“For My Name’s Sake”

Brant Gardner

Application to Israel: Israel deserves God’s anger, yet he refrains, continuing to strive with Israel. Yahweh is the ultimately loving parent; he loves and cares for even his willfully rebellious children.

Victor Ludlow notes some important differences between the King James Version and the New Jewish Version of this passage: “Nevertheless for the sake of My name I control My wrath; To My own glory, I am patient with you, And I will not destroy you.” The significant changes are the emphasis on the name, and the use of “glory” rather than “praise.” The emphasis on the name focuses this verse on Yahweh’s divinity. Because he is known by his sacred name in the Old Testament, this passage identifies the ultimate speaker (through the mouth of Isaiah) with the God of Israel (who certainly has the right to make such pronouncements).

The second difference is “glory.” While both “praise” and “glory” fit the sense of the statement, “glory” is a more significant word, free from the possible selfish implication of a God who acts to receive praise. Note the use of “glory” in Moses 1:39: “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Here, human immortality and the eternal life of man are equated with God’s glory. They define “glory.” In this sense, we can best understand God’s statement to Israel. God withholds his wrath to further his purpose of exalting the children of Israel, which exaltation becomes his glory. Thus, a phrase that might seem self-serving or egotistical (“and for my praise”) becomes a powerful statement of God’s ultimate mission and desire.

Application to Nephi’s audience: As with Israel, Yahweh has not yet ceased to strive with and care for Lehi’s rebellious children.

Translation: The phrase in Isaiah, “and for my praise will I refrain for thee,” becomes “and for my praise will I refrain from thee” in 1 Nephi (see Isa. 48:9). This slight change appears to be an attempt to clarify the meaning of the KJV text. “Refraining from” might more clearly indicate that Yahweh is not taking an action against Israel that might otherwise be justified. The KJV passage has the same basic meaning, with Yahweh refraining for the benefit of Israel, that it not be destroyed.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 1