Not marriage. Not really. A question about marriage is the impetus for the revelation, and information about it is given at a few points, but that information is always incidental, and given to illustrate points about the revelation’s larger theme.
Consider that section 132 is the last revelation Joseph Smith received that’s included in the Doctrine and Covenants. What might be the most important message of that book overall for the Saints in this dispensation? It’s one that is indeed extremely important and relevant for us this very day.
In 66 verses, the word “marriage” is only used two times. Other marriage-related terms occur not much more often: “marry” and “sealed” occur six times each, “concubines” and “wives,” four times each. The most commonly used marriage-related terms are “wife” and “adultery,” which occur ten times each; and “adultery” is always mentioned in material that’s meant to ensure that that sin is not committed.
Contrast that with the frequency of these other significant terms:
- Commanded, commandment, priesthood – 7 times each
- According, appointed, received—9 times each
- Exaltation, receive—11 times each
- Abide—12 times
- Power, word—13 times each
- Covenant—15 times
- Servant—16 times
And perhaps the most important term of all, as suggested by frequency of use:
- Law—32 times
Notes on specific verses, including some alternate section headings that generalize the spiritual lessons:
|D&C 132 notes|
THE FOUR IMPERATIVES
More actions are implied inside of other statements, but this section has three direct imperatives: sentences that give a direct order for a specific action.
- Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same. (3)
- Receive ye, therefore, my law. (24)
- Go ye, therefore, and do the works of Abraham; enter ye into my law and ye shall be saved. (32—what works did Abraham do? See v. 29)
- Let this suffice for the present (66)
THE NINE EXAMPLES
What exactly did Abraham do to make his example so important to follow? (Indeed, after “God” and “Lord,” Abraham is the most common proper name in this revelation, occurring 20 times.) He did the same thing that the other eight named people in section 132 did—he obeyed the commandments and lived according to God’s law. Abraham explicitly (and the other eight, implicitly then) is offered as an example to us (see v. 32).
PRAISED BECAUSE THEY:
|1. Abraham||* received all things, whatsoever he received, by revelation and commandment, by my word (29)
* was commanded to offer his son Isaac; nevertheless, it was written: Thou shalt not kill. Abraham, however, did not refuse, and it was accounted unto him for righteousness. (36)
* received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law (37)
|2. Sarah||gave Hagar to Abraham to wife. And why did she do it? Because this was the law (34)|
|3 & 4. Isaac also and Jacob||did none other things than that which they were commanded (37)|
|5, 6, 7. David…and also Solomon and Moses my servants||in nothing did they sin save in those things which they received not of me. (38)|
|8. Joseph Smith||your sacrifices in obedience to that which I have told you (50)|
|9. Emma Smith||she stay herself and partake not of that which I commanded you to offer unto her; for I did it, saith the Lord, to prove you all, as I did Abraham, and that I might require an offering at your hand, by covenant and sacrifice. (51)|
What’s section 132 really about? The lesson is repeated at the end of the revelation:
- I will magnify my name upon all those who receive and abide in my law. (64)
- it shall be lawful in me… for him to receive all things whatsoever I, the Lord his God, will give unto him (65)
- Sarah, who administered unto Abraham according to the law (65)