Interpretation of Chapter 11 has been the subject of modern revelation. When Moroni first appeared to Joseph Smith on 21 September 1823, Joseph reported that Moroni “quoted the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, saying that it was about to be fulfilled.”1 This statement provides us with a clear indication that the events described in this chapter pertain to the latter days; in particular, the time leading up to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ and including the Lord’s Millennial reign on the earth. In Doctrine and Covenants Section 113, associates ask the Prophet Joseph certain questions pertaining to verses in Chapter 11.2 The Lord, speaking through the Prophet Joseph, provides answers.
Chapter 11 may be divided into four sections. Verses 1 through 9 describe Christ’s Second Coming and millennial reign, verses 10 through 12 describe the gathering of Israel from the many lands of their dispersion, verses 13 and 14 describe Israel’s victories over her hostile neighbors, and verses 15 and 16 describe geographic changes—used by Isaiah as metaphors for important spiritual and political events—that are to occur leading up to or during the Millennium.
The Stem of Jesse, mentioned in verses 1 through 5, is Christ—who will judge in righteousness not only during the Millennium but also in the final judgment. Another who would play a pivotal role in the latter-day restoration before the Millennium is described metaphorically as a “root” of Jesse, and Christ is referred to again as a “Branch.” During the Millennium, war and envy will be done away and sacred knowledge of God will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. Preparatory to the Millennium, the Lord will raise an ensign and gather Israel from the many lands of her dispersion. Nephi quotes Chapter 11 in its entirety; compare 2 Nephi 21. Slight differences in the Book of Mormon text are rendered in italics where quoted. Nephi also explains elements of this chapter in 2 Nephi Chapter 30.
Verses 1 through 9 describe Christ’s mortal ministry and millennial reign. The Stem of Jesse mentioned in verse 1 is Christ: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” The same metaphor is used here as was introduced earlier by Isaiah:3 When a tree is cut down, the trunk—or stump4—remains to put forth new growth. Following the destruction and captivity of Israel a new righteous order would arise from the original parentage, keeping intact the blessings promised to the ancient patriarchs. It is from this righteous order, which included the descendants of Jesse and the heirship of the throne of David, that Christ would come forth. Mary, the mother of Jesus, and also Joseph His legal guardian, were of the lineage of Jesse.5 This prophecy of Isaiah is cited in the New Testament as relating to the ministry of Jesus Christ.6
In Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord affirms that Christ is the stem of Jesse: “Who is the Stem of Jesse spoken of in the 1st, 2d, 3d, 4th, and 5th verses of the 11th chapter of Isaiah?” “Verily thus saith the Lord: It is Christ.”7
A “rod”—or, “new shoot”8 arising from the stem of Jesse, is also mentioned in verse 1: “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse.…” The Lord clarifies the meaning in Doctrine and Covenants: “What is the rod spoken of in the first verse of the 11th chapter of Isaiah, that should come of the Stem of Jesse?” “Behold, thus saith the Lord: It is a servant in the hands of Christ, who is partly a descendant of Jesse as well as of Ephraim, or of the house of Joseph, on whom there is laid much power.”9 The “rod” is generally understood among Latter-day Saints to be Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration.10
A “Branch”11 that would arise from the roots of Jesse is also mentioned in verse 1: “And a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” The title “Branch” may apply simultaneously to Christ—the Stem mentioned by Isaiah—and a modern political leader from the lineage of King David of old, whose righteousness would permit him to be guided by the Lord. Jeremiah, in the Old Testament, foretold:
Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, the Lord our righteousness.12
“Lord,” in lower-case letters in the King James Version, probably means a temporal leader. This contrasts with “LORD,” meaning Jehovah or deity, in the beginning verse of this passage from Jeremiah.13 The name of this latter-day Jewish ruler would be David, as foretold by Ezekiel and Hosea.14 Joseph Smith declared prophetically: “The throne and kingdom of David is to be taken from him [David of old] and given to another by the name of David in the last days, raised up out of his lineage.”15 Bruce R. McConkie asserted that the Branch, as well as the Stem, is Christ.16
Verse 1 contains a chiasm recognized in the original Hebrew, here phrased to match the Hebrew construction:17
A: (1) And there shall come forth
B: a rod out of the stem of Jesse,
B: and a Branch out of his roots
A: shall grow.
Since Christ is the “stem of Jesse,” a Branch growing out of “his roots”—meaning the roots of Jesse, or the lineage of the Davidic kings—could mean Christ if the elements of the chiasm are strictly parallel, or it could mean another person from the same lineage if the elements of the chiasm are complementary. It is possible that Isaiah intended both meanings.
Verses 2 and 3 describe the righteousness of Jesus Christ in executing judgment, and as a type, Christ-like attributes of the latter-day temporal leader to be named David as well as Joseph Smith, the prophet of the Restoration. Verse 2 foretells: “And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.” The object, “him,” simultaneously means the “rod,” the “stem” and the “Branch”—Joseph Smith, Christ, and the modern David.
Verse 3 continues: “And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.”
Verse 4 describes the judgment and destruction that will occur at the Second Coming, now with reference to Christ alone: “But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.” The Hebrew word translated as “reprove with equity” means “decide with fairness.”18
This verse is paraphrased by Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.”19 Paul clarifies that the breath of the Lord’s mouth alone would consume the wicked; “spirit” and “breath” are translated from the same Hebrew word.20
The Lord, in rebuking Martin Harris for the loss of the 116 translated pages from the first part of the Book of Mormon, uses similar words: “Therefore I command you to repent—repent, lest I smite you by the rod of my mouth, and by my wrath, and by my anger, and your sufferings be sore—how sore you know not, how exquisite you know not, yea, how hard to bear you know not.”21
The Lord also emphasized that the wicked would destroy the wicked in wars that would take place during the final days before His Second Coming:
I have sworn in my wrath, and decreed wars upon the face of the earth, and the wicked shall slay the wicked, and fear shall come upon every man;
And the saints also shall hardly escape; nevertheless, I, the Lord, am with them, and will come down in heaven from the presence of my Father and consume the wicked with unquenchable fire.22
It is by the decree of the Lord that wars would go forth in which the wicked would slay one another.
Nephi provides prophetic interpretation:
And with righteousness shall the Lord God judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
For the time speedily cometh that the Lord God shall cause a great division among the people, and the wicked will he destroy; and he will spare his people, yea, even if it so be that he must destroy the wicked by fire.23
The words of verse 4 describe the destruction of the wicked preceding the Lord’s Second Coming. During the Millennium, war and envy will be done away and the knowledge of God will cover the whole earth.
Verse 4 contains a chiasm:24
(4) But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:
A: and he shall smite the earth
B: with the rod of his mouth,
B: and with the breath of his lips
A: shall he slay the wicked.
“He shall smite the earth” complements “shall he slay the wicked,” indicating that the Lord’s purpose in smiting the earth is to destroy wickedness among its human population, rather than inflicting punishment upon the earth itself. “The rod of his mouth” is synonymous with “the breath of his lips.”
Verse 5 describes the source of power possessed by Christ, and as a type, by the modern David and the prophet of the restoration: “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” The Hebrew word from which “girdle” is translated means “belt” or “waist-cloth,”25 and “loins” and “reins” both mean “waist.”26
The Lord uses similar words in instructing the Latter-day Saints:
Wherefore, seeing that I, the Lord, have decreed all these things upon the face of the earth, I will that my saints should be assembled upon the land of Zion;
And that every man should take righteousness in his hands and faithfulness upon his loins, and lift a warning voice unto the inhabitants of the earth; and declare both by word and by flight that desolation shall come upon the wicked.27
Righteousness and faithfulness are Christ-like qualities that we should all emulate; by so doing we will escape the desolation that will come upon the wicked.
Verses 3 through 5 contain a chiasm:
A: (3) And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD:
B: and he shall not judge after
C: the sight of his eyes,
D: neither reprove after the hearing of his ears:
E: (4) But with righteousness shall he judge the poor,
E: and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth:
D: and he shall smite the earth
C: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips
B: shall he slay the wicked.
A: (5) And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.
“Fear of the LORD” matches “righteousness” and “faithfulness,” which introduce the theme of the chiasm. “Judge” is compared with “slay the wicked,” providing greater understanding of Isaiah’s use of “judge.” “The sight of his eyes” matches “the rod of his mouth” and “the breath of his lips;” “reprove” in verse 3 is equivalent to “smite;” and “with righteousness shall he judge” reflects “reprove with equity,” which comprise the central focus. The Lord, in slaying the wicked, acts with equity and righteousness. Accordingly, destruction of the wicked results in equity and justice for the poor and meek of the earth.
In verses 6 through 9 Isaiah metaphorically describes the cessation of hostilities between warring nations that had long been enemies. The metaphors of animals—some natural predators and others their prey—living amicably with one another during the Millennium are often taken literally but are better understood in their metaphorical sense. Some of the nations thus represented are identifiable; the bear could be Russia and the lion could be Great Britain. The chiastic structure of these verses and its equivalent in verse 13 confirm that Isaiah is speaking metaphorically.
Verses 6 through 8 present the metaphors. Verse 6 declares: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”28 Opposites are contrasted in a literary foil to emphasize their differences.
Verse 7 presents more foils: “And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.”
Verses 6 and 7 contain a chiasm:
A: (6) The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb,
B: and the leopard shall lie down with
C: the kid;
D: and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
E: and a little child shall lead them.
D: (7) And the cow and the bear shall feed;
C: their young ones
B: shall lie down together:
A: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
“Wolf” and “lamb” match “lion” and “ox;” “shall lie down” matches “shall lie down together;” “the kid” is similar in meaning to “their young ones;” “the calf” matches “the cow;” and “a little child shall lead them” is the single central statement. The meaning is that the little child would lead the entire assemblage of animals presented in the chiasm.
This chiasm forms the beginning element in a larger chiasm that includes verses 6 through 13. The chiasm of verses 6 and 7, which contains the names of animals that represent warring nations and their victims, complements the chiasm of verse 13, which describes cessation of hostility between the nations of Judah and Ephraim, as well as with other traditionally hostile neighbors. This chiastic equivalence explains the metaphor.
Verse 8 continues, presenting more foils and adding depth to the metaphor: “And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.” An asp is a poisonous snake of the viper family whereas a cockatrice is a legendary creature, part serpent and part fowl, that could kill with a glance.29 Note the parallelism; “the hole of the asp” is equivalent to “the cockatrice’s den,” and “the sucking child” is equivalent to “the weaned child.” These comparisons further reinforce the premise that Isaiah is speaking metaphorically—that which is known to be harmful or dangerous is contrasted with innocence and vulnerability.
Verse 8 contains a chiasm recognized in the original Hebrew, here phrased to match the Hebrew construction:30
A: (8) And shall play
B: the sucking child on the hole of the asp,
B: and the weaned child on the cockatrice’ den
A: shall put his hand.
This chiasm places wording that appears as two parallel statements in the King James Version as reverse parallel statements, adding poetic balance.
In verse 9 the Lord describes millennial conditions: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” It is the knowledge of the Lord that will bring war and envy to an end.31 “Mountain” rhetorically means “nation,” or political domain.32 Thus, in the Lord’s domain—which will include the whole earth, as shown in the next phrase—none shall “hurt nor destroy.”
Dallin H. Oaks stated:
In our day we are experiencing an explosion of knowledge about the world and its people. But the people of the world are not experiencing a comparable expansion of knowledge about God and his plan for his children. On that subject, what the world needs is not more scholarship and technology but more righteousness and revelation.
I long for the day prophesied by Isaiah when “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord.”33
In the Book of Mormon, Nephi also quotes verses 4 through 9 in 2 Nephi Chapter 30 with little variation.34 Nephi adds this interesting summation following the quote:
Wherefore, the things of all nations shall be made known; yea, all things shall be made known unto the children of men.
There is nothing which is secret save it shall be revealed; there is no work of darkness save it shall be made manifest in the light; and there is nothing which is sealed upon the earth save it shall be loosed.
Wherefore, all things which have been revealed unto the children of men shall at that day be revealed; and Satan shall have power over the hearts of the children of men no more, for a long time….35
Knowledge of the truth, revealed to the children of men, will effectively take away Satan’s power.
Instructing the Latter-day Saints, the Lord declares: “And in that day [the Lord’s millennial reign] the enmity of man, and the enmity of beasts, yea, the enmity of all flesh, shall cease from before my face.”36 Here it is clear that both the literal and metaphorical elements of Isaiah’s prophecy are to be fulfilled.
Verses 10 through 12 describe the gathering of Israel. Preparatory to the Millennium the Lord will raise an ensign and gather Israel from the many lands of their dispersion. Verse 10 refers to a “root of Jesse,” which is a prophet raised up to the Gentiles in the latter days: “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” The phrase “in that day” means the latter days, the time when this prophecy is to be fulfilled.37
Verse 10 is quoted by the Apostle Paul, with reference to the Gentiles’ acceptance of Christ: “And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”38 The Gentiles in the latter days would accept Christ through the “root of Jesse” proclaimed by Isaiah—the great prophet of the restoration, Joseph Smith.
In Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord provides further explanation: “What is the root of Jesse spoken of in the 10th verse of the 11th chapter?” “Behold, thus saith the Lord, it is a descendant of Jesse, as well as of Joseph, unto whom rightly belongs the priesthood, and the keys of the kingdom, for an ensign, and for the gathering of my people in the last days.”39 These characteristics describe principal attributes of Joseph Smith’s lineage and prophetic mission.40,41
Joseph Smith, together with his associates in the restoration, were rightful heirs to the priesthood by lineage. The Lord, in modern revelation, declared:
Therefore, thus saith the Lord unto you, with whom the priesthood hath continued through the lineage of your fathers—
For ye are lawful heirs, according to the flesh, and have been hid from the world with Christ in God—
Therefore your life and the priesthood have remained, and must needs remain through you and your lineage until the restoration of all things spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets since the world began.42
Joseph Smith, through the ministration of angels, was given the keys of various essential priesthood offices and functions as part of the restoration. These angelic ministrations include ordination to the Aaronic Priesthood under the hands of John the Baptist43 and ordination to the Melchizedek Priesthood, including the Apostleship, under the hands of Peter, James, and John.44 To Joseph Smith in a glorious vision, Moses restored the keys of the gathering of Israel,45 Elijah restored the sealing power that would unite parents and children across the generations,46 and Elias restored the keys of the gospel of Abraham through which all the generations to follow would be blessed.47
Joseph Smith, as the prophet of the restoration, established an ensign to the people of the world—including both Gentiles and the tribes of Israel—to which they would gather in the latter days. In modern revelation, the Lord declared:
For, behold, I say unto you that Zion shall flourish, and the glory of the Lord shall be upon her;
And she shall be an ensign unto the people, and there shall come unto her out of every nation under heaven (emphasis added).48
The Book of Mormon prophet Lehi, in his final blessing to his youngest son, Joseph, described a latter-day prophet who would be named Joseph.49 Similarly, Jacob—or Israel—in pronouncing a final blessing upon his son Joseph, foretold a latter-day prophet also to be named Joseph.50
Verse 11 describes the nations from which the remnant of Israel are to be gathered: “And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.” Nephi also quotes the first part of this verse in 2 Nephi 25:17 and 2 Nephi 29:1.51
These names of countries from Isaiah’s time represent places to which the scattered of Israel were originally dispersed. Their equivalents in the modern world may not be related strictly to the locations mentioned. For example, it is apparent that “the islands of the sea” refers to the Greek Archipelago because of chiastic structure of this and associated verses, described below. However, this phrase also refers to the Americas, the heritage of the children of Lehi.52
The word “ensign” as used in verse 10 means a military flag, such as was used to denote battlefield conditions and send messages to the combatants.53 In this case the message is to assemble, as set forth in verse 12: “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”54 The word “corners” in the final phrase is rendered the same in the Book of Mormon version. The Hebrew word translated as “corners” means “extremities” or “borders.”55
Regarding verses 11 and 12, LeGrand Richards taught:
The angel Moroni repeated that passage to the Prophet Joseph when Joseph was only eighteen years old, when Moroni visited him three times during the night and again the next morning, indicating that that work was to be established. Just think of the assignment to the Prophet Joseph at that time. He has set up an ensign to the nations. No other church in the world is accomplishing what this Church is doing for its members, and developing its members, and that is an ensign unto the world. People come to us to learn how we are accomplishing these things.56
The gathering of Israel, described in these verses, would be the greatest miracle to be brought about by the Lord in the latter days, as testified by Jeremiah:
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be said, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers.57
This great miracle is in part the latter-day missionary work, a means by which Israel is to be gathered.58
As described in verses 13 and 14, before the Second Coming of the Lord, Israel—united as a single nation rather than persisting as two separate kingdoms—will dominate her once-hostile neighbors. Verse 13 proclaims: “The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.” The Book of Mormon renders “the envy of Ephraim also shall depart.”59
Verses 6 through 13 form an elegant chiasm:
A: (6) The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. (7) And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (8) And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’ den.
B: (9) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth
C: shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
D: (10) And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse,
E: which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. (11) And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left,
F: from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush,
F: and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
E: (12) And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel,
D: and gather together the dispersed of Judah
C: from the four corners of
B: the earth.
A: (13) The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim.
The introductory statement of this elegant chiasm consists of the entirety of verses 6 and 7, which is itself a complete chiasm and was described earlier. Its complementary reflection is the whole of verse 13, which is also a separate, complete chiasm. The central statements are two sets of geographic locations, given in verse 11. When the localities are depicted on a map,60 Isaiah’s intended pattern emerges: Each set forms a somewhat straight line, and the two lines cross to form an “X”—the Greek letter chi, as in “chiasm.”
Isaiah’s intended pattern is evident when these eight geographic locations are taken in order. Assyria, or Ashur, was north of Babylonia in the valley of the Tigris River; its capitol was Nineveh. Egypt is centered on the Nile River and its delta, located southwest from Assyria. Pathros is Upper Egypt, located along the Nile River southward, and Cush is Ethiopia, where a dark-skinned people dwelt still farther southward from Egypt. These four localities define a line that starts out trending southwest but changes to more directly south. The second line begins with Elam, which is the southeast part of Persia, or Iran, southward from Assyria. Shinar is Babylonia, in the lower part of the Tigris-Euphrates river plain and northwestward from Elam. Hamath is still an important city in Syria, located still farther northwest along the line. It was named as the northern limit of the Promised Land of Palestine.61 The “islands of the sea” refers to the Greek archipelago, which forms the northwest end of the second line.
Verse 13 contains a chiasm:62
A: (13) The envy also of Ephraim also shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off:
B: Ephraim shall not envy
C: and Judah
B: shall not vex
This chiasm reflects the introductory statement of the chiasm of verses 6 through 13. Their complementary relationship confirms that the animals in verses 6 and 7 are metaphors representing warring aggressor nations and their perennial victims. The first instance of “Ephraim” is equivalent to the second instance at the end of the verse; “shall not envy” is equivalent to “shall not vex;” and “Judah” matches “Judah.”
Verse 14 describes united Israel’s victories: “But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.” These neighbor adversaries of Isaiah’s time would have different modern names.
Verse 15 describes changes that are to occur preceding the Millennium: “And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.” These changes—described by Isaiah in geographic terms—are probably metaphors representing political and societal changes that would facilitate the gathering of scattered Israel. The parting of the Red Sea at the time of Moses, to allow the fleeing Israelites to escape the pursuing Egyptian armies, is a type for the spiritual strait and narrow way. “The tongue of the Egyptian sea” probably means the Gulf of Suez—the northwestern tongue of the Red Sea, located between Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula—which was parted at the time of Moses.63 Mighty winds are to be manifest also, as they were at the original parting of the Red Sea.64 The “river” most likely means the Tigris and Euphrates together;65 great winds are to smite their seven tributaries66 allowing men metaphorically to cross with dry shoes.
Do the mighty winds represent sweeping political changes in lands coursed by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and their tributaries, establishing political and religious freedom and allowing men and women of those lands to obtain a true knowledge of the Plan of Salvation? If so, Isaiah’s metaphoric meaning is that these developments are as important in the latter days as was the parting of the waters of the Red Sea in times of old.
The destruction of the tongue of the Egyptian sea will coincide with the gathering, as alluded in verse 16: “And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.”67
Similar reference to a highway is made elsewhere, in Chapter 35, by Isaiah indicating that his meaning is spiritual rather than temporal:
And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.68
The “highway” is the strait and narrow way.69 The means by which the remnants of Israel are to be gathered in the latter days is that the gospel will be preached unto them; they will unite with Zion and her people and will follow the strait and narrow way. Their identity as heirs of the Abrahamic covenant will be revealed to them, and they will make covenants with the Lord as in former days.
1. Joseph Smith—History 1:40.
2. Verses 1-5, 10.
3. Isaiah 6:13.
4. F. Brown, S. Driver, and C. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon: Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 01961-3473, 1996, Strong’s No. 1503, p. 160.
5. See Matthew 1:1-16.
6. See also Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; 25:9; 53:5.
7. Doctrine and Covenants 113:1-2.
8. Brown et al., 1996, 1996, Strong’s No. 2415, p. 310.
9. Doctrine and Covenants 113:3-4.
10. Donald W. Parry, “Isaiah Chapter Review: 2 Nephi 21//Isaiah 11,” Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Dennis L. Largey, ed., Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, UT, 2003, p. 379-380.
11. Brown et al., 1996, Strong’s No. 2415, pág. 310.
12. Jeremiah 23:5-6.
13. Jeremiah 23:5.
14. See Ezekiel 37:21-28 and Hosea 3:4-5.
15. History of the Church, v. 6, p. 253.
16. Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah: Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City UT, 1978, p. 192.
17. Parry, Harmonizing Isaiah, 2001, p. 259.
18. Brown et al., 1996, Strong’s No. 3198, p. 406-407.
19. 2 Thessalonians 2:8.
20. F. Brown, S. Driver, and C. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon: Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, 01961-3473, 1996, Strong’s No. 7307, p. 924.
21. Doctrine and Covenants 19:15.
22. Doctrine and Covenants 63:33-34.
23. 2 Nephi 30:9-10.
24. Parry, Harmonizing Isaiah, 2001, p. 259.
25. Brown et al., 1996, Strong’s No. 232, p. 25.
26. Brown et al., 1996, Strong’s No. 2504, p. 323.
27. Doctrine and Covenants 63:36-37.
28. Verse 6 contains a chiasm recognized in the original Hebrew: Shall dwell/ wolf…with…lamb/leopard with…kid/shall lie down. In Parry, Harmonizing Isaiah, 2001, p. 259.
29. “Cockatrice,” Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language: Portland House, a division of Dilithium Press, Ltd., distributed by Outlet Book Company, Inc, a Random House Company, 225 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10003, p. 284. Compare also “Cockatrice” in Bible Dictionary. See also Isaiah 14:29; 59:5 and pertinent commentary.
30. Parry, Harmonizing Isaiah, 2001, p. 259.
31. See Isaiah 12:3; 30:25; 35:6-7; 55:1, 11; 58:11 and pertinent commentary.
32. “Mountain” is rhetorically connected to “nation.” See Isaiah 2:2, 14 and 2 Nephi 12:2, 14; Isaiah 13:2, 4; 30:25 and pertinent commentary.
33. Dallin H. Oaks, “Alternate Voices,” Ensign, May 1989, p. 27.
34. 2 Nephi 30:9, 11-15.
35. 2 Nephi 30:16-18.
36. Doctrine and Covenants 101:26.
37. Compare Isaiah 27:2.
38. Romans 15:12.
39. Doctrine and Covenants 113:5-6.
40. Victor L. Ludlow, Isaiah: Prophet, Seer, and Poet: Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1982, p. 172-174.
41. Doctrine and Covenants 135:3.
42. Doctrine and Covenants 86:8-10.
43. Joseph Smith—History 1:72; Doctrine and Covenants 13:1.
44. Joseph Smith—History 1:72. Doctrine and Covenants 27:12.
45. Doctrine and Covenants 110:11.
46. Doctrine and Covenants 110:13-16.
47. Doctrine and Covenants 110:12.
48. Doctrine and Covenants 64:41-42.
49. See 2 Nephi 3:6-22.
50. See Joseph Smith’s “New Translation” of the Bible: Herald Publishing House, Independence, Missouri, 1970, p. 114-116; also JST Genesis 50:24-38.
51. Victor L. Ludlow, “Isaiah in the Book of Mormon,” Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Dennis L. Largey, ed., Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, UT, 2003, p. 344.
52. See 2 Nephi 10:20; see also Isaiah 18:1-2 and pertinent commentary.
53. See also Doctrine and Covenants 113:6, Doctrine and Covenants 64:41-42 and Isaiah 5:26.
54. See Isaiah 5:26 and pertinent commentary.
55. Brown et al., 1996, Strong’s No. 3671, p. 489.
56. LeGrand Richards, “Prophets and Prophecy,” Ensign, Nov. 1975, p. 50.
57. Jeremiah 16:14-15.
58. See Isaiah 18.
59. 2 Nephi 21:13.
60. See Bible Map 2.
61. See Numbers 34:8; Joshua 13:5.
62. Parry, Harmonizing Isaiah, 2001, p. 259.
63. Brown et al., 1996, Strong’s No. 3956, p. 546; see Map 3, LDS Bible.
64. See Exodus 14:21-22.
65. Donald W. Parry, Jay A. Parry and Tina M. Peterson interpret “the river” as the Euphrates. In Parry et al., Understanding Isaiah: Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1998, p. 124-125.
66. Possibly Great Zab, Little Zab, Diyala, and Adhaim (Tigris tributaries); Karasu, Murat, and Khabar (Euphrates tributaries).
67. See Exodus 14:21-31 and Isaiah 51:10.
68. Isaiah 35:8. See Isaiah 19:23; 40:14; 49:11 and pertinent commentary.
69. See Matthew 7:14 and 3 Nephi 14:14; compare 1 Nephi 8:20, 2 Nephi 9:41, 31:18, 33:9; Jacob 6:11, Helaman 3:29, 3 Nephi 27:33, and Doctrine and Covenants 132:22.