Hebrew to English: 1 Nephi 4 #lds #ldsconf #twitterstake

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1 Nephi, chapter 4, from modern Hebrew, through ASL, into modern English:


And my words (of God) to my brothers were,
“Let us go up again to Jerusalem,
and let us be filled with the commands
of the Lord, our Master,
and so be faithful (to Him)
in trust and devotion
(by acting on our faith).
Besides, He (the Lord) is stronger
(than any) in all the land,
and so why not?
(If we are on His team,
or protected by Him
like a bride under her canopy),
(then we know)
He will be stronger than Laban,
or Laban’s fifty,
or even than a (gloomy) ten thousand
(with little hope to win).

“So please, let’s go up (to Jerusalem),
(remembering the story of Passover)
longing to become as strong and powerful as Moses,
because he (Moses) straight up just spoke to the waters themselves,
the waters of the Red Sea
(addressed the problem directly),
and they (the waters) agreed to split into two,
and so our ancestors who had worked and worshiped in captivity
came through on dry land,
delivered from exile,
while Pharaoh’s armies that had tyrannized (our ancestors)
followed after them,
but sank and were drowned
in the waters of the Red Sea.

“Now you all know this same truth
(as I know it, and as it applies to us),
and you all also know the angel-messenger
that spoke to you.
So what’s the big deal?
Why the abundance of doubt?

“Let’s go!
The Lord, our Master, can set us free
(from Laban, by helping us with this mission)
as He did our ancestors,
even striking (down) Laban
as He did the people of Egypt
(the Egyptians and those Jews who did not keep their covenants).”

Now, when I finished saying these things to them,
it added to their anger
and they kept on grumbling,
but (at least) they did (go with me)
and walk behind me
until we reached the outside walls of Jerusalem.

It was night time
(when we arrived),
and I told them to hide out
(away from) the walls.

After they were well hidden,
I, Nephi, snuck into the middle of the city
and approached the house of Laban.

I stepped (carefully)
as the Spirit –
(Rauch, literally, the space between me and God)
(implying, each act of faith or obedience
closes the gap between us and God)
yes, as the Spirit
directed me,
because I didn’t know ahead of time
how or what to do
(in Order —> of the Priesthood)
to accomplish this mission (assignment).

Throughout this experience,
I marched forward
(not letting anything
or any thought deter me).
When I approached Laban’s house,
I saw a man fallen out front,
one who had indulged (with wine)
(until) he was splashed-drunk from it
(and collapsed, passed out).

When I approached the man,
I realized who he was
and knew I recognized him.
“This is Laban!” I said to myself.

I saw his sword, and pulled it from the sheath case.
It was made from pure gold,
obviously made by one practiced and skilled
in the the ancient craft.
I also saw the blade itself
was made from the most valuable steel.
It really was very well made.

And the Spirit prompted me to kill Laban.

But I said in my mind, and in my heart,
“Never have I been one to spill a person’s blood.”
So even now I recoiled
and did not want to kill him.

But the Spirit spoke these words to me, again,
now adding more to his message to me:
“Look!  The Lord, our Master,
has a message for you:
He (the Lord) has delivered him (Laban)
into your hands
(like a monument).”
(So then I pondered further)
(and) also, I knew he (Laban) had requested
(his servants) to kill me
(and had tried to) take away the livelihood and property
(of our family)
(cutting us off like a tourniquet).
I also knew that he (Laban)
obviously did not want to obey the commandments
of the Lord, our Master.

Again, to me the Spirit spoke
(adding upon what had already been taught)
and said, “Kill him because the Lord, our Master
said that he (Laban) is given into your hands
(and not for other reasons),
(for he was given into your hands)
(as a monument, or as a last testimony against Jerusalem).

“Look!  The Lord, our Master,
(sometimes must)
slay the wicked (according to the
natural consequences they have chosen)
(in Order —> of the Priesthood)
to further His rightful methods
and righteous purposes and correct services
(to the rest of the people).

“Your brothers worried about their temporal inheritance
(for themselves),
but this is about your spiritual legacy
(for your descendants).
Laban stole your temporal inheritance
(that is not a reason to kill him);
do not give away your spiritual inheritance also.
It is better for a single man to lose his temporal inheritance
(paid for with his life),
than for a complete and entire people to lose their spiritual inheritance
by wasting away in atrophy,
becoming decadent
and deficient
by lack of faith.
This act of faith is the monument to their faith.”

Now, when I, Nephi, heard these words,
I remembered (also) the words I heard
the Lord, our Master, speak to me
in the wilderness:
“If your descendants will preserve my “team”
(my people of Holiness),
by keeping my commandments
(and so becoming a holy people)
(Holiness to the Lord,
the House (people) of the Lord)
then they will prosper in the land
I know about, that I set aside for them,
that I promised to them.”

Yes, I also considered that and thought about
how the people can’t keep the commandments
of the Lord, our Master,
or even the doctrine (teachings) given by Moses,
even the Torah itself,
unless the people have the Torah.
And how they would only wonder at His will
without His law,
but with His law,
they would awe at His will.

Yes, I even knew the Torah was engraved
on the tablets, even the plates of brass
(and that the people needed access to these).

Again, I knew that the Lord, our Master,
delivered (as a monument to us
and to Jerusalem)
Laban into my hands
so that I could accomplish my mission,
even obtaining the records
according to
(in step with)
His commandments.

So yes, I responded to the sound
(feeling of the voice) of the Spirit,
and I realized (what I must do).
I obeyed,
and pulled on Laban’s hair
(still he did not wake)
and lifted his head by his hair
and used his sword to chop off his head.
And so, while he slept in complacency,
I reclaimed the role
as leader of the Lord’s people.

After I knew I was now head of the people,
and had the authority to lead the people,
I grabbed Laban’s clothes
and put them on
(as sackcloth),
(for repentance for the murder
and sorrow for his death
and concern for the national distaster
about to befall Jerusalem
and in humility before God).
Only then did I dress in his armor in every detail,
even with his weapon on my back.

After I did accomplish that,
I walked to the house of finance,
or, Laban’s treasury.

Then I saw his (Laban’s) servant (who)
holds the key to the house of finance (treasury)
for which Laban had traded his keys
(to the Priesthood).

I commanded him,
in a voice like Laban’s,
to enter with me into the treasury.
He, an accountant, thought me to be Laban, the owner,
because he saw my armor
and also the sword that encircled me.

He talked to me about the Jewish leaders,
knowing that the owner (of the treasury),
even Laban,
had gone out with them tonight.
(play on words, also meaning:
He talked to me about his thesis, his idea,
of the elders of the Jews,
because he knew Laban was released from them
or that he would be released from his calling
on this night by Elohim.
implying:He talked to me about the gossip
regarding the Jewish leaders,
that tonight they were praying
to ask for Laban to be released
from his calling
by Elohim

And I talked to him as if I were Laban
(Or, I talked to Him
as if I,
pretending to be Laban,
had already been released
from my calling).

Also, I said that I want to deliver the engravings
on the tablets made of brass plates,
to my elder brothers
(who still had not been found out,
or discovered, by the walls).

Also, I commanded him to walk behind me
(so that he would not recognize me).

And he, the accountant, thought like a local,
and that by “elder brothers”
I mean the elder brethren of the church,
the same who he had been gossiping about,
(and that we had to return the records
because he thought I,
who was pretending to be Laban,
had been released from my calling).
So now he began to realize,
or think, that in truth,
I really was the Laban whom I had killed,
and so now he was both embarrassed and afraid,
(because of his political mistake
in gossiping about me,
whom he thought to be Laban)
and so he did follow after me.

And (so) while we walked,
he said to me,
over and over
and again and again
things about the elders of the Jews,
(rambling and babbling)
(trying to correct his mistake of gossip)
(and trying to backtrack what he had said).
I (remained silent) and went on walking
towards the outside walls of the city
(not replying to him,
and letting him work out
his own guilt and fears himself.

An so then as soon as Laman saw me,
he shuddered very much
because (being ashamed)
he was already drowning in guilt and fear,
and Lemuel and Sam also shuddered
(because they were startled).

So they began to run away,
trying to escape from me,
presuming that I was Laban,
and because of my clothes
and the armor
and the servant,
and assuming
(by lack of faith)
that I (Nephi) had been killed
and now that he (Laban) wanted to kill them also.

I called out to them,
and they heard me,
(and recognized my voice)
and stopped trying to run away.

And so when the servant of Laban saw my brothers,
he took his turn at shuddering very much,
and requested (to be dismissed)
because he wanted to flee from before me
and go back to the city.

But I, Nephi, a man of tall stature,
and also having great strength
and much power
as bestowed upon me
from the Lord, our Master,
I grabbed him (Laban’s servant)
and held him so he couldn’t run away.

Also, I spoke to him and said,
“If only you could have what I have,
as the Lord, our Master, has ignited me to life,
and has provided my livelihood
(and so) we will not take your life;
if only you could know what I know,
then not only will you survive,
but you could truly live.”
(that verse is a play on words, also using
words similar to what would be baptism and confirmation)

I said to him, even promising him,
that he has no reason to be afraid,
and that he would be a free man (physically)
if he went down into the wilderness with us,(and even more,
that he would be free (spiritually)
as we are free
if he knew the things that we know).

Also, I spoke to him and said,
“Hey, now! The Lord, our Master,
commanded us to accomplish this mission
(which we have now accomplished).
Don’t you think we should be diligent
in trying to do what the Lord, our Master,
has commanded us to do?
(It is this mission He has
trusted us to do,
or, we have now accomplished the mission
he has entrusted to us,
and so we show our trust in Him
by accomplishing it,
which we now have).

So yes, if you want to go down with us
to our father in the wilderness,
your place will be with us
(or, if you want to go
to the tabernacle with us,
you can be one of the holy people).

And so Zoram recovered
and got over his fears,
coming around when he heard the words I said.

So the servant’s name was Zoram,
and he promised to go down
to our father in the wilderness
(to the tabernacle).

And he also promised he was going down
to stay with us from now on.

We also wanted him to stay with us
so that the Jews would not know the details
of our flight into the wilderness,
or else perhaps they would chase us
and try to obliterate us.

[Jews do not have the story of Lehi, even today,
but the Arabs have a legend about the prophet
and his family who one day left down and did not come back.
They did not want the Jews to know and chase them down,
but traveled with Arabs along the trading routes
through the “wilderness”.]

And when Zoram swore to us
an Oath (of the Priesthood),
we were no longer afraid of him.

[Now Zoram has been baptized, confirmed,
and had the Priesthood conferred upon him.]

And from here
we took the records,
the tablets, or plates of brass,
and the servant of Laban (Zoram),
and we went down into the wilderness
and journeyed toward our father’s tent,
(even the tabernacle itself)
[for Zoram’s ordinances
and to report back to the Lord].

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.


Hebrew to English: 1 Nephi 4 #lds #ldsconf #twitterstake — 6 Comments

  1. Wow! Wonderfully rendered indeed, Em.Of all of the poignant insights, I was particularly impressed by the relevance of covenants, and “covenantness” weaving itself throughout this account (as well it should).

  2. Also, thank you for both the reminder and the foreshadowing of the Arabic “memory” of the story of Lehi, his family, and his journey “among” them. This will be play a significant role in the ministering among these people, as the Lord brings all things to their remembrance.

    • Yes! I am so excited to go see Beit Lehi in October, and get more information about their legends.

  3. Pingback: #LDSConf – 1 Nephi 4 | Housewife Class: