Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2 Nephi 11-16

1. 11:4 (the "law of Moses" telling of the "coming of Christ") is very distinctively true of the Day of Atonement rite, which we have seen is very prominent in several places in 1 and 2 Nephi.

2. 2 Nephi 12.  Nephi might read 12:2-3 as a reference to the temple he himself has built.  12:6 reminds me of the appearances of the word "strange" in 1 Nephi 8 -- does Nephi think the Judahites have ruined themselves with foreign ways?  12:10 we have dust again -- the wicked hide in the dust, with the serpent of Genesis, and the righteous arise out of it.  12:11 the Judahites of the great and spacious building will be humbled.  12:12 the Day of the Lord is the Day of Atonement, and the high priest coming from the temple is the Lord returning.  12:15 the Enoch people described the temple at Jerusalem as a "tower" (1 Enoch 89:50, and check out E. Isaac's translation, included in Charlesworth: "Then that house became great and spacious; a lofty building was built upon it for that sheep, as well as a tall and great tower upon it for the Lord of the sheep; that house was low but the tower was really elevated and lofty.  Then the Lord of the sheep stood upon that tower, and they offered a full table before him." (remember that this is from the Animal Apocalypse, and the sheep are the Israelites) !!!!).

3. 2 Nephi 13.  More judgment on the Judahites that drove Lehi out.  This stuff must have really resonated with the Nephites.  How did they feel?  Vindicated?  Comforted that they got away from this judgment?  13:3 the "captain of fifty" here should remind us of Laban.  12:13 reminds me of the strange paths of 1 Nephi 8; the leaders are to blame.  some juridical imagery in the second half of this chapter.  13:26 remember that "gates" are where the courts met (Ruth 4), so the image of the gates "lamenting" is an image of the judges removed from power and turned into plaintiffs.

4. 2 Nephi 14.  14:1 I wonder again if Lehi was a polygamist.  did 14:3 console Nephi that some of his father's fellow-visionary men survived?  (note that what they are called is hagioi / qadosh -- "holy", "saints", "angels").  14:5-6 Isaiah ties the Exodus story to the temple.  he's not the first to do so; in the book of Exodus, the story of the Exodus is then reflected in the building of the tabernacle and in temple imagery (the waters from the rock, the throne of God, the nehushtan/serpents).  and Nephi's two great motifs have been Temple and Exodus, so these verses must have tied it all together for Nephi; his own exodus was over, and shadow and refuge were finally to be had in the temple he had built.

5. 2 Nephi 15.  more judgment on the Judahites.  I wonder if Nephi thought of himself and his people as the ensign.

6. 2 Nephi 16.  here we have the first great temple vision recorded in the OT.  when Nephi says that Isaiah saw the Redeemer, as he and Jacob also did (11:2-3), I wonder if this is what he was talking about -- that all three men were temple visionaries with access to and visions of Yahweh seen in the Holy of Holies.  in any case, Nephi must have felt a lot of sympathy (and projected sympathy for his father and brother) with this narrative of a prophet's calling. 16:11-13 and did Nephi read these as applying to his own people?  Jerusalem wasted, the Nephites "far away", a "tenth" to "return"?

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