Posts Tagged 'Revelation'

2 Kings Chapter 1

In The First Book of the Kings the story of the kings of Israel continued from David, through the division of Israel into two kingdoms, and on to the death of Ahab. The Second Book of the King’s, or the second half of the book of Kings, continues the account of the kings of Israel from that point. Ahab’s son, Ahaziah, ruled over Israel after his death. Ahaziah was a wicked king much like Ahab had been before him. This chapter continues to tell of the things that happened in Israel during his short reign.

1 Then Moab rebelled against Israel after the death of Ahab.
2 And Ahaziah fell down through a lattice in his upper chamber that was in Samaria, and was sick: and he sent messengers, and said unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron whether I shall recover of this disease.
3 But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron?
4 Now therefore thus saith the Lord, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed.

The Moabites had been subdued by David during his reign in Israel. From that time, and through the reign of Ahab, the people of Moab had been servants and given tribute to Israel. With the death of Ahab, the people of Moab rebelled against Israel. This act shows that other nations did not fear Ahaziah or Israel at this time in history. Ahaziah was in his palace in Samaria, when he fell from an upper room. He was sick, or badly injured, and asked his messengers to ask the Ekron god, Baal-zebub, if he would recover. Ekron was a Philistine town, which worshipped this false god that he felt would reveal his fate to him. At this time, an angel of the Lord spoke to the prophet Elijah, and told him to meet the messengers and tell them that the reason they went to ask the god of Ekron was not because there was not already a God in Israel. When he did this, Elijah told them the word of the Lord, which was that Ahaziah would not recover, but would die. Then Elijah left them.

5 And when the messengers turned back unto him, he said unto them, Why are ye now turned back?
6 And they said unto him, There came a man up to meet us, and said unto us, Go, turn again unto the king that sent you, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that thou sendest to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron? therefore thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.
7 And he said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words?
8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.
9 Then the king sent unto him a captain of fifty with his fifty. And he went up to him: and, behold, he sat on the top of an hill. And he spake unto him, Thou man of God, the king hath said, Come down.
10 And Elijah answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.
11 Again also he sent unto him another captain of fifty with his fifty. And he answered and said unto him, O man of God, thus hath the king said, Come down quickly.
12 And Elijah answered and said unto them, If I be a man of God, let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And the fire of God came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty.

The messengers returned to Ahaziah and when asked why they had returned, they told him about what had happened with a man as they traveled to Ekron. Ahaziah asked what the man was like, and the messengers described his appearance. Ahaziah knew that it was Elijah by their description. He sent a captain and his fifty men to Elijah. The captain found Elijah on the top of a hill, and commanded Elijah to come down, by order of the king. Elijah said that if he was a man of God, then fire would come down from heaven and destroy the captain and his men. Then, fired came from heaven and consumed them. Ahaziah sent another captain and his fifty men to tell him to come down quickly, and again Elijah said that if he was a man of God, then fire would come down and consume them. Fire came from heaven and consumed them.

13 And he sent again a captain of the third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up, and came and fell on his knees before Elijah, and besought him, and said unto him, O man of God, I pray thee, let my life, and the life of these fifty thy servants, be precious in thy sight.
14 Behold, there came fire down from heaven, and burnt up the two captains of the former fifties with their fifties: therefore let my life now be precious in thy sight.
15 And the angel of the Lord said unto Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him unto the king.
16 And he said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Forasmuch as thou hast sent messengers to inquire of Baal-zebub the god of Ekron, is it not because there is no God in Israel to inquire of his word? therefore thou shalt not come down off that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die.

A third captain and his men were sent to bring Elijah down, but this captain went to Elijah and fell down before him. He begged Elijah to spare him and his men from the fire which had killed the two captains and their men before him. The angel of the Lord told Elijah to go down with the captain without fear, so Elijah went down to the king. Elijah told the king, that because Ahaziah had sent his messengers to the god of Ekron instead of turning to the God of Israel, he would not recover and would certainly die.

17 So he died according to the word of the Lord which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son.
18 Now the rest of the acts of Ahaziah which he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

Ahaziah died just as Elijah had prophesied. Ahaziah had no sons, so Jehoram, another son of Ahab, reigned in Israel. This was the end of Ahaziah in this record, but more was recorded in the record of the kings of Israel.

King Ahaziah had failed to recognize the God of Israel, and turned from Him to look towards the false god of Ekron for revelation. In so doing, God allowed him to suffer death from his injuries. I am sure that there may have been a chance for recovery, if the king had sought counsel from the Lord, but I am also sure that the chance would have included a call to repentance from the Lord. It is possible that Ahaziah did not seek answers from the Lord, because he had no intention of doing what would have been expected of him by God. It does not actually tell the reason why he sent his men to Ekron rather than seeking for answers from the prophet of the Lord, but what is known, is that Ahaziah made this choice against the Lord and suffered the consequences of that choice.

The Lord is ready to bless each of us, but He will not if we are not willing to turn to Him. Just as He was there for Israel, and for their king, He is there for each of us today. He will answer our questions as we pray to Him. If we choose to avoid seeking after Him, when we know that He is there, He will not force His will upon us. That is against the eternal nature of God. Rather, He will let us deal with the consequences of the choices we make, even if it brings our destruction. All the while, He will remain there with open arms prepared to receive us, and the love of a true and living God and Father. God wants us to seek Him and turn to Him, so that he can help us and bless us every day.

1 Kings Chapter 22

Jehoshaphat was the son of Asa, both of whom followed after the Lord and ruled in righteousness over Judah. On the other hand, Ahab had ruled in wickedness in Israel, along with his wife Jezebel. Earlier in his reign, Ahab had fought against the Syrians and defeated them twice (see 1 Kings 20). Then, he made a deal with the leader of Syria. The king of Syria promised to return all the lands that had been taken from Israel, and Ahab allowed him to go free, against the will of the Lord. This had brought the promise of destruction upon Ahab’s people. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And they continued three years without war between Syria and Israel.
2 And it came to pass in the third year, that Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel.
3 And the king of Israel said unto his servants, Know ye that Ramoth in Gilead is ours, and we be still, and take it not out of the hand of the king of Syria?
4 And he said unto Jehoshaphat, Wilt thou go with me to battle to Ramoth-gilead? And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, I am as thou art, my people as thy people, my horses as thy horses.
5 And Jehoshaphat said unto the king of Israel, Inquire, I pray thee, at the word of the Lord to day.
6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?
8 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the Lord: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.
9 Then the king of Israel called an officer, and said, Hasten hither Micaiah the son of Imlah.
10 And the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah sat each on his throne, having put on their robes, in a void place in the entrance of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets prophesied before them.
11 And Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made him horns of iron: and he said, Thus saith the Lord, With these shalt thou push the Syrians, until thou have consumed them.
12 And all the prophets prophesied so, saying, Go up to Ramoth-gilead, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the king’s hand.
13 And the messenger that was gone to call Micaiah spake unto him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good unto the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray thee, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
14 And Micaiah said, As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.

Three years of peace followed the fighting between Israel and Syria. Ahab saw that the Syrians still held a place called Ramoth, which belonged to Israel. He met with Jehoshaphat and asked him to combine forces against Syria. Jehoshaphat told him his people and army were the same people as the Israelites, so he would join with him. Jehoshaphat wanted to know the will of the Lord, so Ahab turned to the prophets and asked if they should go to battle against the Syrians. The prophets returned with the response, which was to go to battle and the Lord would deliver the land of Ramoth-gilead into their hands. Jehoshaphat asked Ahab if there was a prophet of the Lord, who could pray to ask the Lord. Ahab told him of Micaiah, whom he hated for not prophesying of anything good about Ahab and only the bad. Jehoshaphat wanted to hear from the prophet still, so Ahab called for him and the kings sat and heard the prophesies of the prophets. A prophet named Zedekiah gave them iron horns and said that the Lord said they would help them defeat the Syrians. The many prophets continued to say that the Lord would deliver the Syrians into their hands. The servant who had been sent to get the prophet Micaiah, told him to speak only that which was good to the king, but Michaiah told him that he would speak the word of the Lord.

There are many who hate those that would tell the truth, if the truth is not pleasing to hear. I think there are few who have the integrity to tell the truth when it is hard for others to hear. Micaiah was a man of integrity, who clearly feared or honored God more than man. Even though it might be difficult to hear, the truth is always the better way and it will keep the faithful on the path that God wants for them, if they hearken to it.

15 So he came to the king. And the king said unto him, Micaiah, shall we go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall we forbear? And he answered him, Go, and prosper: for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.
16 And the king said unto him, How many times shall I adjure thee that thou tell me nothing but that which is true in the name of the Lord?
17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
18 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, Did I not tell thee that he would prophesy no good concerning me, but evil?
19 And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
20 And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramoth-gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
21 And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him.
22 And the Lord said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.
23 Now therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.
24 But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the Lord from me to speak unto thee?
25 And Micaiah said, Behold, thou shalt see in that day, when thou shalt go into an inner chamber to hide thyself.
26 And the king of Israel said, Take Micaiah, and carry him back unto Amon the governor of the city, and to Joash the king’s son;
27 And say, Thus saith the king, Put this fellow in the prison, and feed him with bread of affliction and with water of affliction, until I come in peace.
28 And Micaiah said, If thou return at all in peace, the Lord hath not spoken by me. And he said, Hearken, O people, every one of you.

The king asked Micaiah if they should go up against the Syrians at Ramoth-gilead. Micaiah told him that the Lord would deliver it into his hand. The king wanted to know more. Micaiah told him that he had a revelation that Israel was scattered without a leader, and that they should return to their homes in peace. Ahab told Jehoshaphat that he knew Micaiah would prophesy of something bad and not good. Micaiah said that he had seen a vision of the Lord with the host of heaven about him. The Lord asked who would persuade Ahab to go against the Syrains and fall. After some discussion, a spirit stood and said that he would go and convince (or had gone and convinced) the prophets to tell him to go fight the Syrians. The Lord allowed the spirit to go and persuade Ahab, because Ahab had sinned against the Lord. So, Micaiah told Ahab that the Lord had allowed his prophets to persuade him. Zedekiah smote Micaiah, asking why the Lord would do this to him, and yet speak to Micaiah. Micaiah told him he would know this was true when he went into a room to hide. Ahab commanded that Micaiah be put in prison until he returned, but Micaiah said the Lord had not said Ahab would return in peace. Micaiah told all the people to listen or be a witness to his word.

29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead.
30 And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, I will disguise myself, and enter into the battle; but put thou on thy robes. And the king of Israel disguised himself, and went into the battle.
31 But the king of Syria commanded his thirty and two captains that had rule over his chariots, saying, Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.
32 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, Surely it is the king of Israel. And they turned aside to fight against him: and Jehoshaphat cried out.
33 And it came to pass, when the captains of the chariots perceived that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him.
34 And a certain man drew a bow at a venture, and smote the king of Israel between the joints of the harness: wherefore he said unto the driver of his chariot, Turn thine hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am wounded.
35 And the battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even: and the blood ran out of the wound into the midst of the chariot.
36 And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, Every man to his city, and every man to his own country.

The kings went to Ramoth-gilead. Ahab decided he would disguise himself and enter the battle, while Jehoshaphat remained as he was. The captains of the Syrians were commanded to fight only with Ahab. They thought Jehosahphat must be the king of Israel, so they went to fight him. Jehoshaphat yelled, and when the captains figured out that he was not the king of Israel, they turned from fighting him. Meanwhile, another man wounded Ahab in the battle, and he told the driver of his chariot to take him away from the battle. While the battle went on, Ahab was propped up and in his chariot and died. Word was sent to the host, for the men to return home.

37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria; and they buried the king in Samaria.
38 And one washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour; according unto the word of the Lord which he spake.
39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
40 So Ahab slept with his fathers; and Ahaziah his son reigned in his stead.

Ahab’s body was taken to Samaria, where he was buried. His chariot was washed and the dogs licked up the blood, as was prophesied by Elijah (see 1 Kings 21:19). This was according to the word of the Lord. The rest of the actions of King Ahab, were recorded in another record of the kings, including the building of an ivory house. Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, reigned after him.

41 And Jehoshaphat the son of Asa began to reign over Judah in the fourth year of Ahab king of Israel.
42 Jehoshaphat was thirty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
43 And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.
44 And Jehoshaphat made peace with the king of Israel.
45 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, and his might that he shewed, and how he warred, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?
46 And the remnant of the sodomites, which remained in the days of his father Asa, he took out of the land.
47 There was then no king in Edom: a deputy was king.
48 Jehoshaphat made ships of Tharshish to go to Ophir for gold: but they went not; for the ships were broken at Ezion-geber.
49 Then said Ahaziah the son of Ahab unto Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with thy servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.

Jehoshaphat, who had started his reign four years after Ahab when he was 35 years old, reigned for 25 years in Jerusalem. He ruled as his father had ruled, and reigned in righteousness. However, he had not removed the places where the people made offerings and burned incense. Jehoshaphat had made peace with the king of Israel, Ahaziah. All the rest of his actions were recorded in the record of the kings of Judah. He had been a mighty man, and had removed the sodomites from the land. A deputy was the king of Edom at the time. Jehoshaphat had made ships to get gold, as Solomon had done, but the ships were broken before they could get to their destination. Ahaziah asked if his men could go along with the men of Judah, but Jehoshaphat refused.

50 And Jehoshaphat slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoram his son reigned in his stead.

Then Jehoshaphat died and his son Jehoram reigned.

51 Ahaziah the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned two years over Israel.
52 And he did evil in the sight of the Lord, and walked in the way of his father, and in the
way of his mother, and in the way of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin:
53 For he served Baal, and worshipped him, and provoked to anger the Lord God of Israel, according to all that his father had done.

Ahaziah ruled over Israel from Samaria during the reign of Jehoshaphat. He ruled for two years in wickedness, serving Baal and provoking God to anger.

Ahab had been enticed to go and take back the land that belonged to Israel, since the king of Syria had promised to return all of the land to him. This was at the time that Ahab made a deal with the king of Syria, when the will of the Lord was that the Syrians be destroyed. Ahab had been promised that his own demise would come because of this choice, and so it was. The Lord allowed him to be enticed and counseled to go forward with it, because this was the curse he had for going against the will of God previously. Because Ahab allowed their king to go free, his own life was taken in another fight against that same nation.

Ahab chose not to listen to the prophet of the Lord. His own prophets told him those things he wanted to hear, and he was willing to listen to their words, but was angered by the words of the prophets of God. Elijah and Micaiah were prophets who told Ahab the truth, and if he had listened to their words of warning, he would not have been led into this destruction. Those who willing turn away from the words of the prophets, set themselves us for their own personal destruction. This was true then, and it is true for us today, because we have living prophets of the Lord, who are given revelation that applies to us in this day. I am grateful for the living prophets and the blessing of continuing revelation from God.

1 Samuel Chapter 16

Saul, who had been the chosen leader of Israel, was called and sustained by the Lord. Then, the power he held began to get the better of him. He made some bad choices out of fear of the people, fear of his enemies, and his own pride. He was not faithful to the Lord. The Lord rejected Saul as the leader of his people. Saul remained the king, but no longer had the appointment from the Lord. Samuel remained the prophet during this time and continued to give the revelations and directions from the Lord. The Lord had revealed to Samuel, that he would call another to be the ruler of his people. This chapter begins:

1 And the Lord said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Beth-lehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.
2 And Samuel said, How can I go? if Saul hear it, he will kill me. And the Lord said, Take an heifer with thee, and say, I am come to sacrifice to the Lord.
3 And call Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will shew thee what thou shalt do: and thou shalt anoint unto me him whom I name unto thee.
4 And Samuel did that which the Lord spake, and came to Beth-lehem. And the elders of the town trembled at his coming, and said, Comest thou peaceably?
5 And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to the sacrifice.

Samuel continued to mourn over the things that had happened with Saul. The Lord spoke to Samuel and asked him why he did this, when he had been rejected. Instead, Samuel was to prepared himself to anoint a new king. The Lord directed Samuel to go to Jesse in Bethlehem where he would find the new king in one of Jesse’s sons. Samuel was worried that Saul would find out, and kill him. Samuel was told to go as if to make a sacrifice, calling Jesse to make sacrifice with him. Then, the Lord would help Samuel to know what to do next, in order to anoint a new king, whom the Lord had called. In faith, Samuel did as he was told by the Lord. The elders of Bethlehem, were afraid of his coming. Samuel told them he came in peace, to give sacrifice to the Lord. He told the elders to sanctify themselves and to prepare to make sacrifices. Jesse and his sons were among the men whom were sanctified, and Samuel called them to the sacrifice.

It is important to note, that this is the Jesse spoken of by the prophets who foretold the Savior’s mortal lineage. When speaking of the Lord, the book of Isaiah teaches, “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). Jesus of Nazareth, was this specific descendant of Jesse of Bethlehem.

6 And it came to pass, when they were come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.
7 But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
8 Then Jesse called Abinadab, and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
9 Then Jesse made Shammah to pass by. And he said, Neither hath the Lord chosen this.
10 Again, Jesse made seven of his sons to pass before Samuel. And Samuel said unto Jesse, The Lord hath not chosen these.
11 And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold, he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him: for we will not sit down till he come hither.
12 And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the Lord said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he.
13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward. So Samuel rose up, and went to Ramah.

Each of the sons came before Samuel in turn, and as they did, Samuel assumed that the eldest or strongest would be chosen by God. However, as he thought this, the Lord told Samuel to look at the men as the Lord would look at them. The worth of the men would not be found in their appearance or stature, but in their hearts. God does not look at us in the way that other people do. God knows our character better than any person, even ourselves. God can tell if our hearts are pure, if we are sincere, honest, and good. Likewise, God knows if our desires are to please men more than Him. In this experience, God would inspire Samuel to see these sons as He would see them, with spiritual eyes rather than the eyes of men.

Eliab, Abinadab, Shammah, and seven sons of Jesse were presented, but none were chosen by the Lord. Samuel asked Jesse if these were all of his sons. He told them that his youngest was keeping the sheep. Samuel asked Jesse to call for him, and when he was brought in, it was revealed to Samuel that he was the chosen son. David was a good-looking young man, but more importantly, the Lord knew he had a good heart. Samuel anointed David, the youngest son of Jesse, in front of those of his family who were there. I think the witnesses of his anointing were few in order to keep David safe from Saul, who may have killed David if he had been made aware. From that time forward, the Spirit was with David. In my mind’s eye, I can picture Samuel laying his hands upon the head of David, and giving him great blessings, which would prepare him for his calling to lead Israel. The most important blessing he could give to David, was the gift of the companionship of the Spirit, which he had from that day forward. Samuel left Bethlehem and went on to Ramah.

14 But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.
15 And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.
16 Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well.
17 And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me.
18 Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Beth-lehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.

In contrast, the Spirit of the Lord withdrew from Saul, and his servants noticed an evil spirit about him. The footnote for verse 14 (see also verses 15, 16 and 23) explains that the Joseph Smith translation of this verse reads, “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit which was not of the Lord troubled him.” This is an important distinction, because the Lord does not give evil spirits to afflict the souls of men. He does, however, allow for men to be influenced by the spirits around them, good or bad, so that men may choose for themselves which to follow. Any evil spirit is from the devil, not God.

Saul’s servants suggested that he call a man who was a talented musician, to play the harp for him, that his spirit would no longer be troubled. If the servant’s of Saul had been men of God, I am sure they would known that the thing Saul truly needed was to be right with God. Saul needed to repent of the things he had done and put aside his pride, but he would not. Saul called for one who could play the harp well, and one of the servants suggested a son of Jesse of Bethlehem, who could play well and was a good, pleasant looking man whom had the Lord with him. I think also, that in saying he was prudent in matters, it was suggested that he was wise and possibly, that he also may have been able to discern when his services were needed for the king.

19 Wherefore Saul sent messengers unto Jesse, and said, Send me David thy son, which is with the sheep.
20 And Jesse took an ass laden with bread, and a bottle of wine, and a kid, and sent them by David his son unto Saul.
21 And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer.
22 And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight.
23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Messengers were sent to Jesse, which asked for David to be sent to the king. Jesse sent David along with bread, wine and a kid. David pleased Saul and he was chosen to bear Saul’s armor. Saul sent a message to Jesse, to ask that David stay with the king, because he had found favor in his sight. When Saul was troubled, David would play for him on his harp and Saul would be well again. Music is such a powerful influence in our lives. In this case, music was used to calm a troubled spirit. David used his talents to do good for the king. When we choose music to listen to, it is important to note if it is one that can calm our own troubled souls. There is a lot of music in the world today, which has the power to bring us down. We should seek to listen to those things that are inspiring, uplifting, and bring us peace.

In this chapter, we can see the hand of the Lord in preparing young David to become the ruler of the Israelites. I am sure the servants of Saul, felt inspired to suggest that the king ask for a man to come and help ease his mind. Likewise, I am sure that the suggestion that Daivd be asked, out of all the men of Israel. It is also possible that David had been blessed by the Lord, with the gift of the spirit, to be the best harpist in all the land. Whatever the path that led there, David was now in the position to become what the Lord wanted him to become, if he would continue to be a man of God.

Once again, we have a calling from the Lord, extended to the least likely of men. He was the youngest, with several older brothers, who may have been capable. However, the Lord will choose whomever has the qualifying characteristics for the work. Over and over again, we see that the Lord chooses those who are humble and teachable, faithful and trustworthy. These are qualities that we should seek after in our own lives.

I am grateful to know that the Lord is not going to bless me on my appearance or my physical strength, because these are not my greatest attributes. These are not bad attributes to have been blessed with, but they are not the attributes that will draw us nearer to God. It is a humbling thing to know that God knows my character so well, and this understanding gives me the desire to become a better person in Christ-like attributes, which are the attributes of God. Disciples of Christ, should seek to improve our character rather than focusing solely on our outer appearance. I know that a happy soul is one who strives to be Christ-like in body and spirit.

1 Samuel Chapter 9

The people of Israel had tired of their system of judges, and desired to have a king. The Lord consented, allowing the Israelites full use of their agency, even though it could bring the people to turn away from Him. Samuel preached to them on the consequences that would come with a wicked king. The establishment of a king over Israel, begins with the following:

1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
3 And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.
4 And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.
5 And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.
6 And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.
7 Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?
8 And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.
9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)
10 Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was.

Saul was a choice, goodly young man that stood taller than others around him. Saul was sent by his father, to look for his father’s donkeys, which had been lost. He searched through the land, but was not finding them. When it seemed they had been away from his father’s house for too long, Saul decided to return so that his father did not worry about him. The servant told Saul of a man of God, Samuel, who was a seer and could, by the power of God, reveal to them where they should go. Saul did not have anything to offer, but his servant was willing to offer his own money in order to know where to go, and so they went into the city to find Samuel.

11 And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?
12 And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place:
13 As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.
14 And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.

As they approached the city they asked some young women, who were headed to draw water, if they knew where the seer was. The women told them that the seer was there, just ahead of them, and if they hurried they would catch up with him before the sacrifice was going to be made in the high place of the city. As they went into the city, Samuel came out to meet them.

15 Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,
16 To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.
18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is.
19 And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.
20 And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father’s house?
21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?
22 And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons.
23 And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee.
24 And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left! set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.

The Lord had previously revealed to Samuel that a Benjamite, whom he saw that day, was to be anointed captain and king of the Israelites. This man would deliver the Israelites from the Philistines, in an answer to the prayers of the people. When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord revealed to him that Saul was this man. Saul approached Samuel to ask where the seer was. Samuel told him that he was the seer and asked them to join him for their meal and to stay with him, then he would send them on their way the next day with the answers that Saul sought. As if to prove himself a true seer, or better yet, to show Saul that he could indeed receive revelations from God, Samuel told him to forget about the lost donkeys because they had been found. Samuel also told him that he, Saul, was the answer to the desires of the Israelites. Saul could not understand why this would be said, because he was from a family, which was the least among the smallest tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel. Samuel took Saul into the meal and sat him in the seat of honor among a gathering of people. Then Samuel told his cook to bring the portion of meat that had been set aside, and he gave it to Saul. Samuel had been prepared to entertain Saul as his honored guest for the meal, since the time he invited the others to come.

25 And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.
26 And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
27 And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.

After they left the gathering, Samuel had Saul and his servant stay with him. In the dawn of the morning, Samuel called for Saul to meet him on the rooftop, and Samuel told him that he could be on his way. Samuel was leaving the city as well, and as they were about to go out of the city, Samuel told Saul to have his servant go on ahead so that he could have some time to share the word of God with Saul. Samuel had told him that he would tell him all that was in his heart, or perhaps all that he desired to know, and this is what he was about to do.

The character of Saul is shown in this story, when not only are we told that he was a choice young man, but that he was humble and would seek the word of the Lord through a seer, in order to know what he should do or where he should go. I am sure it was a bit of a shock and a surprise, to be told that he had been chosen to lead Israel. And then to follow it with being treated by Samuel as a true leader would have been treated, among a gathering of many people. Nevertheless, Saul was treated this way, because the Lord had chosen him to be the king of Israel. It is a wonder that God would select a king, when we can learn from the previous chapter, that God had not wanted Israel to have a mortal king. However, because God made the selection, it was a man who had the character of being the right king for Israel. This is because God can look on the heart of an individual, where others will only see what is on the outside. The right king would not have been a man that had the appearance of a king, but a man that had the character of a good king. God continued to care for the people of Israel, by helping them to have a good king.

The Lord called his ancient leaders, even kings, through inspiration received by His holy prophets. This is not a pattern that was done away in ancient times. In the restoration of the gospel, the Lord continued to follow this pattern. The modern prophets and apostles of the church of Jesus Christ, are called by inspiration to lead the people of the Lord. Just this previous weekend, I watched as three new modern apostles were called to serve as special witnesses of Jesus Christ, and the spirit confirmed to me, that these men are indeed called of God. It is such a blessing to live with a knowledge of revelation from God.

Something else to learn from this story, is that when we feel impressed upon to find help, especially from those who we know to be people of God, we should not let other things stop us. Saul and his servant did not have a gift or offering to bring to the seer, and because of that, they may not have entered the city to get the help they needed. In the exchange between Saul and Samuel, the money or gift he and his servant had decided to bring, was not mentioned again. It seems that it was possibly unnecessary in the circumstances. I am sometimes guilty of trying to excuse the promptings I feel, because I know that there has to be some reason why God would not want to help me. I have nothing to offer Him. Or my reasoning teaches me that it would not work, but these thoughts are not right. We can always offer the Lord a willing heart and mind. The Lord would not inspire us without some reason that will bless us eventually. And as we read in 1 Nephi 3:7, “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” God would not prompt us to do something that would then be impossible for us to do. When we recognize inspiration and promptings of the spirit, we should follow through with them, so that we can be the instrument that God needs us to be. From these things, we can grow and be blessed beyond anything we can now imagine.

1 Samuel Chapter 3

Eli was the high priest, in the Israelite temple in Shiloh. Samuel was a young boy, who had been given to Eli, into the service of the Lord. From a very young age, Samuel served the Lord in the temple. Eli’s sons had dealt unrighteously with their own service in the temple, and because of that, and how he had chosen to deal with it, Eli had been told that his posterity would not continue to serve in the temple. The story of Samuel and Eli continues as follows:

1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
4 That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

At this time, the Lord had not been leading his people through visions and revelations, but through His words alone, which had already been given by the prophets long before. There have been many times throughout the history of the world, when the Lord has removed his prophets from the earth. Whether this is done to test the people, because the people become too wicked, or some other reason, it is a test of the faith of the people of the Lord. This had been one of those times for the Israelites, who had not had a prophet among them since the days of Joshua.

Samuel was serving the the temple of the Lord. Eli became old and his vision was weak, he was in bed, and it says the lamp of God went out. The instructions of the Lord had been, that the lamp of the Lord was always to be lit. It seems that Eli was unable to perform the duty of keeping the lamp lit. At that time, Samuel had laid down to sleep. The Lord called him and he answered, assuming that it was Eli who had called him. He went to Eli, but Eli told him he had not called him, and that he should return to his bed. The Lord called Samuel again, he answered and returned to Eli to see why he had been called. Eli told him again, that he had not called him, and that he should return to his bed. Samuel was young and had not been taught all the things about the Lord. He was not yet familiar with the word of the Lord, or possibly the ways the Lord spoke to men. He did not recognize, for himself, that the Lord was speaking to him. The Lord called Samuel for the third time, and when he went to Eli to ask why he had called for him, Eli recognized that it was a calling from the Lord. He told Samuel to return to his bed, and if he was called again, he was to answer the Lord and say that he was ready to hear the word of the Lord. He went back to bed and when the Lord called him for the forth time, Samuel answered the Lord as Eli had instructed.

It is blessing to learn how to hear the Lord speak to us. The spirit of the Lord can touch the hearts and minds of all men and women. When we learn to listen, and are obedient to the commandments, we can feel and hear God speak. A child, as Samuel, is unlikely to know and recognize this on their own. It is important for those who know, to teach the youth of the world these things. I think it is one of the most important thing parents and leaders of youth can teach them. There is great power and safety in learning to recognize how the Lord speaks to us personally. If we want the youth of today to have greater strength and courage to do what is right, we need to teach them this principle.

11 And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle.
12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end.
13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not.
14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever.

Samuel was told that in the day when his promise to Eli was to be fulfilled, the ears of every one who heard it, would tingle. The witness of the spirit, would come to the Israelites, and they would be able to know that the Lord had been true to his word regarding the house of Eli. The Lord told Samuel that Eli had been told of the judgement which was to come upon his house because of the wickedness that he was aware of in his family, which he did nothing to stop. His family would no longer be purged by sacrifices and offerings.

I think that the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, was such that He knew the sons of Eli would not somehow become an example of righteousness, but would instead be a stumbling block to the House of Israel. They could no longer be counted among the worthy, and therefore could no longer serve in His holy house. Additionally, they could not bring their own sacrifices and offerings to the temple, to be made clean by them. In punishing the house of Eli in this way, the Lord was setting (or resetting) a standard for worthiness in serving in the temple. There are times, when a few must be stopped or even destroyed in their wickedness, so that a great number more might be saved. This reminds me of a Book of Mormon story of young Nephi. He had been sent to get sacred records from Laban, who dealt wickedly with his family. The Lord gave the following instruction through the voice of the spirit, “Behold the Lord slayeth the wicked to bring forth his righteous purposes. It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.” (see 1 Nephi 4:13) This was the wisdom of the Lord for the family of Nephi and the future nation that would come from them. Likewise, the punishment of the family of Eli, needed to be this strong for the benefit of the souls of many others.

15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.
16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I.
17 And he said, What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee.
18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good.

Samuel stayed in his bed until the next morning, got up and opened the temple doors. He was afraid to tell Eli what the Lord had told him. It would have been natural for a young boy to be worried about telling his master that the Lord was prepared to judge the master for something he had done. I imagine that Eli spent the night considering what the Lord was sharing with Samuel as well, and possibly because of that, Eli called Samuel for him. Eli asked Samuel what the Lord had said, so Samuel told him everything and Eli knew it would be as the Lord had said.

19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beer-sheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.
21 And the Lord appeared again in Shiloh: for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the Lord.

Samuel grew up and was recognized throughout all of Israel, as the prophet of the Lord. All the words of Samuel were fulfilled and he had the Lord, or the spirit of the Lord, with him. The Lord showed himself unto Samuel in Shiloh, and He showed revelations unto him, because Samuel was the prophet of the Lord.

Joshua Chapter 20

Moses was given direction from the Lord, as to how the land of promise would be divided by the children of Israel. We read the fulfillment of those directions in the book of Joshua. At this point, the tribes of Israel, had received the inheritances they were promised. There were a few things that were still left to determine, one of those was where the cities of refuge would be located (see Numbers 35). This chapter goes over this item.

1 The Lord also spake unto Joshua, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, Appoint out for you cities of refuge, whereof I spake unto you by the hand of Moses:
3 That the slayer that killeth any person unawares and unwittingly may flee thither: and they shall be your refuge from the avenger of blood.
4 And when he that doth flee unto one of those cities shall stand at the entering of the gate of the city, and shall declare his cause in the ears of the elders of that city, they shall take him into the city unto them, and give him a place, that he may dwell among them.
5 And if the avenger of blood pursue after him, then they shall not deliver the slayer up into his hand; because he smote his neighbour unwittingly, and hated him not beforetime.
6 And he shall dwell in that city, until he stand before the congregation for judgment, and until the death of the high priest that shall be in those days: then shall the slayer return, and come unto his own city, and unto his own house, unto the city from whence he fled.

Joshua was given the direction, to appoint the cities of refuge. These were cities for those who were guilty of manslaughter, or killing another unintentionally. In having these cities, they would be spared from revenge of the family members, and the family would not be tempted to intentionally kill them and bring a greater sin upon themselves. Those who sought refuge there, would be given a place to live, and would be protected there until they faced judgment, or until the high priest died. At that point, that person would return back to his homeland.

7 And they appointed Kedesh in Galilee in mount Naphtali, and Shechem in mount Ephraim, and Kirjath-arba, which is Hebron, in the mountain of Judah.
8 And on the other side Jordan by Jericho eastward, they assigned Bezer in the wilderness upon the plain out of the tribe of Reuben, and Ramoth in Gilead out of the tribe of Gad, and Golan in Bashan out of the tribe of Manasseh.
9 These were the cities appointed for all the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them, that whosoever killeth any person at unawares might flee thither, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood, until he stood before the congregation.

Six cities were appointed throughout the land of the Israelites for this purpose. These cities were to be a blessing and a protection to those who had need of them.

This chapter is one of the many, which shows that God delivers on his promises and directions to his people. These instructions had been given to Moses years prior, and at this point Joshua receives the same directions in order to fulfill them. The Lord has given us many revelations from the prophets of old, which teach of these latter days. I believe in continuing revelation through the Lord’s prophets, and that we have prophets on the earth today, who are receiving the revelations necessary to fulfill the words of the Lord for our day. The work of the Lord continues to go forth, and great blessings will come to those who are faithful in living righteously.

Commentary on the Vision of Nephi

I recently received a comment on one of the first posts I wrote back in 2008, for 1 Nephi, Chapter 14. The following request was made:

Some things that I can’t understand that may be you could help me. When the angel asked Nephi if he remembers the covenants of the Father unto the House of Israel. And Nephi said, Yea. … the [angel] showed to Nephi the 2 churches. I just wondered why he showed this after asking Nephi. And in verse 17, I get a little hint here but still can’t gather all the thoughts.

I decided to make it a matter of further study, especially since I wrote my post so long ago. This response is a bit lengthy, but it helped me and I hope it can help others seeking to have a greater understanding.

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In all things in the gospel, especially as the spirit reveals truth to us, lessons are learned line upon line. I believe that the spirit is building upon the foundation of Nephi’s knowledge here. What is the foundation? For this, we need to look back to the beginning of the vision of Lehi. It is important to see the whole picture, to understand these smaller sections. Somewhere between 600 and 592 BC, Lehi has a vision of the tree of life (see 1 Nephi 8). It seems that in the perspective of Lehi, the importance of this dream is his family (descendants) receiving the glorious fruit of the tree. In the vision, the great and spacious building is introduced. We learn from what he teaches, that those within the building would mock and scorn those trying to do what was right. Throughout all time, the world has been against those who would choose to follow the Lord.

In 1 Nephi 10, Lehi teaches his family that the Jews would eventually return to Jerusalem after it would be destroyed. He taught them of when the Savior would come to earth, as the prophets had long foretold. He told them of how the Jews would dwindle in unbelief and kill the Messiah. Lehi tells them that at this time, the Savior would reveal himself to the gentiles. (I think it’s important to remember that Lehi and his family lived in a time when the Jews understood the gospel to be set apart for the Jews alone. The revelation for it to anyone outside of the covenant, would not come until Peter received it after the Savior had been resurrected. We read about that in Acts 10.) Then, Lehi preaches to them of how the Jews and gentiles compared to the olive tree and its branches. This is part of those things that the Lord promised in the covenants with their fathers, that the house of Israel would be divided. Lehi taught them of the gospel being received by the gentiles and of them bringing the natural branches, or the house of Israel, back into their place through coming to know the true Messiah. (chapter 10 vv. 2-14)

I am sure that the sons of Lehi had heard much of this before, through the teachings of youth. I believe he taught them with greater details, because of the vision he himself had received. Nephi desired to know the truth of this foundation his father had set in his teachings. In his pondering, he was carried away into his own vision (see 1 Nephi 11). In his vision, the spirit of the Lord first shows him the tree of life, which his father had seen. Then Nephi sees a vision of the coming forth of the Savior to the world. He speaks with an angel of what these things mean. Nephi witnessed the ministry of the Savior, and his apostles, to the Jews. Then he witnessed the sacrifice of the Savior by the Jews, and how the Jews would then fight against the apostles of the Savior. Those that fought against them, were in the great and spacious building of the world. In this part of the vision, Nephi has it confirmed to him, that the Jews would fall into apostasy and be of the world instead of being of the Lord.

In chapter 12, Nephi is shown more than what we learn from Lehi’s vision. He learns that his family would dwell in the promised land, as one of the broken off branches of the olive tree, and after many generations of fighting with the seed of his brothers, and great destruction for their wickedness, the Savior would appear to the part of his family that remained. Then after faithful generations, the two sides of their family would again fight each other, because of the temptations of the world. He saw again the great and spacious building of the world and its wickedness. Then he saw his seed destroyed in their wickedness and the seed of his brothers fall away into greater wickedness.

In chapter 13, the angel teaches Nephi of the many gentile nations. In verse 3 we read, “And he said unto me: These are the nations and kingdoms of the Gentiles.” He witnessed the formation of the great and abominable church among the gentile nations. This is part of the world’s great apostasy and it is led by the devil himself. Nephi is taught that worldly things are the desire of that church, which would strive to destroy the righteous saints of the church of God. This great church is presented to Nephi, much like the great and spacious building of the world. Nephi was then shown that the descendants of his brothers, were separated from the gentile nations, and that a gentile man would be inspired to journey to them across the waters. The gentiles would scatter and destroy many of their descendants. Then, the gentiles would prosper and separate themselves from other gentile nations, through war. After the war, a book of a jew would be brought forth among them, which we know to be the Bible, which contains the covenants of the house of Israel. Nephi learns that the book would start pure, but would be changed by the great and abominable church. After being changed, it would cause some confusion and stumbling. The angel shows Nephi, that the Lord would cause the seed of Lehi to also keep records of the gospel and the truth, and that these records would be brought forth to the gentiles at that time. The gentiles would then, teach the descendants of his brothers, of the record of their fathers. The records together would convince many of the truth and eventually, the Lord would be made manifest to all the nations and all the people of the world.

This is what the angel has shown Nephi leading up to this chapter, 1 Nephi 14. The angel teaches Nephi that those who would accept the gospel contained in the records, and therefore accept and hearken to the Lord, would be joined into the house of Israel. This is the gathering of Israel in these latter-days. The angel reminds Nephi that he has learned that those who repent, gentile or jew, would not perish. Those who would harden their hearts, would have destruction. This is the great and marvelous work that would be had among all the world. This is when in verse 8, he asks Nephi, “Rememberest thou the covenants of the Father unto the house of Israel?” In all this teaching, the angel has been reminding Nephi of the covenants of the Father to the Israelites.

The covenant of the Father unto the house of Israel, is the Abrahamic covenant. The Bible Dictionary can teach us of this covenant better than I can explain it. It reads:

Abraham first received the gospel by baptism (which is the covenant of salvation). Then he had conferred upon him the higher priesthood, and he entered into celestial marriage (which is the covenant of exaltation), gaining assurance thereby that he would have eternal increase. Finally he received a promise that all of these blessings would be offered to all of his mortal posterity (D&C 132:29–50; Abr. 2:6–11). Included in the divine promises to Abraham were the assurances that (1) Christ would come through his lineage, and that (2) Abraham’s posterity would receive certain lands as an eternal inheritance (Gen. 17; 22:15–18; Gal. 3; Abr. 2). These promises taken together are called the “Abrahamic covenant.” It was renewed with Isaac (Gen. 26:1–4, 24) and again with Jacob (Gen. 28; 35:9–13; 48:3–4).

The portions of the covenant that pertain to personal salvation and eternal increase are renewed with each individual who receives the ordinance of celestial marriage (see D&C 132:29–33). Those of non-Israelite lineage, commonly known as Gentiles, are adopted into the house of Israel and become heirs of the covenant and the seed of Abraham through the ordinances of the gospel (Gal. 3:26–29).

Being an heir to the Abrahamic covenant does not make one a “chosen person” per se but does signify that such are chosen to responsibly carry the gospel to all the peoples of the earth. Abraham’s seed have carried out the missionary activity in all the nations since Abraham’s day. (Matt. 3:9; Abr. 2:9–11.)

To fulfill the covenant God made with Abraham—having particular reference to the fact that the literal seed of his body would be entitled to all of the blessings of the gospel (Abr. 2:10–11)—a number of specific and particular things must take place in the last days. The gospel must be restored, the priesthood must be conferred again upon man, the keys of the sealing power must be given again to mortals, Israel must be gathered, and the Holy Ghost must be poured out upon the Gentiles. All this has already taken place or is in process of fulfillment.

Then, with a reminder of the covenant, the angel shows Nephi that the world would eventually be divided into two parts or churches. The first is the church of the Lamb of God, which consists of those who are the people of God, the latter-day house of Israel. The second is everyone else, who would belong to the great and abominable church of the world, and who would be led by Satan. The two churches would fight. Those of the world, would fight against the people of God. At that time, when God and his people would fight against Satan and his followers, the covenant would begin to be fulfilled (see verse 17). This would lead up to the time of the second coming, which was written about in the book of Revelation, by the apostle John, and Nephi was told not to write any more of what he saw in the vision.

So, with all of this in mind, I think that the question the angel posed to Nephi, was more of a reminder to him that in this entire vision, he was being shown the fulfillment of the covenants made to the house of Israel. I do not think that what directly followed the question, was the complete answer. I think it’s much like posing a question at the closing of a lesson, when we may be reminded of the entire purpose for the words spoken. Nephi needed to be shown all that would lead up to the restoration of the gospel, which would lead to the descendants of his father being able to make sacred covenants again some day. Nephi was blessed with a knowledge that in latter-days, the house of Israel would be gathered again, so that the promised blessings of the covenant could be received by all those who were willing to be a part of the church of the Lamb. The fulfillment of the promises would come as the Lord’s church stood against the great and abominable church of the world. I hope that this helps in your understanding, as it has in my own. I think to understand it even more fully, it is important to also look to the book of Revelation, to see what Nephi was shown after what he has written for us. I have not yet approached the book of Revelation in my own deeper study, but I am really looking forward to it and the understanding I know it will bring.

Deuteronomy Chapter 5

So far, the book of Deuteronomy has been a review of the journey of Israel to the point where they are about to enter the promised land. Moses was going to be removed from the people, and was commanded to teach the people again of the workings and teachings of the Lord. This chapter continues the discussion of the laws of the Lord, which the people were bound to keep by the covenants they had made.

1 And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them.
2 The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.
3 The Lord made not this covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day.
4 The Lord talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire,
5 (I stood between the Lord and you at that time, to shew you the word of the Lord: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying,

We cannot keep a covenant unless we know how. So, Moses called the people together, to teach them of the laws and ordinances that God expected them to keep. He told them that there was a covenant made while their fathers were in Horeb, or around mount Sinai. This covenant may have been initially established while their fathers were alive, but it was also the covenant of those who were the children of that time. They had grown to become the leaders and adults in Israel, and this covenant was their covenant. Moses had been the mouthpiece for the Lord, at the time when He spoke with the people out of the fire.

6 I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
7 Thou shalt have none other gods before me.
8 Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth:
9 Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,
10 And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments.
11 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
12 Keep the sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee.
13 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work:
14 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.
15 And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

Moses, as commanded by the Lord, begins to review the Ten Commandments. These are the same commandments received in Sinai. The Lord promised that those who choose to worship idols would be punished, but those who kept the commandments and loved the Lord, would have mercy. The punishment would be to suffer the consequences of that sin. Many souls, of multiple generations, would live with those consequences. Those who chose to take the name of the Lord in vain, which I think mostly means to make covenants and then rebel against the promises they make in the name of the Lord, would be held accountable for their choices. The people are reminded that they are bound to keep the Sabbath holy, because not only was it God’s law to rest and reverence the Lord on that day in remembrance of the creation, but it was to be held in remembrance of when God had delivered them from bondage in Egypt. I am pretty sure that while in Egypt, the Israelites were not given the sabbath off to worship, but were most likely made to work everyday of their lives.

16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
17 Thou shalt not kill.
18 Neither shalt thou commit adultery.
19 Neither shalt thou steal.
20 Neither shalt thou bear false witness against thy neighbour.
21 Neither shalt thou desire thy neighbour’s wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

Moses continues with the Ten Commandments.

22 These words the Lord spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
23 And it came to pass, when ye heard the voice out of the midst of the darkness, (for the mountain did burn with fire,) that ye came near unto me, even all the heads of your tribes, and your elders;
24 And ye said, Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory and his greatness, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire: we have seen this day that God doth talk with man, and he liveth.
25 Now therefore why should we die? for this great fire will consume us: if we hear the voice of the Lord our God any more, then we shall die.
26 For who is there of all flesh, that hath heard the voice of the living God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as we have, and lived?
27 Go thou near, and hear all that the Lord our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear it, and do it.
28 And the Lord heard the voice of your words, when ye spake unto me; and the Lord said unto me, I have heard the voice of the words of this people, which they have spoken unto thee: they have well said all that they have spoken.
29 O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children for ever!
30 Go say to them, Get you into your tents again.
31 But as for thee, stand thou here by me, and I will speak unto thee all the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land which I give them to possess it.
32 Ye shall observe to do therefore as the Lord your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.
33 Ye shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess.

Moses teaches them that all these commandments were given to the people by the Lord and written by the Lord on two tablets, which Moses had been given. Moses reminds them, that in that day, the Lord manifested himself to the elders of Israel and the people. The children of Israel had witnessed that God lives and talks to men on earth. I believe that God lives. I believe that God still speaks to men on earth. I don’t think that God would let us live without some kind of loving guidance and direction. I believe that it is the nature of God, to prepare and call prophets even today. I believe that the priesthood which Moses once held, has been restored to the earth in modern times and that, because of its restoration, we can have the blessings of receiving personal revelation from the Lord. I have felt this revelation in my life and I am grateful every day for it.

In the days near Mount Sinai, the Israelites had been concerned that they would be destroyed if they were to hear the Lord any longer. I am guessing that they felt they were unworthy to be spoken to by God. They knew that mortal men had been consumed by His glory, so they asked that Moses speak with the Lord on their behalf. They promised to hearken to the words of Moses, as commandments from the Lord. The Lord confirmed their concerns to Moses. They would not have lived worthy to abide His presence, because they could not respect Him enough to keep all the commandments. The people were sent back to their homes and Moses was told then, to return and receive all the laws, ordinances, and judgments from the Lord. Moses was commanded to teach the people the law of Moses, which they were to follow in the land of inheritance. The Lord commanded Moses and the people to live worthily, by obeying all that the Lord had and would command them. They were to do their duty and not to deviate from the will of God. If they could be obedient, all would be well with them and they would receive the blessings of the Lord.

We, like the Israelites, are also indebted to God for the countless blessings He has provided to us. Our debt is eternal. God has every right to ask everything of us. In his eternal love and mercy, He allows us freedom and agency, but as our spiritual parent, He expects us to follow His commandments. I know that when we obey the laws of the Lord, we receive great blessings. I believe that all things will work for our good, if we can remain faithfully obedient. I know that His commandments are not so difficult to follow, if we align ourselves with Him. We owe it to Him, to choose to do His will.

Numbers Chapter 9

At this point in the bible, the children of Israel were encamped in the desert of Sinai, near mount Sinai. Moses had received instruction in the mount, regarding laws and statutes for his people. They were commanded to build the tabernacle in such a way that they would be able to carry it with them as they traveled to the promised land. I believe they still continued to receive daily bread from the Lord at this time, in the form of manna from heaven. Once the tabernacle was built and dedicated to the Lord, He accepted it and spoke with Moses from the mercy seat. There were pretty constant reminders that the Lord was their God, who had freed them from bondage and saved them both from physical harm and from the spiritual harm that would have been caused if they had continued to be a people of the world. This chapter begins:

1 And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2 Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.
3 In the fourteenth day of this month, at even, ye shall keep it in his appointed season: according to all the rites of it, and according to all the ceremonies thereof, shall ye keep it.
4 And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.
5 And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel.

The Israelites were reminded that this was now the time to keep the Passover. They had already been commanded to remember to keep the Passover all their days, when the Lord first instituted it in the land of Egypt. So, the children of Israel celebrated the Passover, just as they had been commanded.

6 And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:
7 And those men said unto him, We are defiled by the dead body of a man: wherefore are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the Lord in his appointed season among the children of Israel?
8 And Moses said unto them, Stand still, and I will hear what the Lord will command concerning you.

There were men who did not know what to do, because they were no worthy to keep the passover. They had touched a dead body, which, as the Israelites had been taught, made them unclean or defiled. They went to their priesthood leaders, Moses and Aaron, to learn what should be done. Moses did not know what to do, so he took the issue to the Lord. It is good to have this example of the priesthood line of authority and how to receive revelation on important matters like this. We have modern revelation about this, found in Doctrine and Covenants 102:23, which reads, “In case of difficulty respecting doctrine or principle, if there is not a sufficiency written to make the case clear to the minds of the council, the president may inquire and obtain the mind of the Lord by revelation.”

9 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
10 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the passover unto the Lord.
11 The fourteenth day of the second month at even they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
12 They shall leave none of it unto the morning, nor break any bone of it: according to all the ordinances of the passover they shall keep it.
13 But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forbeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among his people: because he brought not the offering of the Lord in his appointed season, that man shall bear his sin.
14 And if a stranger shall sojourn among you, and will keep the passover unto the Lord; according to the ordinance of the passover, and according to the manner thereof, so shall he do: ye shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger, and for him that was born in the land.

Moses was told, that no matter if he was defiled by the dead or journeying, any man of Israel, he was to keep the passover. All the rites and ordinances of the passover were to be kept strictly as they had been commanded. This was the Lord’s answer to their question, and it was kept as doctrine from that time, for all those who would live the law of Moses. By this, I think that being defiled by the dead, was not so serious as some other things that caused uncleanliness in that day. Just as certain sins could be considered lesser sins, today. Like the need to keep the passover, we have a need to partake of the sacrament each week. No one is perfect though, and we are to partake of it worthily. Just as they were told that they were still to participate in the passover, our imperfections and lesser sins should not keep us from partaking of the sacrament. There are things that would cause us to be unworthy to partake of the sacrament. These are the kinds of things that a priesthood leader, such as a Bishop, would need to help us with. Otherwise, the desire to keep the commandment to partake, and the added desire to return to the Lord and renew our covenants, causes us to be worthy to partake of it.

Any man who was able and chose not to keep the passover, would be cut off from the people for his disobedience to the commandment of the Lord. Disobedience to this is the greater sin, I think. To keep the passover, was a commandment, just as remaining worthy was a commandment. However, making the choice to not keep the passover, was worthy of separation from the righteous people and the presence of the Lord. Also, any stranger with them, was to keep the passover along with the Israelites.

15 And on the day that the tabernacle was reared up the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
16 So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
17 And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.
18 At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents.
19 And when the cloud tarried long upon the tabernacle many days, then the children of Israel kept the charge of the Lord, and journeyed not.
20 And so it was, when the cloud was a few days upon the tabernacle; according to the commandment of the Lord they abode in their tents, and according to the commandment of the Lord they journeyed.
21 And so it was, when the cloud abode from even unto the morning, and that the cloud was taken up in the morning, then they journeyed: whether it was by day or by night that the cloud was taken up, they journeyed.
22 Or whether it were two days, or a month, or a year, that the cloud tarried upon the tabernacle, remaining thereon, the children of Israel abode in their tents, and journeyed not: but when it was taken up, they journeyed.
23 At the commandment of the Lord they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the Lord they journeyed: they kept the charge of the Lord, at the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

When the tabernacle was raised, the cloud of the Lord covered the tent. When the night came, there was the fire of the Lord upon it. The fire remained until morning, when it was covered by cloud. The Israelites were going to be led by the same ways, as they had been led out of Egypt. They were to remain where they were until the cloud lifted. Then they were to travel until they came to the cloud again. They were to camp were ever the cloud was. If the cloud did not raise from the tabernacle, they were to stay where they were until it did, no matter how short or long a period of time that was. If, on any given morning, the cloud raised, they were to continue on their journey.

I am filled with wonder at just how constant the reminder of the Lord’s hand in their life was for these people. They were entirely dependent upon Him, for food, for direction, for guidance and so much more. They were in a desert, far from the things that would have provided others, the necessities of life. And even greater, they had the presence of the Lord with them, with a physical manifestation resting upon the tabernacle. The presence of the Lord is not as obvious in our own lives, but He is always there for us as well. The Lord provides for us in all ways, just as he did for the Israelites. We can come to recognize these same blessings in our lives, as we live according to his commandments. When we are obedient, God has promised that we can each have the spirit of God, as a companion in our lives. The Spirit will be our cloud and fire. The Spirit will protect, provide, direct and guide each of us personally, according to our faithfulness. What an awesome blessing this is.

Genesis Chapter 42

The land of Egypt and the surrounding areas are suffering through a horrible famine at this point in the Bible. Joseph, the son of Jacob (Israel), has made Egypt the place to go to for help. He is the assistant to Pharaoh and is in charge of all the land. People from all around are going to Egypt, to Joseph, to get help in this time of great need.

1 Now when Jacob saw that there was corn in Egypt, Jacob said unto his sons, Why do ye look one upon another?
2 And he said, Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt: get you down thither, and buy for us from thence; that we may live, and not die.

Jacob decided to send his sons to Egypt to buy some food, so that there family would not starve.

3 And Joseph’s ten brethren went down to buy corn in Egypt.
4 But Benjamin, Joseph’s brother, Jacob sent not with his brethren; for he said, Lest peradventure mischief befall him.
5 And the sons of Israel came to buy corn among those that came: for the famine was in the land of Canaan.
6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.
7 And Joseph saw his brethren, and he knew them, but made himself strange unto them, and spake roughly unto them; and he said unto them, Whence come ye? And they said, From the land of Canaan to buy food.
8 And Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him.
9 And Joseph remembered the dreams which he dreamed of them, and said unto them, Ye are spies; to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
10 And they said unto him, Nay, my lord, but to buy food are thy servants come.
11 We are all one man’s sons; we are true men, thy servants are no spies.
12 And he said unto them, Nay, but to see the nakedness of the land ye are come.
13 And they said, Thy servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan; and, behold, the youngest is this day with our father, and one is not.
14 And Joseph said unto them, That is it that I spake unto you, saying, Ye are spies:
15 Hereby ye shall be proved: By the life of Pharaoh ye shall not go forth hence, except your youngest brother come hither.
16 Send one of you, and let him fetch your brother, and ye shall be kept in prison, that your words may be proved, whether there be any truth in you: or else by the life of Pharaoh surely ye are spies.
17 And he put them all together into ward three days.
18 And Joseph said unto them the third day, This do, and live; for I fear God:
19 If ye be true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your prison: go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses:
20 But bring your youngest brother unto me; so shall your words be verified, and ye shall not die. And they did so.

Ten of the sons went down to Egypt, leaving Benjamin with his father. Benjamin was the full-blooded brother of Joseph and his father did not want anything to happen to him. Joseph’s brothers bowed before him, just as Joseph had said they would. Joseph disguised himself and asked them where they came from. He accused them of being spies to see things about his land, but they denied his accusations and told him they came to buy food. They explained that they were all brothers of one man and that they had two others brothers, one with their father, and one who was gone. Joseph said that they would prove themselves true as they were held captive until their younger brother came to Egypt. After they were in prison for three days, he told them to pick one of them to stay in prison. The rest were sent back to Canaan with food for the families and the were instructed to bring back Benjamin and prove they were not spies.

21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.
22 And Reuben answered them, saying, Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child; and ye would not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required.
23 And they knew not that Joseph understood them; for he spake unto them by an interpreter.
24 And he turned himself about from them, and wept; and returned to them again, and communed with them, and took from them Simeon, and bound him before their eyes.

The brothers spoke of their remorse for what they had done to Joseph years ago. I think that they felt they were being punished for their sin. Reuben reminded them that he had told them not to do it, but they would not listen to him. Joseph, who knew what they were talking about, went away and cried over this. He went back to them, and bound and took Simeon to place him in prison. I think he did this “before their eyes” as a reminder of what they had done to him many years before.

25 Then Joseph commanded to fill their sacks with corn, and to restore every man’s money into his sack, and to give them provision for the way: and thus did he unto them.
26 And they laded their asses with the corn, and departed thence.
27 And as one of them opened his sack to give his ass provender in the inn, he espied his money; for, behold, it was in his sack’s mouth.
28 And he said unto his brethren, My money is restored; and, lo, it is even in my sack: and their heart failed them, and they were afraid, saying one to another, What is this that God hath done unto us?

Joseph had them take their sacks of food and put their money back in their sacks as well. Then they were sent away. When one of them went to feed his animals, he saw that he had all his money still and they knew this made them look like thieves.

29 And they came unto Jacob their father unto the land of Canaan, and told him all that befell unto them; saying,
30 The man, who is the lord of the land, spake roughly to us, and took us for spies of the country.
31 And we said unto him, We are true men; we are no spies:
32 We be twelve brethren, sons of our father; one is not, and the youngest is this day with our father in the land of Canaan.
33 And the man, the lord of the country, said unto us, Hereby shall I know that ye are true men; leave one of your brethren here with me, and take food for the famine of your households, and be gone:
34 And bring your youngest brother unto me: then shall I know that ye are no spies, but that ye are true men: so will I deliver you your brother, and ye shall traffick in the land.

When they got back home, they told Jacob what had happened when they had encountered the lord of the land, who they did not know was Joseph.

35 And it came to pass as they emptied their sacks, that, behold, every man’s bundle of money was in his sack: and when both they and their father saw the bundles of money, they were afraid.
36 And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.
37 And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.
38 And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

When they emptied their sacks of food, they saw that all of them had their money still and they were all afraid. Jacob spoke to them of how they had caused him to loose two of his sons now and that Benjamin was at risk of being lost as well. Reuben said that if he did not bring him back, Jacob could kill his own sons. Reuben told his father to allow Benjamin to go back with him. Jacob refused because he could not stand to loose another son.

This chapter shows the fulfillment of the revelations that Joseph had received in dreams when he lived with his family. I am sure this time was a difficult one for Joseph. He had been made to suffer a lot because of the choices his brothers made. I am sure that there had been many times throughout those years, when he had thought about the dreams he had and how long it might be before he could see them come to pass. I think he must have held on to hope in these things, in order to get through the difficulties he had experienced. It must have been hard to see his brothers, groveling before him, when the last he saw them they were prepared to kill him to have their way. Joseph must have recognized his many blessings and the hand of the Lord in the tender mercies of his life. This is a great example of trusting the Lord and remaining righteous and faithful through the difficult and prosperous times of our lives. When we continue to follow the commandments and live well in the sight of God, he will lead us to the blessings that he has prepared for us.


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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