In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Book of Abraham

facsimilie 2 Book of Abraham
This link below is from the  It is a group of BYU professors discussing the Book of Abraham which is found in the Pearl of Great Price and also discussing the facsimilies included in the book. I think that they do a great job covering some of the basics of the current topics that are being held in scholarly debait.  The roundtable discussion is about an hour long so please click the link and check it out.

For a more indepth DVD has put together a documentary on the Book of Abraham and the facsimilies.  For a quick preview of that video check out the following youtube link. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A remnant of the garment of Joseph, Jasher, Captain Moroni and Pre-Islamic Prophet Stories

Joseph and his brothers at Pharoah's Court
The Bible presents us with an interesting view of the story of Joseph(son of Jacob) and his garment. From what we read in the Book of Genesis in the Bible chapter 37:3 we find: Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colours. And later in verse 23 is says, And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colours that was on him. Later we read that after selling Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver that his brothers took Joseph’s coat and killed a goat and dipped it in the blood. They later sent the coat to their father Jacob who confirmed it was his sons coat and that he surely must have been killed by the beast (spelling incorrections all part of KJV of Bible).

In the Book of Mormon in Alma 46:24 we read, a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself. This is an interesting insight because nowhere in the Bible to we read that there was a portion of the coat or garment that was preserved. This version or addition of the story is only found in a few places most of which would be considered Apocryphal writings. The first place we find anything even near to this insight is in the 13th century document known as the Book of Jasher that mentions that Joseph’s brothers tore his garment. John A. Tvedtnes points out that this document was not published until 1840 after the publishing of the Book of Mormon this would lead us to believe that both renditions must be influenced from an earlier account.

The second account was pointed out by Hugh Nibley in his book “An Approach to the Book of Mormon” as a group of stories written by a tenth century compiler of legends concerning biblical and non-biblical pre-Islamic prophets. The compilers name was Al- Tha’labi and the compilation of these Jewish stories were called the Qisas al-anbiya or “Stories of the Prophets”. This is the way that Hugh Nibley explained the text of that document,

And when Joseph had made himself known unto them [his brethren] he asked them about his father, saying, "What did my father after [I left]?" They answered, "He lost his eyesight [from weeping]." Then he gave them his garment [qamis, long outer shirt]. According to ad-Dahak that garment was of the weave [pattern, design] of Paradise, and the breath [spirit, odor] of Paradise was in it, so that it never decayed or in any way deteriorated [and that was] a sign [omen]. And Joseph gave them that garment, and it was the very one that had belonged to Abraham, having already had a long history. He said to them, "Go, take this garment of mine
and place it upon the face of my father so he may have sight again . . . and when he brought the garment he laid it upon his face, so that his sight returned to him.

Jacob and the Garment of Joseph
The insights added by the “Stories of the Prophets” are also influenced by an earlier account. Jacob was able to feel by the weave and by the signs in the garment that it was the very garment that would have been passed down from Abraham and already had a long history and was surely that of his son Joseph. This would explain the jealousy of his brothers. The garment worn by Joseph was that of the priesthood.

The final example of the remnant of Joseph’s garment is found in the Book of Mormon as stated above in Alma 46:23,24 where we read,

23 Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the
seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain.
24 Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed. And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment.

So here we have brought together three accounts of the remnant of the garment of Joseph all of which have added additional insights. Because these accounts were not available to Joseph Smith during his time of translating the Book of Mormon each of these stands as an additional witness to its authenticity.  This is personally one of my favorite bits of evidence in favor of the Book of Mormon.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Josiah's Reform

Josiah reading the "Book of the Law"
Josiah was the King of Judah from 641-609 B.C.  It was during the 18th year of his rule that he used the collected taxes to renovate the Temple and ordered the High Priest Hilkiah to do so.  During this renovation process Hilkiah was clearing the room of treasures and discovered the Book of the Law or what was also called, "the Book of the Law of Yahweh by the hand of Moses".  Many scholars believe that this was either a copy of the Book of Deuteronomy or part of the text that later became the Book of Deuteronomy.  According to 2 Kings 23:2 which states,

"And the king went up into the house of the LORD, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their hearing all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD."

Nephi and his brothers see an angel while
in the cavity of a rock
King Josiah ordered it to be read to all who were at Jerusalem and this became the basis for his reform.  It was during this time that Josiah ordered the destruction of all the pagan objects of Baal and Asherah and had passover re-instituted.  If we are to take the above scripture 2 Kings 23:2 at face value than this would have been during the days of Lehi in Jerusalem.  We know that Lehi dwelt in Jerusalem all of his days.  Lehi would have likely been present during the reading of the Book of the Law.  As pointed out in Terrence L. Szink's FARMS review entitled, "Jerusalem in Lehi's Day" Lehi would have been a young father and husband at this time and very well could have taken those reforms to heart and applied them to his daily life and taught them to his children.  This was considered a bright spot in the history of Judah.  This would explain a few things, for one this would explain Nephi's love for the teachings of Moses.  Nephi used these teachings in 1 Nephi 4:2 when Nephi beckons his brothers "to be strong like unto Moses" before slaying Laban and acquiring the brass plates.  This would also explain the use of alternate cursings and blessings based on faith.  The cursings and blessings are very common throughout the Book of Mormon and can also be found in Deuteronomy as well.

Although I usually post evidences on this blog I feel that the need for great insight is extremely important especially when trying to understand the political and religious situation that existed during the time of Nephi and Lehi in the beginning of the Book of Mormon.