2 Nephi 8 / Isaiah 51-52:2 Awake, and Remember All the Things the Lord Has Done

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Click here to read the Isaiah Chapters in the Book of Mormon

Chapter Summary

John Bytheway offers this chapter overview: “Messiah shall be a light to the Gentiles and shall free the prisoners—Israel shall be gathered with power in the last days—Kings shall be their nursing fathers—look to your origins—you are Abraham’s seed! The Lord will comfort Zion and bring judgment, righteousness, and salvation. Awake, and remember all the things the Lord has done. The redeemed will return to Zion. The cup of God’s wrath will be on Jerusalem, but it will eventually be saved and protected.”1

2 Nephi 8

Jacob continues reading from Isaiah: In the last days, the Lord will comfort Zion and gather Israel—The redeemed will come to Zion amid great joy—Compare Isaiah 51 and 52:1–2. About 559–545 B.C.

Isaiah 51-52:2

In the last days, the Lord will comfort Zion and gather Israel—The redeemed will come to Zion amid great joy—Compare 2 Nephi 8.

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Key to markings:

Variants in KJV Isaiah are in VIOLET
Variants in the Book of Mormon are bold in RED
Notes and commentary are GREEN 

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aHearken unto me, ye that follow after righteousness. Look unto the brock from whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit from whence ye are digged.x

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aHearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the brock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.
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The Lord is now speaking to the righteous… the good, solid rock— …[you are cut from] the rock quarry…consider your origins; you are really somebody!—Ridges, David J, The Book of Mormon Made Easier, Part 1  Cedar Fort, Inc., p. 220

Look unto Abraham, your afather, and unto bSarah, she that bare you; for I called him alone, and blessed him.

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2 Look unto aAbraham your bfather, and unto Sarah thatbare you: for I called him calone, and dblessed him, and increased him.
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Isaiah is reminding covenant Israel to look to their origins, Abraham and Sarah. The promises made to them for their righteousness are available to us as well, and God always keeps his promises.—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads, Deseret Book Company, Kindle Edition.
For the Lord shall acomfort  bZion, he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her cwilderness like dEden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving and the voice of melody.x
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3 For the Lord shall acomfort bZion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like cEden, and her desert like the dgarden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.x

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The blessings pronounced upon Zion’s waste places, wilderness, and deserts are reminiscent of the physical blessings which the Lord has promised those who keep the Sabbath in the land of Zion. These things will be given “to please the eye and to gladden the heart,” and will all come “according to the law and the prophets” (D&C 59:16-19, 22)—Nyman, Monte S., Great are the Words of Isaiah, Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.
“Jerusalem of old, after the Jews have been cleansed and sanctified from all their sin, shall become a holy city where the Lord shall dwell and from whence he shall send forth his word unto all people. Likewise, on this continent, the city of Zion, New Jerusalem, shall be built and from it, the law of God shall also go forth. There will be no conflict, for each city shall be headquarters for the Redeemer of the world, and from each, he shall send forth his proclamations as occasion may require. Jerusalem shall be the gathering place of Judah and his fellows of the house of Israel, and Zion shall be the gathering place of Ephraim and his fellows, upon whose heads shall be conferred ‘the richer blessings.’…These two cities, one in the land of Zion and one in Palestine, are to become capitals for the kingdom of God during the millennium.”Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, vo, 3, Bookcraft, pp 3: 69-71

Isaiah’s Third Servant Song

“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 …these prophecies are known as the “Servant Songs” or the “Servant Psalms.” …a typical list of the Servant Songs includes Isaiah 42:1–6; 49:1–6; 50:4–9; 52:13–15; and 53:1–12
The Servant again speaks in the first person in this song. He acknowledges God’s hand in preparing for and supporting him in the work, giving him the “tongue of the learned,” wakening and opening his ears so that he could learn (50:4–5). The testimony reminds us of the boy Jesus’s remarkable ability to learn and understand his Father’s will, even to the point of astonishing the “doctors” as he heard and questioned them in the temple when he was just twelve years old (Luke 2:42–52)—Terry B. Ball, “Isaiah’s ‘Other’ Servant Songs,” in The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament, BYU Religious Studies Center, 2009

Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation; for a alaw shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a blight for the people.x
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¶ Hearken unto me, my people; and give ear unto me, O my nation: for a alaw shall proceed from me, and I will make my judgment to rest for a light of the people.
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Continuing the theme of the Lord’s deliverance, Isaiah speaks for the Lord and calls upon Israel to hearken and give ear, to listen to what the Lord says — Victor L Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, Deseret Book Shelf
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5 My righteousness is near; my asalvation is gone forth, and mine arm shall bjudge the people. The cisles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.x


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My righteousness is near; my asalvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall bjudge the people; the cisles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust.
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The Servant then speaks of the persecution he would endure as he would willingly allow himself to be smitten and spat upon (see Isaiah 50:5–6),[14] foreshadowing the cruel treatment he would receive at the hands of Pilate and the Roman soldiers commissioned to scourge and crucify him (see Matthew 26:31)—ibid, Ball
 Lift up your eyes to the aheavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall bvanish away like smoke, and the earth shall cwax old like a garment; and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner. But my salvation shall be forever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished. Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath: for the heavens shall avanish away like smoke, and the earth shall bwax cold like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner: but my salvation shall be for ever, and my righteousness shall not be abolished.
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Israel’s task is to do the works of Abraham, of course, but they seldom do anything like that. So they’re reminded of the Lord’s perpetual faithfulness, his righteousness that “shall not be abolished”—Spencer, Joseph M., The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi’s Record, Greg Kofford Books,  Kindle Edition. x
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 Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart I have written my law, afear ye not the breproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their crevilings.
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¶ Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose aheart is my law; bfear ye not the creproach of dmen, neither be ye afraid of their erevilings.
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The Servant closes the song by testifying of his confidence that God would sustain and support him, while his adversaries would “wax old” and be eaten up (Isaiah 50:7–9), a prophecy fulfilled as the Roman Empire and the Jewish leaders who condemned him faded in infamy, while the redeeming work of the Servant is praised and persists through eternityibid, Ball

For the amoth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool. But my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation.

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For the amoth shall eat them up like a garment, and the worm shall eat them like wool: but my righteousness shall be forever, and my salvation from generation to generation.

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Isaiah admonishes those who do accept the Lord not to fear the insults of men (v. 7). He knows that they will have opposition in following the Lord and warns them not to fear, because those who brandish such insults will pass like an old garment, like wool before a moth. But salvation will uphold those who endure and follow the servant, for God’s victory endures forever (v. 8).— Ludlow, ibid.

 aAwake, awake! Put on bstrength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the ancient days. Art thou not he that hath cut cRahab, and wounded the ddragon?

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¶ Awake, awake, put on astrength, O arm of the Lord; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the bdragon?x


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In the midst of reporting these imperatives to the covenant people Isaiah issues one to the Lord himself, pleading with God to awaken and put on strength to conquer enemies and control the elements as He had in times past, thereby preparing the way for the redeemed to return with joy upon their head, causing sorrow and mourning to flee away (51:9–11). These admonitions all remind us of what our God can do, has done, and will yet do for us if we will but trust and follow Him.— Winn and Ball, Understanding Isaiah, Deseret Book Shelf, chapter 51

 10 Art thou not he who hath dried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a away for the ransomed to pass over?x

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10 Art thou not it which hath adried the sea, the waters of the great deep; that hath made the depths of the sea a bway for the cransomed to pass over?x

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In this review of God’s power, the speaker remembers that God made the sea and also dried it so the children of Israel could cross.—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition


cransomed: Christ has “bought [us] with a price” (1 Cor. 7:23; see 1 Cor. 6:20). We were sold into sin (Rom. 7:14), but the Lord paid the price to set us free (Isaiah 35:10).—Parry, ibid.

11 Therefore, the aredeemed of the Lord shall breturn, and come with csinging unto Zion; and everlasting joy and holiness shall be upon their heads; and they shall obtain gladness and joy; sorrow and dmourning shall flee away.x

11 Therefore the aredeemed of the Lord shall breturn, and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting cjoy shall be upon their head: they shall obtain gladness and joy; and sorrow and dmourning shall flee away, x

Notice the words, singing, joy, holiness, gladness. These describe a great event that is happening as missionaries gather covenant Israel (see D&C 101:18–19).—Bytheway, John. Isaiah For AirheadsDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition.x
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Also, see footnotes 11a and 11b. They refer to Topical Guide headings “Israel, Restoration of” and “Israel, Gathering of.” How are these things different? The restoration of Israel refers more to their coming to Jesus Christ and recognizing him as the Messiah. Many Jews recognize Jesus as a great teacher or rabbi, but not as the promised Messiah. When they begin to recognize him as the Messiah, that will be the restoration of Israel. For example, Jacob, …says that Isaiah has spoken to the Jews “until the time comes that they shall be restored to the true church and fold of God” (2 Nephi 9:2). The “gathering of Israel” may refer to physical gathering only, returning to their lands, but not necessarily to the spiritual gathering, or restoration to the true Church.—Bytheway, ibid.


In verses 12–13 “the Lord asks Israel three questions: Why do you fear mortal man? Have you forgotten your creator? Why fear your oppressors? He then answers them (in reverse order) [in verses 14–16]: You will be freed from your oppressors. I am the great creator. You are my people; I will teach and protect you.
Although these promises seem to be extended to all types of Israelites, they apply more particularly to those who become a part of covenant Israel, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith foretells that one group of Israelites, the remnants of the Ten Tribes, will come to Ephraim at “the boundaries of the everlasting hills.” (See D&C 133:32-35.)
The parallels between these three verses and Isaiah 51:9-16 are evident. They help us to understand Isaiah’s words and to see their fulfillment in those who join the Church in this dispensation.— Victor L Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet, Deseret Book, p 429

 12 aI am he; yea, I am he that comforteth you. Behold, who art thou, that thou shouldst be bafraid of man, who shall die, and of the son of man, who shall be made like unto cgrass?

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12 I, even Iam he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be aafraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;

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The Lord now replies to righteous Israel’s request in verse 9, above.—Ridges, David J., The Book of Mormon Made Easier, Part 1  Cedar Fort, Inc. Kindle Edition, p. 221


Occasionally an east wind, heated by the desert sands of Arabia, will sweep across the country, withering the vegetation as if in a furnace. In Isaiah, this phenomenon is used as a type of the brief existence of mortality— Terry Ball, “Isaiah’s Imagery of Plants and Planting, Thy People Shall Be My People and Thy God My GodDeseret Book, pp, 24–25.

13 And aforgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath bstretchedforth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, and hast feared continually every day, because of the fury of the coppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? And where is the fury of the oppressor?

13 And aforgettest the Lord thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the bearth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?

How could you forget Me, your Creator? …why should you live in fear of mortal men? …the day will come when their fury won’t be able to touch you?—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.
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 14 The acaptive exile hasteneth, that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail.
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14 The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the apit, nor that his bread should fail.
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The Lord, who showed forth His power to divide the sea, can also divide and move seas of evil and unbelief.Christensen, Reg. Unlocking Isaiah, Covenant Communications Inc., Kindle Edition.
 15 But I am the Lord thy God, whose awaves roared; the Lord of Hosts is my name.
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15 But I am the Lord thy God, that divided the asea, whose waves roared: The Lord of hosts is his name.
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The Lord, who showed forth His power to divide the sea, can also divide and move seas of evil and unbelief.Christensen, Reg. Unlocking Isaiah, Covenant Communications Inc., Kindle Edition.

16 And I have aput my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion: Behold, thou art my bpeople. x

16 And I have put my awords in thy mouth, and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.x
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 As a final promise of comfort, the words of the prophets, God’s creations, and even the Lord Himself testify to the inhabitants of Zion, “Behold, thou art my people”Victor LudlowUnlocking Isaiah in the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book, Kindle Edition
17 Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the acup of his bfury—thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling wrung out—
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17 ¶ Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hast drunk at the hand of the Lord the acup of his bfury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the ccup of trembling, and wrung them out.
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Apparently disappointed in mediocre displays of divine power, they call on God to be like he was in the time of the Exodus. A few words of encouragement from the Lord follow, but then he returns the favor to his wayward hearers: “Awake! Awake!” he says right back to Jerusalem.—Spencer, Joseph M., The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi’s Record, Greg Kofford Books,  Kindle Edition.
Awake. The Jews are called to awaken from spiritual sleep. stand up.
Arise, as a prisoner arises in a courtroom to receive judgment. In God’s court, the Lord himself “pleadeth the cause of his people” (51:22).

Jerusalem. The city symbolizes the people of Israel, particularly the Jews.
Hand of the Lord. The Lord’s hand represents the Lord himself, from whom Jerusalem and the Jews received judgment.

Cup of his fury/cup of trembling. cup is a symbolic expression for a bitter or poisonous potion typifying experiences of suffering.
Dregs…wrung out. The last drops of the cup of wrath will be wrung out for Israel to drink, including the sediment in the bottom of the cup which may symbolize the bitterest trials.—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition
18 And none to guide her among all the sons she hath brought forth; neither that taketh her by the hand, of all the sons she hath brought up.
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18 There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.x

Because Judah’s sons are without the priesthood, there is no proper leadership. This is the same thought contained in Isaiah 50:2, as interpreted in Doctrine and Covenants 133:67; both refer to Judah—Nyman, Monte S., Great are the Words of Isaiah, Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition. 

19 These two asons are come unto thee, who shall be sorry for thee—thy desolation and destruction, and the famine and the sword—and by whom shall I comfort thee?

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19 These atwo things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?


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God has sent two priesthood holders to assist and bless her. These two are the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11:3–12, who will testify in Jerusalem for three and a half years, who will be killed and left dead in the streets, and who then will be resurrected and lifted up to meet Jesus Christ when he returns to make his appearance to the Jews.—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition

 20 Thy sons have fainted, save these two; they lie at the head of all the streets; as a wild bull in a net, they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.

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20 Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a awild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the Lord, the rebuke of thy God.

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Because Israel has lost the gospel of Jesus Christ and its power to guide, direct, and save, God has sent two priesthood holders to assist and bless them. These two are the same “two witnesses” spoken of in Revelation 11:3. They will testify in Jerusalem for three and a half years, will be killed and left dead in the streets, and then will be resurrected and lifted up to meet Jesus Christ as he returns to make his appearance to the Jews.—Dennis L. Largey, Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Deseret Book, p 356

21 Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and adrunken, and not with wine:

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21 ¶ Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:

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Thou afflicted, and drunken [out of control], but not with wine [rather with wickedness]—Ridges, David J., The Old Testament Made Easier Part 3  Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.

22 Thus saith thy Lord, the Lord and thy God apleadeth the cause of his people; behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again.

22 Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that apleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again:

Elder Orson Hyde applied verses 22 and 23 to the persecutors of the Church in the early days of the Restoration (see JD, 10:73-74). While the application was certainly valid, these verses refer to those who come against Judah in the last days—Nyman, Monte S., Great are the Words of Isaiah, Cedar Fort, Inc., Kindle Edition.
 23 But aI will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee; who have said to thy soul: Bow down, that we may go over—and thou hast laid thy body as the ground and as the street to them that went over. 23 But I will put it into the ahand of them that bafflict thee; which have said to thy soul, cBow down, that we may go over: and thou hast laid thy body as the ground, and as the street, to them that went over. The judgments that Israel has suffered at the hands of the unrighteous will be brought upon the unrighteous. …In some ancient societies, the vanquished were forced to lie on the ground while the victor walked over them (Josh. 10:24; Ps. 110:1). …These terms symbolize the depths of humiliation.—Parry, Donald W., Understanding IsaiahDeseret Book Company. Kindle Edition

Isaiah 52

24 aAwake, awake, put on thy bstrength, O cZion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for henceforth there shall dno more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. aAwake, awake; put on thy bstrength, O cZion; put on thy dbeautiful egarments, O fJerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. He comes once more to the same injunction: “Awake! Awake!” he says again (v. 24). Using their words against them, pointing out that they’re the ones who’re sleeping through everything, the Lord calls on Israel to get serious.—Spencer, Joseph M., The Vision of All: Twenty-five Lectures on Isaiah in Nephi’s Record, Greg Kofford Books, Kindle Edition.
 25 Shake thyself from the dust; arise, sit down, O Jerusalem; loose thyself from the abands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion.
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aShake thyself from the dust; barise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the cbands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. And there the quotation ends, with the Lord calling Israel to put on “beautiful garments,” to “sit down” on a throne, and to be free, finally, of its captive status (vv. 24–25).—Spencer, ibid.

The Prophet included in his history some answers from the Lord to questions on the book of Isaiah. …The final questions came from Elias Higbee. Section 113 was first published in the 1876 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants 113:7–10.

Questions by Elias Higbee: What is meant by the command in Isaiah, 52d chapter, 1st verse, which saith: Put on thy strength, O Zion—and what people had Isaiah reference to?
He had reference to those whom God should call in the last days, who should hold the apower of bpriesthood to bring again cZion, and the redemption of Israel; and to put on her dstrength is to put on the eauthority of the fpriesthood, which she, Zion, has a gright to by lineage; also to return to that power which she had lost.
What are we to understand by Zion loosing herself from the bands of her neck; 2d verse?
10 We are to understand that the ascattered bremnants are exhorted to creturn to the Lord from whence they have fallen; which if they do, the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them, or give them revelation. See the 6th, 7th, and 8th verses. The dbands of her neck are the curses of God upon her, or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles.

Monte S. Nyman, in his “Great are the Words of Isaiah writes that this chapter has ” a message of hope to the whole house of Israel, showing how the covenant of Abraham will be extended to them in the last days through two great gathering places, Zion and Jerusalem.” He also informs us that Isaiah 50:4-9 has been designated as the second of the servant songs. Nyman wrote: “The servant in Isaiah 42:1-4 was identified as Christ.

“The servant in chapter 49 was definitely identified as latter-day Israel. The servant here is also latter-day Israel, but the passage has a dual meaning as it also describes the mission of the Savior among the Jews (and possibly the other tribes of Israel) in the meridian of time. There are also those who feel, with some justification, that the servant spoken of in these verses is Isaiah himself. The dual meaning of the servant as Israel and Christ fits into the context of the overall message, as outlined below.


1 Bytheway, John. Isaiah For Airheads, Deseret Book Company, Kindle Edition.

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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.

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