“Nursing Fathers Unto Them”

Brant Gardner

As Jacob shifts the emphasis of his address from the Old World Jerusalem to their own times and situations, he returns to a scripture that both he and Nephi have used: Isaiah 49:23, 1 Nephi 21:23, 2 Nephi 6:7. In this case, however, Jacob refers to the text rather than citing it directly. Compare Isaiah 49:23 to the text in verse 9:

Isa. 49:23 And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

Jacob makes two important changes in his reference to the verse. The first is that he cites only the first section, with a fair amount of the cited verse not being specifically referenced at all. Additionally, Jacob inserts "of the Gentiles" after Isaiah's "kings." In making this reference, Jacob is setting up the critical part of his analysis of Isaiah for his people. He has already cited the verse on the day before, so the repetition of the text even in this abbreviated form , is a necessary reminder of the linkage of his discourse to scripture. The way Jacob chooses to do it, however, quickly references both the text and import of the Isaiah citation.

Isaiah's text deals with a salvation by gentiles, and Jacob emphasizes this theme both by the citation and by the explicit inclusion of the gentiles in the reference. As noted before, the theme of salvation by gentiles must be a significant part of the reason for this particular sermon, specifically as it was requested by Nephi who had also used the same text. Thus Jacob is now explicitly returning to the reason for the text on which his two day sermon was based.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon