“I, Nephi, Write More of the Words of Isaiah”

Brant Gardner

Redaction: 2 Nephi 11:2–8 reads like a spontaneous insertion that begins as a simple transition and ends up in testimony. It suggests that Nephi’s intention as he picks up his stylus (or whatever tool he used for writing on the plates) is simply to explain why the next section will consist, not of Jacob’s putative third-day sermon, but of another lengthy Isaiah quotation. He had made a similar introductory statement in 2 Nephi 6:1. Here Nephi explains his “delight” in Isaiah, a delight that undoubtedly is related to Nephi’s understanding that Isaiah speaks directly to his people’s situation. This likening is quite literal. Nephi sees his people as participating in Isaiah’s prophecies.

However, the very mention of Isaiah reminds Nephi of why he loves this prophet: Isaiah has also seen the Atoning Messiah. Was this information revealed to Nephi? Was it part of an oral tradition, now lost? Did Nephi deduce it from the Messianic details in Isaiah’s writings? Regardless of Nephi’s reason for believing that they shared this sacred knowledge, it is an intimate link between the two.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2