Book of Mormon/Authorship theories/View of the Hebrews/Analysis of scripture use

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Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews: Analysis of scripture use


Scriptures cited by both works

KJV scripture VoH Page BoM Use? Comments and/or text (as it appears in View of the Hebrews)

Isaiah 6:11

  • 43
  • Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant; and the houses without man; and the land be utterly desolate; and the Lord have removed man far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

Isaiah 11:1

  • 56
  • ...the stem from the root of Jesse is promised....

Isaiah 11:11

  • 56–57
  • And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall set his hand again, the second time, to gather the remnant of his people, who shall be left, from Assyria and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Humah, and from the isles of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah, from the four corners of the earth.

Isaiah 11:15

  • 57
  • ...seven streams...

Isaiah 14:1

  • 62–63
  • For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them on their own land. And the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

Isaiah 49:18-23

  • 63
  • VoH only mentions the verses; it does not cite the text. Book of Mormon reproduces the entire chapter of Isaiah 49.

Isaiah 49:18-22

  • 70–72
  • removing to and fro; left alone; Who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had [have – BoM] they been?

Isaiah 11:12

  • 70
  • ...assemble the outcasts of Israel; and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Isaiah 11:12

  • 242
  • ...where God sets his hand a second time to gather his Hebrew family from all nations and regions beyond sea; doubtless from America, as well as other nations; and it is promised, "He shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."

Isaiah 11:13

  • 72
  • The envy also of Ephraim [also, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off – BoM] shall depart; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.

Isaiah 49:21

  • 73
  • ...these, where had [have-BoM] they been?

Isaiah 3:18-21

  • 110
  • The bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet; their cauls, and round tires like the moon; their chains, bracelets, mufflers, bonnets, ornaments of the legs; head bands, tablets, ear rings, rings, and nose-jewels; the mantles, the wimples; and the crisping pins.

Isaiah 3:24-25

  • 111
  • They are represented by the prophet as sitting on the ground; having their secret parts discovered; having given to them instead of a sweet smell, a stench; instead of a girdle, a rent; instead of well set hair, baldness; instead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth; and burning, instead of beauty.

Isaiah 9:6

  • 163
  • Their infant to be born, was "the mighty God, the everlasting Father"

Isaiah 11:

  • 179–180
  • Ephraim and Judah are both restored, the one from his "dispersed." the other from his "outcast" state; and their mutual envies are forever healed. And the places from which they are recovered are noted; among which are "the isles of the sea;" or lands away over the sea, and "the four corners of the earth."

Isaiah 5:26

  • 181-182
  • ...in both of which passages [see below for other], the hiss was to call distant heathen....

Isaiah 7:18

  • 181-182
  • ...in both of which passages [see above for other], the hiss was to call distant heathen

Isaiah 5:13

  • 182–183
  • Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge.

Isaiah 7:8

  • 183
  • ...within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken that it be not a people.

Isaiah 10:20-22

  • 199–200
  • And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as are escaped of the house of Jacob, shall no more again stay upon him that smote them; but shall stay upon the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. The remnant shall return, even the remnant of Jacob, unto the Mighty God. For though the people of Israel be as the sand of the sea; yet a remnant of them shall return.

Isaiah 49:1,11-13

  • 202–203
  • Listen, O isles, unto me; (or ye lands away over the sea) hearken ye people from afar. I will make all my mountains a way; and my highways shall be exalted. Behold, these shall come from far; and lo, these from the north, and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.--Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

Isaiah 51:11

  • 202–203
  • And the redeemed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away"


Isaiah 11:12

  • 214–215
  • And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Isaiah 11:13

  • 214
  • It is predicted, in Isai. xi. 13, as one peculiarity of these two branches of Israel, after their final restoration, that they shall envy each other no more.

Analysis

The Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews have only 30 verses from Isaiah in common, some of which are in Isaiah 11, which entire chapter Ethan Smith references but does not quote. Only ten chapters of Isaiah are mentioned by both works.

Isaiah cited only by Ethan Smith

KJV scripture VoH Page Comments and/or text (as it appears in View of the Hebrews)

Isaiah 18:2-7

  • 58
  • Go, ye swift messengers, to a nation scattered and peeled, to a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out, and trodden down; whose land the rivers have spoiled. In that day shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts, of a people scattered and peeled, and from a people terrible from the beginning hitherto; a nation meted out and trodden under foot; whose land the rivers have spoiled, to the place of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion.

Isaiah 60:1,3,8,9

  • 58
  • Arise, shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. The gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Who are these that fly as clouds, and as doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of the Lord thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee

Isaiah 66:30

  • 58–59
  • And they shall bring of your brethren for an offering unto the Lord, out of all nations, upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters, and upon mules, and upon swift beasts, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord, as the children of Israel bring and offering in a clean vessel unto the house of the Lord.

Isaiah 65:7

  • 59
  • ...their works are measured into their bosom...

Isaiah 65:8-9

  • 59
  • Thus saith the Lord; As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, destroy it not; for a blessing is in it; so will I do for my servants, sakes that I may not destroy them all. And I will bring forth a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah an inheritor of my mountains; and mine elect shall inherit it, and my servants shall dwell there.

Isaiah 56:8

  • 70–72
  • The Lord God who gathereth the outcasts of Israel, Faith...

Isaiah 63:17-18

  • 51
  • O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy way, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servant's sake, the tribes of shine inheritance. The people of thy holiness have possessed it (shine inheritance) but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. We are thine. Thou never bearest rule over them; they are not called by thy name.

Isaiah 63:1-6

  • 70–72
  • Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?

Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

Isaiah 63:1-6

  • 159–160
  • A certain description of persons infamously wicked, will be burned with it. They will roll in fire; yet cannot die." "There are to be other signs before the end of the world; such as great shakings of the earth, &c."

Isaiah 63:16

  • 73
  • ...though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel (the Jews) acknowledge us not...

Isaiah 28:1,3,8

  • 109
  • Wo to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim; The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under feet. For all tables shall be full of vomit and filthiness; so that there is no place clean.

Isaiah 28:5

  • 110
  • In that day shall the Lord of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty unto the residue of this people.

Isaiah 54:5

  • 162
  • For thy Makers is thy husbands

Isaiah 59:19

  • 176
  • Mr. Edwards apprehended this passage of Isaiah might allude to America; "So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west"[1]

Isaiah 18:8-9

  • 176
  • Not quoted, just cited.

Isaiah 18:7

  • 176
  • "in that time shall the present be brought unto the Lord of hosts of a people scattered and peeled, (the very people of the ancient covenant in manifest descriptions repeatedly given) to the place of the name of the Lord of hosts, the Mount Zion"

Isaiah 63:

  • 179
  • No citation, just referenced.

Isaiah 18:

  • 175–176
  • Verses 1-7 have extensive exegesis.

Isaiah 43:1-2

  • 179
  • But now, thus saith the Lord, that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee.[2]

Isaiah 43:4

  • 179–180
  • I have loved thee {with an everlasting love} [Curly brackets not in Isaiah, but Jeremiah 31:3.]

Isaiah 43:4

  • 179–180
  • therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not, for I am with thee. I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back; bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.

Isaiah 43:16

  • 179–180
  • Thus saith the Lord, who maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters;

Isaiah 43:19

  • 179–180
  • Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."

Isaiah 60:9

  • 179–180
  • Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarnish first, (or a power expert in navigation,) to bring my sons from far."[3]

Isaiah 66:18-21, &c.

  • 180
  • No cite, just reference to it.

Isaiah 36:19

  • 182–183
  • Where are the gods of Hamah, and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand?

Isaiah 18:1

  • 183–184
  • Ho, land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." Our translators render this address, "Wo to the land."--But this is manifestly incorrect, as the best expositors agree. The Hebrew particle here translated Wo to, is a particle of friendly calling, as well as of denouncing.

Isaiah 26:3

  • 185–186
  • As peace, peace, means perfect peace

Isaiah 26:19

  • 187–188
  • Thy dew is the dew of herbs," which in the spring shall vegetate. "And I will be like the fertile cooling cloud in the sultry heat of harvest." The Hebrews shall now become "as the tender grass springing out of the earth, by the clear shining after rain;"

Isaiah 18:7

  • 189
  • "a nation of line, line;"

Isaiah 18:2

  • 189
  • Truely they are "a nation of line, line;"

Isaiah 28:2

  • 254
  • "a nation of line, line;"

Isaiah 61:9

  • 198
  • that all who see them shall acknowledge they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed....

Isaiah 65:23

  • 198
  • that they are the seed of the blessed of the Lord, and their offspring with them....

Isaiah 60:

  • 198
  • No cite, just reference to it.

Isaiah 65:3

  • 198
  • No cite, just reference to it.

Isaiah 44:3-4

  • 198–199
  • "I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessings upon shine offspring; and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses;"

Isaiah 59:21

  • 198–199
  • As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord. My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and forever;

Isaiah 40:5

  • 200
  • No cite, just reference to it

Isaiah 40:1-2

  • 200
  • Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, (a name here put for all the Hebrew family, as it was their capital in the days of David and Solomon,) and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."

Isaiah 35:1

  • 201
  • The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, and the excellency of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God.

Isaiah 35:5

  • 201
  • Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped, then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing

Isaiah 43:19-20

  • 203–204
  • Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field shall honour me; the dragons and the owls; because I give water in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, to my chosen.

Isaiah 51:3

  • 203–204
  • ...make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord....

Isaiah 41:14

  • 204
  • Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord God, thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. I will open rivers in the high places, and fountains in the midst of vallies: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; and I will set in the desert the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together, that they may see and know and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Isaiah 41:18-20

  • 204
  • Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord God, the Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. I will open rivers in the high places, and fountains in the midst of vallies: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; and I will set in the desert the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together, that they may see and know and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it.

Analysis

Nineteen chapters of Isaiah are used in Ethan Smith without being used in the Book of Mormon (almost twice the number of chapters they have in common), with reference to at least 65 verses (more than 68% of the total number of Isaiah verses cited by Ethan Smith). View of the Hebrews also cites the entire chapters of Isaiah 18, 60 (twice), and 63, which would raise the numbers even further.

Questionable parallels

A few scriptures are alluded to by View of the Hebrews, but it is difficult to see them as actual parallels in the use of scripture, since one is a grammatic example ignored by the Book of Mormon, and one is a reference to John the Baptist. Joseph Smith would be far more likely to know the reference to John the Baptist from the New Testament than he would to crib the idea from Ethan Smith's use of the Old Testament:

KJV scripture VoH Page BoM Use? Comments and/or text (as it appears in View of the Hebrews)

Isaiah 40:3

  • 256–257
  • This is about John the Baptist, and more plausibly from NT than Isaiah (though NT is citing Isaiah, of course): "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness; Prepare ye the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God."

Isaiah 55:1

  • 237

(VoH does not cite verse directly.)

  • Ho every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters [Ethan Smith uses only as a grammatical example.]

A key omission

Ethan Smith's volume relies heavily on Isaiah 18—readers of the book will note how important he feels this chapter is, since it applies to America. Ethan Smith focuses heavily on verse one ("ho, land shadowing with wings") as referring specifically to North and South America, with the two "wings" of North America and South America being divided by the Isthmus of Panama. Of course, the Book of Mormon doesn't refer to Isaiah 18 at all, which, though interesting for a book that ostensibly very heavily relied on Ethan Smith, also at its core purports to also represent Israel in the Americas. And yet, the Book of Mormon does not avail itself of this at all.

Members of the Church would later find this type of reasoning persuasive:

  • "But the stepping of the people on this side of the ship, or on the land shadowing with wings, in such numbers, would, to use a figure, almost turn the world over; they would, in other words, overbalance it, the same as a ship would be overbalanced by the shifting of the cargo from one side of the vessel to the other" (Parley P. Pratt, (July 4, 1853) Journal of Discourses 1:142.). (italics added)
  • "To show still more fully the place where this ensign or standard is to be raised, let me refer you to the 18th chapter of Isaiah, wherein you will find these words, "Woe to the land shadowing with wings, which is beyond the rivers of Ethiopia." In the 3rd verse of that chapter, after uttering the prediction concerning the judgment to come upon that land beyond the rivers of Ethiopia from Palestine-a land that has the appearance of shadowing with wings, like North and South America, the prophet says, "All ye inhabitants of the world and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains, and when he bloweth with a trumpet, hear ye"-something that the Lord considered worthy of the attention of all the people of the earth." (Orson Pratt, (March 26, 1871) Journal of Discourses 14:67.).

If View of the Hebrews was Joseph's source, why didn't he use this vital part of Ethan Smith's argument?

Summary

Question: Does the Book of Mormon rely primarily on those chapters from Isaiah mentioned in Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews?

An analysis of the use of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews does not suggest that the former relies upon the latter

Isaiah scriptures in both Isaiah in View of Hebrews only Isaiah in Book of Mormon only
  • Isaiah 11 - all
  • Isaiah 3:18-21, 24-25
  • Isaiah 5:13, 26
  • Isaiah 6:11
  • Isaiah 7:8, 18
  • Isaiah 9:6
  • Isaiah 10:20-22
  • Isaiah 11:1, 11, 12, 13, 15
  • Isaiah 14:1
  • Isaiah 49:1, 11-13, 18-23
  • Isaiah 51:11
  • Isaiah 18 - all
  • Isaiah 60 - all (twice)
  • Isaiah 63 - all
  • Isaiah 18:1-7, 8-9
  • Isaiah 26:3, 19
  • Isaiah 28:1,2,3, 5, 8
  • Isaiah 35:1,5
  • Isaiah 36:19
  • Isaiah 40:1-2, 5
  • Isaiah 41:14, 18-20
  • Isaiah 42:19-20
  • Isaiah 43:1-2,4, 16, 19-20
  • Isaiah 44:3-4
  • Isaiah 51:3
  • Isaiah 54:5
  • Isaiah 56:8
  • Isaiah 59:19, 21
  • Isaiah 60:1,3, 8, 9
  • Isaiah 61:9
  • Isaiah 63:1-6, 16, 17-18
  • Isaiah 65:3, 7,8-9, 23
  • Isaiah 66:18-21, 30
  • Isaiah 48:1-22 [1 Nephi 20]
  • Isaiah 49:2-10, 14-17, 24-46 [1 Nephi 21]
  • Isaiah 50:1-11 [2 Nephi 7]
  • Isaiah 51:1-10, 12-23 [2 Nephi 8:1-10, 12-23]
  • Isaiah 52:1-2 [2 Nephi 8:24-25]
  • Isaiah 2:1-22 [2 Nephi 12]
  • Isaiah 3:1-17, 22-23, 26 [2 Nephi 13]
  • Isaiah 4:1-6 [2 Nephi 14]
  • Isaiah 5:1-12, 14-25, 27-30 [2 Nephi 15]
  • Isaiah 6:1-10, 12-13 [2 Nephi 16]
  • Isaiah 7:1-7, 9-17, 19-25 [2 Nephi 17]
  • Isaiah 8:1-22 [2 Nephi 18]
  • Isaiah 9:1-5, 7-21 [2 Nephi 19]
  • Isaiah 10:1-19, 23-34 [2 Nephi 20]
  • Isaiah 12:1-6 [2 Nephi 22]
  • Isaiah 13:1-22 [2 Nephi 23]
  • Isaiah 14:2-32 [2 Nephi 24]

TOTAL = 30 verses in common; 31.6% of VoH Isaiah verses and 8.3% of BoM Isaiah verses

TOTAL = 65 verses only in VoH; 68.4% of VoH Isaiah verses

TOTAL = 332 verses only in Book of Mormon; 91.7% of BoM Isaiah verses

An analysis of the use of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon and View of the Hebrews does not suggest that the former relies upon the latter, for the following reasons:

  • the Book of Mormon tends to quote large portions (i.e., complete chapters) of Isaiah and then provide commentary. View of the Hebrews uses short segments of Isaiah (at most a few verses; often only a phrase or few words) to make the argument that the Amerindians are the lost ten tribes. The style and pattern of usage is not analogous—merely claiming that both works quote Isaiah does not accurately reflect how Isaiah is used, and to what extent.
  • The vast majority of the Book of Mormon's Isaiah verses are not found in View of the Hebrews; almost two-thirds of the View of the Hebrews references are not found in the Book of Mormon at all. If anything, the Book of Mormon avoids the texts which View of the Hebrews finds so compelling.
  • Only 30 verses are shared between the two works. The actual text which they share is even less, since View of the Hebrews often cites fragments of the verses, while the Book of Mormon always reproduces the entire verse.
  • The Book of Mormon neglects to use all of the verses which Ethan Smith claims refer to America—a strange omission for the Book of Mormon, which the critics believe represents Joseph's attempt to write a history of the Americas.


Notes

  1. This scripture is claimed to be about America, yet if he was borrowing, Joseph Smith omits it. Why?
  2. Note the complex mix of scriptures on pp. 179–180; some are in the Book of Mormon, but most are not. Why would Joseph pick out Isaiah 11 in the midst of this complex argument, and ignore Isaiah 43 and Isaiah 60, which are a much larger part of Ethan Smith's argument?
  3. Note that Ethan Smith insists this is about America. Why not in Joseph’s work then, since this would be tailor made for the purpose which some claim motivates Joseph's cribbing?


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