“Seven Women Shall Take Hold of One Man”

Monte S. Nyman

The bold words are insignificant differences in the Book of Mormon and the King James texts.

The JST and the Hebrew Bible place this verse in the previous chapter, where it fits the context much better. The surplus number of women will result from the war described in Isaiah 3:25–26. While this verse has been interpreted by some as a prophecy of plural marriage in the Church, a close examination will show that it refers to the world, not the Church. The offer of marriage as described by Isaiah is not in keeping with the law of plural marriage as revealed in the Doctrine and Covenants. The proposal to marry (or merely live together) is made here by the women. Under the Lord’s law of plural marriage, the man would initiate the marriage through revelation, after “the first [wife] had given her consent” (D&C 132:58–61).

The women described by Isaiah volunteer to remain economically independent rather than make the man responsible for their care “for they are given unto him to multiply and replenish the earth, according to my commandment” under the Lord’s law (D&C 132:63, see also Jacob 2:30). The innate desire of the woman to be a wife and mother is noted in the phrase “to take away our reproach.” To be childless was considered a reproach in ancient Israel. When Rachel, wife of Jacob, conceived and gave birth to her first son Joseph she said: “God hath taken away my reproach” (Genesis 30:23). When Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, conceived she said: the Lord has taken “away my reproach” (Luke 1:25).

Book of Mormon Commentary: I Nephi Wrote This Record