We come now, as I’ve been saying from the beginning and have reiterated again and again, to the most privileged and central part of Nephi’s record. To miss Isaiah in the Book of Mormon is to miss the Book of Mormon. I take as my task in this post, then, to work carefully through what seems to me to be the focus of Nephi’s quotation of Isaiah in 2 Nephi 12-14. Also included in this lesson, as laid out in the manual, are chapters 11 and 25, the former being Nephi’s brief introduction to the Isaiah chapters and the latter being the first of Nephi’s follow-up comments after the fact. For my purposes, I want to consider 2 Nephi 25 along with 2 Nephi 26-30, so I won’t be dealing with it until next week. I know this seems strange since it’s in 2 Nephi 25 that Nephi supposedly provides the “keys to understanding Isaiah.” I’m less convinced that Nephi’s doing anything of the sort there. Isaiah’s plenty understandable on his own, and what Nephi has to say in 2 Nephi 25 is more for his own people and the beginning of what he goes on to say in the chapters following than for us as readers of Isaiah. (Indeed, I think 2 Nephi 26-27 is more help for those struggling with Isaiah than anything in 2 Nephi 25.) So I’ll leave all that for later.
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