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Criticisms: Jacob/Enos/Jarom

Jacob 2:24. Polygamy Abominable?

Why is it that, in Jacob 2:24, the polygamy of Solomon and David is condemned, while D&C 132:38-39 says that God approved those plural marriages?

Enos Pray MormonWhat the Lord condemns in Jacob 2:24 is the fact that David and Solomon “had many wives and concubines.” He disapproved of their excesses. In D&C 132:38-39, the Lord specifically says that David and Solomon and others did not sin in having plural wives except in “those things which they received not of me.” Most of Solomon’s wives were princess, whom he married in order to forge political alliances with their fathers who ruled neighboring countries. As worshipers of pagan gods, he could not have been sealed to them in the sense of what we term a “temple marriage,” and 1 Kings 11:3-4 specifically says that these princesses turned away his heart to the worship of false gods. Consequently, most of Solomon’s wives were not given to him by the Lord, and this is precisely what the Lord condemns in D&C 132:38. In 2 Samuel 12:8, the Lord specifically declares that he had given David “wives.” (Read More)

Jacob 7:27. French in the Book of Mormon

Jacob 7:27 ends with the French word “adieu.” Since the Nephites did not speak French (which didn’t even exist until centuries later), how can this be justified?

Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon into English. Though English is a Germanic language, it adopted many French words, beginning in 1066, when the French-speaking Normans invaded England and became the ruling class. The King James version of the Bible also has many words of French origin…(Read More)

Enos 1:25 etc. Longevity of Nephite Scribes

In the Book of Mormon, Enos wrote that 179 years had passed away from the time that his grandfather, Lehi, left Jerusalem (Enos 1:25). Later, Enos’s son Jarom says 238 years had passed away (Jarom 1:13). It is unreasonable to expect that three generations (Lehi’s son Jacob, his son Enos, and his son Jarom) could have lived so long.

It seems ironic that this criticism usually comes from Bible readers who readily accept that Abraham fathered a son at the age of 100 (Genesis 21:5) and lived to the age of 175 (Genesis 25:7), while his son Isaac died at the age of 180 (Genesis 35:28) and his grandson Jacob lived to be 147 years old. Some of Abraham’s ancestors, from Adam to Serug are said to have lived even longer (see Genesis chapters 5 and 11). More to the point, we must take into account that the Hebrew term ab, generally rendered “father,” can be used of any male paternal ancestor, while the term ben, generally translated “son,” means any male descendant. (Read More)

Enos 1:27, etc. Cattle in the New World

The Book of Mormon claims that both the Nephites and the Jaredites had “cattle,” yet there is no evidence of domestication of cows in the New World prior to the arrival of the Spaniards.

There are seven references to cattle in the Book of Mormon. Of these, two are citations from the Old Testament (2 Nephi 17:25; Mosiah 13:18). One reference occurs in the land of Nephi during the time of Enos (Enos 1:27), three occur in the land of Zarahemla near the time of Christ (3 Nephi 3:22; 4:4; 6:1) and one occurs during the reign of the Jaredite king Emer (Ether 9:18). (Read More)

Jarom 1:8. Machinery

The Book of Mormon says that the Nephites had “machinery” (Jarom 1:8), in an age prior to the introduction of machines during the industrial revolution.

Those of us who live in the post-industrial age think of this word in terms of manufacturing plants and motors, but that was not the primary meaning of “machinery” in Joseph Smith’s day. Indeed, the term first appears in English in the 16th century and derives from Greek via Latin and Old French. Webster’s 1828 dictionary, published two years before the Book of Mormon, notes that “the simple machines are the six mechanical powers, viz.; the lever, the pulley, the axis and wheels, the wedge, the screw, and the inclined plane.” All of these were known in the ancient Near East from which Lehi’s party emigrated and some of them were known in the New World. The context of the passage in Jarom 1:8 suggests rather simple machinery, including “all manner of tools of every kind to till the ground and weapons of war.” Some of the tools known during this early period may not have been known to later generations.

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