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2 Nephi 14
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2 Nephi 14
2 Nephi 14:1
1 And in that day, seven women shall take hold of one man, saying: We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.
The wisdom of the original way that the Book of Mormon Isaiah chapters were divided over the Biblical model is evident here. This verse is part of the calamity of the last chapter, and in the next verse the emphasis will shift to the beginning of the redemption of the righteous.
At this point, however, there is still an emphasis on the destruction. At the end of the last chapter it noted that the men would fall in war. That leads directly to the problem of the women in this verse. A woman’s place in society at that time was dependent upon her position within a patriarchal family. With so many women who no longer have husbands or fathers, many would want to improve their situation by becoming attached to any man.
The point of this verse is to show their desperation. They need the man’s name to remove their social reproach and are willing to accept that name without the accompanying support that is typically associated with the family.
A Righteous Branch Will Be Spared
2 Nephi 14:2–3
2 In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious; the fruit of the earth excellent and comely to them that are escaped of Israel.
3 And it shall come to pass, they that are left in Zion and remain in Jerusalem shall be called holy, every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem—
In spite of the devastation, there will be a redemption. There are two types of people who will be redeemed at that day. One is a branch of Israel who have escaped. Isaiah does not declare who those people are, but certainly there were some who were able to flee before the destruction. Of course, in the Nephite reading of this chapter, the branch would point to the Nephites, even though they came much later in time.
The second group who will receive redemption are the righteous who remained in Israel. Yahweh had already said that all would be well with the righteous, and now indicates that Yahweh will watch over the righteous who remained in the city.
2 Nephi 14:4–6
4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning.
5 And the Lord will create upon every dwelling-place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for upon all the glory of Zion shall be a defence.
6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and a covert from storm and from rain.
The destruction described will have a cleansing effect. Jerusalem will repent. Where the previous chapter indicated the humiliation of the women and the death of the men, those two consequences begin to be reversed here. Thus, in verse 4 the Lord speaks of the time when he will wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion, a direct reversal of the humiliation of the women in the last chapter. Similarly, purging the blood of Jerusalem may refer to those who had died by the sword.
The imagery of redemption comes with a “cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night.” This is an unmistakable reference to the presence of Yahweh as he led the children of Israel out of Egypt. Thus, the previous salvation from a foreign power foreshadows the redemption of the current foreign power. It also declares that although the children of Israel may have forsaken Yahweh, Yahweh will still be with them.
The mention of the tabernacle is another clear reference to the Exodus, and as the traveling house of God becomes the symbolic representation that God is still with them. He will be their refuge.
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