Skip to comments.The "Familiar Spirit" in 2 Nephi 26:16 [LDS - OPEN]
Posted on 10/15/2010 6:01:30 AM PDT by Colofornian
There are two ways to read a text, through exegesis and through eisegesis. The first means, approximately, "reading out of the text," while the second means, approximately, "reading into the text." Both are legitimate ways of approaching a text. Anyone who reads the scriptures will at times engage in both exegesis and eisegesis, whether knowingly or unwittingly. Therefore, the more conscientiously and consciously we engage in rigorous and careful exegesis and eisegesis, the better the chance that our reading of the scriptures will truly enlighten the mind and provide substance for the soul. I will illustrate both approaches using the term familiar spirit found in 2 Nephi 26:16, Isaiah 29:4, and 1 Samuel 28.
First, an example of the eisegetical approach. The word familiar has various meanings in English and only the context can help decide which meaning is the intended one. Thus, one way to understand 2 Nephi 26:16 might come when the common understanding of familiar is applied. That is, familiar can suggest "to be acquainted with," or as the Oxford English Dictionary reads, "known from constant association." This is the meaning that some Church members have given to familiar in this verse. It is certainly true that the Book of Mormon will have a spirit about it that will be familiar to those who know the Bible; they will recognize the same spirit in both books. This connotation of familiar is certainly appropriate to describe the effect the Book of Mormon has on all those who are honest in heart.
Now, an example of an exegetical approach. Familiar also has another meaning that is at play in Isaiah 29:4 and 2 Nephi 26:16, and because of this other sense a different understanding of these verses becomes possible. The Hebrew behind the "familiar spirit" in Isaiah 29:4 (King James Version) is ʾob.1 This Hebrew word denotes, approximately, "the spirit of a deceased person." This sense is most apparent in 1 Samuel 28 when Saul first asks about and then visits a medium, the infamous "Witch of En-Dor." But she is never called a witch in the King James Bible; rather, she is simply called "a woman that hath a familiar spirit" (1 Samuel 28:7), or more literally from the Hebrew, "a female master of familiar spirit."2 Because the biblical context of those who deal with "familiar spirits" is usually that of a séance, which is uniformly condemned in the Old Testament, people have assumed that the "familiar spirit" is evil or demonic, when actually, it is the medium who brings up the "familiar spirit" who is condemned, and not the "familiar spirit" per se.
That the "familiar spirit" is not always evil is apparent in 1 Samuel 28 where the spirit called up from the dead is the prophet Samuel (real or imagined). If Saul had thought that all "familiar spirits" were evil, he would not have ventured to have Samuel called up.
Therefore, when the Bible says in Isaiah 29:4 that the inhabitants of Jerusalem who will be destroyed will speak "out of the ground . . . as of one that hath a familiar spirit," the meaning is that destroyed Judah will speak from the dead, that is, from the records they left behind, the Old Testament, and without the aid of a medium. This has nothing to do with necromancy and divination, but everything to do with the dead speaking to the living through the records the dead leave behind. This is made even clearer in 2 Nephi 26:16 where Isaiah is paraphrased and applied to the Nephites who will, like the inhabitants of Jerusalem, be destroyed. They also shall speak "out of the ground . . . as one that hath a familiar spirit; for the Lord God will give unto him [Joseph Smith] power, that he [the translator of the Nephite records] may whisper concerning [the destroyed Nephites], even as it were out of the ground" where they are buried, and where the plates had been buried.
As can be seen, the reader has the choice of interpreting 2 Nephi 26:16 eisegetically, reading into these passages the meaning "a spirit which seems familiar," or exegetically, reading out of these passages "a message from those who have passed on before us." Both ways of approaching 2 Nephi 26:16 are correct and legitimate methods that can lead to enlightenment and understanding. ◆
by Paul Y. Hoskisson
Director, Willes Center and FARMS
1. Hebrew: בוא.
2. Hebrew: תשא תלעב בוא.
Good point ;)
Those upstate NY sisters popped off with their toes; Joseph Smith learned at an early age to pop off with his mouth!
Joey's mom especially took note...and note this comes from a Mormon publishing source...Bookcraft:
During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of the continent, their dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life among them. On the twenty-second of September, 1824, Joseph again visited the place where he found the plates the year previous; and supporting at this time that the only thing required, in order to possess them until the time for their translation, was to be able to keep the commandments of God...he fully expected to carry them home with him. (Lucy Mack Smith, edited by Preston Nibley, History of Joseph Smith, p. 83, Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, 1958)
Based on how she wove together the above, I'm thinking she is describing 17 yo Joseph Smith during the Summer of 1824. [Note how she immediately jumps to the Fall of 1824, when Smith was still< 17]. Yes, that's after the alleged first vision...but it's also before he had a chance to "interpret" or "translate" those plates.
Joey was a yarn-teller, a verbal rap machine at an early age. And his mommy just loved the way her imaginative boy could tell a tall tale.
(PD, I’m you’re Huckleberry, since you are obviously tied up though I would help out...)
“I’m your Huckleberry” lol good movie.
Well thanks! It’s been a very busy day. I knew I sensed good in you. =-P
THE BOOK OF JACOB
THE BROTHER OF NEPHICHAPTER 224 Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.
25 Wherefore, thus saith the Lord, I have led this people forth out of the land of Jerusalem, by the power of mine arm, that I might raise up unto me a righteous branch from the fruit of the loins of Joseph.
26 Wherefore, I the Lord God will not suffer that this people shall do like unto them of old.
27 Wherefore, my brethren, hear me, and hearken to the word of the Lord: For there shall not any man among you have save it be one wife; and concubines he shall have none;
28 For I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women. And whoredoms are an abomination before me; thus saith the Lord of Hosts.
29 Wherefore, this people shall keep my commandments, saith the Lord of Hosts, or cursed be the land for their sakes.
30 For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people; otherwise they shall hearken unto these things.
31 For behold, I, the Lord, have seen the sorrow, and heard the mourning of the daughters of my people in the land of Jerusalem, yea, and in all the lands of my people, because of the wickedness and abominations of their husbands.
32 And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people, which I have led out of the land of Jerusalem, shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Or even HERE:
1 Timothy 3:2-3
2. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,
3. not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.1 Timothy 3:12
A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and must manage his children and his household well.Titus 1:6
An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS
OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTSSECTION 1325157, Emma Smith is counseled (commanded) to be faithful and true; 5866, Laws governing the plurality of wives are set forth.51 Verily, I say unto you: A commandment I give unto mine handmaid, Emma Smith, your wife, whom I have given unto you, that she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to aprove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice.52 And let mine handmaid, Emma Smith, areceive all those that have been given unto my servant Joseph, and who are virtuous and pure before me; and those who are not pure, and have said they were pure, shall be destroyed, saith the Lord God.53 For I am the Lord thy God, and ye shall obey my voice; and I give unto my servant Joseph that he shall be made ruler over many things; for he hath been afaithful over a few things, and from henceforth I will strengthen him.55 But if she will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless him and multiply him and give unto him an ahundredfold in this world, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of beternal lives in the eternal worlds.
pd needs to explain his beliefs. needle in a hay stack methold