine: The term famine is rarely used in isolation in the Book of Mormon. In Helaman 11, where a specific famine is referenced, the term appears alone (vv. 4–5, 7–8, 12), as it does in parts of the book of Ether (9:28, 35; 10:1) and in 1 Nephi 5:14. More commonly, however, famine is poetically presented in couplet form with sword (2 Nephi 1:18; 8:19), pestilence (2 Nephi 6:15; Mosiah 12:4; Helaman 12:3), affliction (Alma 53:7), sore afflictions (Mosiah 1:17; 9:3), sickness (Alma 9:22), or destructions (2 Nephi 10:6). The plural form famines occurs only twice in the text, in Ether 11:7 (coupled with pestilences) and Alma 45:11 (coupled with bloodshed). Famine also appears in triplet form together with war(s) and bloodshed (Alma 62:35, 39), pestilence and sword (Alma 10:22–23), and pestilence and destruction (Helaman 10:6). The theological context for the use of famine, pestilence, and sword together is likely Leviticus 26, wherein the “blessings” and “cursings” of the law of Moses are set forth. pestilence: Pestilence is referred to just fourteen times in the Book of Mormon, but nearly half of these appear in the book of Helaman (chapter 7 preface; 10:6, 11:14–15; 12:3).
13:10 visit: See the comment on this word at 13:9. fierce anger: The Bible provides twenty exact matches to the expression “fierce anger,” eighteen of which are in reference to the Lord’s anger (e.g., Numbers 25:4; Isaiah 13:13; Jonah 3:9). In similar proportionality, in the Book of Mormon nearly all cases are similarly describing the Lord’s anger (2 Nephi 23:9, 13; Mosiah 12:1; Alma 8:29; 9:12, 18; 10:23; Helaman 11:12; 13:10). Except for an Isaiah quotation (2 Nephi 17:4), the only exception is when the Lamanites are once said to smite “in their fierce anger” (Alma 43:44). fourth generation: There is a prophetic emphasis on this “fourth generation” from early in the Book of Mormon and through to the end (1 Nephi 12:12; 2 Nephi 26:9; Alma 45:12; 3 Nephi 27:32). who shall live: The printer’s manuscript reads “and there shall be those of the fourth generation, which shall live, of your enemies, to behold your utter destruction.” The grammar seems somewhat awkward with the insertion of “which shall live” before the prepositional phrase “of your enemies.” This could be an emphatic, fronted allusion to Alma 9:19, where Alma prophesies, “For he will not suffer you that ye shall live in your iniquities, to destroy his people,” but God would “rather suffer that the Lamanites might destroy all his people who are called the people of Nephi.” In other words, it is the Lamanites who will survive to watch the Nephite destruction and not the Nephites, since they would not be allowed to “live” in their iniquities. behold: This verse’s emphasis on beholding utter destruction perhaps anticipates the conclusion to the book of Ether, when Coriantumr is promised that he will live only to see the destruction of his people (Ether 13:21). utter destruction: While the term destruction is ubiquitous in the Book of Mormon, the intensified form “utter destruction” appears in more restrictive environments, many of which clearly allude to the great and final destruction of the Nephite and Jaredite civilizations. Thus, in the days of Coriantor, prophets came among the Jaredites saying that unless they repented the Lord would “utterly destroy” them (Ether 11:12). Alma 10:18 and 22 describe a similar “utter destruction” to befall the Nephites if they continued perverting the ways of the Lord. In Alma 58:9, Helaman questioned whether their lack of military support could lead to the “utter destruction” of their people, a sentiment echoed by Moroni in his letter to Pahoran in Alma 60:29. Mormon prayed that his son Moroni would live to see the people either return to God or suffer “utter destruction” (Moroni 9:22). The phrase “utter destruction” is also used several times in military threats to opponents, such as when Moroni sent Ammaron an epistle demanding that he withdraw his armies or they would suffer “utter destruction” (Alma 54:9). Similarly, the leader of the Gadiantons sent a letter to Lachoneus threatening that his band would visit the Nephites with “utter destruction” unless they yielded up their people, cities, lands, and possession (3 Nephi 3:4, 6). The term destroy alone is not equated with annihilate in the Book of Mormon. Note that in 1 Nephi 13:35 Nephi says his seed will “be destroyed” and afterward “dwindle in unbelief,” so a deconstructing of Nephite society is implied. The addition of utter could suggest the annihilation of a group, but since many Nephites survived the final battle, this is not always the clear intent of the expression “utter destruction.” saith the Lord: The phrase “saith the Lord” (without the opening thus) is one Samuel uses frequently, fifteen times in his sermon as recorded. This instance marks its first appearance; it appears another nine times in chapter 13 (vv. 11–12, 14, 17–20, 32) and five times in chapter 15 (vv. 16–17). See the comment on “thus saith the Lord” at 13:8. visit your destruction: The phraseology “to visit your destruction” is biblical, but the usage has been adopted into English. The expression visit with a punitive meaning is attested in the Oxford English Dictionary as “to inflict punishment on someone.” A similar usage appears in the Book of Mormon (Jacob 2:33; Mosiah 29:27; Alma 9:18; 10:22; 33:10; 60:29; Helaman 7 preface; 11:30; 3 Nephi 3:4). An example of the biblical antecedent of visit meaning “punish” is found in Exodus 32:34, where the Lord says, “I will visit their sin upon them” (there the verb visit in Hebrew is pāqad, “reckon, visit, punish”). Similar uses of this term are found in Numbers 16:29, Psalm 59:5, Jeremiah 6:6, Isaiah 24:22, and Proverbs 19:23.
13:11 repent and return: The coupling “repent and return” does not appear in the Bible and does not appear in the Book of Mormon before this point. It appears after this, however, in 3 Nephi 10:6, 16:13, and Moroni 9:22. the Lord your God: Samuel uses the common phrase “the Lord your God” three further times in his sermon, all of them in chapter 13 (twice in v. 22 and once in v. 33, where the possessive pronoun is our). thus saith the Lord: See the comment on this phrase at 13:8. repent and turn: The phrase “repent and turn” is biblical, although instances of it in the Old Testament emphasize turning from rather than turning unto something (Ezekiel 14:6; 18:30; Jonah 3:9); the one instance of the formula in the New Testament has to after turn (Acts 26:20). The formula appears twice before this point in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 11:21, 23). Significantly, it appears also in the Helaman 7 preface and in Helaman 11:4. Later, it appears in Mormon 5:22 (with from) and Ether 11:1.
13:12 great city of Zarahemla: Zarahemla is referred to as a “great city” for the first time in Helaman 1:18, and it is then called this again in Helaman 7:22. Samuel will use the phrase “great city” to speak of Zarahemla several more times (Helaman 13:13–14, 21). It reappears later in 3 Nephi 8:24, 9:3, and 4 Nephi 1:8. it is saved: This notion of escape from destruction being due to the righteous people in a city arguably goes back to the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18–19). It has a trace earlier in the Book of Mormon in Alma 10:23, with reference to Ammonihah. the more part: The phrase “the more part” appears just twice in the Bible, having fallen out of popularity in English after its much greater frequency in sixteenth-century English (Acts 19:32; 27:12). It appears some twenty-four times in the Book of Mormon, but fully half of those are in the book of Helaman. For non-Helaman references, see 1 Nephi 9:4; 19:2; 22:4; Alma 14:2; 47:2; 53:2; 3 Nephi 1:22; 7:8, 26; 26:7; 4 Nephi 1:27; Ether 9:11. In Helaman the phrase appears in 5:50; 6:1, 21, 31–32, 38; 11:21; 13:12; 15:5–6; 16:6, 10. It appears only a few times in Samuel’s discourse. harden their hearts: See the comment on “hardness of the hearts” at 13:8. saith the Lord: The expression “saith the Lord” is relatively uncommon in the Book of Mormon aside from Isaiah or Malachi quotations. The three primary authors to use it are Nephi, Jacob, and Samuel. Samuel uses “saith the Lord” twelve times in Helaman 13 and five times in chapter 15. Considering that Samuel goes to great lengths to let his audience know his teachings are coming from the Lord “into his heart” (see “come into his heart” at 13:3), he is likely adding authority to his message with the abundant use of the phrase (e.g., “Behold, I, Samuel, a Lamanite, do speak the words of the Lord which he doth put into my heart. . . . Therefore, thus saith the Lord . . .” [Helaman 13:5, 8]). See also the comment on “saith the Lord” at 13:10.
13:13 blessed are they who will repent: Note the use of this same phrase a few verses earlier in Helaman 13:11. this great city: See the comments on “this great city of Zarahemla” and also on “it is saved” at 13:12. fire should come down out of heaven and destroy it: The presence of this phrase in close conjunction with the title “Lord of Hosts” (Helaman 13:17) may be significant since the title in Hebrew entails power over celestial bodies that are enlisted to fight the Lord’s battles (compare Joshua 10:12–13; Judges 5:20; Habakkuk 3:11). It is also noteworthy, therefore, that the fire is expressly said to “come down out of heaven” to destroy Zarahemla. This phrasing appears significantly in the story of Elijah calling fire from heaven in 2 Kings 1:10–14, in the story of James and John making a foolish request in Luke 9:54, in a description of divine protection in Revelation 20:9, and especially in the story of Lamanite conversion in Helaman 5:45. In 3 Nephi 9:3 we read of the fulfillment of this actual prophecy (“Behold, that great city Zarahemla have I burned with fire, and the inhabitants thereof”; compare 3 Nephi 9:11). Note that similar language appears in 3 Nephi 19:14. The notion of fire being sent from heaven also resonates with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:24).
13:14 the time cometh: Samuel again uses this foreboding phrase in Helaman 13:31. cast out the righteous from among you: This same threat of destruction, which follows a casting out of the righteous, is pronounced on Ammonihah in Alma 10:23. This direct prophecy, however, seems to be explicitly fulfilled in 3 Nephi 9:11. ripe for destruction: The image of being ripe for destruction is nonbiblical, but it appears several times in the Book of Mormon—and frequently in the book of Helaman (Alma 10:19; 37:28, 31; 45:16; Helaman 5:2; 6:40; 8:26; 11:37). wickedness and abominations: This coupling is a classic Book of Mormon phrase, appearing more than thirty times. It appears seven times in Helaman: in the book’s preface; in 6:34, 7:27, and 9:23; and here and the next three verses. in her: In Helaman 13:14–15, both Zarahemla and Gideon are referred to anaphorically in the prepositional phrase “in her,” perhaps suggesting that it or a term for “city” was feminine in the Nephite language. As a comparison, in Hebrew bath means “daughter” but is also used figuratively to mean “daughters of a city,” i.e., smaller towns or villages in the jurisdiction of a larger one. For example, 1 Chronicles 5:16 states, “And they dwelt in Gilead in Bashan, and in her towns,” where “in her towns” (ûbibnōtêhā; compare LXX ἐν ταῗς κώμαις αὐτῶν, lit. “in her country towns”) is based on bath with the meaning “daughter.” Another option would be the Hebrew term qiryah, a feminine noun that means “city” or “town.”
13:15 the city of Gideon: Oliver Cowdery originally penned “this city of Gideon” but then crossed it out and wrote in the (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3082). He was likely influenced by the earlier “this great city of Zarahemla” and, in the previous line, “this great city [Zarahemla].” It seems significant that Gideon is never named again in the text, and hence not at all when other cities are reported as being destroyed according to Samuel’s prophecy. wickedness and abominations which are in her: See the comments on “wickedness and abominations” and also on “in her” at 13:14.
13:16 land round about: The expression “land round about” appears fifteen times in the Book of Mormon. Samuel uses it only once. The earliest occurrence is in Mosiah 7:21, and the latest is in 3 Nephi 16:1, where Christ speaks of the “land round about whither I have been to minister” (i.e., somewhere other than Jerusalem and among the Nephites and Lamanites). In the Book of Mormon it is used to speak of lands (both occupied and possibly not occupied) around major city centers and named lands, such as Zarahemla (Alma 50:9; 57:6), Manti (Alma 59:6), the city of Nephi/
13:17 curse: The notion of a curse being upon the land predates the Nephite civilization. The earliest mention of a cursed land is in Ether 7:23, where during the reign of Shule prophets were sent among the people, who were steeped in wickedness and idolatry, to announce a “curse upon the land” unless they repented. Ether 11:6 further notes the people’s realization that prophecies had foretold “a great curse [that] should come upon the land” and lead to the destruction of their civilization, except they repent. This destruction is recorded in Ether 14:1, when “there began to be a great curse upon all the land because of the iniquity of the people.” The notion of a land that is cursed stands in opposition to the New World being referred to by Book of Mormon prophets as “the land of promise” (1 Nephi 2:20; 5:5; 2 Nephi 1:5–9; Ether 2:9–12), a land that is “consecrated” (2 Nephi 1:7) for the righteous, and “a holy land” (Enos 1:10). Accordingly, the land is polluted and designated as “cursed” expressly because of “iniquity” (Enos 1:10) caused by those who do not keep the commandments of God (Jacob 2:29), who are “not pure of heart” but are “filthy” (Jacob 3:3), who are “workers of darkness” (Alma 37:28), who “do wickedly” (Alma 45:16), and who give place to “the hardness of their hearts” (Mormon 1:17). Likewise, Samuel reveals that the land of the people of Zarahemla will be cursed “because of their wickedness and their abominations” (Helaman 13:17; compare vv. 18–21, 23, 30, 35–36). Lord of Hosts: The expression “Lord of Hosts” (Heb. yhwh ṣǝbā’ôt) is rarely used beyond Isaiah quotations in the Book of Mormon. The primary exception is Jacob 2:28–30, 32–33. In the Hebrew Bible the title appears with great frequency, some 245 times. Hosts (Heb. ṣǝbā’ôt) refers to armies, and the title is generally understood to mean the Lord is positioned at the head of angelic armies or the armies of Israel. The notion of God as the head of an army may have been what inspired Samuel to refer to God in Helaman 13:38 as “our great and Eternal Head.” Note that Samuel uses the title “Lord of Hosts” in verses 18 and 32. their abominations: This expression was originally “their abomination” in the printer’s manuscript but was changed to the plural in the 1830 edition. The earlier form is likely the correct reading (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3084). See also the comment on “wickedness and abominations” at 13:14.
13:18 Lord of Hosts: See the comment on this title at 13:17. our great and true God: This expression is unique in all of scripture. The closest general correlate is Revelation 15:3: “And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints” (emphasis added). hide up treasures: The original manuscript has treasure in the singular, which was changed to plural treasures in the 1837 edition and maintained thereafter (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3087). With that original reading, the variation between singular and plural treasure/
13:19 hide up their treasures unto me: See the comments on “hide up treasures” and “hide it up unto the Lord” at 13:18. and also the treasure: When a curse is pronounced on those who hide up treasures in the earth in Helaman 12:18–21, the curse is similarly applied both to the treasure and to the one hiding it up. redeem: The use of the term redeem in this context is illuminated by the 1828 Webster’s dictionary, where the second meaning of redeem is “to regain possession of a thing alienated, by repaying the value of it to the possessor.” In other words, those who do not hide up their treasures unto the Lord will not be able to repossess their treasure.
13:20 set their hearts upon riches: The formula “set one’s heart on X” appears ten times in the Book of Mormon. In all cases the object is related to riches and vain things of the world (Mosiah 12:29; Alma 1:30; 4:8; 5:53; 7:6; 17:14; 31:24; Helaman 6:17; 7:21; 12:4; 13:20; Ether 8:7). The phase “set your hearts” appears only twice in the KJV Bible. In Deuteronomy 32:46, Moses exhorts the people: “Set your hearts unto all the words which I testify among you this day,” where the verb set corresponds to the Hebrew sûm, which means to “put” in a literal or figurative sense. The object of the verb is lǝbabkem, “your hearts,” but refers also to one’s mind and understanding. The second biblical usage is from 2 Chronicles 11:16, where it states that “all the tribes of Israel such as set their hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel.” A different Hebrew term, nātan, meaning “give, put, set,” is used in this case for set. It is noteworthy that the Book of Mormon uses this as a fully developed, idiosyncratic phrase with specific semantics related to riches and the vain things of the world, distinct from the Bible. The image of setting one’s heart on riches never appears again in the Book of Mormon after the present passage. I will hide up their treasures: Only here in the Book of Mormon does God himself hide up treasures. hide them up unto me: See the comment on “hide it up unto the Lord” at 13:18. and also their treasures: See the comment on “and also the treasure” at 13:19. saith the Lord: See the comment on this phrase at 13:12.
13:21 the people of this great city: Only here in scripture does this appellation appear, although see 3 Nephi 10:4, “O ye people of these great cities.” See also the comment on “great city” at 13:12. riches cursed . . . set your hearts upon them: See the comment on “and also the treasure” at 13:19.
13:22 remember the Lord your God: The formula “remember the Lord thy God” is Deuteronomic (Deuteronomy 8:18; Judges 8:34; 2 Samuel 14:11), and it appears with some frequency in the Book of Mormon—most frequently, incidentally, in the book of Helaman (here and in 11:7, 34; 12:5; 13:33). remember . . . in the things: This peculiar phrasing is unique to this passage. in the things with which he hath blessed you: The original manuscript read “in the things which he hath blessed you.” The preposition with was added in 1920 to make the grammar more palatable (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3092–95). remember your riches: This is the only passage in scripture that speaks of remembering riches. Note, though, that Helaman 13:33 will imagine the people wishing they “had remembered the Lord our God in the day that he gave us our riches.” drawn out: The expression “drawn out unto the Lord” is unique to the Book of Mormon. In the KJV Bible “drawn out” appears only once (Psalm 37:14), but in a completely different context. Amulek (Alma 34:27) provides a key insight into the meaning of the phrase (in the only other passage besides Helaman 13:22 where this figure is used) when he poetically pairs “let your hearts be full” with “drawn out in prayer,” suggesting this is the intended significance in Samuel’s speech. swell: Here hearts are said to “swell with great pride.” The term swell (and others forms of it) appears twelve times in the Book of Mormon in various contexts, such as how the word of God will “swell” in one’s breast (Alma 32:28) or in one’s soul (v. 34) or how one’s heart can “swell” with “thanksgiving” (48:12), “sorrow” (Helaman 7:6), or “joy” (Alma 17:29; 3 Nephi 4:33). boasting: The act of boasting almost always associates negatively with pride in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 11:19; Alma 31:25; 38:11; 39:2; Helaman 12:5). In one case, the act of boasting is reinterpreted in a positive light when Ammon’s joy led him to “boast of my God” (Alma 26:12; compare v. 35). Similarly, David exclaimed, “My soul shall make her [i.e., his mouth] boast in the Lord” (Psalm 34:2), where boast (Heb. hālal) could also be translated as “glory” (compare Psalm 44:8). Note that Paul casts “boasting in God” (καυχᾶσαι ἐν θεῷ) in a less favorable light in Romans 2:17. great swelling: Nowhere else does scripture speak of “great swelling” in this absolute fashion, although 2 Peter 2:18, Jude 1:16, and Alma 30:31 speak of “great swelling words.” A list in 2 Corinthians 12:20 combines envyings and strifes with swellings. envyings . . . all manner of iniquities: Variations of this list appear throughout the Book of Mormon. See 2 Nephi 26:21 (“envyings, and strifes, and malice”), 2 Nephi 26:32 (“that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms”), Alma 1:32 (“envyings and strife; wearing costly apparel; being lifted up in the pride of their own eyes; persecuting, lying, thieving, robbing, committing whoredoms, and murdering”), Alma 4:9 (“envyings, and strife, and malice, and persecutions, and pride”), Alma 16:18 (“lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and malice, and revilings, and stealing, robbing, plundering, murdering, committing adultery, and all manner of lasciviousness”), 3 Nephi 21:19 (“lyings, and deceivings, and envyings, and strifes, and priestcrafts, and whoredoms”), 3 Nephi 30:2 (“of your evil doings, of your lyings and deceivings, and of your whoredoms, and of your secret abominations, and your idolatries, and of your murders, and your priestcrafts, and your envyings, and your strifes”), 4 Nephi 1:16 (“no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness”), and Mormon 8:36 (“unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, and strifes, and malice, and persecutions”). Note also that the phrase “all manner of iniquities” is unique in scripture to the Book of Mormon, where it appears fourteen times. Interestingly, it appears more frequently in the book of Helaman than anywhere else in the volume (7:21; 10:3; 13:22 [here], 24).
13:23 Lord God: This is the only occurrence of this title in all of Samuel’s discourse. The appellation appears 532 times in the Hebrew Bible (אֱלֹהִים יְהֹוָה, Yahweh ’ĕlōhîm) and 109 times in the Book of Mormon. curse: See the comment on this word at 13:17.
13:24 this time which has arrived: Time does not “arrive” elsewhere in the Book of Mormon or in the Bible. cast out the prophets: The idea of casting out the prophets is unique to the Book of Mormon, appearing as early as 1 Nephi 1:20 but then again only in 2 Nephi 26:3 before this point in the text. The casting out of prophets appears here in Helaman 13 not only in this and the following several verses but also in verse 33. Later, in 3 Nephi 7:14, what Samuel anticipates here actually occurs, and then the Lord refers to the same events in 3 Nephi 8:25 and 9:10. The same problem occurs later in the text among the Jaredites (Ether 8:25; 9:29). cast stones: This phrase is not used in connection with prophets elsewhere, although the verb stone is (e.g., Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34; 1 Nephi 1:20; 2 Nephi 26:3; Alma 33:17; 3 Nephi 7:14; 8:25; 9:10; 10:12; Ether 8:25). Note that this also comes up in Helaman 13:33. slay them: Slaying the prophets is somewhat more common in the Bible (1 Kings 18:13; 19:10, 14; Nehemiah 9:26; Lamentations 2:20; Luke 11:49; Revelation 18:24), and it appears in some Book of Mormon passages where prophets are cast out or stoned (1 Nephi 1:20; 2 Nephi 26:3), as well as in other passages (Mosiah 7:26; Helaman 8:19). all manner of iniquity: 111. See the comment on “envyings . . . all manner of iniquities” at 13:22. of old time: This same formula appears in 1 Nephi 1:20 in a similar connection.
13:25 If our days had been in the days: This conditional if-clause is strikingly similar to the one in Helaman 7:8, albeit to rather different effect. our fathers of old: This phrase is unique to this passage in scripture, although see “my father of old” in 2 Nephi 3:22. Note also the use of “of old time” in the verse preceding this one. slain the prophets . . . and cast them out: See the comments on “cast out the prophets,” “cast stones,” and “slay them” at 13:24.
13:26 worse: It is striking that this is only one of two uses of worse in the entire Book of Mormon. The other, unrelated, appears in Alma 24:30. for as the Lord liveth: This common oath appears frequently in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. Samuel uses it twice, the second time in Helaman 15:17. the word of the Lord: Samuel will use this phrase again in Helaman 13:36 as he imagines the future quasi-repentance of the suffering. testifieth of your sins and iniquities: The formula “testify of sins and iniquities” appears in only one other passage in scripture, one that seems to be an allusion to the present text. Third Nephi 6:20 describes prophet figures who go about “preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people”—only to be killed. angry . . . and cast him out: Samuel will claim that his hearers have been “angry” with him and “cast [him] out” in Helaman 14:10. false prophet: This phrase never appears in the Old Testament, although the idea is clearly present in texts like Deuteronomy 13:1–5 and 18:20–22 and throughout Jeremiah. It appears with some frequency in the New Testament and at a few key points in the Book of Mormon (Words of Mormon 1:16; 3 Nephi 14:15; 4 Nephi 1:34). sinner: Although common in the Bible, this word appears only eight times in the Book of Mormon—once in a quotation from the Bible (2 Nephi 23:9) but elsewhere in various contexts (Mosiah 28:4; Alma 34:40; 41:15; 42:1; Moroni 8:8). Only here is someone wrongly accused of being a sinner. of the devil: Things are said to “be of the devil” in just a few passages in the Book of Mormon. Jacob 7:14 has Jacob saying that Sherem is “of the devil,” 3 Nephi 11:29 has Jesus saying that contention is “of the devil,” and Moroni 7:14, 17 has Mormon discussing whether things are “of the devil” or of God.
13:27 Do this . . . do that: Moroni later couples “Do this” with “do that” in a passage reminiscent of this one (Mormon 8:31). None of the language here in Helaman 13:27 echoes Nephi’s, but the same spirit permeates Nephi’s description of wickedness in 2 Nephi 28:7–9.
pride of your eyes: Moroni echoes this language in Mormon 8:36 (“ye do walk in the pride of your hearts”). The phrase “the pride of one’s eyes” is unique to the Book of Mormon, where it appears half a dozen times (here and in 2 Nephi 26:20; Alma 1:32; 4:6, 8; 62:49).
13:28 substance: The term substance is used throughout the Book of Mormon (twenty-eight times), not with the meaning of “money,” as there is no evidence of money (coinage, etc.) in Nephite society, but more generally with the meaning of one’s possessions. Benjamin actually defined precisely what he meant by substance: “I would that ye should impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants” (Mosiah 4:26). This clearly suggests “substance” could be possessions, food, one’s time and effort, and spiritual ministering. Samuel enumerates his understanding of “substance” in part as “give unto him of your gold, and of your silver, and ye will clothe him with costly apparel” (Helaman 13:28). costly apparel: This phrase is unique to the Book of Mormon, appearing first in connection with Nehor and his followers or warnings against Nehorite practices (Alma 1:6, 27, 32; 4:6; 5:53). It then appears in connection with the Zoramite wealthy (Alma 31:28) and with the problems that emerge among the people in 4 Nephi 1:24. flattering words: This phrase appears seven times in the Book of Mormon other than here (Mosiah 11:7; 26:6; Alma 30:47; 46:7, 10; 50:35; 3 Nephi 1:29). unto you, and: The original manuscript read “and because he speaketh flattering words unto you, and he saith that all is well, and then ye will not find fault with him.” The awkward conjunction and at the beginning of the result clause is possibly a relic of a common Hebraic expression where, in if-clauses, and appears at the beginning of the subordinate clause. This was changed in the 1837 edition to make it more palatable English. all is well: Since “all is well” never appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, this is perhaps an allusion to 2 Nephi 28:21, 25.
13:29 O ye wicked and ye perverse generation: The language here approaches that of Jesus in Matthew 17:17 and Luke 9:41 (“O faithless and perverse generation”) but is identical to that in Alma 9:8 and 10:17, 25. hardened and . . . stiffnecked: The coupling of hardened and stiffnecked appears elsewhere only in Alma 20:30. It might be noted that this adjectival use of hardened is relatively rare in scripture, used only unambiguously in the Book of Mormon and then only ten times beyond the present verse (Alma 17:14; 20:30; 21:3; 24:30; 33:20; 34:9; 47:36; 62:41; Helaman 6:2; 16:12). how long . . . suffer you: The phrasing here is somewhat similar to Jesus’s question in Matthew 17:17, Mark 9:19, and Luke 9:41. In the Book of Mormon, similar language appears in Mosiah 8:20 and Alma 31:26, and more or less identical language in Helaman 9:21. blind guides: This phrase was also used by Jesus in the Old World (Matthew 23:16, 24), and he referred to those who are “blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14; compare Luke 6:39). Note that guides and leaders come from the same Greek word, ὁδηγοί (hodēgoi), in these three verses (compare Romans 2:19). The antecedent of the phrase likely goes back to Deuteronomy 27:18: “Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way.” Similar imagery is found in Isaiah 9:16. darkness rather than light: Samuel’s language here echoes Nephi’s in 2 Nephi 26:10: “they yield unto the devil and choose works of darkness rather than light.” Also relevant is John 3:19, according to which “men loved darkness rather than light.”
13:30 Yea, behold: The exhortation “yea, behold” appears only once in the English of the KJV: “Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper?” (Ezekiel 17:10). However, the underlying Hebrew from Ezekiel 17:10 (והְִנּהֵ wǝhinnê) is common in the Hebrew Bible, often being translated as “and behold” (e.g., Genesis 1:31; 6:12; Deuteronomy 9:13; Judges 9:43; Isaiah 29:8; Amos 7:1). Its function in Hebrew is to make a narrative more vivid or graphic. Samuel uses the expression “yea, behold” three times in Helaman 8 (8:8, 19, 27) and again in 12:9, 13:30, and 14:16. The synonymous usage in English, possibly reflecting the Hebrew of “yea, behold” and “and, behold,” might be apparent in Helaman 8:8, where both appear in immediate succession: “Yea, behold, all the judgments will come upon us which he has testified unto us; for we know that he has testified aright unto us concerning our iniquities. And behold they are many, and he knoweth as well all things which shall befall us as he knoweth of our iniquities.” The phrase is used on a limited scale elsewhere in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 25:20; Alma 26:12; 34:32; 44:18; 60:28; Mormon 3:18; 8:23). In some cases in the Book of Mormon, yea and behold occur together but the context suggests they are independent and not being used as a phrasal (compare 1 Nephi 11:35; 2 Nephi 27:1). kindled: Aside from two Isaiah quotations, the term kindled appears only six times in the Book of Mormon, three in reference to kindling fires (2 Nephi 7:11; 3 Nephi 8:21; Mormon 9:5) and three metaphorically describing God’s anger (2 Nephi 15:25; 2 Nephi 26:6; Helaman 13:30). Note that Nephi makes the metaphor more vivid by saying “the fire of the anger of the Lord shall be kindled against them” (2 Nephi 26:6). Nephi’s prophecy has here been shifted from future to present tense by Samuel. cursed the land: See the comment on “curse” at 13:17.
13:31 it: The original manuscript had the singular it instead of the plural they, an emendation in the 1906 Latter-day Saint edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3104–5). becometh: The original manuscript has the singular becometh, which was emended to become in the 1906 Latter-day Saint edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3104–5). slippery: This somewhat enigmatic expression that their riches would become “slippery” is in part explained by Samuel through careful restatements: “slippery, that ye cannot hold them; . . . ye cannot retain them” (13:31), “slippery, that we should lose them” (13:33), and “slippery, and we cannot hold them” (13:36). Mormon confirms Samuel’s prophecy and likewise explains that “they could not hold them, nor retain them again” (Mormon 1:18). Yet there seems to be more going on with the term slippery in this context. Helaman 13:18 states that, for the wicked, “whoso shall hide up treasures in the earth shall find them again no more, because of the great curse of the land.” Note that it is the land that is cursed because the people are burying their treasures in the earth. In addition, it is expressly the unrighteous who, because of their practice of burying riches, are condemned. There are indications in the text that sorcery is involved in these caching rites, which is why they are denounced. Note that in Helaman 13:36, after stating that “all things are become slippery, and we cannot hold them,” the text immediately mentions that “we are surrounded by demons” and “encircled about by the angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls” (v. 37). Further indication of sorcery comes from Mormon’s retelling of these events, when he too says their treasures “became slippery” after hiding them up and then straightway mentions that “there were sorceries, and witchcrafts, and magics; and the power of the evil one was wrought upon all the face of the land” (Mormon 1:18–19; note the deictic focus on “the face of the land,” i.e., the place where the treasures were buried). Mormon then states that all of this was in fulfillment of “the words of Abinadi, and also Samuel the Lamanite” (v. 19).
13:32 the days of your poverty: In the Book of Mormon, the phrase “the days of your poverty” appears only here in verse 32. It never appears in the Bible, but it does appear once in the Doctrine and Covenants (124:30). desolation: Oliver Cowdery originally wrote destruction but right away changed it to desolation (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3107). The term desolation in the first stich of this semantic couplet is paired with destruction in the second. The phraseology and parallelism are Hebraic (compare Proverbs 1:27: “When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind”). Elsewhere in the Book of Mormon desolation almost always appears as Desolation, referring to the land bearing that name. In an Isaiah quotation in 2 Nephi 8:19, the concepts are likewise paired as “thy desolation and destruction.” Similarly, in another Isaiah quotation, in 2 Nephi 20:3, desolation is poetically paired with visitation (see the comment at 13:9 on the use of visit). desolation . . . come upon you: The notion that desolation “comes” is biblical. Apart from the present passage, however, it appears in the Book of Mormon only in quotations from Isaiah (2 Nephi 8:19; 20:3). destruction is made sure: Only Samuel in all of scripture speaks of destruction being “made sure.” He uses this image again in Helaman 13:38. weep and howl: Weeping and howling are coupled in the Old Testament a few times (Isaiah 15:2–3; Joel 1:5) and once in the New Testament where it seems particularly relevant: “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you” (James 5:1). Samuel’s prediction is directly fulfilled in 3 Nephi 8:23 and 10:8. The coupling of weeping and howling appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in Mosiah 16:2. Lord of Hosts: See the comment on this title at 13:17.
13:33 O that I had: This form of lament appears only once in the Bible, but in the second person and in a passage quoted earlier in the Book of Mormon (Isaiah 48:18; 1 Nephi 20:18). It appears here and in Helaman 13:36, and then it appears in the fulfillment of this prediction in 3 Nephi 8:24–25, as well as in Mormon 6:22, where Mormon laments his people’s fall. killed the prophets . . . and cast them out: This triple lament appears later in 3 Nephi 8:25, exactly as predicted. See also the comments on “cast out the prophets,” “cast stones,” and “slay them” at 13:24. remembered the Lord our God: See the comment on “remember the Lord your God” at 13:22. slippery: See the comment on this word at 13:31. riches are gone from us: This phrase is unique to this passage.
13:34 lay: The verb lay was layeth in the original manuscript, which Joseph Smith changed to lay in 1837. tool: The word tool appears only twice in the Book of Mormon, in contexts similar to this one. Samuel illustrates the curse on the land by saying if a tool is left somewhere, it will disappear the following day because the land is cursed. Ether 14:1 likewise refers to the “great curse” on the land that will cause that “if a man should lay his tool or his sword upon his shelf, . . . upon the morrow, he could not find it.” swords are taken from us: Ether 14:1 couples swords with tools as things that disappear in times of slipperiness.
13:35 hid up our treasures: See the comment on “hide up treasures” at 13:18. curse of the land: See the comment on “curse” at 13:17.
13:36 O that we had: See the comment on “O that I had” at 13:33. word of the Lord came unto us: This seems to be a reference back to Helaman 13:26, when “a prophet” is described as coming and declaring “the word of the Lord.” slippery: See the comment on this word at 13:31. cannot hold them: The phrase “cannot hold” appears in Helaman 13:31 alongside the first instance of slippery.
13:37 demons: This is the sole reference to “demons” in the Book of Mormon. Samuel poetically links demons in the first half of this semantic couplet to “angels of him who hath sought to destroy our souls” in the second stich. angels: The devil’s angels are occasionally referred to in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 9:9, 16; Jacob 3:11; Mosiah 26:27; 3 Nephi 9:2; Moroni 7:17). destroy our souls: Nephi describes the devil in Helaman 8:28 as “the evil one who seeketh to destroy the souls of men.” That language of “destroying” souls is, elsewhere, psalmic and without reference to Satan (see Psalms 40:14; 63:9). turn away thine anger: The image of “turning away” anger is common enough. It might be noted, though, that it appears in a significantly proximate context when Nephi petitions the Lord to turn his anger away from the Nephites in Helaman 11:11–12, 16—and succeeds in Helaman 11:17. This language has appeared also in Helaman 13:11 and will appear again in verse 39.
13:38 probation: The use of probation in the Book of Mormon has specific connotations that differ from our current understandings. The term appears nine times, all referencing a period in this life of moral testing and proving (1 Nephi 10:21; 15:31–32; 2 Nephi 2:21, 30; 9:27; 33:9; Helaman 13:38; Mormon 9:28). Alma also refers to this life as “a probationary state” (Alma 42:10). The legalistic usage common today of being “on probation” was unknown in 1830, appearing in the English language only around 1860. The 1828 Webster’s dictionary provides a clear definition of probation: “Moral trial; the state of man in the present life, in which he has the opportunity of proving his character and being qualified for a happier state.” procrastinated: The only other uses of the verb procrastinate in scripture appear in Alma 13:27 and 34:33, 35—in all of which it is “the day of one’s repentance” (rather than of one’s salvation) that is procrastinated. the day of your salvation: The phrase “the day of your salvation” seems to draw on Isaiah 49:8 (quoted in 2 Corinthians 6:2 and 1 Nephi 21:8), which speaks of “a day of salvation.” Such talk appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in Alma 13:21 (“the day of salvation”) and 34:31 (“the day of your salvation”). everlastingly too late: This evocative language is unique to this passage. your destruction is made sure: See the comment on “your destruction is made sure” at 13:32. sought all the days of your lives: This formula is unique to this passage. could not obtain: Samuel’s language here approaches that of James 4:2: “Ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain.” happiness in doing iniquity: Samuel rejects the idea of seeking “happiness in doing iniquity.” Mormon likewise cautions that the Lord will “not always suffer them to take happiness in sin” (Mormon 2:13). In the Book of Mormon, happiness is discussed in two contexts: happiness in this life (1 Nephi 17:21; Mosiah 2:41; Alma 50:23; 4 Nephi 1:16) and in the life to come (1 Nephi 8:10; Alma 46:41; 56:11; Mormon 9:3). contrary to the nature: The language of something being “contrary to nature” appears in Romans 11:24, but much more relevantly in Alma 41:11: “they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness.” This connection suggests that seeking happiness in doing iniquity is a variation on Alma 41:10: “wickedness never was happiness.” great and Eternal Head: The title “great and Eternal Head” to refer to God is unique in all of scripture to Samuel’s discourse. A titular reference to God as “head” appears only in Paul’s metaphor of the church being likened to body parts: “the head of Christ is God” (1 Corinthians 11:3). The closest Hebrew Bible allusion is in 1 Chronicles 29:11, where David proclaims: “Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all” (emphasis added).
13:39 people of the land: There are only four cases of the expression “people of the land” in the Book of Mormon (Alma 30:1; Helaman 13:39; 3 Nephi 10:1, Ether 10:19). anger . . . turned away from you: See the comment on “turn away thine anger” at 13:37.
14:1 it came to pass: Because this chapter is primarily sermonic, a direct quotation of Samuel’s prophecies, this is the only instance of “it came to pass” in the chapter. However, Samuel predicts events and their consequences twice using the phrase “it shall come to pass” (Helaman 14:7–8) and then refers to a predicted event’s occurrence with “should come to pass” (Helaman 14:28). Samuel, the Lamanite: Samuel is first introduced as “Samuel, a Lamanite,” in Mormon’s heading before Helaman 7. He becomes, as here, “Samuel, the Lamanite,” in Mormon’s heading before Helaman 13. When he actually enters the story in Helaman 13:2, he is again “Samuel, a Lamanite,” and he introduces himself in Helaman 13:5 as “Samuel, a Lamanite.” Here, however, he has become “Samuel, the Lamanite,” which will again be the case in Helaman 16:1, after which point he becomes simply “Samuel” in the text (Helaman 16:2, 5–6). prophesy: The verb prophesy appears in the Book of Mormon nearly a hundred times, including a dozen instances in the book of Helaman. This is an activity undertaken by Nephi and Lehi in Helaman 4:14 and by some unnamed prophets in 6:2, but especially by Nephi as a lone figure (7:2; 9:2, 27; 16:4) and by Samuel (Helaman 7 preface; 13:3–4; 14:1, 9; 16:7). The noun prophecy shows up in the book of Helaman another eleven times, never in the present chapter (book of Helaman preface; 3:14; 4:12, 21, 23; 6:14; chapter 7 preface; 8:20; chapter 13 preface; 15:7, 13). a great many more . . . cannot be written: This wording is similar to 1 Nephi 9:1, “and also a great many more things, which cannot be written upon these plates.” These two passages contain the only instances of “a great many more.”
14:2 said: The printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition both read saith rather than said. The change reflected here was made for the 1837 edition and has appeared in every subsequent edition. I give unto you a sign: The only other instance of exactly this phrase in scripture is in 3 Nephi 21:1, where Christ provides a sign of the Book of Mormon’s coming forth (although see also the same formula in the third person in Helaman 2:7 and a slight reworking of it later in 14:14). More common phrasings are “I give you a sign” or “I give unto you X for a sign,” instances of which appear in the Bible and elsewhere in the Book of Mormon (see especially 1 Nephi 11:7; 2 Nephi 17:14; Alma 30:49; 3 Nephi 21:2). The latter formula appears in the very next verse here, in Helaman 14:3. Signs appear often in the Book of Mormon (as well as in the Bible). They are particularly important in Helaman, though, showing up there more frequently than anywhere else in the Book of Mormon (twenty of the volume’s seventy instances of the word sign). Kishkumen’s band uses signs (Helaman 2:7), as does Gadianton’s band after that (6:22). Nephi shows prophetic signs twice (9:24–25). And of course Samuel provides a series of signs in this very chapter, using the word sign in verses 2–6, 12, 14, 20, 28, in addition to instances in 15:3 and 16:4, 13, 23. five years more cometh: Samuel’s designation of the five-year period that must pass before the fulfillment of the sign is unique in scripture. The time period stated here becomes a point of contention in 3 Nephi 1:5–9, although there’s no reference at that point to the specific “five years more” that Samuel designates. the Son of God: The title “the Son of God” is introduced in the Book of Mormon as early as 1 Nephi 10:17, immediately before this figure becomes a focus of Nephi’s extended vision (1 Nephi 11:7, 18, 24). Nephi uses the title just twice more as he introduces other titles for Christ (2 Nephi 25:16, 19). It then appears in the words of the angel quoted by Benjamin, in a passage Samuel reproduces (Mosiah 3:8; Helaman 14:12), before Benjamin’s people also use the title in prayer (Mosiah 4:2). Abinadi uses the title in the course of a theological exposition of its meaning (Mosiah 15:2). Alma then uses the title with great frequency, often associating it with the idea that the Son of God comes, as Samuel indicates here (Alma 5:50; 7:9, 10, 13; 9:26; 13:16; 33:14, 17–18, 22—as used in passages surrounding Alma’s ministry, see Alma 6:8; 11:32, 35, 38; 16:19, 20; 34:2, 5, 7, 14). The sons of Mosiah use this title in Alma 21:7, but then it does not appear again until the book of Helaman. Mormon uses the title in Helaman 3:28, then quotes Helaman using it in 5:12. Nephi uses it in preaching in Helaman 8:14–15, 20. Samuel does not use it before this point in his preaching, but it appears again in Helaman 14:2, 8, 12, the latter verse drawing the term from Benjamin’s quotation of the angel in Mosiah 3:8. After this point the title appears once more in Helaman 16:18, and then just nine more times in the remainder of the Book of Mormon (3 Nephi 1:17; 5:13, 26; 9:15; 20:31; Mormon 7:5; 9:22; Ether 4:7; 12:18). redeem: The verb redeem appears fifteen times in the Book of Mormon. Samuel uses it before this point only in a nonsoteriological sense (Helaman 13:19). He uses it here in Helaman 14:2 and also in verses 16 and 17. He later speaks of the “Redeemer” in 15:13. believe on: The use of the preposition on after the verb believe is biblical, and especially Johannine (John 1:12; 6:29; 7:39; 9:35–36; 11:48; 17:20; 1 John 3:23; 5:13). It is only in the Johannine literature, in fact, that it appears along with the title “the Son of God.” The same coupling of on with to believe occurs some twenty-two times in the Book of Mormon as well, most consistently with “his name.” Helaman 3:28 speaks of those “who will believe on the name of Jesus Christ, who is the Son of God,” and Samuel will speak again in Helaman 14:8 of “whosoever shall believe on the Son of God.” The coupling appears again in Helaman 14:12–13, and in another form in Helaman 16:3. believe on his name: In the Bible the formula “believe on his name” is uniquely Johannine, appearing in John 1:12, 3:18, 1 John 3:23, 5:13, and throughout these passages with some emphasis on the name of “the Son of God.” The same formulation appears some seventeen times in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 25:13–14; Alma 5:48; 11:40; 12:15; 19:13, 36; 22:13; 26:35; 32:22; 34:15; Helaman 3:28; 3 Nephi 9:17; Ether 3:14). In Samuel’s discourse it shows up here in verse 2 and then again in Helaman 14:12–13. It might be noted that the formula appears in connection with the verb redeem in Alma 19:13 and 22:13.
14:3 sign: See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2. at the time of his coming: This exact phrase is unique to the Book of Mormon, where it appears another five times (elsewhere always in connection with the Alma the Younger), always with reference to the coming of Christ (Alma 13:24, 26; 16:16; 39:16–17). More generally, a sign or a set of signs is connected with Christ’s coming in several passages. Mosiah 3:15 describes the Mosaic law as a series of “signs . . . concerning his coming.” Helaman 14:12 again speaks of “the signs of his coming.” In the remainder of the Book of Mormon, the coming of Christ is sometimes equated with the giving of the sign here identified by Samuel (3 Nephi 2:8; Moroni 10:1). Following Matthew 24:3 and 30, in the Doctrine and Covenants “the signs of [Christ’s] coming” becomes a phrase associated with the second coming (39:23; 45:16, 39; 68:11). See the comment on “his coming” at 14:12. great lights: This phrase in the plural is used in the Bible only to describe the sun and the moon (Genesis 1:16; Psalm 136:7), and it appears only here in the Book of Mormon. The phrase “great light” in the singular appears also in Isaiah 9:2 (“the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light”), which is quoted in Matthew 4:16 (and in 2 Nephi 19:2). Paul describes “a great light” shining around him in his conversion account in Acts 22:6 (see similar formulations in Acts 9:3; 26:13). The only other instance of “great light” in the Book of Mormon occurs in Alma 45:12, where it is metaphorical (and signifies knowledge or understanding). It might be noted that the Book of Abraham, in addition to using “great lights” to refer to the sun and the moon (Abraham 4:16; Moses 2:16), speaks of the “Kokaubeam,” or the stars, as “all the great lights, which were in the firmament of heaven” (Abraham 3:13; compare Genesis 1:14–15). The only other passage approaching this one in tone is Ezekiel 32:8, which speaks of “all the bright lights of heaven” but then predicts that these will be made dark. the night before he cometh: The phrase “the night before he cometh” is unique to this passage, and nothing similar to it appears elsewhere except in the next verse, “the night before he is born.” no darkness: This phrase is surprisingly uncommon. It appears in Job 34:22 in an unrelated text and then in 1 John 1:5 in a potentially relevant text (“God is light, and in him is no darkness at all”). It appears in this passage and then in three lines that mark the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophecy (3 Nephi 1:15, 19). appear unto man as if: The phrase “appear unto man as if” is unique to this passage, although Helaman 12:15 says that God can make things so that “it appeareth unto man that the sun standeth still.”
14:4 one day and a night, and a day: Samuel’s formulation here is unique to this passage (but see “one day and a night” in Mosiah 9:18). Only slightly distinct is the reference to this same predicted sign in 3 Nephi 1:8, which speaks of “that day and that night and that day.” Later in this same verse (Helaman 14:4), however, the formulation is replaced with “two days and a night,” and the fulfillment of this prophecy is described with other formulas in 3 Nephi 1:15, 19 that are more reminiscent of Helaman 14:3’s “no darkness” (“at the going down of the sun there was no darkness”; “there was no darkness when the night came”; “there was no darkness in all that night, but it was as light as though it was midday”). as if it were one day: This phrase is unique to this passage, but “as one day” appears in a later description of this same predicted sign (3 Nephi 1:8: “that day and that night and that day which should be as one day”—note that the same clause continues with “as if there were no night,” further echoing the present verse). It also appears in 2 Peter 3:8 (“a thousand years as one day”) and in Alma 40:8 (“all is as one day with God”). These latter connections suggest a kind of divine temporality at work in the sign. as if . . . there were no night: The phrase “as if there were no night” appears in a further description of this sign in 3 Nephi 1:8. (When the fulfillment of the sign occurs, “no darkness” is preferred; see 3 Nephi 1:15, 19.) Beyond these two passages, the phrase “no night” appears only in Revelation 21:25 and 22:5, where the heavenly city is described as having “no night there.” sign: See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2. know: Samuel speaks often of knowledge in this chapter. See not only later in this verse but also in verses 11–12, 19, 21, 31. Knowledge comes up also in Helaman 15:7–9 and 16:4–5, 16, 20. the rising of the sun: The fulfillment of this sign in 3 Nephi 1 reports on the rising of the sun (“and it came to pass that the sun did rise in the morning again, according to its proper order,” v. 19), but there’s no reference there to the people specifically knowing this. Instead, “they knew that it was the day that the Lord should be born, because of the sign which had been given.” As for the phrase “the rising of the sun,” it appears only here in the Book of Mormon, but it appears nine times in the Bible, where it usually (but not always) designates the geographical direction of the east (Numbers 2:3; Joshua 12:1; Psalms 50:1; 113:3; Isaiah 41:25; 45:6; 59:19; Malachi 1:11; Mark 16:2). setting: In the printer’s manuscript, setting is spelled sitting, allowing for the possibility that the verb intended is to sit, rather than to set. This is the Book of Mormon’s only reference to the setting of the sun in such terms. The Bible uses the verb set for the setting of the sun only three times (Genesis 28:11; Mark 1:32; Luke 4:40), usually employing the language of the sun’s “going down” (e.g., Genesis 15:12, 17; Psalm 113:3). The Book of Mormon also seems to prefer such language, twice elsewhere speaking of the sun’s going down. That phrasing is in fact used in the fulfillment of this predicted sign (3 Nephi 1:15), as well as in another passage (Ether 12:3). There’s a deep interest in the movement of the sun in Helaman 12:15. know of a surety: The phrase “know of a surety” is biblical, although it appears in the Bible just twice (Genesis 15:13; Acts 12:11). It shows up in the Book of Mormon some ten times in addition to the present passage (1 Nephi 5:8; 17:55; 2 Nephi 25:7; Mosiah 7:14; 24:14; Alma 32:17; Helaman 9:2; 3 Nephi 11:15; Ether 5:3). In all these cases, knowing of a surety results from some form of witnessing a sign or a prediction’s fulfillment. “Know of their surety” shows up another six times in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 1:6; 5:2; 17:9; Alma 5:45; 30:15; 32:26). Significantly, this slightly distinct phrase does not appear in contexts of witnessed signs or fulfilled predictions, but in cases of direct evidential encounter in straightforward contexts or in cases of spiritual witness through one’s own experience. See the comment on “know” earlier in this verse. two days and a night: The phrase “two days and a night” is unique to this passage, although “two days and two nights” appears in the Book of Mormon (never in the Bible) some four times (Mosiah 27:23; Alma 18:43; 19:1, 5). the night shall not be darkened: This peculiar phrasing is unique to this passage, and nothing like it (such as a description of the night actually being darkened) appears elsewhere in scripture. The verb darken appears only twenty-one times in the Bible and just six times in the Book of Mormon—three times in passages from Isaiah (see, in addition to the present verse, 2 Nephi 15:30; 19:19; 23:10; Mosiah 16:9; Helaman 14:20). When the word appears later in this same chapter, it is “the sun” that is darkened rather than the night. the night before he is born: See the comment on “the night before he cometh” at 14:3. See also, however, 3 Nephi 1:13–14.
14:5 be: The word be, which is clearly present in the printer’s manuscript, was removed by the 1830 typesetter and was likewise absent in the 1837 edition. It was restored to the text in the 1840 edition, but because that edition has been largely uninfluential in the history of the Book of Mormon’s printing, be has not appeared in most editions. new star: This phrase appears in scripture only here and in 3 Nephi 1:21, when this sign is fulfilled. Of course, in Matthew 2:7 a star is said to have “appeared” at some specific “time” in connection with the Messiah’s birth. Stars are seldom mentioned in the Book of Mormon, appearing just seven times. In addition to the present passage and the fulfillment of the sign, see 1 Nephi 1:10, 2 Nephi 23:10, 24:13, Helaman 14:20, and 3 Nephi 8:22 (note that the last two passages are the prediction of another sign regarding the Messiah, as well as its fulfillment). arise: The only other time the verb arise is connected to a star in the scriptures occurs in 2 Peter 1:19, which promises that “the day star” (Gk. φωσφόρος [phōsphóros], meaning “light bringing,” “Venus,” and metaphorically “Christ”) will arise in the hearts of believers. such an one as: This phrase appears four times elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, always with the word never after it (Alma 28:2; 3 Nephi 8:5; Ether 11:6–7). Usage of the phrase in the Bible (where it appears four times) is distinct, never using the word never after the phrase (Genesis 41:38; Psalms 50:21; 68:21; Philemon 1:9). sign: See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2.
14:6 this is not all: This phrase never appears in the Bible, but it appears in the Book of Mormon with some frequency (Jacob 7:12; Mosiah 15:18; Alma 5:45; 9:12; 17:3; 18:39; 32:23; 33:18; 34:26; 36:30; 39:3; 44:6; 48:23; 53:20; 60:9; Helaman 5:3; 8:21). Interestingly, when the verb is the present tense is, this Book of Mormon formula appears almost exclusively in sermons, perhaps reflecting a rhetorical style among the Nephites. many signs: This phrase sometimes occurs with “and wonders” (as in Acts 5:12; Mosiah 3:15) and sometimes without (as in 3 Nephi 5:2; 8:4). See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2. signs and wonders: The phrase “signs and wonders” is drawn from the Hebrew Bible, where it is often associated with the plagues in Egypt, but always in retrospection (Deuteronomy 6:22; Nehemiah 9:10; Isaiah 20:3; Jeremiah 32:20; Daniel 4:2; 6:27). Christ also speaks apocalyptically of “signs and wonders” (Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22), and also in one other context (John 4:48). Acts occasionally uses the phrase to describe the works of the apostles (4:30; 5:12; 14:3), and it also appears occasionally in the epistolary literature (Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4). It appears at various places in the Book of Mormon as well (1 Nephi 19:13; 2 Nephi 26:13; Mosiah 3:15), but especially in connection with Samuel and the fulfillment of the signs he provides (see, in addition to the present passage, Helaman 15:3; 16:4; 3 Nephi 1:22; 2:1). Slight variations appear in another seven passages in the Book of Mormon, again with the same tendency toward Samuel and the fulfillment of the signs he provides (2 Nephi 18:18; Alma 37:27; Helaman 14:28; 16:13, 23; 3 Nephi 1:22; 2:3). signs and wonders in heaven: This phrase appears in Daniel 6:27 (where “and in earth” is added, however). Acts 2:19 speaks of “wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath.” Jesus speaks of “the sign of the Son of man in heaven” in Matthew 24:30, and John says he saw “another sign in heaven” in Revelation 15:1. This passage marks the only occurrence of such talk in the Book of Mormon.
14:7 shall [first instance]: The word all follows shall in the printer’s manuscript, in the 1830 and 1837 editions, and in most other editions. The word all was eliminated in the 1840 edition and a few other editions based on it, but most printed editions up to the present have included the word (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3115). amazed: The word amaze in its various forms appears just six times in the Book of Mormon (here and in 2 Nephi 23:8; Mosiah 13:8; 25:7; Alma 36:11; Helaman 5:25). It is not a common word in Nephite scripture, but it always occurs in similar contexts, situations where the divine overwhelms. The word is coupled with wonder three times in the Bible (Mark 6:51; Luke 9:43; Acts 3:10), and likewise three times in the Book of Mormon (here and in Mosiah 13:8; 25:7). wonder: This is the only instance of wonder in Samuel’s sermon (and its environs) where the word is not coupled with signs. See the comments on “many signs” and “signs and wonders” at 14:6. fall to the earth: This phrase appears a handful of times in the Bible (six times in the Hebrew Bible and just twice in the New Testament), but it then appears some thirty-two times in the Book of Mormon. When human beings fall to the earth in the Book of Mormon, it is most often because of some kind of overwhelming emotion. Within the book of Helaman, though, the chief judge falls to the earth in death before the five witnesses fall to the earth in astonishment (Helaman 9:3–5, 7, 14). The fulfillment of Samuel’s prediction here comes in 3 Nephi 1:16–17.
14:8 whosoever shall believe: This formula appears in two other places in the Book of Mormon, most relevantly in Helaman 14:29 (as “whosover will believe”). believe on: See the comment on this phrase at 14:2. the Son of God: See the comment on this phrase at 14:2. everlasting life: This phrase appears only eleven times in the Bible—once in the Hebrew Bible (Daniel 12:2) and then ten times in the New Testament (where it is principally Johannine: Matthew 19:29; John 3:16, 36; 4:14; 5:24; 6:27, 40, 47; Acts 13:46; Romans 6:22). In the Book of Mormon it appears only six times in addition to the present verse. It does not appear until Alma 19:6, but then it appears twice in Alma’s words to the Zoramites (Alma 32:41; 33:23) and in a key passage in Helaman 12:26. Beyond Helaman, it appears only in 3 Nephi 5:13 and 26:5 (the latter a passage closely related to Helaman 12:26). The slightly different “life everlasting” appears another four times in the New Testament, never in John. It does appear once, though, in a passage with “believe on” (1 Timothy 1:16).
14:9 thus hath the Lord commanded me: This line is unique to the Book of Mormon, where it appears in a few different formulations. The exact language appears in 2 Nephi 33:15 and Mosiah 3:27 and 12:1. Slight variations appear in Mosiah 11:20, 25; 18:22. Jesus uses the variations “thus hath the Father commanded me” (3 Nephi 16:16) and “thus commandeth the Father” (v. 10). his angel: Only here in scripture is it said that God commands by his angel. Samuel has spoken of this angel before, in Helaman 13:7, and he will again speak of this angel in Helaman 14:26, 28. Plural angels occurs in and around Samuel’s sermon in Helaman 13:37 (where it is used synonymously with demons) and 16:14. come and tell: The coupling of come and tell appears elsewhere only in Alma 50:31, where it concerns the report of Morianton’s maidservant regarding her having been abused. tell this thing: The verb tell occurs numerous times with the plural “these things” (e.g., 1 Nephi 16:38; Jacob 4:12; Mosiah 2:17; 10:19; 20:19; Alma 54:7; 3 Nephi 26:1) but only here with “this thing.” commanded that I should prophesy: Only in two closely related passages in the Hebrew Bible is anyone said to be commanded to prophesy (Ezekiel 37:7, 10), although in one other passage the command is to “prophesy not” (Amos 2:12). In the Book of Mormon, three passages in addition to the present one find someone commanded to prophesy, specifically Abinadi (Mosiah 12:1), Alma (Alma 8:25), and Nephi (Helaman 9:2). these things: One Bible passage has someone prophesying “these things” (Jeremiah 20:1), and only one other passage in the Book of Mormon uses such language (1 Nephi 22:5). cry unto this people: Alma receives exactly this command according to Alma 7:9, and Mormon reports having the same experience in Mormon 3:2. The record in Helaman 13:4 says simply that Samuel “cried with a loud voice,” with no mention of a command to do so as here in 14:9. repent and prepare: Repent and prepare are coupled in a clear fashion in a similar command in Alma 7:9, Mormon 3:22, and Ether 9:28. prepare the way of the Lord: This command is the language of Isaiah 40:3, quoted in Matthew 3:3, Mark 1:3, and Luke 3:4. The same language appears also in 1 Nephi 10:7–8, Alma 7:9, 9:28, and Ether 9:28. The image of preparing the way, without any direct reference to the way being “of the Lord,” is itself not uncommon. In the Bible it appears in Isaiah 57:14, 62:10, Malachi 3:1, Matthew 11:10, Mark 1:2, Luke 1:76, 7:27, and Revelation 16:12. In the Book of Mormon it appears in 1 Nephi 10:18, 11:27, 14:17, 17:13, 2 Nephi 2:4, Jacob 5:61 and 64, Alma 37:46, 41:8, 3 Nephi 21:27–28, 24:1, and Moroni 7:31–32. Vaguer uses of preparing a way appear also in the Book of Mormon, but only in Nephi’s writings and in the book of Ether (1 Nephi 3:7; 9:6; 17:41; 22:20; 2 Nephi 9:10; Ether 12:8, 11; 14:25).
14:10 I am a Lamanite: This phrase appears also in Alma 55:8, and “I am a bold Lamanite” appears in Alma 54:24. have: The printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition both read hath rather than have. The change reflected here was made for the 1837 edition and has appeared in every subsequent edition. the words which the Lord hath commanded me: Samuel’s phrasing here echoes Jeremiah 26:2, “all the words that I command thee to speak unto them” (see Jeremiah 29:23 for a negative version of the same). It also echoes other passages in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 3:23; 3 Nephi 17:2; 30:1). hard against: This phrase appears elsewhere only in Nephi’s writings, where it consistently concerns speaking (1 Nephi 16:2–3; 2 Nephi 9:40). angry: Mention of anger appears often in scripture. Its uses in Samuel’s sermon, however, deserve notice. Samuel not only refers with some frequency to the anger of the Lord (Helaman 13:10–11, 30, 37, 39), but he also refers to the anger the people have against prophets (13:26). The narrator will refer to the people’s anger at Samuel in 16:2. See the comment on “fierce anger” at 13:10. seek to destroy: The phrase “seek to destroy” appears with startling frequency in the Book of Mormon, and about a third of its appearances are in the book of Helaman (1:8; 2:5; 5:29, 32; 8:10, 28; 9:24–25; 11:18; 13:26, 37; 14:10). cast me out: Scripture frequently refers to “casting out,” but its uses in Samuel’s sermon are instructive. Samuel is in fact himself cast out (as he says here) in Helaman 13:2, and he speaks of casting out the righteous in 13:14 and then of casting out the prophets in 13:24–26, 33.
14:11 ye shall hear my words: Samuel’s phrasing here is unique. for this intent: This phrase is unique to the Book of Mormon. Before this point, it appears only in Jacob 4:4–5, but Samuel will use it again in Helaman 15:4, and then it will appear in Mormon 5:14 and Moroni 8:6. have I: The phrase “I have” appeared in the printer’s manuscript and in the 1830 and 1837 editions. The current ordering “have I,” rather than “I have,” was introduced into the text with the 1840 edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3116). walls: Samuel uses the plural walls, as will the narrator in Helaman 16:1, but the first reference to his assuming this position speaks simply of “the wall” of the city (13:4). See the comment on “wall” at 13:4. this city: This is the only time Samuel refers to Zarahemla as “this city,” and in fact “this city” is strikingly rare in the Book of Mormon (elsewhere only in Alma 53:5) despite its appearing with some frequency in the Hebrew Bible. hear and know: This coupling of hear and know appears a few other times in the Book of Mormon. The most obviously relevant passages come from Benjamin’s sermon, in Mosiah 5:12 and 6:3. The same coupling appears, though, in Jacob 7:6 and also, along with see, in 1 Nephi 10:17. It might derive from Isaiah in 1 Nephi 20:8. See the comment on “know” at 14:4. know of the judgments of God: “Knowing” God’s judgments is a Hebrew Bible idea, as in Psalm 147:20 and Jeremiah 5:4–5 and 8:7 (also Romans 1:32). It also appears in the Book of Mormon, although only in three other passages: 2 Nephi 25:3, Helaman 8:12, and Mormon 5:2. judgments: The Bible never uses the plural judgments in the phrase “judgments of God,” using only the singular and only in Pauline texts (Romans 1:32; 2:2–3, 5; 2 Thessalonians 1:5). In the Book of Mormon the plural formulation appears in 1 Nephi 18:15; 2 Nephi 25:3, 6; Mosiah 17:11; 29:12, 27; Alma 4:3; 37:30; 58:9; 60:14; Helaman 4:23; and Mormon 4:5. Particularly interesting among these is Helaman 4:23, where “the judgments of God” stare the Nephites in the face—preparatory to Samuel’s making the Nephites to know those judgments. The singular formula, “judgment of God,” appears in 2 Nephi 9:15 and 3 Nephi 12:21. do: The printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition both read doth rather than do. The change reflected here was made for the 1837 edition and has appeared in every subsequent edition. await: This is the only place in scripture where judgments “await,” although elsewhere in the Book of Mormon it is something like judgment that usually awaits someone. In Alma 5:7, Helaman 9:22, and 13:6 it is destruction that awaits people—with one of these passages appearing within Samuel’s own sermon. In Alma 54:7 it is hell that awaits someone, in 3 Nephi 3:3 it is the command to destroy that people await, and in Mormon 6:7 it is an army bringing death that people await. The word await appears only once in the Bible (where it might be better rendered “wait”; see Acts 9:24). iniquities: The word iniquity or iniquities appears frequently in the Book of Mormon, and even some thirty-seven times in the book of Helaman alone. Samuel uses it with some frequency (13:22–24, 26–27, 30, 37–38; 14:30; 15:3–4, 10). See Helaman 16:12, 22. know: See the comment on this word at 14:4. conditions of repentance: This phrase is a Book of Mormon trope. In addition to the present verse, it appears in Alma 17:15, 42:13, and Helaman 5:11, with “condition of repentance” in 14:18 (the singular condition comes from the 1830 typesetter, but the printer’s manuscript had the plural). More broadly, the word conditions appears another nine times in the Book of Mormon. There are “conditions whereby man can be saved” in Mosiah 4:8 and Alma 5:10, conditions established for peace after war in Mosiah 19:15 and Alma 44:11, conditions for granting land to refugees in Alma 27:24, conditions for exchanging prisoners in Alma 54:11, and simply conditions in the sense of circumstances in Helaman 16:11.
14:12 know: See the comment on this word at 14:4. coming: The word coming is associated with Jesus Christ first in the New Testament, where it appears some eleven times—sometimes with the title “the Son of man” (Matthew 24:27, 37, 39), sometimes with the title “our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:1), sometimes with the title “the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:15; James 5:7–8), and once with the title “the Just One” (Acts 7:52). It is used also in the Book of Mormon, where it appears thirty-six times. In the Book of Mormon it is most often used with the title “Christ” (2 Nephi 11:4; Words of Mormon 1:2, 4; Mosiah 7:26; 26:2; Alma 18:39; 21:9; 25:15; 30:6; 34:2, 37; 39:15; 40:2; book of Helaman preface; 8:22; 3 Nephi 2:8; 3:1; 10:15; 4 Nephi 1:21, 48; Mormon 3:4; Moroni 7:22, 25; 10:1). It is sometimes used also with the title “Messiah” (1 Nephi 1:19; 2 Nephi 6:13; Mosiah 13:33; Helaman 8:13), sometimes with “the Lord” or “our Lord” or “our Lord and Savior” (Mosiah 4:30; 15:11; Mormon 8:6), once with “the Son of God” (Alma 16:19), and once with “one Jesus Christ, a Son of God” (Alma 36:17). Only here in the present passage is such a complex title the focus of “the coming” of Christ. Jesus Christ: The name “Jesus Christ” is introduced into the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 25:19 (but see the analysis of 1 Nephi 12:18 in Skousen, Analysis, 1:258–59), and it appears often. It appears in Helaman only four times, however, in 3:28, 5:9, and 13:6 (the last by Samuel, where he speaks of “the Lord Jesus Christ”). See the comment on “Lord Jesus Christ” at 13:6. the Son of God: See the comment on this phrase at 14:2. the Father of heaven and of earth: This phrase appears in 2 Nephi 25:12, Mosiah 15:4, Alma 11:39, and Helaman 16:18. The same, without the second of, appears in Mosiah 3:8. There is much talk of Jesus Christ as the Father in the Book of Mormon, often as the center of controversy (Mosiah 15:2–7; 16:15; Alma 11:38–39; Helaman 16:18). Samuel here uses the title without much fanfare or theological reflection on its possible controversial status, but it is alluded to critically in Helaman 16:18. the Creator of all things from the beginning: This title is unique to this passage and Mosiah 3:8. The whole fourfold title provided here is drawn directly from Mosiah 3:8, where the angel who visits King Benjamin announces “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning.” That Samuel is supposed to be drawing on the words of the angel to Benjamin here is clear. know: See the comment on this word at 14:4. signs: See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2. his coming: This phrase, with reference to Christ’s coming, appears in the Book of Mormon seventeen times (Jacob 4:4; Mosiah 3:15; Alma 13:24–26; 16:16; 25:15; 39:16–17, 19; Helaman 8:17–18; 14:3; 3 Nephi 24:2; 29:2), and “my coming” with the same meaning occurs once (3 Nephi 9:16). See the comment on “coming” earlier in this verse. to the intent: The phrase “to the intent” is biblical, appearing eight times (2 Samuel 17:14; 2 Kings 10:19; 2 Chronicles 16:1; Ezekiel 40:4; Daniel 4:17; John 11:15; 1 Corinthians 10:6; Ephesians 3:10—in only John 11:15 does the phrase appear alongside “that ye might believe”). It is also common eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English, especially in legal contexts. In the Book of Mormon, with one exception (3 Nephi 26:8), the phrase is used only by Samuel or in reference to the signs he predicts. It also appears in 14:28–29, 16:5, and 3 Nephi 1:22. believe on his name: See the comment on this phrase at 14:2.
14:13 believe on his name: See, again, the comment on “believe on his name” at 14:2. repent of all your sins: Although scripture often speaks of repenting of one’s sins, it seldom speaks of repenting of all one’s sins. Such a formula never appears in the Bible. It appears six times in the Book of Mormon beyond the present text (Alma 22:16; 24:11; 3 Nephi 3:25; 27:19; Mormon 7:5; Moroni 6:2). a: The word a does not appear in the printer’s manuscript, suggesting it was added by the 1830 typesetter. It has appeared in every printed edition of the Book of Mormon. It is possible that it was present in the original manuscript but accidentally omitted in copying the printer’s manuscript, but the original manuscript is not extant for this portion of the text (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3116–17). remission: The notion of sins being remitted is biblical, showing up a dozen times in the New Testament. It also appears frequently in the Book of Mormon, some twenty-eight times. This is, however, the only passage in the book of Helaman where the notion appears. merits: Only here in all of scripture is remission of sins connected explicitly with Christ’s merits. The word merits never appears in the Bible, and it appears in the Book of Mormon in only six passages besides this one (2 Nephi 2:8; 31:19; Mosiah 2:19; Alma 22:14; 24:10; Moroni 6:4). It should be noted how many of these passages also mention repenting of all of one’s sins (Alma 22:16; 24:11; Moroni 6:2).
14:14 behold, again: The use of again immediately after the word behold is strikingly rare in scripture, appearing only in the Book of Mormon, and then only in two other passages, 2 Nephi 32:5 and Alma 40:16. In each of these other passages, it seems to be the start of a longer phrase: “again I say unto you” and “again it hath been spoken,” respectively. This suggests that perhaps the again in the present passage should be read as the first word of the isolable clause “again another sign I give unto you.” The slight awkwardness of that clause, however, suggests the possibility that again stands on its own, absolute, something like the Book of Mormon’s much more frequent marker of transition “and again.” another sign: This phrase is relatively unique in scripture, appearing only in Revelation 15:1 and three times in the book of Helaman. It appears here and in Helaman 14:20, where the report of this sign is resumed, and then also in Helaman 9:25. The latter connection seems particularly significant since Nephi and Samuel are obviously parallel figures in Helaman and each gives a sequence of two signs, each marking the transition from the one to the other with the phrase “another sign.” sign: See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2. sign of his death: Several passages apart from Helaman 14:14 and 14:20 here refer to the sign of Christ’s death, all in the Book of Mormon. Third Nephi 11:2 has the inhabitants of Bountiful “conversing about this Jesus Christ, of whom the sign had been given concerning his death.” This seems to be a direct reference to Samuel’s sign-giving. The only other passages that refer to this are from Nephi’s record. In 1 Nephi 19:10, Nephi refers to “the words of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel.” And in 2 Nephi 26:3, Nephi predicts that “after the Messiah shall come there shall be signs given unto my people of his birth, and also of his death and resurrection.” See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2.
14:15 surely must: The phrase “surely must” appears only once elsewhere in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 22:19). It does not appear in the Bible. surely must die: The coupling of surely and die is frequent in the Hebrew Bible, where the phrase “surely die” appears twenty-two times. In addition to the famous instances in the story of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:17; 3:4), it seems to be used as a strong threat (Genesis 20:7; Numbers 26:65; 1 Samuel 14:39, 44; 20:31; 22:16; 2 Samuel 12:5, 14; 1 Kings 2:37, 42; 2 Kings 1:4, 6, 16; 8:10; Jeremiah 26:8; Ezekiel 3:18; 18:13; 33:8, 14). It also occurs in predictions of despair (Judges 13:22). In the Book of Mormon it appears once elsewhere, and with direct reference to the Garden of Eden (Alma 12:23). In the remainder of uniquely Latter-day Saint scripture, it appears only in passages connected to the story of the Garden of Eden (Moses 3:17; 4:10, 17, 25; Abraham 5:13) or, in one case, to a threat of death (Moses 5:29). All of this data strongly suggests a deliberate (but somewhat distant) allusion to the Eden story and its wording. salvation: With one exception (Helaman 5:11), all references to the noun salvation in Helaman are in Samuel’s sermon (here and in 13:38; 15:4). As for the verb save, it shows up once in the same exceptional passage (5:9), in Mormon’s long aside in chapter 12 (vv. 22–23, 25), and in Samuel’s sermon (13:6, 12, 39; 14:29). Must die that . . . may: The formula “must X that Z may . . .” appears throughout scripture, though not frequently (Exodus 10:25; 1 Corinthians 11:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 3 Nephi 18:27; Ether 3:2). salvation may come: Salvation frequently “comes” in scripture—six times in the Hebrew Bible, though only in the Psalms and in the latter portion of Isaiah (Psalms 14:7; 53:6; 62:1; 119:41; Isaiah 56:1; 62:11), three times in the New Testament (Luke 19:9; Romans 11:11; Revelation 12:10), and seventeen times in the Book of Mormon. In the latter it shows up only in the books of Mosiah, Alma, Helaman, and 3 Nephi, apparently according to a tradition begun by Abinadi and the angel who visits Benjamin (Mosiah 3:12, 17–18; 4:6, 8; 5:8; 12:31–32; 13:27–28; 15:27), but then continuing in the pre-Christian Nephite church (here and in Alma 11:40; 25:16; 39:16; Helaman 15:4). It shows up only once after the coming of Christ, in the language of Mormon in 3 Nephi 28:35. behooveth: The word behoove appears nine times in scripture. It appears in Luke 24:46 (“and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead”) and in Hebrews 2:17 (“it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren”). In the Book of Mormon it appears in 2 Nephi 9:5 (“it behooveth the great Creator that he suffereth himself to . . . die for all men”), in 2 Nephi 10:3 (“it must needs be expedient that Christ . . . should come among the Jews . . . ; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God”), and in 3 Nephi 21:6 (“for thus it behooveth the Father that [the Book of Mormon] should come forth from the Gentiles”). It appears in the Doctrine and Covenants three times (“it behooveth me”), always in the voice of the Lord (21:10; 61:9; 124:49). In every case the word takes God as its direct object and in many cases is connected to mortality on the part of God. becometh expedient: In scripture it is only in the Book of Mormon that anything “becometh expedient,” and all eleven other instances of the phrase have to do with changing historical circumstances and how they create necessity (Mosiah 26:6; Alma 45:21; 57:11, 15; 58:3; 62:10, 44; 63:11; 3 Nephi 2:11; 5:14). The word expedient is tied to the verb die only in John 11:50 and 18:14 (both claim that “it is expedient . . . that one man should die for the people”). expedient that he dieth: Very few instances of “expedient that X” are followed by an indicative verb; usually the auxiliary verb should appears with the subjunctive. Possible exceptions are 2 Nephi 9:48 (“it must needs be expedient that I teach you”), Alma 60:24 (“it will be expedient that we contend no more”), and Doctrine and Covenants 84:77 (“it is expedient that I give unto you this commandment”). These are only possible exceptions, however. The auxiliary should is lacking, but there is no difference between subjunctive and indicative forms, where “expedient that he dieth” has a clearly indicative verb. bring to pass: The formula “bring to pass” appears only four times in the Bible (Genesis 50:20; Isaiah 28:21; Ezekiel 21:7; 1 Corinthians 15:54) but twenty-six times in the Book of Mormon. All three instances of the formula in Helaman come within just a few verses—once in the present verse, once in Helaman 14:16, and once in Helaman 14:18. The formula often appears in the Book of Mormon in connection with the Resurrection—as in 2 Nephi 2:8, Mosiah 13:35, 15:20, 18:2, Alma 12:25, 33:22, 40:3, 42:23, Mormon 7:6, and 9:13. Two of these passages directly claim, as Samuel does here, that the Resurrection is brought to pass by Christ’s death (Mosiah 18:2; Mormon 9:13), and one says that the Holy Messiah dies “that he may bring to pass the resurrection of the dead” (2 Nephi 2:8). the resurrection of the dead: This whole formula appears twenty-three times in ancient scripture—six times in the New Testament (Matthew 22:31; Acts 17:32; 24:21; 1 Corinthians 15:21, 42; Philippians 3:11) and seventeen times in the Book of Mormon (here and in 2 Nephi 2:8; Mosiah 13:35; 15:20; 18:2; 26:2; Alma 4:14; 12:8, 24–25; 16:19; 21:9; 40:1, 3, 23; Mormon 7:6). This is the only occurrence of the formula in Helaman, although the word resurrection appears also in Helaman 14:16–17 (the verb resurrect never appears in Helaman). brought into the presence: The coupling of brought and presence (with reference to God’s presence) appears five other times in the Book of Mormon (Alma 36:15; 42:23; Helaman 14:17; Mormon 9:13; Ether 3:13). the presence of the Lord: This exact phrase occurs with some frequency in scripture. It appears, however, just four times in Helaman: in Mormon’s long aside (Helaman 12:25), in the present passage, and in 14:16, 17). In 10:6, however, God declares something “in the presence of mine angels,” and in 12:21 he speaks of those who are “cut off from my presence.”
14:16 this death: It is not often that scripture makes death into a noun that can be pointed to deictically with the word this. In the Book of Mormon’s other instances of this example (2 Nephi 9:11–12, 15; Alma 11:42; 42:8–9), the gesture isolates kinds of deaths (spiritual and temporal) rather than instances of death, as here. This is true even later in this same passage, where Helaman 14:19 refers to “this second death.” There is, though, a deictic reference to instances of death in the plural in 3 Nephi 10:14 (“these deaths”). bringeth to pass: See the comment on “bring to pass” at 14:15. resurrection: See the comment on “the resurrection of the dead” at 14:15. redeemeth: See the comment on “redeem” at 14:2. redeemeth all mankind: This exact phrase is unique to this passage and Alma 19:13, although “all mankind” (and similar variants) appears in connection with the verb redeem or the noun redemption with some frequency in the Book of Mormon. The phrase “all mankind” shows up in the Book of Mormon twenty times, and it—with one possible exception in Alma 24:11—always appears in contexts where either the Fall or the Atonement is at issue. It should be noted that the phrase appears three times in the present passage, once more in this verse, and then once also in Helaman 14:17. first death: The phrase “first death” appears also in 2 Nephi 9:15 and Alma 11:45, both having reference to temporal death. A more oblique reference with the same meaning shows up at the end of Alma 12:36. The use of “first death” in Doctrine and Covenants 29:41 seems to approach Samuel’s meaning. spiritual death: This phrase appears only in the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 9:12 (where it is a rephrasing of the formula “the death of the spirit” from 2 Nephi 9:10 and then redefined simply as “hell”), in Alma 12:16 and 42:9, in Helaman 14:18, and here. In all the earlier passages, spiritual death is contrasted with and secondary to a temporal death. all mankind: See the comment on “redeemeth all mankind” earlier in this verse. the fall of Adam: The only other scriptural voice to refer to “the fall of Adam” with exactly this phrase is Benjamin (Mosiah 3:19; 4:7), though passages scattered throughout the Book of Mormon use the obviously related phrase “the fall of man” (2 Nephi 2:4; Alma 18:36; 22:13; Mormon 9:12) and some others refer simply to “the fall” (2 Nephi 2:26; 9:6; Alma 42:9; Ether 3:2, 13). Others passages refer to Adam falling in various ways (2 Nephi 2:22, 25; Mosiah 3:26; Alma 12:22), while still others say that human beings fell by or in Adam (Mosiah 3:11, 16; Mormon 9:12). Some seventeen other passages refer to the Fall by using the verb fall or the adjective fallen or even the noun fall (1 Nephi 10:6; 2 Nephi 9:6; 25:17; Mosiah 4:5; 16:3–5; 27:25; Alma 12:22; 22:12, 14; 30:25; 34:9; 42:6, 12, 14; Moroni 7:24). It should be noted that there is no other reference to the Fall as such in Helaman. cut off from the presence of the Lord: This idea appears just once in the Hebrew Bible, in Leviticus 22:3: “that soul shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord.” It appears with some frequency in the Book of Mormon. It is used first and most prominently in connection with the Lamanites (and sometimes the Nephites), who, if they “rebel,” will be “cut off from the presence of the Lord” (1 Nephi 2:21; see 2 Nephi 1:20; 4:4; 5:20; Alma 9:13, 14; 36:30; 37:13; 38:1; 50:20). The same threat is used in a generic way in Helaman 12:21 (“Because of thine iniquities thou shalt be cut off from my presence”), and twice in Ether the same threat is connected to the Jaredites (Ether 2:15; 10:11). The other uses of this formula, though, are all connected to the Fall, as here, and nearly all of them appear just in Alma 42 (2 Nephi 9:6; Alma 42:7, 9, 11, 14). the presence of the Lord: See the comment on this phrase at 14:15. are: The printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition read are here, while the 1837 edition, without any marking in the printer’s manuscript, replaces are with or—an alteration that continued in the 1840 edition but was eventually reversed in 1981 (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3119–20). considered as dead: The only other passage in scripture where something is “considered” as being in some way dead is Romans 4:19, where Abraham, “being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old.” as dead: The phrase “as dead” appears only once elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 2:11, where what is “one body . . . must needs remain as dead.” Several passages, though, speak of someone being or acting “as if he were dead” (Alma 18:42–43; 22:18–19; 3 Nephi 1:16) or “as though he were dead” (Alma 19:18; Ether 14:30). The phrase shows up in the Bible four times (Isaiah 59:10; Matthew 28:4; Hebrews 11:12; Revelation 1:17). Similar formulas, though, appear in Numbers 12:12, Psalms 31:12 and 143:3, Lamentations 3:6, and Mark 9:26. both: The use of both to introduce the coupling of temporal and spiritual is a Book of Mormon trope (see 1 Nephi 14:7; 15:32; 22:3; Mosiah 2:41; 4:26; 18:29; Alma 7:23; 42:7; Mormon 2:15). as to things: The phrase “as to things” appears only in the Book of Mormon (here and in Alma 5:42; 12:16, 31–32; 32:3; 40:26; Helaman 11:19; 14:18). It often appears with the word pertaining, as in Helaman 14:18, but only when it introduces a reference to righteousness. Only one other passage, Alma 12:31, follows “as to things” with a reference to the temporal or spiritual. things temporal: While this phrase is unique to this passage, similar phrases appear eight other times in the Book of Mormon and once in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 4:18; 1 Nephi 15:31–32; 22:3, 6; Mosiah 2:41; Alma 7:23; 12:31; 37:43). The usual New Testament equivalent seems to be “carnal things” (Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 9:11). Yea, behold this death . . . things spiritual: An alternative punctuation of Helaman 14:16, with an eye to the 1837 reading of or for are, would be as follows: “Yea, behold, this death bringeth to pass the resurrection and redeemeth all mankind from the first death, that spiritual death for all mankind by the fall of Adam (being cut off from the presence of the Lord, or considered as dead, both as to things temporal and to things spiritual).” The phrase “things spiritual” is unique to this passage, but similar phrases appear three times in the New Testament (Romans 15:27; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 9:11) and seven other times in the Book of Mormon, some overlapping with passages referring to temporal things (1 Nephi 15:32–33; 22:1, 3; Mosiah 2:41; Alma 7:23; 37:43).
14:17 the resurrection: See the comment on “the resurrection of the dead” at 14:15. the resurrection of Christ: This phrase appears just once in the Bible, in Acts 2:31. It is otherwise a Book of Mormon phrase, originating with Abinadi and used in deciding on the meaning of his doctrine (the only exceptions being here and in 3 Nephi 6:20); see Mosiah 15:21; Alma 40:16, 18–20; 41:2. See the comment on “the presence of the Lord” at 14:15. It might be noted that the title “Christ” alone appears a few other times in Helaman (see the book’s heading and 3:9, 35; 5:12, 41; 8:22; 16:4, 18) and specifically just once more in Samuel’s words, in 15:9. redeemeth: See the comment on “redeem” at 14:2. mankind: Mankind without the qualifier all appears only four times in the Book of Mormon, including this passage (Alma 12:24; 21:7, 9). See also the comment on “redeemeth all mankind” at 14:16. bringeth . . . into the presence: See the comment on “brought into the presence” at 14:15. the presence of the Lord: See the comment on this phrase at 14:15.
14:18 bringeth to pass: See the comment on “bring to pass” at 14:15. condition: The printer’s manuscript reads conditions in the plural, though the 1830 text was set with the singular condition, with the latter appearing in every subsequent Latter-day Saint edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3120). condition of repentance: See the comment on “conditions of repentance” at 14:11. whosoever repenteth: Variations on the phrase “whosoever repenteth” appear in 1 Nephi 14:5, Alma 12:34, 32:13, 3 Nephi 9:22, 11:23, and 27:16. hewn down and cast into the fire: This image is likewise found in the Gospels (in Matthew 3:10; 7:19; Luke 3:9). It appears with some frequency in the Book of Mormon—first as a literal cutting down of trees (in an extended allegory) in Jacob 5:42, 46–47, 49, and 66, but then immediately clarified as a metaphorical image in Jacob 6:7. It appears several times in Alma’s sermon in Zarahemla (Alma 5:35, 52, 56) and a handful of times in Christ’s sermonizing among the Lehites (3 Nephi 14:19; 27:11, 7). Finally, it appears once in Mormon 8:21. The image of being “hewn down,” without any talk of being cast into the fire, is (apart from one use in an Isaiah quotation) always used in the Book of Mormon in situations of war or violence (as in Alma 51:18–19; Mormon 2:15; 6:10–11). The one other exception is a reference to being hewn down immediately after talk of being hewn down and cast into the fire (3 Nephi 27:12). whosoever repenteth: See the comment on “whosoever repentheth” earlier in this verse. hewn down and cast into the fire: See the comment on this phrase earlier in this verse. cometh upon them: The image of death “coming upon” one is a Book of Mormon trope. It appears also in Alma 12:24, 40:26, and Helaman 9:33. The last passage suggests that the image is not to be directly equated with dying, but rather with facing death. spiritual death: See the comment on this phrase at 14:16. second death: The idea of a “second death” is also found in the book of Revelation, where it appears four times (2:11; 20:6, 14; 21:8). The phrase shows up five other times in the Book of Mormon, in Jacob 3:11, Alma 12:16 and 32, and 13:30—and in the very next verse in the present passage. In the first of these Book of Mormon passages, the idea seems to be directly tied to the formulations in Revelation. The other passages, all in Alma 12–13, regard the second death as spiritual in contrast with a first and specifically temporal death, while here in the present passage both deaths are spiritual in some fashion. Something quite like the second death as understood here appears under the name of “the last death” in Doctrine and Covenants 29:41. See also the comment on “first death” at 14:16. cut off: This phrase is quite frequent in scripture (269 times). In Helaman, it appears just three times, twice in the present passage, and then once in Helaman 12:21. Because of the use of again after “cut off,” it seems likely that the image here is a truncated version of “being cut off from the presence of the Lord” in Helaman 14:16. again: In Helaman 14:16 it seems one is “considered as dead . . . as to things,” but here in Helaman 14:18 one is “cut off . . . as to things.” The word again here is thus somewhat puzzling. It should be noted, though, that Helaman 14:16 also speaks of being “cut off,” albeit specifically “from the presence of the Lord.” It is possible to punctuate Helaman 14:16 in a variety of ways, especially with an eye to the textual variant (reading or for are), one of which would tie being “cut off” to the phrase “as to things” and so make better sense of the use of again here. If “or considered as dead” is just a clarification of “being cut off from the presence of the Lord,” then Helaman 14:16 speaks of “being cut off from the presence of the Lord . . . both as to things temporal and to things spiritual.” It should be noted that the “things” in question here in Helaman 14:18 are “things pertaining to righteousness.” However, this seems to be because the second death alters slightly what it is that results from being cut off from the Lord’s presence. The first death concerns the temporal and the spiritual, but the second death concerns “things pertaining to righteousness.” as to things: See the comment on this phrase at 14:16. things pertaining to righteousness: This phrase appears four other times in scripture, all in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 23:18; Alma 21:23; 24:30; Helaman 11:19). Samuel speaks of righteousness a few times elsewhere in his preaching (Helaman 13:12–14, 18–19, 38; 14:29).
14:19 Therefore: The word therefore immediately precedes “repent ye” elsewhere only in Mormon 5:24. However, the obviously similar “repent ye therefore” appears in Acts 3:19. repent ye: The command “repent ye” appears in the New Testament as the proclamation of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:15), but also in the preaching of Peter (Acts 3:19). It appears a number of times in the Book of Mormon as well, sometimes alone (as in Jacob 6:11; Alma 7:9; 8:29; 9:25; 10:20; Mormon 3:2; 5:24) but a few times in pairs (as here and in 2 Nephi 31:11; Helaman 5:29, 32; 7:17). It is certainly significant that, except for 2 Nephi 31:11, the pairing of “repent ye” twice appears only in the book of Helaman. lest: The connection of lest to the command to repent appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in Alma 30:57, Mormon 5:24, and Ether 12:3. It never appears in the Bible. knowing: See the comment on “know” at 14:4. not doing them: The coupling of “knowing these things” and “doing” or “not doing” them suggests a possible relationship to John 13:17 (“If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them”). suffer yourselves: The phrase “suffer oneself” is surprisingly infrequent in scripture. It appears just once in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 6:7: “Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (with “suffer yourselves to” all in italics in the KJV). It appears twelve times in the Book of Mormon in addition to here (2 Nephi 9:5; Mosiah 15:5; 17:9; Alma 3:10; 26:34; 27:3; 43:46; 44:8; 53:11; Helaman 13:29; 15:9; 3 Nephi 18:25). Nowhere else is the phrase connected to coming under condemnation, but it should be noted that Samuel twice uses the formula elsewhere, such that he accounts for nearly a quarter of the phrase’s uses in the Book of Mormon. In Helaman 13:29 he speaks to those who “suffer [themselves] to be led by foolish and blind guides,” and in 15:9 he speaks of Lamanites who “will suffer themselves that they be trodden down and slain by their enemies.” See the comment on “suffer them” at 13:8. come under condemnation: The Bible speaks often enough of condemnation, but it never uses the phrase “under condemnation.” This phrase is unique to Latter-day Saint scripture. It appears in the Book of Mormon just five times, including here. Before this point it appears only in Mosiah 26:31 (“brought . . . under condemnation”). After this point it appears in 3 Nephi 18:33 (“come . . . under condemnation”), Moroni 8:24 (“are under condemnation”), and Moroni 9:6 (“brought under condemnation”). brought: The verb bring is connected with death like this very infrequently. Job 30:23 speaks of being brought “to death,” while Psalm 22:15 speaks of being brought “into the dust of death.” Alma 42:9 speaks of “a spiritual death” being “brought upon all mankind,” and Alma 43:37 speaks simply of “death” being “brought.” second death: See the comment on “second death” at 14:18.
14:20 sign: See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2. a sign of his death: The phrase “a sign of his death” is repeated exactly from Helaman 14:14, confirming the resumption and squarely making all of Helaman 14:14–19 a tangent on the death of Christ. See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” earlier in this verse. that: The printer’s manuscript has the rather than that. The word that appeared first in the 1830 edition and then was perpetuated in every printed edition. There is some reason, given the use of “in that day” elsewhere in the Book of Mormon and given Oliver Cowdery’s tendency toward error with the words the and that, to think that that was the intended reading (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3120–23). The original manuscript is not extant for this portion of the text and so cannot be compared. in that day: The phrase “in that day” appears more than a hundred times in the Hebrew Bible, with particular frequency in the writings of Isaiah (forty-three times) and Zechariah (twenty times). It appears just seven times in the New Testament, however (Matthew 7:22; Luke 6:23; 10:12; 17:31; John 16:23; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Timothy 1:18). It appears forty-two times in the Book of Mormon, most particularly in 2 Nephi (owing in large part to its many quotations of Isaiah), appearing there twenty-four times. It appears just four times in Helaman, all of them within Samuel’s sermons, with the other three instances all in Helaman 13 (13:20, 32–33). suffer death: The phrase “suffer death” is unique to the Book of Mormon, where it appears three times (Alma 25:9, 11; 27:29) in addition to this verse. Elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, one suffers unto death (Mosiah 3:7; 17:10; 19:20; Alma 24:19) or suffers the pains of death (Mosiah 17:15, 18). the sun shall be darkened: Generally speaking, the use of the verb darken in connection with the sun is limited to apocalyptic contexts. It appears, for example, in Isaiah 13:10 (quoted in 2 Nephi 23:10), Joel 3:15, Matthew 24:29, Mark 13:24, Luke 23:45, and Revelation 9:2. The only biblical exception to this pattern is Ecclesiastes 12:2, where “the sun” is “not darkened.” The present verse marks the only instance of this sort of talk in the Book of Mormon. See also the comment on “the night shall not be darkened” at Helaman 14:4. his: In the printer’s manuscript, Oliver Cowdery originally wrote her but then corrected it at some subsequent point to read his (by crossing out her and writing his above the line). The original manuscript is partially extant for this verse, although all that remains of this word is the initial h. The word has appeared as the masculine possessive in every printed edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3123–24). light: The image of heavenly bodies giving light is also found in Genesis 1:15, 17, where the lights in the heavens “give light upon the earth.” The negative version of the same image appears in apocalyptic contexts, although no apocalyptic passage in the Bible uses the verb refuse as Samuel does, and most of them speak in this context of the moon rather than the sun (Isaiah 13:10; 60:19; Ezekiel 32:7; Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:24). It might be noted, though, that Doctrine and Covenants 88:87 says that the sun “shall refuse to give light.” the sun . . . the moon, and the stars: The sun, the moon, and the stars are mentioned together often enough in scripture, although they appear together in the Book of Mormon only here and in the fulfillment of this sign in 3 Nephi 8:22, as well as in Isaiah’s apocalyptic prediction in 2 Nephi 23:10. More generally, the moon is mentioned in the Book of Mormon only in these same two passages, in two Isaiah passages (the one just cited and 2 Nephi 13:18, where it appears in a simile), and in one use of the word moon to designate a month (Omni 1:21). See also the comment on “new star” at 14:5. this: The word this appears here for the first time in the 1830 edition. In the printer’s manuscript, the word is clearly the. The original manuscript is not extant for this text, but there is some evidence that Oliver Cowdery occasionally miscopied this as the, and “this land” appears also in Helaman 14:28 (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3124–27). light upon the face of this land: This phrasing is unique to this passage. suffer death: See the comment on “suffer death” earlier in this verse. the space of three days: This phrase is unique to the Book of Mormon, where it appears ten times (1 Nephi 18:13; 2 Nephi 25:13; Alma 36:10; Helaman 14:20, 27; 3 Nephi 8:3, 23; 26:13; Ether 13:28; 14:26). The phrase is connected to Christ’s death only in 2 Nephi 25:13, in the present chapter (including in 14:27), and in 3 Nephi 8:3, 23. Two other passages speak of three days in the same connection without using this same phrase: 1 Nephi 10:10 (“the three days of darkness”) and Mosiah 3:10 (“he shall rise the third day from the dead”). See also 3 Nephi 10:9 (“thus did the three days pass away”). rise again from the dead: This phrase appears in Matthew 17:9, John 20:9, Acts 17:3, and Alma 33:22. The same formula without again occurs more frequently, about twenty times in the New Testament and thirteen times in the Book of Mormon. This passage marks its only occurrence in the book of Helaman.
14:21 yield up the ghost: This is the only instance of this image of “yielding up the ghost” in the Book of Mormon. It appears, though, that the translation language alludes to or draws on Matthew 27:50, where this phrase is used to describe Jesus’s death. The same phrase also appears in Genesis 49:33 and Acts 5:10. thunderings and lightnings: The coupling of thunder and lightning appears, of course, in the Bible, where it describes both natural phenomena (Job 28:26; 38:25; Psalm 77:18) and the supernatural presence of God (Exodus 19:16; 20:18; Revelation 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18). In most of the latter passages, the words are thunderings and lightnings, as here in Helaman. The same coupling appears in the Book of Mormon, with consistent reference to the event here predicted by Samuel (1 Nephi 12:4; 19:11; 2 Nephi 26:6; Helaman 14:26, 27; 3 Nephi 8:6–7, 12, 17, 19). With just one exception (Helaman 14:27), the Book of Mormon uses the plural gerunds thunderings and lightnings as well. Lightning is never mentioned in the Book of Mormon except for these passages, but thunder is mentioned in another eight passages—usually to explain the voice of God or angels like thunder (1 Nephi 17:45; Mosiah 27:11, 18; Alma 29:2; 36:7; 38:7; Helaman 5:30), but also once to describe eschatological disaster in language borrowed from Isaiah (2 Nephi 27:2). the space of many hours: This phrase never appears in the Bible, but it appears in the Book of Mormon in a few passages. It appears in Lehi’s dream in 1 Nephi 8:8. It then does not appear again until this point in the text, although it appears again in Helaman 14:21. It then appears in 3 Nephi 10:1–2, in close connection with the fulfillment of Samuel’s predictions. Note also the use of “the space of” in Helaman 14:20. shake and tremble: This coupling of shake and tremble in describing the action of the earth occurs in the Bible in three places (2 Samuel 22:8; Psalms 18:7; 77:18) and only once elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, when the angel appears to the sons of Mosiah (Mosiah 27:18). In the passages marking the fulfillment of Samuel’s prediction, the verb shake appears in one passage (3 Nephi 8:6) and the verb tremble in another (3 Nephi 10:9), but the usual verb in that context is quake (3 Nephi 8:12, 17, 19). rocks: Rocks are often mentioned in scripture, and they appear nearly fifty times in the Book of Mormon. Predictions regarding the rocks at the time of Christ’s death appear in 1 Nephi 12:4 and 19:12. The fulfillment of this prediction occurs in 3 Nephi 8:18 and 10:9. are [first instance]: The printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition both read is rather than are. In preparation for the 1837 edition, is was grammatically corrected to are in the printer’s manuscript, and the text has read are in every printed edition since 1837 (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3132). this: Here again, the printer’s manuscript reads the rather than this, although all printed editions have this. The original manuscript is not extant for this passage (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3129–31). the face of this earth: The “face of the whole earth” is mentioned specifically in connection with the fulfillment of this prophecy in 3 Nephi 8:18. are [second instance]: The printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition both read is rather than are. In preparation for the 1837 edition, is was grammatically corrected to are in the printer’s manuscript, and the text has read are in every printed edition since 1837 (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3132). both above the earth and beneath: Generally, when the Bible speaks of what is above and what is beneath, it is the heavens that are above and the earth that is beneath (Exodus 20:4; Deuteronomy 4:39; 5:8; Joshua 2:11; 1 Kings 8:23; Jeremiah 31:37; John 8:23; Acts 2:19). This is true of the Book of Mormon as well (2 Nephi 29:7; Mosiah 12:36; 13:12). A few passages speak of branches and fruit above and roots beneath, shifting such talk to the immediate question of the ground, as in this passage (see Job 18:16; Amos 2:9). Somewhat peculiar is Proverbs 15:24, which speaks of “the way of life” being above but “hell” (šǝ’ôl) beneath. Water is spoken of as being beneath the earth (Genesis 7:11; 8:2; Deuteronomy 4:18; 5:8). Only in this verse and its sequel at 14:22 is there mention of rocks being beneath the earth. know: See the comment on “know” at 14:4. are [third instance]: The printer’s manuscript and the 1830 edition both read is rather than are. In preparation for the 1837 edition, is was grammatically corrected to are in the printer’s manuscript, and the text has read are in most printed editions since 1837 (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3132). solid: The word solid never appears in the Bible, and it appears in the Book of Mormon only in this verse (where it appears twice). Doctrine and Covenants 128:23 speaks of the “solid rocks,” however. the more part: See the comment on “the more part” at 13:12. solid mass: The word solid, as well as mass, never appears outside this verse in the Bible or in the Book of Mormon. broken up: The phrase “to break up” appears just fifteen times in the Bible, with various meanings (Genesis 7:11; Exodus 22:2; 2 Kings 25:4; 2 Chronicles 24:7; Job 38:10; Proverbs 3:20; Jeremiah 4:3; 37:11; 39:2; 52:7; Hosea 10:12; Micah 2:13; Matthew 24:43; Mark 2:4; Acts 13:43). It appears in the Book of Mormon a number of times as well (1 Nephi 12:4; 17:46; Helaman 12:10; 14:24; 3 Nephi 6:14; 8:13, 18), almost always referring to the breaking up of earth or rocks or highways. The fulfillment of this prediction occurs in 3 Nephi 8:18.
14:22 rent: Rocks are said to be rent in only one passage in the Bible, also describing events at the time of Christ’s death (Matthew 27:51). Nephi twice predicts this event as well, in 1 Nephi 12:4 and 19:12. Third Nephi 8:18 describes the fulfillment of this prediction, and 10:9 describes the moment of the predicted event’s cessation. Moses 7:56 also describes this happening at the time of Christ’s death. rent in twain: The phrase “rent in twain” appears only seven times in scripture beyond the present passage. Matthew 27:51 describes rocks being rent, but the same verse speaks of “the veil of the temple” being “rent in twain.” Mark 15:38 also speaks of the temple’s veil being rent in twain. In the Book of Mormon, it is primarily prisons that are rent in twain (Alma 14:27; 3 Nephi 28:19; 4 Nephi 1:30). Helaman 10:8 speaks of a temple (not its veil) being rent in twain by the power of the word. Finally, 3 Nephi 8:18 marks the fulfillment of Samuel’s prediction, when “the rocks were rent in twain.” ever after: Somewhat surprisingly, “ever after” as a scriptural phrase is unique to the Book of Mormon. It appears, moreover, only in three other passages (Mosiah 26:4; Alma 27:26; 53:5). seams: The word seams appears here and in this prediction’s fulfillment in 3 Nephi 8:18, and otherwise only in John 19:23, which describes the coat taken from Jesus and parted at his crucifixion as being “without seam.” cracks: In all scripture the word cracks, plural or singular, appears only here and in this prediction’s fulfillment in 3 Nephi 8:18. fragments: The word fragments appears in the Book of Mormon here and in 3 Nephi 8:18, when this prediction is fulfilled. In both cases it appears alongside the word broken. The order of the three descriptive phrases here is slightly altered in 3 Nephi 8:18—where the present verse speaks of seams, then cracks, and finally broken fragments, the fulfillment passage speaks of broken fragments first, then seams, and finally cracks. The word fragments appears seven times in the Bible, but always and only with reference to the broken bread in Jesus’s miracles of multiplication (Matthew 14:20; Mark 6:43; 8:19, 20; Luke 9:17; John 6:12–13). the face of the whole earth: The phrase “the face of the whole earth” appears six times in the Bible (Genesis 8:9; 11:4; Exodus 10:15; Daniel 8:5; Zechariah 5:3; Luke 21:35), and only seven times in the Book of Mormon. Interestingly, it appears first in the book of Helaman, first in 3:8, then in the present verse, and then in 14:27. After that it appears in 3 Nephi 1:17, 8:17–18 (passages that fulfill Samuel’s predictions), and Ether 13:17. Obviously, other variations on this phrase (especially without whole) are common, with one appearing in the preceding verse here in Helaman 14 (see the comment on “the face of this earth” at 14:21). The meaning of “the face of the whole earth” is not global in the Book of Mormon: in Ether 13:17 it states that “there were none of the fair sons and daughters [of Cohor and Corihor] upon the face of the whole earth who repented of their sins,” which is certainly referring to a limited geography. In some cases Book of Mormon authors define quite precisely what they mean by “the face of the whole earth.” For example, in Helaman 3:8, Mormon states that those of one group of northern migrants “began to cover the face of the whole earth, from the sea south to the sea north, from the sea west to the sea east.” Additionally, in 3 Nephi 1:17 the extent of “the face of the whole earth” is said to be “from the west to the east, both in the land north and in the land south” and no farther. both above the earth and beneath: See the comment on this phrase at 14:21. beneath: The printer’s manuscript repeats the word both before beneath, and the word appears also in the 1830 edition. It was removed for the 1837 edition and has not appeared in subsequent printed editions. Note that a similar construction appears wholly without a second instance of both in Helaman 14:21 (see Skousen, Analysis, 3132–34).
14:23 great tempests: Only two other passages in scripture, both biblical, speak of “great tempests.” Jonah 1:12 speaks of the great tempest that threatens Jonah and his companions, and Matthew 8:24 speaks of a great tempest that threatens Christ and those with him on a ship. Of course, the word tempest alone shows up more frequently, more than twenty times in the Bible and fifteen in the Book of Mormon. It is worth noting that nearly half of the instances in the Book of Mormon refer to the same events spoken of here. First Nephi 19:11 predicts these same events, Helaman 14:27 refers again to the tempest in question, and then 3 Nephi 8:6, 12, 17, 19 and 10:14 all refer to the fulfillment of this prediction. The first of these fulfillment passages speaks of “a great and terrible tempest.” laid low: No other passage in scripture quite uses the phrasing used here, but Isaiah 40:4 says that “every mountain and hill shall be made low” (the same is quoted in Luke 3:5, replacing made with brought). like unto a valley: The phrase “like unto a valley” appears elsewhere only in Helaman 12:10, where Mormon uses much the same image. The phrase is also reminiscent of Lehi’s poem about Lemuel in 1 Nephi 2:10. Usually, apocalyptic imagery about mountains and valleys does not require their inversion, just the filling up of valleys and the leveling out of mountains. This is a unique gesture of reversal. many places: This is the only passage in all of scripture where this phrase appears. now called: The phrase “now called” with this meaning shows up in one passage in the Hebrew Bible: “he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer” (1 Samuel 9:9). It shows up elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in 2 Nephi 5:14, referring to “the people who were now called Lamanites.” valleys . . . become mountains: Again, this image of complete reversal, with a valley becoming a mountain, is unprecedented in scripture. Usually, valleys are filled so that they become smooth. whose height is great: The word thereof, which appears after height in the printer’s manuscript and all early printed editions, was removed for the 1920 edition and remains absent from current editions of the Book of Mormon. The only passage of scripture with similar phrasing to the earlier reading is Daniel 4:10, which speaks of a tree, noting “and the height thereof was great.”
14:24 highways shall be broken up: Highways are broken up elsewhere only in the passage that marks the fulfillment of this prediction, 3 Nephi 8:13. There are many apocalyptic predictions regarding highways in Isaiah, but always with reference to the creation of a highway, rather than the breaking up of highways (11:16; 19:23; 35:8; 40:3; 49:11; 62:10). Highways are mentioned in the Book of Mormon only a small handful of times—in quotations of Isaiah (1 Nephi 21:11; 2 Nephi 17:3; 21:16), in the story of Nephi in Helaman 7:10, and then in a story about the creation of highways (3 Nephi 6:8) that are then broken up when this prediction is fulfilled (8:13). See also the comment on “broken up” at 14:21. cities shall become desolate: The first threat that cities will become “desolate” is found in Leviticus 26:31, 33. It shows up frequently in Isaiah and Jeremiah as well, a possible source for this image (Isaiah 1:7; 6:11; 24:12; 27:10; Jeremiah 9:11; 10:22; 19:8; 25:18; 26:9; 34:22; 44:2, 6; 48:9; 51:43). In the Book of Mormon, apart from one Isaiah quotation (2 Nephi 16:11), this threat does not appear before the present passage, although there is a city that receives the name Desolation (Alma 16:10–11). The Nephites end up leaving certain cities desolate temporarily in advance of the fulfillment of Samuel’s prediction in 3 Nephi 4:1, and then the fulfillment of this prediction occurs in 3 Nephi 8:14.
14:25 many graves shall be opened: The image of opening graves derives from Ezekiel 37:12–13, and it appears in Matthew 27:52 in connection with Christ’s death (and the rending of rocks). It appears only here in the Book of Mormon. The phrase “many graves” is unique to this text (Matthew speaks of “the graves” being opened, rather than “many graves,” although he speaks then of “many bodies of the saints” arising). Of course, it is this prediction whose fulfillment is not recorded (during the events of 3 Nephi 8–10), such that Jesus has to correct the record keepers in 3 Nephi 23:9–11. yield up: The Bible uses “yield up” only in the longer formula “to yield up the ghost” (Genesis 49:33; Matthew 27:50; Acts 5:10), a phrase that appears here in Helaman 14:21 (see the comment on “yield up the ghost” at 14:21). The phrase “yield up” appears in the Book of Mormon in connection with a host of other things, spread across thirteen passages, none of which concern the dead. The similar image of the grave “delivering” up its dead appears in 2 Nephi 9:11–13. The language of “many of their dead” is, like so many of the “many” phrases in this passage, unique to this verse. many saints shall appear unto many: The phrasing here appears elsewhere only in 3 Nephi 23:9, 11, where Jesus discusses the fulfillment of this sign with the Nephite record keepers. A more complex but obviously related formulation appears in Matthew 27:52–53, where “many bodies of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after [Christ’s] resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.”
14:26 the angel: See the comment on “his angel” at 14:9. thus hath the angel spoken unto me: This longer formulation is unique to this verse. he said unto me: The phrasing here anticipates “the angel said unto me” in Helaman 14:28. See the comment on that phrase in that verse. thunderings and lightnings: See the comment on “thunderings and lightnings” at 14:21. the space of many hours: See the comment on “the space of many hours” at 14:21.
14:27 he said unto me: See the comment on this phrase at 14:26. the thunder and the lightning: See the comment on “thunderings and lightnings” at 14:21. lasted: Only one other passage speaks of thunder or lightning “lasting,” and that is the fulfillment of this prediction in 3 Nephi 8:19 (where the thunder and lightning “did last for about the space of three hours”). the tempest: See the comment on “great tempests” at 14:23. these things should be: Only one other passage in scripture uses the phrase “these thing should [or shall] be” without any qualifying term or phrase following it, and it is also in the book of Helaman in 7:29 (“I do not say that these things shall be”). darkness should cover: Only here in the Book of Mormon does darkness “cover,” but such language appears in three passages in the Hebrew Bible. The psalmist predicts, “Surely the darkness shall cover me” (Psalm 139:11), the preacher says cynically of man that “his name shall be covered with darkness” (Ecclesiastes 6:4), and Isaiah predicts that “the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people” (Isaiah 60:2). cover the face of the whole earth: The face of the earth is “covered” in various passages in scripture. Exodus 10:5 and 15 speak of locusts covering the face of the whole earth, Israelites do the same in Numbers 22:5 and 11, Nephites spread out and cover the face of the whole earth or land in Helaman 3:8 and 11:20, buildings cover the face of the land in Mormon 1:7, inhabitants cover the face of the land in Ether 10:21, and corpses do the same in Ether 14:21. the face of the whole earth: See the comment on this phrase at 14:22. the space of three days: See the comment on this phrase at 14:20.
14:28 the angel said unto me: This formula is at least generally Lukan: “the angel said unto him” (Luke 1:13), “the angel said unto her” (Luke 1:30), “the angel said unto them” (Luke 2:10), “the angel said unto him” (Acts 12:8). See also Revelation 17:7. This formula shows up in the Book of Mormon as well—with echoes of Revelation in Nephi’s vision (1 Nephi 11:21, 26; 12:1, 11, 14, 22; 13:2, 5, 11, 21; 14:20; 15:29) and with vaguer echoes in Amulek’s experience (Alma 10:8–9). See the comment on “his angel” at 14:9 and the comment on “he said unto me” at 14:27. see greater things than these: The language here seems drawn directly from John 1:50, where Jesus tells Nathanael, “Thou shalt see greater things than these.” Similar language appears also in Mormon 8:12, where Moroni promises believers in the record that they “shall know of greater things than these.” to the intent [first instance]: See the comment on this phrase at 14:12. that they might believe that: This phrase is unique to this passage, although a version with a different pronoun appears in John 20:31: “these are written, that ye might believe that . . .” these signs: See the comment on “I give unto you a sign” at 14:2. these wonders: See the comment on “signs and wonders” at 14:6. come to pass: Signs “come to pass” in 1 Samuel 10:9 and also in two passages marking the fulfillment of the signs regarding Christ’s birth in 3 Nephi 1:9, 26. Mention of signs and wonders in connection with “come to pass” shows up elsewhere only in Deuteronomy 13:2, in a passage about detecting false prophets. all the face of this land: This phrase appears elsewhere only in 3 Nephi 9:1 and Moroni 9:19. The slight alteration “all the face of the land” appears two dozen times in the Book of Mormon, but never in the Bible. Strikingly, though, this latter phrase appears before the book of Helaman only once, in Alma 16:16. It then shows up in Helaman 6:28; 11:32; 16:22–23; 3 Nephi 3:22; 8:18, 20; 21:24; 4 Nephi 1:2, 23, 46; Mormon 1:19; 2:8; and Ether 4:17; 7:11; 9:26; 10:4; 13:25–26; 14:19, 23; 15:12. The phrase “the face of this land,” without the qualifier all, appears in the Book of Mormon eight times: 1 Nephi 22:7; 2 Nephi 1:9, 31; Helaman 14:20 (see the comment on “light upon the face of this land” at 14:20); 3 Nephi 16:8; Ether 13:2. to the intent [second instance]: See the comment on “to the intent” at 14:12. no cause: This phrase appears five times in the Bible, but always with a specifically juridical meaning. See 2 Samuel 13:16; Luke 23:22; and Acts 13:28; 19:40; 28:18. It shows up elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in Alma 32:18 (“if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it”). cause for unbelief: The word cause is connected to belief or unbelief in a similar way only in Alma 32:18–19 (“if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe” and “he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe . . .”). the children of men: Of course, this phrase appears with great frequency in scripture, including 131 times in the Book of Mormon. Six of these are in the book of Helaman (6:30; 7:4; 12:1, 4, 7; 14:28).
14:29 to the intent: See the comment on “to the intent” at 14:12. whosoever will believe: This phrase is unique to this passage, although “whosoever would believe” appears in Alma 22:13 and “who will believe” appears in Helaman 3:28. might be saved: This phrase is a New Testament one, appearing in John 3:17 and 5:34, Romans 10:1, 1 Thessalonians 2:16, and 2 Thessalonians 2:10. It appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in Helaman 12:22, 25. whosoever will not believe: There is much talk of “unbelief” (or of “unbelieving”) in scripture, with variations of the word unbelief appearing sixty times in the Book of Mormon. References in the book of Helaman include 4:25, 6:34, and 15:11, 15, 17. This phrase, “whosever will not believe,” appears here and in 3 Nephi 21:11, although “whosoever would not believe” appears in Alma 3:11 and “who will not believe” appears in 3 Nephi 21:9. See the comment on “whosoever will believe” in this same verse. This is the only passage where phrasings like these two formulas appear together. righteous judgment: The phrase “righteous judgments” appears only in the plural in the Hebrew Bible, and then only in Psalm 119 (vv. 7, 62, 106, 160, 164). The singular “righteous judgment” appears three times in the New Testament. John 7:24 speaks of the task human beings have of judging “righteous judgment,” Romans 2:5 speaks of “the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God,” and 2 Thessalonians 1:5 speaks of “a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God.” None of these passages theologize the notion like the present passage. In the Book of Mormon, however, King Benjamin’s angelic visitor does exactly that, using the phrase in a similar context in Mosiah 3:10. The kind of human judgment referred to in John 7:24 appears in Mosiah 29:29, 43. Finally, Alma 41:14 speaks of having “a righteous judgment restored” to one through acting justly. judgment might come upon them: The phrasing that judgment “comes upon” people is biblical, although it appears in the Bible just twice and in negative contexts (Jeremiah 48:21; Romans 5:18). The phrasing is much more common in the Book of Mormon, where it appears some fifteen times. Generally, the phrase is negative, and particularly elsewhere in the book of Helaman (2 Nephi 6:10; 9:7; 25:3; Mosiah 17:11; 29:27; Alma 37:30; 58:9; 60:13–14; Helaman 8:8, 12; 9:5; Mormon 5:2). As already noted, one possible exception occurs when Benjamin quotes an angel speaking of a “righteous judgment” coming upon people (Mosiah 3:10). condemned: Scripture speaks often of “condemnation,” of course. References in the book of Helaman include 1:8, 12; 7:5; 8:1, 5; and 14:19, 29. See the comment on “come under condemnation” at 14:19. bring upon themselves: This quasi-reflexive formula appears in the Bible only at 2 Peter 2:1. Something like it appears a few times in the Book of Mormon—in the wicked condemnation of the beggar in Mosiah 4:17 (“the man has brought upon himself his misery”), in the plea of Benjamin’s people for forgiveness in Mosiah 5:5 (“that we may not bring upon ourselves a never-ending torment”), in Mormon’s description of the Amlicites’ self-cursing in Alma 3:19 (“they brought upon themselves the curse; and even so doth every man that is cursed bring upon himself his own condemnation”), and in Alma’s description of the Fall in Alma 42:12 (“man had brought upon himself [this fallen state] because of his own disobedience”). It should be noted that the partial aside in Alma 3:19 bears the exact phrasing of the whole of the last part of Helaman 14:29. their own condemnation: This phrase appears elsewhere only in the singular (“his own condemnation”), in Alma 3:19. See the comments on “come under condemnation and “condemned” at 14:19.
14:30 remember, remember: The doubling of remember in a command is unique to the Book of Mormon. It appears first in King Benjamin’s sermon (Mosiah 2:41), also in Alma’s conversation with Helaman (Alma 37:13), and then twice in Helaman’s instruction of his sons Nephi and Lehi (Helaman 5:9, 12). The present verse constitutes its final appearance. my brethren: This is the first time that Samuel has addressed his Nephite audience as “my brethren.” (His only previous use of the word brethren is in Helaman 13:8, where he is quoting God saying that he will turn the hearts of the Lamanites against the Nephites.) Helaman 15, however, will open with Samuel calling his audience “my beloved brethren” (15:1) before he calls the Lamanites “my brethren” just after that (v. 4). Over the course of that same chapter, he will use the word brethren another three times, once in the phrase “their brethren,” with reference to Lamanite missionaries’ focus on other Lamanites (v. 6), and then twice in the phrase “our brethren, the Lamanites” (vv. 11, 12). perisheth unto himself: This phrase is unique to this passage. Nothing like it appears elsewhere in scripture. Of course, the verb perish appears with great frequency in the Book of Mormon. Samuel uses it elsewhere only in Helaman 15:2. whosoever doeth iniquity: The idea that one “does” iniquity is biblical, although this phrasing appears in the Bible only a few times (Job 34:32; Zephaniah 3:5, 13; Matthew 13:41). Such language shows up more frequently in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 17:45; 2 Nephi 27:4; Mosiah 13:29; Alma 12:35; 46:8; Helaman 7:7; 12:4, 22; 13:38; 16:22). Three things deserve notice about this—that the phrase shows up far more frequently in Helaman than elsewhere in the Book of Mormon, that it most often appears in the Book of Mormon in the context of the idea of being “quick” to do iniquity, and that no other passage has a formula like the present verse (“whosoever doeth iniquity”). doeth it unto himself: Like “perisheth unto himself,” “doeth it unto himself” is unique to this verse. Nothing like it appears elsewhere in scripture. The closest that another verse seems to come to this idea is Isaiah 3:9, which speaks of those who “have rewarded evil unto themselves.” permitted to act for yourselves: Samuel seems here to be offering a variation on either 2 Nephi 2:26 (“they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves”) or 2 Nephi 10:23 (“ye are free to act for yourselves”). No other passage approaches the language of this one, and no other passage uses permit in connection with act. God hath given . . . knowledge: The idea that God gives knowledge shows up in the Bible, although the phrasing used here appears only in Ecclesiastes 2:26 and Daniel 1:17. It shows up elsewhere in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 10:20, Words of Mormon 1:9, Alma 9:19, and 3 Nephi 5:20. a knowledge: The Bible never uses the indefinite article a before knowledge. This is a Book of Mormon trope, appearing sixteen times (2 Nephi 1:10; 9:33; Mosiah 4:6; 8:12; 9:1; 23:10; Alma 12:7; 18:34; Helaman 2:6; 3 Nephi 1:25; 16:4; Mormon 5:9; Moroni 8:29). Despite the frequency of this expression in the Book of Mormon, however, it is only in one of these other passages, Moroni 8:29, that “a knowledge” appears without a prepositional phrase beginning with of after it (thus “rejecting so great a knowledge”). The use of “a knowledge” was particularly fashionable in English during the early part of the nineteenth century, precisely when the Book of Mormon was published. God . . . hath made you free: The idea that God makes people free comes from the New Testament, where it appears in both Johannine (John 8:32–33, 36) and Pauline (Romans 6:18, 22; 8:2; 1 Corinthians 7:21; Galatians 5:1) contexts. The passage in Galatians is particularly important for the Book of Mormon, providing a formula that is repeated therein (Mosiah 23:13; Alma 58:40–41; 61:9, 21; Helaman 15:8, on Samuel’s lips). The simpler language here does not suggest a connection with Galatians and is instead reminiscent of Mosiah 5:8. See also 4 Nephi 1:3.
14:31 given unto you that ye might know: This phrase is similar to Luke 8:10 (“Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God”), but such phrasing is otherwise absent from the Bible. It appears in two other places in the Book of Mormon—in Alma 12:7 (“power was given unto them that they might know of these things”) and in 3 Nephi 7:15 (“having had power given unto him that he might know concerning the ministry of Christ”). However, these other passages in the Book of Mormon use the word power, and the present text does not. See the comment on “know” at 14:4. know good from evil: Nowhere in the Bible does the idea of knowing “good from evil” appear; this is a Book of Mormon notion. It appears in the Book of Mormon as early as 2 Nephi 2:5, 26 and then occasionally later (Alma 12:31; 29:5; Moroni 7:15–16, 19). The biblical phrasing is to know “good and evil,” found in Genesis 3:5, 22—a formula that also appears in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 2:18; Alma 29:5; 42:3). The phrase “knowing evil from good” appears in Mosiah 16:3. he hath given unto you that ye might choose: This phrasing here is unique to this passage in scripture. choose life or death: In the Old Testament the notion of “choosing” between life and death is Deuteronomic, appearing in Deuteronomy 30:19 (“I have set before you life and death . . . : therefore choose life”) and Jeremiah 8:3 (“death shall be chosen rather than life”). In the Book of Mormon it appears only in Lehi’s words to Jacob (2 Nephi 2:27—“they are free to choose liberty and eternal life . . . or to choose captivity and death”) and Jacob’s own subsequent words to the Nephites (2 Nephi 10:23—“ye are free to act for yourselves, to choose the way of everlasting death or the way of eternal life”). restored unto that which is good: This first formulation from Samuel directly echoes Alma 41:3, which says of those whose “works” and “desires” were “good” that “they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.” good restored unto you: This second formulation from Samuel directly echoes Alma 41:14, where those who “do good continually” will have “good rewarded unto [them] again.” (Note that the replacement of restored with rewarded follows after a series of instances of restored in the same verse.) Both formulations trade on the underlying idea of Alma 41:13, reflecting on “the meaning of the word restoration,” which is partly “to bring back again . . . good for that which is good.” This idea appears also in Helaman 12:24, where God grants “that men might be brought unto repentance and good works, that they might be restored unto grace for grace, according to their works.” The passages in Alma 41 seem to be a reflection on Alma 11:42. evil restored unto you: Although Alma 41:4 speaks of evil being “restored unto them [that is, those who do evil] for evil,” there is only this one formulation here. It most clearly echoes Alma 41:13, which speaks of “the meaning of the word restoration” as being “to bring back again evil for evil.” Alma 42:28 says, of him who desires “to do evil,” that “evil shall be done unto him, according to the restoration of God.” Again, all the relevant passages seem to be a commentary of sorts on Alma 11:42.
15:1 beloved brethren: This is the only instance of Samuel using “beloved brethren” to address his audience. He has called them once before “my brethren” (Helaman 14:30) and will do so once more in the present chapter (15:4). your houses shall be left . . . desolate: The prediction that a “house” would be left “desolate” was a common Hebrew Bible theme and appears at several points in Nephi’s quotation of Isaiah (2 Nephi 15:9; 16:11; 23:22). Here Samuel’s words closely parallel those of Jesus in Matthew 23:38 (also Luke 13:35). The only difference is in the verb tenses, where Samuel speaks of a future fulfillment and Jesus speaks to the Jews with the present tense is. This same idea appears again in 3 Nephi 10:7.
15:2 great cause to: The formula “great cause to” is unique to the Book of Mormon. It is elsewhere applied to repenting (Mosiah 4:18), to lamentation (Alma 4:13), and to rejoicing (Alma 8:15). they shall give suck: This phrase parallels Jesus’s similar prediction in Matthew 24:19 regarding the suffering of women during the eschatological distress. no place for refuge: This imagery is similar to Matthew 24:16–18. The only other place in scripture where “no place for refuge” appears, however, is in Helaman 15:12, where Samuel applies it to the plight of latter-day Lamanites. with child: This phrase appears three times in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 17:20; Helaman 15:2; 3 Nephi 22:1). The phrase “wo unto them which are with child” also closely matches the wording of Matthew 24:19. In Samuel’s discourse the two phrases have been reversed: in Matthew’s account, child precedes suck, while in Samuel’s discourse, suck precedes child. Samuel’s prophecy also expands on the violence of the women’s fate, adding that they shall be “trodden down” and “left to perish.” heavy: Heavy, as a reference to pregnancy, appears only here in Helaman 15:3 in the Book of Mormon (compare English gravid, “pregnant” < Latin graviditas, “pregnancy” < gravis, “heavy”). trodden down: “Trodden down” appears seven times in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 15:5; Alma 3:2; 30:59; 46:18; Helaman 4:20; 15:2, 9) and is often used in conjunction with another verb indicating death, such as destroyed (Alma 46:18) or slain (Helaman 4:20). Note that, like “no place for refuge,” this fate for Nephite women in the future is one Samuel later makes the fate of Lamanites (Helaman 15:9).
15:3 the people of Nephi: In 2 Nephi 5:9, Nephi’s followers “did take upon them to call themselves the people of Nephi.” Similar formulations appear in Jacob 1:2, 14; Alma 3:11; 9:19; and 4 Nephi 1:43. However, it is only in this verse that Samuel uses the title “the people of Nephi” for the Nephites. these signs and wonders: The 1830 edition reads “those signs and wonders,” but this was changed in the 1837 edition, perhaps unintentionally (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3136). On how the phrase “signs and wonders” is used in scripture, see the comment at 14:6. showed: The text may have originally read shewed rather than showed (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3138). chosen people of the Lord: Curiously, the only other time the phrase “chosen people” is applied to a group in the Book of Mormon is the Zoramites in their prayer upon the Rameumptom (Alma 31:18, 28). The sentiment that the Nephites are “chosen” likely goes back to 1 Nephi 2:20, where Nephi first makes a covenant with the Lord. The phrase is found only once in the Bible, in Daniel 11:15, but “election theology” is explicit in the preexilic Hebrew Bible, that of Israel being God’s “chosen” or “elect” people (Deuteronomy 7:6; 10:15; 14:2; 26:18). chastened: Chastened appears four times in the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 16:25, 39, Helaman 15:3, and Ether 2:14. days of their iniquities: This phrase appears only here in Helaman 15:3 in the Book of Mormon. chastened them because he loveth them: This type of intersection between love and chastening can be found in biblical verses such as Proverbs 13:24, Hebrews 12:6, and Revelation 3:19. It appears only here in Helaman 15:3 in the Book of Mormon.
15:4 hated: The idea that God “loved” the Nephites and “hated” the Lamanites has a biblical parallel with Romans 9:12–13, where Paul does something similar with Esau and Jacob, the “elder” brother who serves the “younger.” In the case of the Book of Mormon, the Nephites are the “younger” brother, while the Lamanites represent the “elder.” For the idea that God could “hate” a people, see Hosea 9:15, the passage from the Old Testament on which Paul relies. evil continually: This phrasing may be rooted in Genesis 6:5, which describes human beings before the Flood as having an imagination that “was only evil continually.” Ether 3:2 speaks of human nature as having “become evil continually” because of the Fall. More common in the Book of Mormon is talk of doing good continually (Mosiah 5:2; Alma 41:14; 63:2; Ether 8:26; Moroni 7:13; 8:3). tradition of their fathers: This phrase appears frequently in discussions of the contention between the Nephites and Lamanites. The phrase itself appears more than twenty times in the Book of Mormon. The best description of what these “traditions” entailed is given by Zeniff in Mosiah 10:12–16. At times the Book of Mormon authors will add wicked or abominable to traditions, usually in the context of describing Lamanite teachings. See, for example, Alma 23:3 and Helaman 5:19; 16:20. salvation hath come: See the comment on “salvation may come” at 14:15. the preaching of the Nephites: Perhaps a reference to the missionary efforts of Nephi and Lehi, which resulted in a mass conversion of Lamanites that reached a point where the righteousness of the Lamanites “did exceed that of the Nephites” (Helaman 6:1). Note that “the preaching of the Nephites” is unique to this passage. for this intent: See the comment on this phrase at 14:11. prolonged their days: For the idea of the Lord choosing whether to prolong the days of a people, see Isaiah 13:22; 2 Nephi 2:21; Alma 9:16, 18; Helaman 15:10–11. Note that their is ultimately ambiguous, possibly referring to either the Nephites (whose existence has been prolonged so they could deliver the gospel to the Lamanites) or the Lamanites (whose existence has been prolonged so they could receive the gospel preached by the Nephites).
15:5 I would that ye should behold: Although the phrasing “I would that ye should” is common in the Book of Mormon, it is followed by the verb behold in only three passages. That one of these appears in Nephi’s preaching in Helaman 7:23 seems significant. (The other instance is in 3 Nephi 26:13.) the more part: See the comment on this phrase at 13:12. the path of their duty: This combination of path and duty appears only here in the Book of Mormon. circumspectly before God: This phrase appears nowhere in the Bible but is found in the Book of Mormon in three places: Mosiah 26:37 and Helaman 15:5; 16:10. observe to keep: This phrase is unique to the Book of Mormon, where it appears nine times. It appears elsewhere in Helaman only in Helaman 3:20, referring to Helaman’s righteous government. commandments and his statutes and his judgments: The combination of commandments, statutes, and judgments appears in the Book of Mormon at 1 Nephi 17:22, 2 Nephi 5:10, Mosiah 6:6, Alma 8:17, 58:40, and Helaman 3:20, 15:5. The addition of “according to the law of Moses” is present in three of those places: 1 Nephi 17:22, 2 Nephi 5:10, and Helaman 15:5. The same three terms appear together in about fifteen places in the Hebrew Bible, primarily in the texts of Deuteronomy, 1 Kings, and Nehemiah. In only one of those places are the three terms linked with a reference to the “law of Moses”: 1 Kings 2:3. the law of Moses: See the comment on this phrase at 13:1.
15:6 the more part: See the comment on this phrase at 13:12. unwearied diligence: This phrase appears only here in the Book of Mormon and is absent from the Bible (compare Helaman 10:4). The word unwearied itself appears only here in all of scripture, and the only variation of it (unwearyingness) appears just twice, in Helaman 10:4–5. knowledge of the truth: This phrase is a common one in the Book of Mormon (Jacob 7:24; Mosiah 23:10; 27:14, 36; Alma 17:2, 4, 9; 21:17; 23:6, 15; 24:27; 26:24; 37:19; Helaman 6:34; 15:6–7, 11). The image of “bringing” others to the knowledge of the truth is used in the Book of Mormon first in connection with Alma’s church (Mosiah 23:10; 27:14, 36), but then exclusively for the conversion of the Lamanites (Alma 17:4, 9; 21:17; 23:6; 24:27; 26:24). add to their numbers: The image of “adding” to “numbers” is rare in scripture, appearing elsewhere only in Helaman 11:25.
15:7 know of yourselves: The formula “to know of oneself” is unique to the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 9:28; Alma 5:46, 48; 36:4; Helaman 15:8). witnessed: There is talk of these same people complaining about what they can and cannot witness in Helaman 16:20. knowledge of the truth: See the comment on this phrase at 15:6. traditions of their fathers: See the comment on “the tradition of their fathers” at 15:4. holy scriptures: Reference to the “holy scriptures” is made in Alma 14:8, 18:36, 34:30, and 37:3. holy prophets: This is a fairly common Book of Mormon phrase, appearing twenty-five times. faith on the Lord: This phrase appears five times in the Book of Mormon (Mosiah 18:7, 20; 25:15; Alma 13:29; Helaman 15:7), a total that rises to eleven when “Jesus Christ” is added. The Book of Mormon appears to be fairly systematic when determining whether to use “faith in” someone/
15:8 know of yourselves: See the comment on this phrase at 15:7. firm and steadfast: The combination of firm and steadfast appears in the Book of Mormon in 1 Nephi 2:10, Helaman 15:8, and 3 Nephi 6:14. This verse is the only one that adds the qualification “in the faith.” in the thing: The printer’s manuscript has things instead of thing, but the singular usage, although somewhat awkward, is more likely. The identity of this “thing” could perhaps be hinted at in Mosiah 23:13, where the text reads “even so I desire that ye should stand fast in this liberty wherewith ye have been made free.” made free: The phrasing here echoes Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.” Similar language appears in Mosiah 23:13 and Alma 58:40; 61:21.
15:9 weapons of war: This action of abandoning weapons has happened twice before in the context of Lamanite conversion: Alma 24:19 and Helaman 5:51. The Lamanites mentioned by Samuel “buried” their weapons, as did the Anti-Nephi-Lehies in Alma 24. Of the converts in Helaman 5, Mormon says only that they did “lay down” their weapons. they fear to take them up: The Anti-Nephi-Lehies are said to “fear to take up arms” in Alma 27:23. should: The 1830 edition has shall here. It was changed to should in the 1837 edition. fear to sin: This phrase appears only here in the Book of Mormon. trodden down and slain: See the comment on “trodden down” at 15:3. not lift their swords against them: This action directly parallels that of the Anti-Nephi-Lehies in Alma 24:23. faith in Christ: This phrase appears fourteen times in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 33:7; Jacob 7:3; Enos 1:8; Alma 25:16; 44:3; Helaman 5:41; 15;9; Moroni 7:25, 32, 39; 10:4). See also Enos 1:15; Alma 14:26, 28; 15:10; 27:27. The phrase appears in the New Testament in Acts 24:24 and Colossians 2:5, although the phrase “faith in Christ Jesus” and its variants are more common (Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 1:1; Colossians 1:4; 1 Timothy 3:13; 2 Timothy 3:15).
15:10 steadfastness: This seems to refer back specifically to the steadfastness mentioned in Helaman 15:8. steadfastness . . . firmness: This combination of steadfastness and firmness to describe a group of people appears only here in the Book of Mormon. Note that firmness appears just nine times in the Book of Mormon (Jacob 3:1; 4:18; Helaman 6:1; 3 Nephi 3:2, 5; Mormon 2:25; 9:28). That the word is used (alongside steadiness) to describe the Lamanites in Helaman 6:1 is significant. enlightened: The sense here refers to conversion, that is, being “enlightened by the Spirit of God” (Alma 24:30; compare Doctrine and Covenants 91:5; Hebrews 6:4). The Book of Mormon also refers to having one’s “understanding” enlightened (Alma 32:28, 34; compare Ephesians 1:18), again through the actions of the Spirit (compare Doctrine and Covenants 6:15). In the Old Testament it is God’s commandments that are pure and that “enlighten” one’s eyes (Psalm 19:8). Particularly important here is Hebrews 6:4, where “once enlightened” appears in a similar fashion to this verse. prolong their days: Except for three places in Helaman 15 (vv. 4, 10–11), the only other instance of the Lord “prolonging” the days of a people is Lehi’s sermon in 2 Nephi 2:21, where the phrase is applied to those immediate descendants of Adam and Eve. See the comment on “prolonged their days” at 15:4. the Lord shall bless them . . . notwithstanding their iniquity: For a passage stating the much-different terms of the Lord’s promises to the Nephites, see 1 Nephi 2:20.
15:11 dwindle in unbelief: This phrase appears twenty-five times in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 4:13; 12:22–23; 13:35; 15:13; 2 Nephi 1:10; 26:15, 17, 19; Mosiah 1:5; Alma 45:10, 12; 50:22; Helaman 6:34; 15:11, 15; 3 Nephi 21:5; 4 Nephi 1:34, 38; Mormon 9:20, 35; Ether 4:3) but does not appear in the Bible. prolong their days: See the comment on “prolong their days” at 15:10. the time . . . spoken of by our fathers: See, possibly, 1 Nephi 15:13. the prophet Zenos: See, for example, 1 Nephi 19:16–17 and Jacob 5:52–54. many other prophets: See, for example, 1 Nephi 13:38, 2 Nephi 30:3–6, and Mormon 5:19–21. restoration: The word restoration is used in connection with “the Lamanites” only in Jacob 7:24, Enos 1:20, and Alma 37:19—none of these being prophecies of the last days. our brethren: That Samuel says “our brethren” to refer to the Lamanites is peculiar. It seems significant that he sometimes in this same sermon speaks to the Nephites as “my brethren” or “my beloved brethren” (see Helaman 14:30; 15:1, 4). He will again speak of “our brethren, the Lamanites” in Helaman 15:12. knowledge of the truth: See the comment on this phrase at 15:6.
15:12 in the latter times: The only figure in the Book of Mormon to use this phrase is Samuel. The phrase is biblical, appearing in Daniel 8:23 and 1 Timothy 4:1. the promises of the Lord have been extended: Every time the Book of Mormon speaks of promises being extended, it is to the Lamanites (see Alma 9:16, 24; 17:15). our brethren: See the comment on this phrase at 15:11. many afflictions: Note the use of this phrase in Helaman 12:3. driven to and fro: In addition to this verse, “to and fro” appears in 1 Nephi 21:21, 22:4, 2 Nephi 6:11 (where Jacob’s words seem particularly applicable to Samuel’s context), Mosiah 17:17, and 21:13. The specific image of being “driven” to and fro appears in Job 13:25 and in several of the Book of Mormon passages cited immediately above. the face of the earth: See the comment on “the face of the whole earth” at 14:22. hunted: People are referred to as “hunted” in Mosiah 17:18; Alma 25:9, 12; Helaman 3:16; 15:12; and Mormon 2:20; 8:2, 7. Typically, the Nephites are “hunted” by the Lamanites. The Lamanites as the party being “hunted” occurs only here. smitten and scattered abroad: Nephi predicts in 1 Nephi 13:14 that latter-day Lamanites will be “scattered before the Gentiles and . . . smitten.” Lehi prophesies the same in 2 Nephi 1:11, Jacob uses the same language to prophesy about Jews in 2 Nephi 6:11, and Abinadi uses this language against Noah’s people in Mosiah 17:17. no place for refuge: Compare the description given by Mormon in Mormon 5:15–18. See the comment on this phrase at 15:2. the Lord shall be merciful unto them: See 3 Nephi 21:1–9 for a prophecy of this mercy.
15:13 according to the prophecy: Possibly 1 Nephi 10:14. shall: The word again has likely been accidentally omitted here, so the text should probably read “shall again” (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3147). true knowledge: See the comment on “knowledge of the truth” at 15:6. The phrase “true knowledge” appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in 2 Nephi 10:2, which contains the kind of prophecy referred to in this verse. Redeemer: The title “Redeemer” appears forty-one times in the Book of Mormon and eighteen times in the Hebrew Bible. It is absent from the New Testament. The Lamanites are said to come to the knowledge of their Redeemer in 1 Nephi 10:14, 15:14, 2 Nephi 6:11, 10:2, and 3 Nephi 16:4. true: The 1830 edition has “their true.” The their was omitted beginning with the 1837 edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3148). shepherd: The application of the title “shepherd” to Jesus is a common one in the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13:41; 22:25; Alma 5:37–39, 41, 57, 60; Helaman 7:18; 3 Nephi 15:17, 21; 16:3; Mormon 5:17). It appears less frequently as a divine epithet in the Hebrew Bible, but it figures perhaps most famously in Psalm 23:1: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” In the New Testament, Jesus famously describes himself as a “good shepherd” in a lengthy discourse in John 10. Note that Samuel uses the title “great and true God” in Helaman 13:18. No one else in scripture uses the phrase “great and true.” numbered among his sheep: Nephi had earlier prophesied that God “numbereth his sheep, and they know him” (1 Nephi 22:25). In the Bible the idea of using lost sheep to represent Israel can be found in Psalm 119:176 and Jeremiah 50:6. Jesus will use it three times in his discourse to the Nephites in 3 Nephi (15:24; 16:3; 18:31).
15:14 except ye repent: Compare Nephi’s similar statement to the Nephites in Helaman 7:23–24 (the only other statement like this in the Book of Mormon): “Now therefore, I would that ye should behold, my brethren, that it shall be better for the Lamanites than for you except ye shall repent. For behold, they are more righteous than you, for they have not sinned against that great knowledge which ye have received; therefore the Lord will be merciful unto them; yea, he will lengthen out their days and increase their seed, even when thou shalt be utterly destroyed except thou shalt repent.”
15:15 mighty works: Beyond the two instances in this chapter (Helaman 15:15, 17), the only occurrence of “mighty works” in the Book of Mormon comes from Lamoni’s wife, also a Lamanite, in Alma 19:4. Notably, the phrase appears at several points in the New Testament Gospels, including Jesus’s comparison of Chorazin and Capernaum to the Gentile cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom (Matthew 11:20–23), a move that parallels closely what Samuel does here in comparing the Nephites with the Lamanites. dwindled in unbelief: See the comment on “dwindle in unbelief” at 15:11. traditions of their fathers: See the comment on “tradition of their fathers” at 15:4. see of yourselves: This is the only instance of this formula, “see of oneself,” in scripture. See, however, the comment on “know of yourselves” at 15:7.
15:16 saith the Lord: See the comment on this phrase at 13:10 and 13:12. utterly destroy: This phrase appears several times in the Book of Mormon, usually in the context of an entire people or genealogical line being wiped out. See, for example, 1 Nephi 13:30; 2 Nephi 3:3; 4:9; 9:53; 30:1; Alma 9:12, 24; Ether 11:12. See the comment on “utter destruction” at 13:10. day: The printer’s manuscript reads days, but that is likely in error (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3150). the day of my wisdom: This peculiar formula is unique to Samuel. return again unto me: The command “return unto me” is first used in the Book of Mormon here by Samuel but then is spoken several times by Jesus in 3 Nephi: 9:13, 10:6, 16:13, and 24:7. In the Bible it appears exclusively in the prophetic literature: Isaiah 44:22, Jeremiah 4:1, 24:7, and Malachi 3:7 (with “yet have ye not returned unto me” in Amos 4:6, 8–11).
15:17 saith the Lord: See the comments on this phrase at 13:10 and 13:12. the people of the Nephites: See the comment on this phrase at 13:8. observe to do: This phrase is biblical, appearing eighteen times in the Old Testament. It appears in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 32:6, Mosiah 13:25, Alma 5:61, 63:2, and 3 Nephi 18:6. Nowhere else in scripture does one observe to do God’s “will” specifically. utterly destroy them: Here Samuel’s words echo those of Alma to the inhabitants of Ammonihah: “For behold, the promises of the Lord are extended to the Lamanites, but they are not unto you if ye transgress; for has not the Lord expressly promised and firmly decreed, that if ye will rebel against him that ye shall utterly be destroyed from off the face of the earth?” (Alma 9:24). mighty works: See the comment on “mighty works” at 15:15. as surely as the Lord liveth: Other than this verse, language of oath swearing appears in 1 Nephi 3:15; 4:32; 2 Nephi 9:16; 25:20; 27:31; Omni 1:26; Alma 10:10; 23:6; 44:11; 54:10; Helaman 13:26; 3 Nephi 3:15, 21; 5:24, 26; and Mormon 8:23. The same phrase appears in the Hebrew Bible thirty-five times.
16:1 the words of Samuel: This phrase appears again in Helaman 16:2, 5–6 and then once more in 3 Nephi 1:6. Samuel, the Lamanite: See the comment on this epithet at 14:1. walls: See the comment on “wall” at 13:4. confessed . . . their sins: Note that others confess their sins before baptism in Helaman 5:17. Similar language appears in Helaman 16:5. denied not: There is a potential echo here of John 1:20, speaking of John the Baptist: “And he confessed, and denied not.” baptized unto the Lord: This event parallels Nephi’s earlier missionary efforts to the city of Mulek, where people likewise “came forth and did confess their sins and were baptized unto repentance” (Helaman 5:17). Nephi’s reputation would only have increased since that point, likely explaining why he himself is specifically sought out. Note that it is only in the Book of Mormon that one is “baptized unto the Lord.” This same formula appears in Mosiah 18:10, 13; Alma 15:12–13; and 62:45. It seems important that this occurs only in connection with the baptism associated with Alma’s church (never following Christ’s visit or recorded in the small plates).
16:2 as many as there were: This peculiar formula will appear again in 3 Nephi 5:5. cast stones: In the Book of Mormon the act of “casting stones” at someone also appears in the book of Alma (14:7; 17:36; 49:2, 4, 19; 50:5) and in Helaman 13:24. Often “cast out” and “stoned” appear together, as in 1 Nephi 1:20, 2 Nephi 26:3, Alma 15:1, 3 Nephi 7:14, and 8:25. wall: See the comment on “wall” at 13:4. shot arrows: While arrows are mentioned at several points in the Book of Mormon, the act of actually shooting them at a target appears only here. the Spirit of the Lord was with him: This is the only place in the Book of Mormon where the “Spirit of the Lord” is said to be “with” someone. Elsewhere, the Spirit of the Lord “fills” (1 Nephi 1:12), “strives” (1 Nephi 7:14; 2 Nephi 26:11; Mormon 5:16; Ether 2:15; 15:19; Moroni 9:4), “abides” (Alma 17:9; Mormon 2:26), or “dwells” (Helaman 4:24) “in” (2 Nephi 1:27; Mosiah 2:36) or “upon” (Mosiah 4:3; 13:5) people. The event itself could be seen as the fulfillment of the declaration made by the Lord in Helaman 13:8.
16:3 when they saw: This phrase also appears in Helaman 9:4, which is especially striking because it is the only other instance of it in scripture. many more: There is perhaps a slight echo here of John 4:41, “and many more believed because of his own word.” The phrase “many more” appears in this absolute formulation elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only twice, in Alma 16:15 and Moroni 9:24. went away: Nowhere else in scripture does anyone “go away” to be baptized, although it might be noted that Jesus “went away again” to “the place where John at first baptized” in John 10:40.
16:4 prophesying: The printer’s manuscript has “a prophesying,” but the a is absent from all printings (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3158). crying repentance: The only other occurrence of “crying repentance” is in Ether 9:28. Others are said to “cry” repentance, however, in 2 Nephi 3:20, Alma 29:1, and Ether 11:20. signs and wonders: See the comment on this phrase at 14:6. the Christ: References to “the Christ” without mention of “Jesus” appear in Jacob 7:9, 17, 19; Alma 30:39; 3 Nephi 29:5; 4 Nephi 1:27, 29; Mormon 9:3; and Moroni 1:2–3; 10:6. shortly come: The birth of Jesus Christ is approximately six years away. Samuel’s discourse and Nephi’s subsequent activity happen in the eighty-sixth year of the reign of the judges. Jesus’s birth occurs in the ninety-second year of the reign of the judges. His post-resurrection visit to the Nephites will happen thirty-four years later. The phrase “shortly come” appears just once in the Bible (Revelation 1:1) but five times in the Book of Mormon: 1 Nephi 22:18; Alma 16:19; Helaman 16:4, 5; Mormon 8:34.
16:5 shortly come: See the note on this phrase at 16:4. know and remember: This coupling is unique to this passage. known unto them beforehand: The wording here echoes Alma 24:14: “he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children.” See Alma 39:17–19. to the intent: See the comment on this phrase at 14:12. to the intent that they might believe: See similar language in Helaman 14:12, 28 but also in John 11:15: “to the intent that ye may believe.” as many as believed: The formula here in this verse recalls the description of Alma’s founding of the church in Mosiah 18:6. the words of Samuel: See the comment on this phrase at 16:1. repenting and confessing their sins: The coupling of confession and repentance is a Book of Mormon trope (Mosiah 26:29, 35–36; Helaman 5:17; Moroni 6:7). It seems important that this coupling has its origins in the Book of Mormon in the revelation to Alma about regulating membership in the church.
16:6 the more part: See the comment on this phrase at 13:12. did not believe: The contrasting responses to Samuel here and in verse 5 (“as many as believed”) echo the contrasting responses to Nephi’s power in Helaman 9:39–10:1. when they saw that . . . arrows: This longer formula reprises the shorter “when they saw” of Helaman 16:3. captains: According to Alma 2:13, the Nephite military (and possibly the Lamanite military as well) was organized around the office of “captain”: “And there were appointed captains, and higher captains, and chief captains, according to their numbers.” This military presence may explain the easy access to arrows. this fellow: The only other use of fellow as a noun is in Mosiah 13:1. In all other cases it is used adjectivally (Mosiah 2:17; 8:18; 26:38; Alma 17:29; 31:32). The phrase “this fellow” in the Bible is used condescendingly, and often in contexts of legal proceedings. hath a devil: This phrase appears only twice in the Book of Mormon. Other than here, it also appears in King Benjamin’s discourse, specifically in a verse describing reactions to the mortal Jesus Christ (Mosiah 3:19). In the New Testament the phrase appears in Matthew 11:18, Luke 7:33, and John 10:20. power of the devil: This phrase also appears in 2 Nephi 2:27; Jacob 7:4, 18; Alma 28:13; 3 Nephi 2:2; and Ether 8:16.
16:7 lay their hands on him: Note that attempts to lay hands on someone in violence are thwarted also in Helaman 5:26 and 8:10. wall: In contrast to popular art, the wall is near enough to the ground that Samuel can safely jump off it and run away. See the comment on “wall” at 13:4. own country: The location of Samuel’s “own country” is never specified. All Mormon tells us is that he “came into the land of Zarahemla” (Helaman 13:2), implying simply that his origin lay elsewhere. to preach and to prophesy: Nephi is described in Helaman 16:4 as prophesying and preaching.
16:8 never heard of more: This formula is used elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only for figures who definitively disappear—Alma the Younger (in Alma 45:18) and Hagoth (in Alma 63:8). and thus were the affairs of the people: Closing a section this way happens here and in 3 Nephi 7:13 and 4 Nephi 1:40. This wording also appears in Alma 46:7 and 56:1 and in Helaman 16:12.
16:9 eighty and sixth year of the reign of the judges: This year was last mentioned in Helaman 13:1.
16:10 the more part: The printer’s manuscript reads “and the more part.” The and is omitted from all printings (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3163). See the comment on “the more part” at 13:12. their pride and wickedness: This is perhaps a follow-up to Helaman 11:37, where Mormon had written that “in the eighty and fifth year they did wax stronger and stronger in their pride, and in their wickedness; and thus they were ripening again for destruction.” the lesser part: Unlike “the more part,” “the lesser part” appears infrequently—only in two other passages, both in the Book of Mormon and both with reference to a lesser part of the people (Mosiah 19:3; 29:26). circumspectly before God: See the comment on “circumspectly before God” at 15:5.
16:11 these: Here the printer’s manuscript has thus instead of these (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3167).
16:12 little alteration in the affairs of the people: See the comment on “and thus were the affairs of the people” at 16:8. The verb alter is used in one other passage in connection with affairs: “Moroni had altered the management of affairs among the Nephites” (Alma 49:11). hardened in iniquity: This phrase appears only here in the Book of Mormon. However, see the comment on “hardened and . . . stiffnecked” at 13:29. more and more: This phrase appears elsewhere in the Book of Mormon only in Alma 12:7. contrary to the commandments of God: This phrase also appears in Mosiah 27:10 and Helaman 8:3.
16:13 But: The printer’s manuscript has “but behold.” The behold may have been accidentally omitted from the 1830 edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3169). great signs . . . and wonders: See the comment on “signs and wonders” at 14:6. the words of the prophets began to be fulfilled: The Book of Mormon has three other instances of the “fulfillment” of the words of the prophets (3 Nephi 5:1; 29:2; Ether 15:3).
16:14 angels: Samuel has often referred to a specific angel in the course of his preaching (Helaman 13:7; 14:9, 26, 28). wise men: Other than here, the phrase “wise men” appears only in Mosiah 29:11. It is a fairly common phrase in the Bible. Given the timing of these events, it seems likely that this event is meant to be connected or parallel in some way to the famed Wise Men of Matthew 2. glad tidings of great joy: This phrase also appears in Mosiah 3:3 and Alma 13:22. In all three cases it is connected with the announcement of angels. See the comment on “glad tidings” at 13:7. thus in this year: The printer’s manuscript reads “and thus in this year.” The and was omitted from the 1830 edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3172). the scriptures began to be fulfilled: The Book of Mormon states on three occasions that scriptures were “fulfilled,” here and in 3 Nephi 9:16 and 10:11. Such talk is more common in the Bible, where it appears more than a dozen times in the New Testament.
16:15 harden their hearts: The idea of “hearts” being “hardened” appears more than fifty times in the Book of Mormon. It is less common in the Bible, appearing only six times (Exodus 14:17; Joshua 11:20; 1 Samuel 6:6; Hebrews 3:8, 15; 4:7). See also the comment on “hardness of the hearts” at 13:8. believing part: Only here in scripture is a part of a people said to be a “believing” part. depend upon their own strength: The only other place this phrase appears is Zeniff’s description of the Lamanites in Mosiah 10:11. depend upon . . . their own wisdom: Only here in scripture does someone depend on his or her own wisdom.
16:16 guessed: This is the only use of the verb guess or any noun equivalent in all of scripture. great and marvelous works: This phrase also appears in 1 Nephi 1:14, 2 Nephi 1:10, 4:17, Jacob 4:8, 3 Nephi 28:31, and 4 Nephi 1:5.
16:17 to reason and to contend: This is the only place in the Book of Mormon or the Bible where reason and contend appear together. It is, moreover, the only place where reason is used as a verb.
16:18 that [first instance]: It is likely that this that should follow saying at the end of verse 17 and precede any punctuation, as it was likely not part of any quotation (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3174). reasonable: The word reasonable appears only here in the Book of Mormon, and it appears just once in the Bible, in Romans 12:1 (with a very different meaning). a Christ: Reference to “a Christ” also appears in Sherem’s discussion with Jacob in Jacob 7:9 and Korihor’s discourse in Alma 30:13, 15, 26. Its presence here closely links it with the rhetoric of those skeptical of the Messiah. Son of God: The title “Son of God” appears numerous times throughout the Book of Mormon and the New Testament. In the Hebrew Bible it appears only in Daniel 3:25, where the Aramaic phrase bar-ĕlāhîn refers generically to a divine being. It might be noted that Samuel uses this title in Helaman 14:2, 8, and 12. See the comment on “Son of God” at 14:2. the Father of heaven and of earth: This title appears in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 25:12, Mosiah 3:8, 15:4, and Alma 11:39—and with particular relevance in Helaman 14:12 (see the comment on “the Father of heaven and of earth” at 14:12). It appears with a slight variation, “the Father of the heavens and of the earth,” in Ether 4:7. The title is absent from the Bible but resonates with “possessor of heaven and earth” (Genesis 14:19), with the closest parallel being “Father, Lord of heaven and earth” in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21. as it has been spoken: This phrase appears only here in the Book of Mormon. as well as: This phrase is sometimes used in the Book of Mormon to connect or to compare the experiences of New World and Old World Israelites, as here. See especially 1 Nephi 19:24. them: The 1830 text has they. This was changed to them in the 1837 edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3174). who: The 1830 texts has which. This was changed to who in the 1837 edition (see Skousen, Analysis, 5:3174). at Jerusalem: More than a dozen passages in the Book of Mormon refer to these people in terms of their being “at Jerusalem” (1 Nephi 2:13; 19:13, 20; 22:4; 2 Nephi 6:8; 9:5; 10:5; Alma 11:4; 3 Nephi 10:5; 15:14; 16:4; 17:8; 4 Nephi 1:31).
16:19 land of Jerusalem: Reference to the “land of Jerusalem” appears forty-two times in the Book of Mormon (most refer to the Old World city, but Alma 24:1 refers to a land in Lamanite territory). It does not appear in the Bible, although a close variation, “land of Judah and Jerusalem,” does appear in 1 Esdras 1:39.
16:20 tradition: See comment on “tradition of their fathers” at 15:4. handed down . . . by our fathers: Elsewhere in the Book of Mormon it is only Korihor and the Zoramites who speak of traditions being handed down—and they are all critical of them as well (Alma 30:14, 27; 31:16). cause us that we should believe: The combination of cause and belief also appears in Alma 19:17 and 32:18–19. great and marvelous thing: This phrase appears only here in the Book of Mormon. far distant: Elsewhere this phrase is used only in connection with time (Mosiah 3:5; 7:18; Alma 7:7). keep us in ignorance: The idea of trying to “keep” a group or people “in ignorance” parallels the words of Korihor in Alma 30:23. The phrase will appear again in Helaman 16:21. witness with our own eyes: This phrase appears only here. See also the comment on “witnessed” at 15:7.
16:21 cunning and the mysterious arts: This exact phrase appears only here. One variation, “cunning arts,” appears in 1 Nephi 16:38. A different variation, “the arts and cunning of the people,” appears in Alma 10:15. In Ether 13:16, Ether writes that Coriantumr had studied “in all the arts of war and all the cunning of the world.” A slight variation, “cunning works,” appears in Exodus 31:4. the evil one: This is a somewhat common title (2 Nephi 4:27; 9:28; Alma 46:8; Helaman 8:28; 12:4; Mormon 1:19). work some great mystery: The combination of work and mystery appears only here. In the Bible a parallel may be 2 Thessalonians 2:7 (“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work . . .”). cannot understand: This phrase intriguingly appears also in Jacob 4:14, in which Jacob says that God sometimes gives “many things which [human beings] cannot understand, because they desired it.” keep us down: This parallels Korihor’s words that Alma and others desire to “keep [the people] down” (Alma 30:27). servants to their words: This phrase appears only here. depend: Ironically, the text has just used depend in verse 15 to describe the self-assured intellectual culture of those speaking here. teach us the word: Other than here, the combination of teach and word appears only in Alma 38:10, 15. In other places word is qualified with “word of God” (Jacob 1:19; Mosiah 26:38; Alma 17:4; 23:4; Helaman 5:14) or “his word” (Alma 29:8). In Moroni 10, Moroni will speak of teaching “the word of wisdom” (v. 9) and “the word of knowledge” (v. 10). keep us in ignorance: See the comment on “keep us in ignorance” at 16:20. all the days of our lives: The closest parallel to this phrase in all of scripture is “all the days of your lives” in Helaman 13:38.
16:22 many more things: This phrase is used to summarize unquoted parts of Samuel’s sermon also in Helaman 14:1. imagine up in their hearts: The only other time imagine is used with hearts is in 3 Nephi 29:3. In Alma 5:16–18, Alma uses the word image three times but does not qualify it beyond that. The combination of imagine and hearts appears once in the Bible, in Zechariah 8:17. foolish and vain: The words foolish and vain appear together in 2 Nephi 28:9, Alma 30:13, 39:11, Helaman 12:4, and 3 Nephi 2:2 (where imagine appears also) and 3:3. The only biblical parallel is Lamentations 2:14. Relevant also, though, is Psalm 2:1, where “the people imagine a vain thing” (this passage is quoted in Acts 4:25). much disturbed: This phrase is unique to this passage. Satan: This title appears twenty-six times in the Book of Mormon, although devil appears much more frequently, nearly ninety times. (Note that Satan appears elsewhere in Helaman only in 6:21.) It is a common title in the Bible as well, appearing approximately fifty times. stir them up to do iniquity: The idea of “stirring up” a people to “iniquity” occurs twice in the Book of Mormon: Helaman 16:22 and 3 Nephi 6:15. The facilitator in both cases is “Satan.” spreading: Notably, in all four appearances of the word spreading in the Book of Mormon, what is being spread is negative: “priestcraft” (Alma 1:16), “the work of death” (Alma 60:7), “rumors and contentions” (Helaman 16:22), and “wicked and secret society” (Ether 9:6). rumors and contentions: Only here are rumors and contentions coupled. all the face of the land: See the comment on “all the face of this land” at 14:28. harden the hearts: See the comment on “harden their hearts” at 16:15. that which was good: This phrase appears in Mosiah 9:1, Alma 11:21, Helaman 16:22, Ether 9:23, and 10:17, 19. In the Bible the phrase appears in 2 Chronicles 14:2 and 31:20. that which should come: This phrase appears only here in the Book of Mormon.
16:23 the signs and the wonders: See the comment on “signs and wonders” at 14:6. people of the Lord: In addition to this verse, this title appears in 1 Nephi 22:14, 2 Nephi 6:13, Mosiah 18:34, 19:1, 27:10, Alma 24:29, 27:14, 54:8, and 3 Nephi 6:29. The closest the text comes to defining what the “people of the Lord” means is 2 Nephi 6:13, where the “people of the Lord” are described as “they who wait for him; for they still wait for the coming of the Messiah.” The phrase “people of the Lord” appears several times in the Old Testament (Numbers 16:41; Deuteronomy 27:9; Judges 5:11; 2 Samuel 1:12; 6:21; 2 Kings 9:6; Ezekiel 36:20; Zephaniah 2:10) but not in the New Testament. the many miracles: This phrase appears elsewhere only in 4 Nephi 1:29. See, however, 3 Nephi 8:1. Satan: See the comment on “Satan” at 16:22. great hold upon the hearts: The idea of gaining “hold” upon the “hearts” of a people is found in Alma 8:9, 10:25, Helaman 6:30–31, 7:15, 16:23, and 4 Nephi 1:28. In each of these cases the being having “hold” upon the “hearts” is either “Satan” or the “devil.” all the face of the land: See the comment on “all the face of this land” at 14:28.
16:25 the book of Helaman: Note that, before this reference, “the book of Helaman” is referred to in the preface to the book of Helaman and also in Helaman 2:14. according to the record of Helaman and his sons: This formula creates an inclusio with the heading that prefaces Helaman 1, which twice refers to “the record of Helaman and his sons” (once in a longer formula: “the records of Helaman, who was the son of Helaman, and also according to the records of his sons”)