“O House of Jacob”

Brant Gardner

Isaiah begins his discourse by identifying the audience. He speaks specifically to the descendants of Jacob, and then places that lineal designator in the context of the covenantal name Israel (Ludlow, Victor L. _Isaiah: Prophet, Seer and Poet_ . Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1982, p. 401). The next set of phrases clearly indicate that Isaiah is not of a mind to be kind nor gentle. He specifically addresses this part of the covenant people by highlighting their current state with that which should be the condition of the children of Israel. They are those "who swear by the name of the Lord, and make mention of the God of Israel, yet they swear not in truth nor in righteousness." In other words, they are making the right noises, but have lost the heart of it. They may claim their rights by lineage, but not by their righteous merit.

"The term "or out of the waters of baptism" did not appear in the first edition of the Book of Mormon. It first appeared in the edition of 1840 on page 53, and the sentence in which it appeared was punctuated as follows: "hearken and hear this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and are come forth out of the waters of Judah, (or out of the waters of baptism,) who swear by the name of the Lore," etc. It is not absolutely clear who was responsible for the insertion of this phrase, although the title page of this edition indicates that it was the "Third Edition, carefully Revised by the Translator" and was published in Nauvoo, Illinois.

In the "Committee Copy" of the Book of Mormon that was used by Elder James E. Talmage and his committee in making the changes for the 1920 edition, the words "or out of the waters of baptism' were not printed in the text although they had been inserted in red ink in parentheses. However, the parentheses were crossed out by red pencil. These words are printed in the current edition of the Book of Mormon without the parentheses." (Ludlow, Daniel H. Companion to your Study of the Book of Mormon. Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, 1976, p. 120).

"The term Israel appears frequently in Isaiah's writing, particularly after chapter 47, and the prophet applies it in at least three ways to mean the blood Israel, covenant Israel, or the land of Israel. Blood Israelites are the literal descendants of Jacob or Israel (the "house of Jacob:). Covenant Israelites are those who accept the God and covenants of Israel. Land Israelites are the inhabitants of the land that was grated to the tribes of Israel, the area called Canaan, the Holy Land, or Palestine. (Ludlow, Victor. 1982 p. 402).

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon