1 Nephi 22:24 Calves of the Stall

1 Nephi 22:24. Calves of the Stall

A passage in 1 Nephi 22:24 mentions “calves of the stall,” an expression found in the Bible only in Malachi 4:2. Because Malachi lived two centuries after Nephi, this is an obvious anachronism that resulted from the fact that Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon.

Samuel MormonThe Hebrew term rendered “calves of the stall” in the Malachi passage is ceglēy marbēq. It is also found in other Bible passages, such as Jeremiah 46:21 and 1 Samuel 28:24, where the same Hebrew words are rendered “fatted bullocks” and “fat calf” (singular form cēgel marbēq), respectively, in the King James version (KJV) of the Bible. But the word marbēq refers to an animal stall and does not mean “fat” or “fatted.” The Samuel passage predates Nephi by a few centuries, while the Jeremiah passage is contemporary with him. So the term would have been known to Nephi. Also predating Nephi was the prophet Amos, who wrote of căgālīm mit-tōk marbēq, “calves out of the midst of  the stall” (Amos 6:4).

When the resurrected Christ visited the Nephites in the city of Bountiful, he quoted for them chapters 3-4 of Malachi, adding, “These scriptures, which ye had not with you, the Father commanded that I should give unto you” (3 Nephi 26:2). Indeed, in 3 Nephi 25:2, he quoted the “calves of the stall” passage from Malachi, attributing it to that prophet (3 Nephi 24:1). If Joseph Smith authored the Book of Mormon, he would have known the source of the expression and, knowing that it postdated Nephi’s time, would likely not have used it in 1 Nephi 22:24, thus revealing himself as the book’s author.