Friday, October 19, 2012

A plague of briars, a promise of thorns (2 Nephi 17)

To me, 2 Nephi 17 (compare Isaiah: 7) is one of the more difficult of the Isaiah chapters.  There is a great and wonderful verse about The Savior in it, but the rest talks about cows and sheeps and arrows and prophecies of the affliction of Israel by way of thorns and briars and wars and stuff.

In the map up there, you can see where Syria and Ephraim are located.  Judah down to the south didn't like the idea of Syria being confederate (or allies) with Ephraim.  That's cool and everything, but I'm just going to write about 3 things out of this chapter:

  1. The Lord shaves with a razor
  2. Shearjashub
  3. Mary Christmas
2 Nephi 17: 20
20.  In the same day shall The Lord shave with a razor that is hired.
I used to stop reading there and giggle a little bit.  As a younger dude, I thought The Lord shaving presented a funny image, but really was figurative of some different meaning that I couldn't guess.  Later on I finished the verse.  You should always finish reading the instructions before you start your bird house.  Can't tell you how many times I've put a bookshelf together backwards twice before reading the instructions.
20.  ...hired, by them beyond the river, by the king Assyria, the head, and the hair of the feet; and it shall also consume the beard.
Ahhh, so that's what Isaiah means, or what I think he means:  The Lord will shave the head and beards of the men of Judah, and do it through the alliance of Ephraim and Syria (or Assyria) coming to battle against them.  I think that means that the people of Judah are going to forget their covenants.  It's all part of the scattering thing.  What do you think?  


2 Nephi 17: 3
3.  Then said The Lord unto Isaiah:  Go forth now to meet Ahaz, thou and Shearjashub thy son, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool of the highway of the fuller's field.
That's quite a name you got there, dude.  I pronounce Shearjashub like it's spelt, but I'm sure I'm butchering it.  Anyways, Sheer-jay-shub translates as "A remnant shall return".  This is one of Isaiah's two major themes:  The scattering and gathering of Israel and the coming of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

They probably called him Shub for short.  I don't know what they called Shub's brother, Maher-shalal-hash-baz.


 2 Nephi 17: 14
14.  Therefore, The Lord Himself shall give you a sign -Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Over 700 years before the birth of our Savior, Isaiah prophesied of Christ's miraculous birth, His life full of miracles, the malicious treatment he would receive at the hands of those He came to save, and His loving sacrifice for all mankind. 

Christ With Thorns, by Carl Bloch

Isaiah's references to the coming of the Son of God are scattered throughout his writings, even in places where it is not clear what Isaiah's talking about.  My favorite Isaiah chapter on the Atonement of Jesus Christ is Isaiah 53, but we'll talk about that in 3 1/2 more years when I get to Mosiah 14.

O Come, O Come Immanuel

Merry Christmas.

Peace be with you


  1. Ah, interesting. Thanks for pointing those things out. I love that painting of Isaiah writing about the birth of Christ for two reasons. 1) It's a perfect illustration of the scripture. 2) I more often than not feel like the man behind Isaiah in blue - "Things that make you go hmm."

  2. The Book of Mormon is one of my favorite books I have ever read. These chapters about Isaiah I have to admit I enjoy reading them. Thank you for your insight on this chapter. I know a lot of people that skip or fumble through these rich symbolism. Great job!

    1. Hi Heather. If you have any insights for me on these Isaiahs I'm wide open for help.

  3. Love your insights John! AND you are so clever, funny, witty, and punny!
    Love you! Thanks for that video too!

  4. Why does my reply come up as Emery County Historical Preservation? Ohhhh, because I created a blog like that. I'll try to fix it.