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Relationship to Chapters 1b-6. The relationship of Chapter 1b-2 to the rest of Chapters 1b-6 is discussed at Chapters 1b-6.
Story. Chapter 1b-2, the opening portion of the Jardites' journey to America, consists of seven major sections:
- Verses 1:34-43: Questions and answers about scattering and traveling to a land of promise.
- Verses 2:1-3: Gathering food supplies for the journey.
- Verses 2:4-7: Lord leads Jaredites toward promised land.
- Verses 2:8-12: We can behold: America as a choice land.
- Verses 2:13-15: Lord chastises for three hours because no progress for four years.
- Verses 2:16-17: Building boats for the water journey.
- Verses 2:18-25: Questions and answers about light and air while traveling in boats.
Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapters 1b-2 include:
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- The question of contrast is interesting and provides plenty to think about on its own. In addition, thinking about the expanded episode of the brother of Jared (highly favored → reprimanded → allowed to see the Lord) should yield more questions and insights. MJ
- Ether 1:34. In verse 34 Jared goes to his brother to have him petition the Lord not to have their language confounded. It seems that Jared turns to his brother because Jared believes that if his brother prays, they are more likely to have their petition granted. Within the scriptures the phrase "favored of the Lord" is consistently used in the context of righteousness. The suggestion is that Jared believes his brother's petition will be answered because his brother has been righteous, maybe more righteous than he has been.
- Ether 1:36-40. Note that Jared demonstrates much faith in his brother. Jared believes and trusts his brother, knowing that he has special contact with God. This may be an example of the gift described in D&C 46:14: "To others it is given to believe on their words...".
- Ether 2:1-5. The development of this plot (the Brother of Jared building ships with the help of the Lord) is a series of petitionary prayers finally answered by divine self-revelation. The Brother of Jared seems to be concerned with building a more-or-less comfortable vessel. The answer he gets is a more-or-less comfortable vessel, and to see the finger of the Lord, and ultimately to have the veil removed.
- The relationship of verses 2:8-12 to the rest of the book, especially the secret combinations speech in Verses 8:20-26 and the New Jerusalem speech in Chapter 13a, is discussed at Ether.
- A land of inheritance here on the earth can be symbolic of eternal inheritance we seek in heaven. The broad concept behind the instructions in this speech about inheriting a choice land of inheritance can also be applied to that promised land of heaven.
- Ether 2:8: Sworn in his wrath. This phrase (or "sware in his wrath" or "swore in his wrath," with reference to God doing the swearing) also occurs in Ps 95:11 (likely the "original" text); Heb 3:11; Heb 4:3; Ether 1:33; D&C 63:33. In Mosiah 19:4, Gideon "swore in his wrath that he would slay the king." Similarly, in Ether 15:28, Shiz "swore in his wrath that he would slay Coriantumr."
- Ether 2:8: Swept. The verb "sweep" is seldom used in the KJV Old Testament, and a different verb is used each time it is used. Judg 5:21 uses the verb garaph; Isa 28:17 uses the verb ya`ah; Prov 28:3 and Jer 46:15 use the verb cachaph. Isa 14:23 uses the imagery of sweeping the wicked away with the broom of destruction (using the verb tuw`) ("besom" means "broom" See Strong's Hebrew Lexicon here and here).
- Ether 2:8: Fulness of his wrath. This phrase (or "the fulness of the wrath of God") occurs, besides here in verses 8 and 9, in 1 Ne 17:35; 1 Ne 22:17; 2 Ne 1:17; Ether 9:20; Ether 14:25. It does not occur in the Bible, though Rev 15:7 seems to be referring to the same thing. The phrase seems to suggest complete destruction of wicked people—"by fire" in 1 Ne 22:17, and "forever" in 2 Ne 1:17, and "everlasting destruction" in Ether 14:25.
- Ether 2:9: Ripened in iniquity. Here Moroni, as narrator, tells us that God sweeps the wicked off from the face of the earth, in the fulness of his wrath, when they become ripe in iniquity. The term "ripe in iniquity" is defined, and the principle behind destroying those who are ripe, are explored in the discussion of Hel 13:14.
Ether 2b / Verses 2:13-25
- Question and answer pattern. The Brother of Jared asks two questions about the boats. Those questions are answered in reverse order, with the first answer being simple and the second answer much longer and more complicated. This pattern also often occurs in First Nephi (CITE).
- Ether 2:16-22. The Lord commands the Brother of Jared to build barges "after the manner of barges which ye have hitherto built," probably giving reference to the barges that are mentioned earlier in chapter 3. The Jaredites had already built barges and used them to cross waters while they were traveling in the wilderness. However, the second time the Jaredites built barges, the Brother of Jared had to inquire of the Lord as to what they should do have light and air in them. Why? Perhaps the first ones were only used for crossing small distances. Or perhaps they were similar to the second ones, but still slightly different (i.e. more like a boat).
- Ether 2:21-25. It is possible that the Lord wanted the Brother of Jared to study the scriptures in more detail or provide his own solution to a problem. See footnote at Genesis 6:16 , where some Hebrew scholars believe that a stone was placed in the ark, similar to stones in the Brother of Jared's vessels. The Lord often gives us answers to questions that have not previously been revealed, but if something has been revealed, he expects us to search for the answer or make our own suggestions.
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Prompts for life application
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Prompts for further study
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- Highly Favored of the Lord. Given the context it seems that the phrase "highly favored of the Lord" refers to someone that the Lord blesses. This is consistent with the way the phrase is used in the rest of the scriptures. Within the scriptures this exact phrase is only used in the Book of Mormon, though related phrases are found in the Bible. For example, the angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is "highly favoured," presumably of the Lord (Luke 1:28) and the same angel tells Daniel that he is "greatly beloved," which could also be translated "highly favored" (Daniel 9:23). The phrase is consistently related to righteousness: when people are righteous the Lord favors them; when they are not righteous they are not favored. For examples, see the scripture search results for the phrase "favored of the Lord."
- Ether 1:33: This verse mentions the scattering of the people after they had been confounded at the tower. Why is it that whenever the Lord is upset with His people he scatters them? Is there a specific reason? What effect is this supposed to have on the scattered people?
- Islam has a similar story about God assigning people of the world different languages, but there the purpose for doing so is as a blessing, a demonstration of God's mercy. Is that an interpretation that we can learn from? If so, how?
- Ether 1:34: The brother of Jared is a central figure in the first chapters of Ether. He was, presumably, the spiritual leader and described as "a man highly favored of the Lord" (vs. 34). Why is he known to us, through The Book of Mormon, primarily in relation to his brother?
- Ether 1:34: Why is the actual name of the Brother of Jared not given in the scriptures?
- Ether 1:36: Why does Jared always ask his brother to seek guidance from the Lord, rather than seeking it himself?
- Ether 2:7: How is the promised land a "Land of Promise"? What is the promise (covenant) of the land?
- Ether 2:10: What is the purpose of the repetition used in this and the preceding verses (i.e., "swept off"; "fulness of iniquity" or "fulness of his wrath")? Is there an overarching structure to these verses that this repetition is helping to construct? Is the repetition for emphasis?
- Ether 2:14: Ether tells us that the Lord chastened the Brother of Jared for 3 hours "because he remembered not to call upon the name of the Lord." This occurs just 14 verses after we read of the great blessings the Lord gave the Brother of Jared for diligently calling on the Lord (see chapter 1:43). What are we to make of the contrast between these two events so closely juxtaposed in Ether's account?
- Ether 2:14: When we are told that the Brother of Jared hadn't been calling upon the name of the Lord, does this indicate that he had stopped praying altogether, or is there another way to interpret the scriptural phrase, "call upon the name of the Lord?"
- Ether 2:25: The Lord asks the brother of Jared what he wants him to do in order to give them light on the way to the promised land. Why would the Lord ask Jared what to do and have him figure it out on his own?
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- Deseret in verse 2:3 - See Kevin Barney's article here for discussion of the origins of the word deseret and its meaning of "bee." Barney summarizes the Webb-Nibley theory (deseret means "to be red" in Egyptian but is a reference to the king of Lower Egypt; the Egyptian word for bee is also believed to be a reference to the king of Lower Egypt, hence the connection), then mentions some reservations about this theory, and then proposes a new Semitic theory (dbrh = bee; there is good evidence for evolution of the final consonant from h to t and the b may be related to dbsh which means honey). On ancient Near Eastern apiculture, see Ronan James Head at BCC Papers.
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