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Saturday
Mar262011

Isaiah in the Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon quotes extensively from the book of Isaiah, including entire chapters, and in many cases verbatim to the King James translation. In addition to this table below, at least 52 other verses from Isaiah are found throughout the Book of Mormon.
Isaiah Book of Mormon
Isaiah 2 2 Nephi 12
Isaiah 3 2 Nephi 13
Isaiah 4 2 Nephi 14
Isaiah 5 2 Nephi 15
Isaiah 6 2 Nephi 1
Isaiah 7 2 Nephi 17
Isaiah 8 2 Nephi 18
Isaiah 9 2 Nephi 19
Isaiah 10 2 Nephi 20
Isaiah 11 2 Nephi 21
Isaiah 12 2 Nephi 22
Isaiah 13 2 Nephi 23
Isaiah 14 2 Nephi 24
Isaiah 48 1 Nephi 20
Isaiah 49 1 Nephi 21
Isaiah 50 2 Nephi 7
Isaiah 51 2 Nephi 8
Isaiah 52 3 Nephi 20
Isaiah 53 Mosiah 14
Isaiah 54 3 Nephi 22

The extensive use of Isaiah poses several problems:
  • Plagiarism
    The Book of Mormon narrative says that the Jews who left Jerusalem for the New World had with them the scriptures written up until that point (600 B.C.). That the Book of Mormon quotes from Isaiah is not a problem, except that Joseph Smith's 1830 translation reads nearly verbatim to the 1611 King James Translation. This demonstrates that he did not perform a "translation" from an ancient text written in Reformed Egyptian, but was merely copying from the KJV Bible.
    Joseph Smith's translation of Isaiah (1830) King James translation of Isaiah (1611)
    Holy Bible In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet, and their cauls, and their round tires like the moon, The chains, and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and the hoods, and the vails.
    — Isaiah 3:18-23 (KJV)
    Book of Mormon In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and cauls, and round tires like the moon, The chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers, The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the earrings, The rings, and nose jewels, The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, The glasses, and the fine linen, and hoods, and the vails.
    2 Nephi 13:18-23
    • KJV italicized words
      The King James translation inserted additional words not found in the original texts to help clarify the translation. The KJV distinguished the additional words by italicizing them. We would not expect the Book of Mormon, which was allegedly completed by 421 A.D., to include the identical words that the KJV added centuries later. Yet we see this effect throughout the Book of Mormon. For example:
      Isaiah 9:1 (KJV) 2 Nephi 19:1
      Holy Bible Nevertheless the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations.
      — Isaiah 9:1 KJV
      Book of Mormon Nevertheless, the dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at first he lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, and afterwards did more grievously afflict by the way of the Red Sea beyond Jordan in Galilee of the nations.
      In this example, 2 Nephi 9:1, dated in the Book of Mormon to be around 550 B.C., quotes nearly verbatim from the 1611 A.D. translation of Isaiah 9:1 KJV. and includes the words added (italicized) by the KJV. In addition, Joseph qualified the sea as the Red Sea. The problem is that (a) Jesus Christ quoted Isaiah in Matt. 4:14-15 and did not mention the Red sea, (b) "Red" sea is not found in any source manuscripts, (c) the Red Sea is 250 miles away!
      Malachi 3:10 (KJV) 3 Nephi 24:10
      Holy Bible ...and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
      — Malachi 3:10 KJV
      Book of Mormon ...and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
      3 Nephi 24:10
      In this example, the KJV added seven words not found in the source Hebrew manuscripts to its English translation. The Book of Mormon, which was allegedly completed 1,200 years prior, contains the identical seven words.
    • KJV translation errors
      Our understanding of the Hebrew language today is much more advanced than it was in the 1600's when King James authorized an english translation of the Bible. Somehow the divine process guiding Joseph's "translation" of the Book of Mormon didn't prevent him from making identical translation errors.
      Isaiah 2:16 (KJV) 2 Nephi 12:16
      Holy Bible And upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
      — Isaiah 2:16 KJV
      Book of Mormon ...and upon all the ships of Tarshish, and upon all pleasant pictures.
      2 Nephi 12:16
      In this example, where the KJV uses pictures, the correct translation should be crafts, or vessels, which also fits the context better.

      Compare these translations: Is. 2:16 NASB, Is. 2:16 NIV

      If Joseph was truly translating an ancient text by the gift and power of God, its inexplicable that he would make the identical error. This is evidence that Joseph was not translating at all but merely copying from a King James Bible.
    • The name Lucifer comes from an improper translation in the King James Version, which name only appears once in Isaiah 14:12. Modern translations correct this, as the passage does not refer to the devil, but to the King of Babylon. That the Book of Mormon repeats the KJV error (2 Nephi 24:12) is evidence against its alleged ancient origin and inspired "translation".
    • See also Quoting from the King James Bible and View of the Hebrews
  • Filler
    In light of the size of the gold plates, all of the abridging, and the difficulty of engraving the plates, the extensive use of Isaiah in the Book of Mormon must be considered filler.
  • Anachronistic
    Some scholars believe that Isaiah chapters 40 to 55 were written during the Babylonian captivity, thus after when the Jews in the Book of Mormon left Jerusalem for the New World. If true, then the quotations of these chapters would be anachronistic.
    See Book of Mormon anachronisms


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