1 Nephi 21 / Isaiah 49—The Servant Song

Join me in a personal study of this Servant Song and the latter-day gathering

1395

Summary

Isaiah continues his prophecy about the servant in this Second Servant Song. He prophesies the gathering of scattered Israel in the last days and how “governments of many nations will assist in this gathering. In the last days, Israel will finally do the work she was originally called to do but failed to accomplish.
“…Isaiah sets the stage for this prophecy by having us think of Israel as a person who is thinking about her past and feels like she has been a failure as far as her calling and mission from the Lord is concerned. Then she is startled by her success in the last days.”1

Background

This morning reading Isaiah 49 I learned that the first thirteen verses are known as one of four Servant Songs in Isaiah. Having never heard of the Servant Songs, I researched the topic and found this by Terry B. Ball who at the time of its writing was Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University.

“The latter chapters of Isaiah contain a series of beautiful poetic prophecies about a servant who would bless the world through his life, labors, and suffering. Collectively these prophecies are known as the “Servant Songs” or the “Servant Psalms.” Though an issue of some debate, a typical list of the Servant Songs includes Isaiah 42:1–6; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; 52:13–15; 53:1–12.[1a & b]

1 Nephi 21  Isaiah 49 Notes and Expanded Commentary:

  Joseph Smith Translation (JST) corrections in the Book of Mormon are in RED; commentary and notes are GREEN 

Again before reading this chapter, we have to ask why Nephi is including it. Joseph Spencer thinks, “First Nephi is an extended introduction to Second Nephi, and it does its work of introduction by getting us acquainted with the two prophetic sources he brings together in 2 Nephi 6–30: Isaiah’s writings from the brass plates, and the prophetic tradition that began with his father. What’s more, it shows its readers at least preliminarily how those two sources are interrelated“— The Vision of All,  Greg Kofford Books

aAnd again: Hearken, O ye house of Israel, all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people; yea, all ye that are broken off, that are scattered abroad, who are of my people, O house of Israel. Listen, O bisles, unto me, and hearken ye people from cfar; the Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

 x

x

x

x

x

aListen, O isles, unto me; and bhearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath ccalled me from the womb;
from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

The preface may be outlined like this:
And again:
A Hearken,
B  O ye house of Israel,
C    all ye that are broken off
D     and are driven out
E       because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people
D’     yea, all ye that are broken off,
C’   that are scattered abroad
B’  who are of my people, O house of Israel.
A’ Listen…

 

 

Here the Book of Mormon “adds a preface to the KJV verse. Because the preface is in chiasmus, a poetic style used in biblical Hebrew wherein parallel lines form an “X” shape when diagrammed [see above in red], it is good evidence of the authenticity of the account on the brass plates, even though there is no support from the versions.
The Hebrew of this addition would begin with the word sm*w, “hearken,” which also begins the section to follow. The loss of the preface in Hebrew Masoretic text was probably due to haplography because of the resemblance of the two parts beginning with the same word.John A. Tvedtnes,  Isaiah Variants in the Book of Mormon, in Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament, Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984, 165–78.

The Book of Mormon text opens with forty-eight words [see above in red] that don’t appear in the biblical text …we can interpret this in at least three rather different ways.

    1. it could, of course, be that these words appear right on the brass plates, that these were at one point part of the writings attributed to Isaiah but were subsequently deleted or somehow lost.
    2. … Nephi might have deliberately added these words …in an attempt to shape the text for his immediate audience, his rebellious brothers.
    3. …these words are simply to be read as an introductory word, entirely Nephi’s own, that precedes the quotation of Isaiah 49—something he meant to be understood as a separate, introductory word rather than an interpolation directly into the Isaianic text.”

— Joseph Spencer, The Vision of All,  Greg Kofford Books

First Nephi 21 (Isaiah 49) presents the scattering of Israel as a result of breaking
the covenant and specifically addresses “all ye that are broken off and are driven out because of the wickedness of the pastors of my people”
 (verse 1). If Israel is scattered, then is the Lord’s work for the house of Israel all in vain? (see verse 4). No, because the Lord will gather them again through the Gentiles, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed by his ministry, ‘that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth’ (see verses 5–6). The Lord will remember his covenant to those scattered, even to the ‘isles of the sea’ (see verses 8–9, 15–16).—Garold N. Davis, “Pattern and Purpose of the Isaiah Commentaries in the Book of Mormon.”

As Nephi quoted this Servant Song to his brothers, he included several lines of text in the first verse not found in other current versions of the Old Testament. [in red] It is not clear whether these additional lines were in the ancient text of Isaiah that Nephi knew, or if these lines are his own commentary, added to help his brothers understand that “isles,” to whom this song is addressed, refers to that part of the house of Israel who had been “broken off,” “driven out,” and “scattered abroad” (1 Nephi 21:1)—a part of Israel that included the descendants of Lehi. — Terry B. Ball, “Isaiah’s ‘Other’ Servant Songs

Note also that in this first the word Isles ‘refers not only to islands but also to the continents of the earth (2 Nephi10:20).  It may also mean any place not immediately accessible to Israel by land.'”—Jay Parry, Donald Parry, and Tina M Peterson, Understanding Isaiah, p 425

“‘The Lord hath called me from the womb’ Clearly, this servant was foreordained to do the Lord’s work.” — John Bytheway, Isaiah For Airheads, Deseret Book 

And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And he hath made my mouth like a sharp asword;
in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me,
and made me a polished shaft;
in his quiver hath he hid me;
 “The word of God is often compared to a sword, as in Ephesians 6:17: ‘and [take] the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God’ (see also D&C 6:2).” Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads“The reference in Isaiah 49:2 to the mouth of the Servant of the LORD being ‘like a sharpened sword’ is a prophetic image that crops up several times in the New Testament (Ephesians 6:17Hebrews 4:12Revelation1:16;
2:121619:15).” gotQuestions.org
And said unto me: Thou art my aservant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. And said unto me, Thou art my aservant,
O Israel, in whom I will be bglorified.

 The capstone or climax of the short,  profound poem is in verse three, where the servant is promised that he will be one in whom God “will be glorified.” The Savior’s atoning sacrifice brought forth our deliverance from death and hell as he fulfilled heavenly father’s glorious plan of salvation

 

Then I said, I have labored in avain, I have spent my strength for naught and in vain; surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.x

 

Then I said, I have laboured in vain,
I have spent my strength for nought,
and in vain:
yet surely my judgment is with the Lord,
and my work with my God.

 He appears to observe that while on one hand his strength and labor seem to have been spent in vain, for “Israel hath not been gathered,” on the other hand he will have accomplished God’s work and is to be judged of the Lord. — Terry B. Ball, “Isaiah’s ‘Other’ Servant Songs

“Many servants of the Lord have felt this way at times. ‘What could I have done more for my vineyard?’ asked the Lord of the vineyard in Jacob 5:49. Someone once said, ‘We are not called to be successful in all things, we are called to be faithful in all things.’ Although the servant is discouraged, he trusts the Lord to judge righteously his best efforts by concluding, ‘surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.'” —Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads

And now, saith the Lord—that aformed me from the womb that I should be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him—though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my bstrength. ¶ And now, saith the Lord
that aformed me from the womb
to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him,
Though Israel be not gathered,
yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord,
and my God shall be my strength.

 In response to the Servant’s observation, God assures him that though Jacob may not yet be “gathered,” his efforts would still be pleasing and “glorious” to the Lord, and God will strengthen him— Terry B. Ball, “Isaiah’s ‘Other’ Servant Songs

“Not only will the servant be called to gather covenant Israel (a ‘light thing,’ or small task), but will also bring salvation to the Gentiles and ‘the ends of the earth.'” Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads

And he said: It is a light thing that thou shouldst be my servant to raise up the atribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a blight to the cGentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the ends of the earth. And he said, It is a light thing
that thou shouldest be my servant
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and to restore the preserved of Israel:
I will also give thee for a alight to the bGentiles,
that thou mayest be my csalvation unto the end of the earth.

 “In the second Servant Song, the Messiah restores God’s people and in addition to being the One to restore the land of Israel (verse 8), the Messiah is chosen to redeem the Gentiles. In this way, God’s salvation is brought to all people. Christ Jesus is ‘the light of the world’ (Luke 2:30–32John 8:129:5) and the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecies. On their first missionary journey, Paul and Barnabas bring the gospel to the Gentiles in Antioch, and they quote Isaiah 49:6. The response of the Gentiles in Antioch is pure joy: ‘When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord’ (Acts 13:48). In Christ, both Jews and Gentiles are made one (Ephesians 2:11–18).”  gotQuestions.org

It is interesting to note that the Hebrew term translated as “salvation” in 49:6 is Yeshua, from which the Greek name Jesus is derived, further identifying the Servant as Jesus Christ.— Brown, Driver, and Briggs, Hebrew and English Lexicon, 447.

Not all scholars agree on when this Servant Song ends. According to gotQuestions we should include the next seven verses, which we have here:
1 Nephi 21   Isaiah 49 KJV  Notes:

 Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nations abhorreth, to servant of rulers: Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the Lord that is faithful and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thus saith the Lord,
the Redeemer of Israel,
and his Holy One,
to him whom man despiseth,
to him whom the nation abhorreth,
to a servant of rulers,
Kings shall see and arise,
princes also shall worship,
because of the Lord that is faithful,
and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

“The Book of Mormon version of the text drops two whole clauses: ‘and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.’ Why drop all these words? In context, it seems that they’re meant to make Isaiah 49 speak directly and perhaps only to Israel exiled in Babylon. With its removal, the passage seems actually to speak to Israel in whatever condition or conditions it might be—including a widely scattered or dispersed condition.’ Spencer, Joseph M. The Vision of All

Although this servant shall be despised by some, eventually he will be recognized by kings and princes. Perhaps this is a reference to the Millennium when “every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess” that Jesus is the Christ and when the Lord will “reign personally upon the earth” (see Mosiah 27:31; Philippians 2:10–11; Articles of Faith 1:10). Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads

 Thus saith the Lord: In an acceptable time have I heard thee, O isles of the sea, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; and I will preserve thee, and give thee amy servant for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Thus saith the Lord,
In an acceptable atime have I heard thee,
and in a day of salvation have I helped thee:
and I will preserve thee,
and give thee for a bcovenant of the people,
to establish the earth, to cause to cinherit the desolate heritages;

As Nephi quoted the eighth verse of this passage, he also retained or added the words “my servant,” thereby helping us understand that the Servant was given “for a covenant” and that this Servant Song likely extends at least through verse 9 rather than ending at verse 7 as is commonly thought.— Terry B. Ball, “Isaiah’s ‘Other’ Servant Songs

Right after removing a bit of text that seems to make the focus of the prophecy quite narrow and specific, the Book of Mormon version adds a bit of text that generalizes the prophecy’s application to Israelites scattered on all the “isles of the sea.—”Spencer, Joseph M. The Vision of All

The Servant of the Lord will oversee the restoration of the land and the establishment of a peaceful kingdom (verses 8–13) gotQuestions.org

Malachi referred to Jesus Christ as the “messenger of the covenant” (Malachi 3:1), and each of us makes a covenant with Christ at the sacrament table and in other sacred places. —Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads 

Other commentaries suggest that this servant could also refer to the Prophet Joseph Smith through whom the gospel covenants were restored — Ridges, Isaiah Made Easier, 132

 That thou mayest say to the aprisoners: Go forth; to them that sit in bdarkness: Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their cpastures shall be in all high places. That thou mayest say to the aprisoners, Go forth;
to them that are in darkness, Shew yourselves.
They shall feed in the ways,
and their pastures shall be in all high places.

This passage likely has more than one meaning.  It may refer to those who are set free from the bondage and darkness of sin and false traditions by the light of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ (see D&C 45:28). It could also refer to Jesus Christ’s visit to the spirit world while His body lay the tomb. During this visit, He organized the righteous spirits to “carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness” ( D&C 138:30). The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, p 63

D&C 45:28 speaks of a time when “a light shall break forth among them that sit in darkness, and it shall be the fulness of my gospel.

 10 They shall not hunger nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun smite them; for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.  10 They shall not hunger nor athirst;
neither shall the heat nor bsun smite them:
for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them,
even by the springs of water shall he guide them.
To those scorched by the spiritual famine of apostasy, the Lord offers protection from the sun, springs of fresh water, and verdant pastures in high places.—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airhead.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx .
 11 And I will make all my mountains a way, and my ahighways shall be exalted. 11 And I will make all my mountains a way,
and my ahighways shall be exalted.xxxx.
Isaiah …promises the children of Israel that a great highway through the mountains will be established to lead the children of Israel to exaltation. This highway can be either symbolic or literal. A highway …has certainly been established for this church through the often daunting and seemingly impassable mountains of the world. Ludlow, Unlocking Isaiah,  p. 56

12 And then, O house of Israel, behold, athese shall come from far; and lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.

 

.

12 Behold, these shall come from far:
and, lo, these from the anorth and from the west;
and these from the land of Sinim.
Here there’s a prediction of Israel’s return to the promised land, which in the original seems to be directly from Babylon to Palestine. But the Book of Mormon version opens with “And then, O house of Israel,” which suggests that it’s less to the empty land that Israel as a whole returns than to the non-scattered house of Israel that scattered Israel comes in an event of gathering. (This strongly highlights the already implicit sense of this verse, by the way, which seems to imply a scattered condition on Israel’s part, despite the narrow focus of the prophecy in its biblical form.) —Spencer, Joseph M. The Vision of All
 13 aSing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; for the feet of those who are in the east shall be established; and bbreak forth into singing, O mountains; for they shall be smitten no more; for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his cafflicted.x 13 ¶ aSing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth;
and break forth into bsinging, O mountains:
for the Lord hath ccomforted his people,
and will have dmercy upon his eafflicted.

The gathering is described as a time of joy for the inhabitants of the earth as well as for the earth itself. Verse 13 concludes the “servant song.” Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads

 

 

 

Of  interest, President Wilford Woodruff, in ” The Latter-day Saints’ Millennial Star mentioned a reason this chapter is important to Latter-day Saints:

“The revelations that are in the Bible, the predictions of the patriarchs and prophets who saw by vision and revelation the last dispensation and fullness of times plainly tell us what is to come to pass. The 49th chapter of Isaiah is having its fulfillment.”


Isaiah scholar Donald Parry states:
“We are of the house of Israel, and here the Lord calls us to hearken. He has sent a servant (see Isaiah 49: The Servant Song) to testify of truth and to help restore Israel to her promised blessings. Through the efforts of such servants, the Lord will gather Israel from all parts of the earth. 
 
“We in the latter days are privileged to help in this gathering work. As we stand as missionaries to our neighbors, inviting them to come and partake of the blessings of the gospel, we are joining the Lord’s servant in his work and helping to bring to pass the prophecies about the deliverance and the gathering of Israel.
 
“Those who are so gathered will be greatly blessed. The Lord will open the way for them to return to him; he will lead and guide them and provide for their every spiritual need. This passage has a wonderful message of comfort to all who suffer and feel lost in the world. ‘Can a woman forget her sucking child?’ the Lord asks. ‘Yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee’ (49:15) In the gathering, the Lord will send many helpers: kings and queens will bring in their arms and on their shoulders those who have been lost.4
1 Nephi 21
King James Version
Isaiah 49
Expanded Notes and Commentary
The Lord Will Not Forget His Children5
God Remembers All His Covenants and Promises6
14 But, behold, Zion hath said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me—but he will show that he hath not.
x

14 But Zion said, The Lord hath aforsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

x

The children of Israel, blinded by self-pity, truly believe that they have been betrayed by Jehovah.Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon,
Deseret Book, p 57
15 For can a awoman forget her sucking child, that she should not have bcompassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may cforget, yet will I not forget thee, O house of Israel.  15 Can a awoman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not bforget thee. Isaiah (speaking for the Lord) responds to Israel’s outrageous claims of abandonment, using symbolism that compares the Lord to a doting mother.  The Lord’s love is incomprehensible—it goes beyond even the love of a mother for her newborn child. The image of mother and child is also significant because it portrays the house of Israel as little children, helpless and dependent upon the Lord for their care.Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon,
Deseret Book, p 57
16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the apalms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. 16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. In effect, I will be crucified for you. Just as a workman’s hands bear witness of his profession, his type of work, so shall nail prints in My hands bear witness of My love for you.—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.
aZech. 13: 6.And one shall say unto him, What are these awounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was bwounded in the house of my friends.
In Isaiah’s imagery, the Lord could not use His hands without being reminded of Israel” Brewster, Isaiah Plain and Simple, 199
President Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 15:8–9
President Wilford Woodruff

“This Zion of the Lord, in all its beauty, power and glory is engraven upon the hands of Almighty God, and it is before his face continually; his decrees are set and no man can turn them aside.

“There never was a dispensation on the earth when prophets and apostles, the inspiration, revelation and power of God, the holy priesthood and the keys of the kingdom were needed more than they are in this generation. There never has been a dispensation when the friends of God and righteousness among the children of men needed more faith in the promises and prophecies than they do to-day; and there certainly never has been a generation of people on the earth that has had a greater work to perform than the inhabitants of the earth in the latter days. That is one reason why this church and kingdom has progressed from its commencement until today, in the midst of all the opposition, oppression and warfare which have been waged against it by men inspired by the evil one. If this had not been the dispensation of the fulness of times—the dispensation in which God has declared that he will establish his kingdom on the earth never more to be thrown down, the inhabitants of the earth would have been enabled to overcome the kingdom and Zion of God in this as well as in any former dispensation. But the set time has come to favor Zion, and the Lord Almighty has decreed in the heavens that every weapon formed against her shall be broken.” — President Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, 15:8–9

17 Thy children shall make haste against thy destroyers; and they that made thee awaste shall go forth of thee.

x

  17 Thy children shall make haste; thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth of thee.
xx
Note the addition of the word against in the Book of Mormon). The account in Nephi suggests that while God’s ancient people were “wasted” by their enemies, the tables will be turned in the latter days.— OTSM

18 Lift up thine eyes round about and behold; all these agather themselves together, and they shall come to thee. And as I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on even as a bride.x

x

18 ¶ Lift up thine eyes round about, and behold: all these agather themselves together, and come to thee. As I live, saith the Lord, thou shalt surely clothe thee with them all, as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, as a bride doeth.

 

x

Let our anxiety be centered upon this one thing, the sanctification of our own hearts, the purifying of our own affections, the preparing of ourselves for the approach of the events that are hastening upon us. …Seek to have the spirit of Christ, that we may wait patiently the time of the Lord, and prepare ourselves for the times that are coming.—Brigham Young, Deseret News, May 1, 1861, 65
19 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants; and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.

19 For thy waste and thy desolate places, and the land of thy destruction, shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they that swallowed thee up shall be far away.x

x

Israel’s promised land has been laid waste and made empty, but when the gathering occurs, the available land will be too small for the great influx of those who are gathered (54:1–3). The waste places of Zion are symbolic of Israel’s loss—both spiritual and physical—that shall be restored (58:12; D&C 101:75; 103:11–12). The restoration of the waste places thus brings joy and comfort (51:3; 52:9). …Israel’s enemies, or our spiritual enemies, will be far from us.—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition

20 The children whom thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the first, shall aagain in thine ears say: The place is too strait for me; give place to me that I may dwell.

x

x

20 The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, The place is too astrait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.

x

x

Covenant Israel will one day discover that other members of the house of Israel, the newly gathered, are also part of their covenant family. There will be so many that Isaiah characterizes covenant Israel’s response as “the place is too strait for me” (strait meaning “restricted” or “narrow”).—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.
 The Gentile Nations Shall Help Gather the House of Israel7
21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart: Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am adesolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? And who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where have they been?x

21 Then shalt athou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am bdesolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?

x
Here we have repeated the moment from the first part of Isaiah 49, where Israel, wallowing in exile, whines that all its work in seeking its own redemption has yielded nothing. …there’s a much bigger picture Israel fails to see, a story that’s as much about the non-covenantal Gentiles as about covenantal Israel. …The forsaken land looks in the faces of the approaching people, gathered from all over, and she recognizes none of them.—Joseph Spencer, The Vision of All, Greg Kofford Books, Kindle Edition
22 Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the aGentiles, and set up my bstandard to the people; and they shall bring thy sons in their carms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.
22 Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will alift up mine hand to the bGentiles, and set up my cstandard to the people: and they shall bring thy dsons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. 
x
The fulfillment was to commence with the Lord’s “standard” being raised up to the Gentiles.—Nyman, Monte S.,“Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition. 

 

x

These verses have been interpreted for us by both Nephi and Jacob. Nephi spoke of their fulfillment by the Lamanites in the land of America, but he also included all of the house of Israel, and Jacob spoke of their fulfillment through both the Jews and the Lamanites (see 1  Nephi 22:6-9; 2 Nephi 6:8-12; 10:1-22 below).—Nyman, Monte S.,“Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.

1  Nephi 22:6-9  2 Nephi 6:8-12

Nevertheless, after they shall be nursed by the Gentiles, and the Lord has lifted up his hand upon the Gentiles and set them up for a standard, and their children have been carried in their arms, and their daughters have been carried upon their shoulders, behold these things of which are spoken are temporal; for thus are the covenants of the Lord with our fathers; and it meaneth us in the days to come, and also all our brethren who are of the house of Israel.

And it meaneth that the time cometh that after all the house of Israel have been scattered and confounded, that the Lord God will raise up a mighty nation among the Gentiles, yea, even upon the face of this land; and by them shall our seed be scattered.

And after our seed is scattered the Lord God will proceed to do a marvelous work among the Gentiles, which shall be of great worth unto our seed; wherefore, it is likened unto their being nourished by the Gentiles and being carried in their arms and upon their shoulders.

And it shall also be of worth unto the Gentiles; and not only unto the Gentiles but unto all the house of Israel, unto the making known of the covenants of the Father of heaven unto Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.

x

x

 

x

 

x

And now I, Jacob, would speak somewhat concerning these words. For behold, the Lord has shown me that those who were at Jerusalem, from whence we came, have been slain and carried away captive.

Nevertheless, the Lord has shown unto me that they should return again. And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to the words of the angel who spake it unto me.

10 And after they have hardened their hearts and stiffened their necks against the Holy One of Israel, behold, the judgments of the Holy One of Israel shall come upon them. And the day cometh that they shall be smitten and afflicted.

11 Wherefore, after they are driven to and fro, for thus saith the angel, many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and shall not be suffered to perish, because of the prayers of the faithful; they shall be scattered, and smitten, and hated; nevertheless, the Lord will be merciful unto them, that when they shall come to the knowledge of their Redeemer, they shall be gathered together again to the lands of their inheritance.

12 And blessed are the Gentiles, they of whom the prophet has written; for behold, if it so be that they shall repent and fight not against Zion, and do not unite themselves to that great and abominable church, they shall be saved; for the Lord God will fulfil his covenants which he has made unto his children; and for this cause the prophet has written these things.

2 Nephi 10:1-22  

1 And now I, Jacob, speak unto you again, my beloved brethren, concerning this righteous branch of which I have spoken.

2 For behold, the promises which we have obtained are promises unto us according to the flesh; wherefore, as it has been shown unto me that many of our children shall perish in the flesh because of unbelief, nevertheless, God will be merciful unto many; and our children shall be restored, that they may come to that which will give them the true knowledge of their Redeemer.

3 Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ—for in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name—should come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world; and they shall crucify him—for thus it behooveth our God, and there is none other nation on earth that would crucify their God.

4 For should the mighty miracles be wrought among other nations they would repent, and know that he be their God.

5 But because of priestcrafts and iniquities, they at Jerusalem will stiffen their necks against him, that he be crucified.

6 Wherefore, because of their iniquities, destructions, famines, pestilences, and bloodshed shall come upon them; and they who shall not be destroyed shall be scattered among all nations.

7 But behold, thus saith the Lord God: When the day cometh that they shall believe in me, that I am Christ, then have I covenanted with their fathers that they shall be restored in the flesh, upon the earth, unto the lands of their inheritance.

8 And it shall come to pass that they shall be gathered in from their long dispersion, from the isles of the sea, and from the four parts of the earth; and the nations of the Gentiles shall be great in the eyes of me, saith God, in carrying them forth to the lands of their inheritance.

9 Yea, the kings of the Gentiles shall be nursing fathers unto them, and their queens shall become nursing mothers; wherefore, the promises of the Lord are great unto the Gentiles, for he hath spoken it, and who can dispute?

10 But behold, this land, said God, shall be a land of thine inheritance, and the Gentiles shall be blessed upon the land.

11 And this land shall be a land of liberty unto the Gentiles, and there shall be no kings upon the land, who shall raise up unto the Gentiles.

x

x

x

x

12 And I will fortify this land against all other nations.

13 And he that fighteth against Zion shall perish, saith God.

14 For he that raiseth up a king against me shall perish, for I, the Lord, the king of heaven, will be their king, and I will be a light unto them forever, that hear my words.

15 Wherefore, for this cause, that my covenants may be fulfilled which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh, I must needs destroy the secret works of darkness, and of murders, and of abominations.

16 Wherefore, he that fighteth against Zion, both Jew and Gentile, both bond and free, both male and female, shall perish; for they are they who are the whore of all the earth; for they who are not for me are against me, saith our God.

17 For I will fulfil my promises which I have made unto the children of men, that I will do unto them while they are in the flesh—

18 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, thus saith our God: I will afflict thy seed by the hand of the Gentiles; nevertheless, I will soften the hearts of the Gentiles, that they shall be like unto a father to them; wherefore, the Gentiles shall be blessed and numbered among the house of Israel.

19 Wherefore, I will consecrate this land unto thy seed, and them who shall be numbered among thy seed, forever, for the land of their inheritance; for it is a choice land, saith God unto me, above all other lands, wherefore I will have all men that dwell thereon that they shall worship me, saith God.

20 And now, my beloved brethren, seeing that our merciful God has given us so great knowledge concerning these things, let us remember him, and lay aside our sins, and not hang down our heads, for we are not cast off; nevertheless, we have been driven out of the land of our inheritance; but we have been led to a better land, for the Lord has made the sea our path, and we are upon an isle of the sea.

21 But great are the promises of the Lord unto them who are upon the isles of the sea; wherefore as it says isles, there must needs be more than this, and they are inhabited also by our brethren.

22 For behold, the Lord God has led away from time to time from the house of Israel, according to his will and pleasure. And now behold, the Lord remembereth all them who have been broken off, wherefore he remembereth us also.x

 xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

23 And akings shall be thy bnursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers; they shall bow down to thee with their face towards the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord; for they shall not be ashamed that cwait for me. 

 

x

x

23 And kings shall be thy anursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing bmothers: they shall cbow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: for they shall not be dashamed that wait for me.
 
 
 
 

x

In 1947 the United Nations voted to partition Palestine and create a Jewish state in the land for the first time in nearly two thousand years. Thus, the Gentiles participated in the fulfillment of this prophecy, although there may yet be future fulfillment.OSTM
Leaders of nations will help gather Israel; for instance, …Great Britain sponsored the return of the Jews to Palestine in 1948—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.

24 For shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the alawful captives delivered?

 

x

  24 ¶ Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered?

 

x

The “prey” mentioned [here] is the house of Israel in her scattered condition. She is “prey” or “captive” because she has been unable throughout the centuries to return to her promised home or to claim her gospel blessings.—OSTM 
25 But thus saith the Lord, even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered; for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.x

  25 But thus saith the Lord, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will acontend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.

x

The Lord will take them away from their captors, and he will “contend with him that contendeth with thee” (49:25). Captives might be those in bondage to political systems, to false religions, or to sin.—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition
26 And I will afeed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; they shall be drunken with their own blood as with sweet wine; and all flesh shall bknow that I, the Lord, am thy cSavior and thy Redeemer, the dMighty One of Jacob.x
26 And I will feed them that aoppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine: and all flesh shall bknow that I the Lordam thy cSaviour and thy dRedeemer, the emighty One of Jacob.

x

As Nephi commented on Isaiah 49 in 1 Nephi 22, he quoted or paraphrased three verses from ‘the prophet,’ obviously Isaiah. We do not have these verses in the present Bible text, but they fit very well into the context of Isaiah 49 and 50. We can illustrate this by placing [1 Nephi 22:15–17] between the last verse of chapter 49 and the first verse of chapter 50.—Nyman, Monte S., “Great Are the Words of Isaiah,” Cedar Fort, Inc., p. 191

In Isaiah 49, we get the same story twice over, the story of Israel’s redemption from exile. And in each telling of the story, the point is to correct Israel’s terribly narrow view of the covenant that binds them to the Lord. Their focus is consistently on just their own redemption, their own benefit. But each telling of the story finds Israel corrected by the Lord on this point. It turns out that their covenantal status is part of a larger project, one that’s meant to make of their eventual redemption a kind of beacon to the whole world. Here the nations can find a God who keeps covenant and redeems people. Here the nations can find a God who seeks to establish real peace. Here the nations can find a God who would have all people reconciled in genuine worship. Israel’s task is to let God redeem them in a way that puts God’s grace on display before the whole world. And that’s to happen, in each telling of the story, right in Israel’s miraculous return from Babylon.8


Additional Study

Andrew C. Skinner, a Hebrew scholar and professor of ancient scripture at BYU, asks, “Who is this servant whom Isaiah announces in Isaiah 49:1, which Nephi quotes in 1 Nephi 21?”1 He then lists twelve characteristics of the servant, as found in Isaiah 49:1–9 and 1 Nephi 21:1–9. Skinners characteristics are adapted by Book of Mormon Central this way:

    1. The servant is “called … from the womb” (1 Nephi 21:1Isaiah 49:1).
    2. His “mouth [was] like a sharp sword” (1 Nephi 21:2Isaiah 49:2).
    3. He was hidden “in the shadow of [the Lord’s] hand” (1 Nephi 21:2Isaiah 49:2).
    4. He was “made … a polished shaft” tucked away in the Lord’s quiver (1 Nephi 21:2Isaiah 49:2).
    5. He will feel that he “labored in vain” (1 Nephi 21:4Isaiah 49:4).
    6. He could speak with the authority of the Lord (1 Nephi 21:5Isaiah 49:5).
    7. He knew he had been foreordained, or from the “womb” (1 Nephi 21:5Isaiah 49:5).
    8. His life’s work would be “to bring Jacob again to [the Lord]—though Israel be not gathered” (1 Nephi 21:5Isaiah 49:5).
    9. He would “raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel” (1 Nephi 21:6Isaiah 49:6).
    10. He would be “a light to the Gentiles” (1 Nephi 21:6Isaiah 49:6).
    11. He would be despised by men and abhorred by nations, yet, “Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship” (1 Nephi 21:7Isaiah 49:7).
    12. He will be given to Israel “for a covenant of the people to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages,” he will free prisoners and enlighten “them that sit in darkness” and shepherd the chosen people (1 Nephi 21:8–9Isaiah 49:8–9).3

Many scholars and Jews suggest that the servant represents the nation of Israel as a whole, while other Christian scholars traditionally interpret the servant reference to the Savior. Skinner, on the other hand, makes a case for the servant being Joseph Smith (see “Who is the Servant of Isaiah 49/1 Nephi 21?”). Still, others suggest the servant is a great prophet yet to come.

After reading this section and considering the list above, tell us who you think the servant is in the comment section below.


1 Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3, Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition
1a Terry B. Ball, “Isaiah’s ‘Other’ Servant Songs,” in The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, The 38th Annual BYU Sidney B. Sperry Symposium (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2009).
1b  Compare, for example, Barry L. Bandstra, Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction to the Old Testament (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning, 2004), 327–28; and Stephen L. Harris and Robert L. Platzner, The Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Sacramento: McGraw Hill, 2008), 282–83.
Andrew C. Skinner, “Nephi’s Lessons to His People: The Messiah, the Land, and Isaiah 48–49 in 1 Nephi 19–22
Who is the Servant of Isaiah 49/1 Nephi 21?
4Parry, Donald W., Understanding Isaiah,  Deseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.
5Valletta, Thomas R., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, Bookcraft. p. 64
6Old Testament Student Manual, Religion 320 Student Manual, p 194
7Valletta, Thomas R., The Book of Mormon for Latter-day Saint Families, Bookcraft. p. 64
8Spencer, Joseph M., The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi’s Record, Greg Kofford Books. Kindle Edition.


Don't Miss a Post!

Stay up to date with the latest news, fulfilled prophecies, and study tips

You have Successfully Subscribed!

SHARE
I am a retiree from Scouting. There I blogged for VoiceOfScouting.org, a site with more than 250,000 readers. During 42 years in the workplace, I've had many years senior level management with the BSA, professional associations, and high tech user groups. My background includes capital fundraising; outdoor adventure program development; property and construction management; event/conference planning; risk management and safety; lobbying federal, state and local government agencies; public relations; strategic planning; member advocacy and staff/volunteer training. Along the way, I have also taught Gospel Doctrine Classes and been both the ward and stake Sunday School President. In these settings, I have seen teachers and class members minimize Isaiah, a book Christ has commanded us to "search diligently." (3 Ne 23:1) With that in mind, I will do my best to explore and post my discoveries about the book of Isaiah. I am not a Bible scholar; like you, I read Isaiah in the Old Testament cycle of study in LDS Gospel Doctrine Classes and again in the Book of Mormon Cycle, so this is a whole new scripture adventure for me.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here