2 Nephi, Chapter 9 (Part 2)

“The Ten Woes”

Jacob uses the word “wo” ten times in verses 27 to 39.  Verse 27 says, “But wo unto him that has the law given, yea, that has all the commandments of God, like unto us, and that transgresseth them, and that wasteth the days of his probation, for awful is his state!”  I know that I stand firm in the gospel because the idea that I could ever deny what I know now to be true, seems impossible.  I have never understood my friends and family, who take part in the covenants of baptism and those made in the temple and then deny them by leaving the church or taking part in those actions that are so obviously wrong to me.  I am sad for them, because I know that the judgement will be harder on them because they have denied the truth they have been shown.

What would the Lord have us do with our riches?  The Lord wants us to give our treasures to the poor and needy, not treasure them up for ourselves (v. 30).

What is the difference between a person who is deaf or blind and a person who “will not hear” or “will not see”?  Someone who is deaf can listen with their heart, but if they do not, they are  choosing not to listen.  Those who are blind can also see with their heart, and if they will not see, they are choosing to ignore God.  The spirit will always find the best way for us to hear or see the messages from God (v. 31-32).

Who are the “uncircumcised of heart”?  The footnote for the phrase “uncircumcised of heart” refers to Romans 2:29.  This scripture says, “But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”  Those who praise of men are proud and do not give credit to God, who gives us all that we have.  They are too proud to keep covenants of God in their hearts.  They may live the letter of God’s law by doing what is asked of them, but they do not keep the laws in their hearts (v. 33).

What does it mean to “perish”, “die”, or be “thrust down to hell”?  It is a reference to spiritual death where we are separated from God.  In D&C 19:15-28, we learn that if we choose not to accept the Savior’s atonement we suffer as He did.  On a different note, the scriptures tell us that those who kill another with the intention to kill are worthy of death in the physical sense as well (Romans 1:32).

Verse 38 reads, “And, in fine, wo unto all those who die in their sins; for they shall return to God, and behold his face, and remain in their sins.”  I think to see God’s face, in sin, would provide the most ashamed feeling possible. To know that He knows exactly what we’ve done and to know that He is perfect, would be awful.  “Wo” would be a good word to describe that felling of shame and sorrow that would bring.

When is wisdom foolishness?

President Hinckley’s six “B’s” were introduced to the youth of the church just after I graduated from Laurels into Relief Society.  I did not come to know them as well as those who were a few years younger than me.  They are Be grateful, Be smart, Be clean, Be true, Be humble, Be prayerful.  According to President Hinckley, an education helps us in the competitive workplace of the world.  Our worth in the world depends on the education we have and so we should sacrifice whatever is necessary, so that we can gain more knowledge.  But we must also remember the words of Jacob, when we are seeking knowledge.

“O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish (v. 28).”  Jacob says the danger in great learning is letting ourselves feel like we know more or better than God.

What is the difference between learning and wisdom?  God is wise because he is all knowing.  God knows what is best for us.  Being learned is knowing what you’ve been taught, but doesn’t guarantee truth and does not mean it’s always what is best.  If because we are learned, we think we are wiser than our parents, leaders, or even God,than we are not.  As soon as we think we are wise, we have undoubtedly become the opposite.  Our parents, leaders and God have other experiences and knowledge that we don’t have.

“But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God (v. 29)”  According to Jacob, in order to be wise, we must listen to the counsels of God.  We can listen to his counsels by reading scriptures, attending church, reading church magazines, having family home evening, and so much more.  We can be wise by following what we learn in the gospel, because it is truth and is from God.

“Something to S.M.I.L.E. about”

In verse 39 Jacob writes, “O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal.”

“S.M.I.L.E.” stands for “spiritually-minded is life eternal.”  This acronym was created by members of a youth council.  They told the youth ‘You smile when you are happy, and there is not other way to eternal happiness than being spiritually minded’.  To be spiritually minded is to remember the bigger picture, which is the plan of Salvation or the plan of Happiness.  If we are spiritually minded we keep the greater goal in sight, which makes life easier to live and the choices we will make when thinking of the eternal goals, lead to eternal life.  We must remember to listen to the spirit, pray, read the scriptures, and decide now what not to do and what to do so that when we are faced with decisions in every-day life, it will be easier to make the right choice.

“Carnally minded” is thinking of worldly things or things of the flesh.  Being “carnally minded” pushes the spirit away and leads to spiritual death.  We need to evaluate our lives and get rid of the things of the flesh, so that we can be more spiritually minded.

Who is the keeper of the gate?

Putting my name in place of brethren, makes verses 40 and 41 more personal to me.

“O, my beloved [Mary], give ear to my words. Remember the greatness of the Holy One of Israel. Do not say that I have spoken hard things against you; for if ye do, ye will revile against the truth; for I have spoken the words of your Maker. I know that the words of truth are hard against all uncleanness; but the righteous fear them not, for they love the truth and are not shaken.

“O then, my beloved [Mary], come unto the Lord, the Holy One. Remember that his paths are righteous. Behold, the way for man is narrow, but it lieth in a straight course before him, and the keeper of the gate is the Holy One of Israel; and he employeth no servant there; and there is none other way save it be by the gate; for he cannot be deceived, for the Lord God is his name.”

 I think the gate is the judgement, since that is what we must go through to get to the kingdom of God.  The Savior is the judge (“keeper of the gate”) and it is only through His Atonement and following the paths that He laid before us, that we can enter into God’s presence.

How do we spend our money and time?

“Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy. Hearken diligently unto me, and remember the words which I have spoken; and come unto the Holy One of Israel, and feast upon that which perisheth not, neither can be corrupted, and let your soul delight in fatness (v. 51).”

I try hard to use my money for the things of worth.  We do not have much, so there is a lot of thought put into what we spend it on.  I cannot say the same for how I spend my time.  I’m sure there are some things in my daily life that I need to evaluate and decide if they are of real worth.  Do these things really enrich my life and bring me closer to God?  If I truly feasted on the things that will continue forever, such as knowledge and relationships, I would truly delight in the fatness that would come of it.

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3 Responses to “2 Nephi, Chapter 9 (Part 2)”


  1. 1 Mari March 17, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Hi! I just would like to know your thoughts for the question that has been on my mind for 1 week already. I have been pondering lately about 2 Nephi 9. You know in our ward, especially in our Sunday School, there are two topics that most of the members that don’t agree much with their opinions. I’m the one who is afraid to day something at Sunday School. But I noticed that these two topics are about GIVING TO THE POOR AND THE NEEDY AND KEEPING THE SABBATH DAY HOLY. Everyone has their own opinions and standing. Once the discussion becomes an argument, somebody will stand and would say, “LET US USE OUR WISDOM.” I think about that so many times. Is it right to say that? Or is it okay but with precaution? I believe everyone has weakness, and everyone has different learning levels especially that if someone doesn’t study the scripture everyday. I mean it’s different because if we study the scripture, we will be changed. And I think we know the answers of these two topics. For me, if there is something that I am doing not right it means I still lack something. And I don’t need to justify at the classroom. When justification occur it means we already think we are wiser that what is taught in the gospel.
    I’m grateful for your blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • 2 maryrubow March 18, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Thanks for reading my blog and commenting. My thoughts on the comment about using our wisdom, start with the thought that God wants us to use our wisdom. This is why He has given us an intellect. He expects us to use our own learning and experience to make good choices. The only issue I can see with it, is when we use our wisdom without listening to the word of God. That is when we lean upon the understanding and wisdom of men, and turn from the things that the scriptures teach, going against the gospel of Christ. This principle is taught in this chapter. In verse 28 we read, “… When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish.” However, in verse 29 reads, “But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.” (emphasis added) True wisdom comes from listening to God and then following his counsels when we use our knowledge to make our choices.

      This can apply to any principle in the gospel, such as giving to the poor and needy or keeping the Sabbath day holy. Each of us has our own understanding of the gospel and we will each be accountable for the choices we make with that understanding. If as a child, my understanding is that I need to share my toys to be kind, God will bless us for living that principle to the level of my understanding. He will not withhold something from me because I don’t understand that ultimately I should want to give all that I can and not expect to have something in return. If as a parent, I understand that my family is the first of the needy in my life and I need to care for them first, I will be blessed for living that principle to the best of my ability. Again, he will not withhold blessings from me, if I don’t have an understanding of more that that. If I understand that the Lord wants me to give to those who are in need when possible, but I instead choose to keep what I have because I want to have it, not because I need it, then I will be held accountable for that choice according to my understanding. Only God knows perfectly what our understanding is. He knows better than we even know ourselves. Therefore, the only being we ever have need to feel justified towards is God. There should never be a reason to justify actions in a gospel learning setting. If in this setting, we are prepared to listen to the spirit, God will communicate to us personally those things that we can and should improve upon. What we do with that is between us and God.

      Along these same lines, if someone else feels that they need to justify their own choices, or even the choices of others, that is between them and God as well. We shouldn’t judge others for those things, or for the things they say. There are countless things that every one of us does not understand about the gospel and perhaps in sharing their thoughts in public, they will feel prompted to take their own personal steps towards what God wants for them. Sometimes I think back on my own path of learning and the things I have shared at one time or another in a church class or even on this blog. Knowing where I am now, I can see how sharing those thoughts, even if they were more of a justification at the time, have led me to later make some big changes which I believe have helped me on the path towards God. I know God will bless me for how I live now, with the level of understanding and true wisdom I have now.

      I’m not sure if these thoughts help or even are what you were looking for, but I am glad that you gave me something more to think about this morning. I hope that you continue to enjoy your personal gospel learning and will continue to share your thoughts with others.

      • 3 muahrilou March 22, 2016 at 12:58 am

        You know I learned a lot from your explanation. Thank you so much! I learned something just made me sad I don’t know. I’m sorry expressing my feelings here. I’ll give you an example; One sister said, I don’t give to the beggar because according to her she saw the same beggar in the bank depositing money. So, based on that she does not give to the beggar but she gave to the fast offering. And my experience was, i gave to the beggar, because their is one time in the church came a very dirty ugly woman. She is not a member of the church but she always go to our church during Sunday. I fellowship her. And one Sunday, I feel i have to give her money but before that I asked her job. No job. Where is your house? No house. She live in the street. And how do you buy for food? she said she knock houses and ask for money. Or sometimes on the streets she beg for money or food. And I asked, if there is someone who give? She said only 1. So, that’s why I really want to give. Maybe that is the last solution they have to beg for food or money.
        I don’t know. The Lord teach us principles in many different ways. Maybe our learning are affected by our experiences. And I think you are right. I should not judge others because just like me, now i don’t understand the principle and how I could apply to myself but someday later, the Lord would show me how.
        I’ll continue read read your blog. Thank you for the inspirations! hope that you always welcome my comments here.


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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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