“An Offender for a Word”

Brant Gardner

Literary: These verses follow Isaiah 29:21-22:

21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

22 Therefore thus saith the LORD, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob, Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.

Verse 32 is a transitional verse from the 31. Because verse 31 discussed the binding of Satan, and ended font of inspiration of the wicked, it will also herald the reversal of fortune for the just. It is a literary device of Isaiah to have the just as oppressed and the wicked as the powerful oppressors. This exaggerated description serves to highlight the effect of the Messianic redemption. That redemption becomes the subject of the ending verses, applicable to both Isaiah’s and Nephi’s purposes.

The diminution of the power of the wicked removes the reason that the just were made “an offender for a word.” With the adversary gone, verse 33 moves to the redemptive them, invoking Abraham as the symbol of the completeness of the redemption. The invocation of Abraham serves to link not only the beginning of the covenant with the fulfillment of the covenant, but the symbolic beginning of time with the symbolic ending of time. Literarily, this creates a picture of completion and inclusion.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon