Is Mosiah 7:29 A Reference To 2 Nephi 4:33?

Mosiah 7:29:

For behold, the Lord hath said: I will not succor my people in the day of their transgression; but I will hedge up their ways that they prosper not; and their doings shall be as a stumbling block before them.

Note the two distinctive phrases there: “hedge up their ways” and “a stumbling block.” King Limhi introduces the quote in this verse with the phrase “For behold, the Lord hath said,” but there is no scripture known to us with any quote quite like this.

Was Limhi quoting a scripture we don’t have? Or a revelation given to himself?

Maybe. Or maybe he was alluding to 2 Nephi 4:33 and, since it’s scripture, attributing it to the Lord.

O Lord, wilt thou encircle me around in the robe of thy righteousness! O Lord, wilt thou make a way for mine escape before mine enemies! Wilt thou make my path straight before me! Wilt thou not place a stumbling block in my way—but that thou wouldst clear my way before me, and hedge not up my way, but the ways of mine enemy.

The quote in the next verse, Mosiah 7:30, is a pretty direct reference to Hosea 8:7 (a footnote in the Book of Mormon even cites this), and the closest scripture I can find outside the Book of Mormon to Mosiah 7:29 is Hosea 2:6: “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.”

Two quotations in Mosiah in adjacent verses both seem to reference Hosea. Makes sense. But while “hedge up” is mentioned in Hosea 2:6, “stumbling block” is not.

In fact, while some form of “hedge up” is used four times in the Bible (and four times in the Book of Mormon), the phrase “stumbling block” is never used in the Bible at all.

So finding both of those two phrases in such close proximity in Mosiah 7:29 and in 2 Nephi 4:33 makes me wonder if the former is quoting the latter.

This presents a question: how did Limhi get Nephi’s record? It was written for a future audience, and doesn’t seem to have been distributed publicly; indeed, the plates themselves weren’t among Limhi’s people when he said this. Could it also have been in other, perishable hard copies, or in oral circulation? Maybe.

Or, perhaps the combination of two rare phrases in separate verses is just a coincidence. But that seems like the least likely explanation to me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s