“Men Shall Fall by the Sword and Thy Mighty in the War”

Brant Gardner

War will come upon Judah, causing general desolation. The men will be killed, and city (represented by the “gates”) will be destroyed.

Culture: In the typical ancient city, the poor and commoners lived on the outskirts, near to the agricultural zone. Closer in would be commercial locations. The center of the city was walled, making it the most secure part. The wealthiest and most important residents lived inside the gates. The “gates” therefore represent not simply any town, but a walled city, and therefore an important urban center.

Literature: This passage does not appear to flow directly from verses 16–24 but rather from the entire motif of the destruction that is Isaiah’s general theme. Verses 16–24 function as a specific example within the larger theme; verses 25–26 return to that larger theme.

Likening: This chapter is an admonition against unrighteous rulers, those who will rule for personal gain and not for the principles of the gospel. Nephi has seen a vision of the future of his people where they will dwindle in unbelief (1 Ne. 12:20–23, 2 Ne. 1:10). Much of the reason for the dissension for the Nephites throughout the Book of Mormon will be the unrighteous desires of leaders for social stratification and personal gain. The threat that Isaiah saw for Judah would be very much the same kind of threat that Nephi saw for his people.

Text: The chapter does not end here in the 1830 edition.

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