The Isaiah scroll reads:
The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the cities, he regardeth no man.
The Isaiah scroll reads witnesses rather than cities, thus presenting a more accurate, superior reading.
The highways lie waste, the wayfaring man ceaseth: he hath broken the covenant, he hath despised the witnesses, he regardeth no man.
The Book of Mormon contains lengthy quotations from Isaiah (see, for example, 2 Nephi 12—24). In many instances the wording of corresponding Isaiah passages in the King James Version of the Bible (KJV) and in the Book of Mormon differs. To date, no one has completed a comprehe n sive study comparing the Isaiah scroll from Cave 1 with the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon Isaiah. In 1981, however, John Tvedtnes37 conducted a serviceable prelim i nary study by comparing the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon with those in the KJV, the Hebrew Bible, the scrolls found at Qumran (notably the Great Isaiah Scroll, which contains all sixty-six chapters of Isaiah), and other ancient versions of Isaiah. Several readings of Is aiah in the Book of Mormon are supported by the Isaiah scroll. The following representative examples of these parallels have been adapted from Tvedtnes's work.
1. In many cases passages in the Isaiah scroll and in the Book of Mormon contain the conjunction and, which is lacking in the corresponding KJV text. Compare the following:
2. Second Nephi 24:32 lacks the word one, which appears in Isaiah 14:32. The Book of Mormon version thus makes messengers the subject of the verb answer. The Hebrew Bible uses a singular verb, but the Isaiah scroll uses the plural, in agreement with the Book of Mormon:
"and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not" (KJV, Isaiah 3:9)
"and they declare their sin as Sodom, and they hide it not" (Isaiah scroll, Isaiah 3:9)
"and doth declare their sin to be even as Sodom, and they cannot hide it" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 13:9=Isaiah 3:9)
3. In the KJV, Isaiah 48:11 reads, "for how should my name be polluted?" while 1 Nephi 20:11 reads, "for I will not suffer my name to be polluted." The Isaiah scroll supports the Book of Mormon by having the verb in the first person, as follows:
"What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation?" (KJV, Isaiah 14:32)
"What shall then answer the messengers of the nations?" (Isaiah scroll, Isaiah 14:32)
"What shall then answer the messengers of the nations?" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 24:32=Isaiah 14:32)
"for how should my name be polluted?" (KJV, Isaiah 48:11)
"for I will not suffer my name to be polluted" (Isaiah scroll, Isaiah 14:32)
"for I will not suffer my name to be polluted" (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 20:11=Isaiah 48:11)
4. In the KJV, Isaiah 50:2 reads, "their fish stinketh, because there is no water," and the Isaiah scroll reads, "their fish dry up because there is no water." Second Nephi 7:2 essentially preserves the verb stinketh from the KJV and the phrasal verb dry up from the Isaiah scroll: "their fish to stink because the waters are dried up."
5. Often a singular noun in the KJV is represented by a plural noun in the Book of Mormon. One example of this appears in Isaiah 9:9, where the KJV reads "inhabitant" and 2 Nephi 19:9 reads "inhabitants." The Isaiah scroll supports the reading of the Book of Mormon with its reading of "inhabitants":
These examples of variant readings in which the Isaiah passages in the Book of Mormon agree with the Isaiah scroll but not with the KJV could be multiplied.
"and the inhabitant of Samaria" (KJV, Isaiah 9:9)
"and the inhabitants of Samaria" (Isaiah scroll, Isaiah 9:9)
"and the inhabitants of Samaria" (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 19:9=Isaiah 9:9)
Yet many other translation committees, in preparing their new translations or revisions of previous translations, have disregarded the variant readings of the Dead Sea Scrolls. For instance, the New King James Version of 1982 prefers on evariant reading from the Dead Sea Scrolls book of 1 Samuel; in fact, it relies on the Dead Sea Scrolls on only six occasions in the entire Old Testament (in Deuteronomy 32:43; 1 Samuel 1:24; Isaiah 10:16; 22:8; 38:14; 49:5). 40 Generally, though, recent translation committees have examined and subsequently integrated many variant rea d ings of the Dead Sea Scrolls into their translations. According to Harold Scanlin, a translation adviser for the United Bible Societies, "Every major Bible translation publish ed since 1950 has claimed to have taken into account the textual evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls." 41 Many of these English translations have gone through subsequent revisions to incorporate the variant readings gained from recent scholarship. For instance, the Revised Standard Version (1952) is now the New Revised Standard Version (1990) , the New English Bible (1970) has become the Revised English Bible (1989), the Jerusalem Bible (1966) is now the New Jerusalem Bible (1985), and the New American Bible (1970) is going through a major revision at the present time. It is anticipated that the translation committees will accept more variant read ings from the biblical scrolls and fragments in the coming years.
New International Version 15 Today's English Version 51 Revised Standard Version about 60 New Revised Standard Version about 110 New English Bible 160 New American Bible 230
With this verse in place at 1 Samuel 11:1, a better trans i tion occurs from the final verse in chapter 10 to the first verse in chapter 11, and the context for the story of King Nahash falls into place. The verse also assists students of the Bible in understanding the situation described in chapter 11 concerning the advance of Nahash and his troops against Jabesh-gilead and the Israelites. It was the plan of Nahash to make a treaty with the Israelites who were dwelling in Jabesh-gilead, under the condition that he be allowed to "gouge out the right eye of each person in the city," rende r ing them helpless in rebelling against him. The story turns out well for the Israelites, however, for they rally around King Saul and the prophet Samuel (see 1 Samuel 11:5—7), and together they slay a number of Ammonites and cause the remainder to flee. Samuel and Saul give credit to the Lord for their victory. There are many other passages that have been discovered among the Dead Sea Scrolls biblical texts that perhaps are biblical in nature, such as the psalms called the Prayer for Deliverance and Hymn to the Creator. Newly discovered prose texts were also found, including An Account of David's Poems, The Prayer of Nabonidus, and A Jeremiah Apocryphon. One newly discovered text is the Apostrophe to Zion, a beautiful psalm that sets forth the wonders of Zion. The first half of this psalm reads:
And Nahash, king of the children of Ammon, oppressed harshly the Gadites and the Reubenites. He would gouge out the right eye of each of them and would not grant Israel a deliverer. No one was left of the Israelites across the Jordan whose right eye Nahash, King of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had fled from the Ammonites and had entered Jabesh-gilead.45
I will remember you, O Zion, for a blessing;
with all my might I love you;
your memory is to be blessed for ever.
Your hope is great, O Zion;
Peace and your awaited salvation will come.
Generation after generation shall dwell in you,
and generations of the pious shall be your ornament.
They who desire the day of your salvation
shall rejoice in the greatness of your glory.
They shall be suckled on the fullness of your glory,
and in your beautiful streets they shall make tinkling sounds.
You shall remember the pious deeds of your prophets,
and shall glorify yourselves in the deeds of your pious ones.
Cleanse violence from your midst;
lying and iniquity, may they be cut off from you.
Your sons shall rejoice within you,
and your cherished ones shall be joined to you.
How much they have hoped in your salvation,
and how much your perfect ones have mourned for you?
Your hope, O Zion, shall not perish,
and your expectation will not be forgotten.
(Apostrophe to Zion 12:1—9)
35. See VanderKam, Dead Sea Scrolls Today, 30.
36. See Martin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, "Why Is Esther Missing from Qumran?" Bible Review, August 1999, 2.
37. John Tvedtnes, "The Isaiah Variants in the Book of Mormon" (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1981).
38. See VanderKam, Dead Sea Scrolls Today, 142—44, 149, 157.
39. See Harold Scanlin, The Dead Sea Scrolls and Modern Translations of the Old Testament (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1993), 26.
40. See ibid., 34.
41. Ibid., 27.
42. The two versions are the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Masoretic Text. See VanderKam, Dead Sea Scrolls Today, 125.
43. The material in this section has been adapted from Donald W. Parry, "The Contribution of the Dead Sea Scrolls to Biblical Understanding," in LDS Perspectives on the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Donald W. Parry and Dana M. Pike (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 1997), 59—60.
44. For a complete discussion of this missing verse of scripture, see Frank Moore Cross, "The Ammonite Oppression of the Tribes of Gad and Reuben: Missing Verses from 1 Samuel 11 Found in 4QSamuela," in History, Historiography and Interpretation: Studies in Biblical and Cuneiform Literatures, ed. H. Tadmor and M. Weinfeld (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1983), 148—58; Emanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992), 342—43.
45. Translation is by Donald W. Parry. Josephus refers to this incident of King Nahash in Antiquities 6.68—71.