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“We Are a Remnant of the Seed of Joseph”: Moroni’s Interpretive Use of Joseph’s Coat and the Martial nēs-Imagery of Isaiah 11:11–12
|Title||“We Are a Remnant of the Seed of Joseph”: Moroni’s Interpretive Use of Joseph’s Coat and the Martial nēs-Imagery of Isaiah 11:11–12|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2020|
|Authors||Bowen, Matthew L.|
|Journal||Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship|
|Keywords||Captain Moroni; Imagery; Isaiah (Book); Joseph (of Egypt); Prophecy; Wordplay|
Genesis 30:23–24 offers a double etiology for Joseph in terms of “taking away”/“gathering” (ʾāsap) and “adding” (yāsap). In addition to its later narratological use of the foregoing, the Joseph cycle (Genesis 37–50) evidences a third dimension of onomastic wordplay involving Joseph’s kĕtōnet passı̂m, an uncertain phrase traditionally translated “coat of many colours” (from LXX), but perhaps better translated, “coat of manifold pieces.” Moroni1, quoting from a longer version of the Joseph story from the brass plates, refers to “Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces” (Alma 46:23). As a military and spiritual leader, Moroni1 twice uses Joseph’s torn coat and the remnant doctrine from Jacob’s prophecy regarding Joseph’s coat as a model for his covenant use of his own coat to “gather” (cf. ʾāsap) and rally faithful Nephites as “a remnant of the seed of Joseph” (Alma 46:12–28, 31; 62:4–6). In putting that coat on a “pole” or “standard” (Hebrew nēs — i.e., “ensign”) to “gather” a “remnant of the seed of Joseph” appears to make use of the Isaianic nēs-imagery of Isaiah 11:11–12 (and elsewhere), where the Joseph-connected verbs yāsap and ʾāsap serve as key terms. Moroni’s written-upon “standard” or “ensign” for “gathering” the “remnant of the seed of Joseph” constituted an important prophetic antetype for how Mormon and his son, Moroni2, perceived the function of their written record in the latter-days (see, e.g., 3 Nephi 5:23–26; Ether 13:1–13).
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