Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:

“If Ye Will Hearken”: Lehi’s Rhetorical Wordplay on Ishmael in 2 Nephi 1:28–29 and Its Implications

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Published by:
Interpreter A Journal of Mormon Scripture
Published:
5/19/2017
Specs:
Digest / 5.25" x 8.25"
36 pages Saddle-stitched
Category:
Religion
Tags:
apologetics, lds, lehi, mormon, Mormonism, Nephi, wordplay

Nephi’s preservation of the conditional “first blessing” that Lehi bestowed upon his elder sons (Laman, Lemuel, and Sam) and the sons of Ishmael, contains a dramatic wordplay on the name Ishmael in 2 Nephi 1:28–29. The name Ishmael — “May El hear [him],” “May El hearken,” or “El Has Hearkened” — derives from the Semitic (and later Hebrew) verb šāmaʿ (to “hear,” “hearken,” or “obey”). Lehi’s rhetorical wordplay juxtaposes the name Ishmael with a clustering of the verbs “obey” and “hearken,” both usually represented in Hebrew by the verb šāmaʿ. Lehi’s blessing is predicated on his sons’ and the sons of Ishmael’s “hearkening” to Nephi (“if ye will hearken”). Conversely, failure to “hearken” (“but if ye will not hearken”) would precipitate withdrawal of the “first blessing.”

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Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture: “If Ye Will Hearken”: Lehi’s...


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