“The Midst of Him”

Brant Gardner

Reference: These verses are identical to Isaiah 29:23–24: “But when he seeth his children, the work of mine hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”

When Yahweh’s children see and recognize his works, they will praise him. Those who strayed will return. In verse 34 Isaiah specifies that Yahweh will be “in the midst of [them].” Isaiah is describing the Messiah’s personal reign during the Millennium.

Under the rule of their Messiah, the children of God (which Nephi, though not Isaiah, has expanded to include the Gentiles) will finally “come to understanding.” By this, Nephi means that the apostate Gentiles will receive the Book of Mormon, which will correct the errors of “they that murmured.” For Nephi, the Book of Mormon is integral to the events that will usher in the Messiah’s triumphal reign and the return of his wayward children.

Translation:The phrase “in the midst of him” results from two factors, the desire of the King James translators to be faithful to the original Hebrew, and the lack of the word “its,” with the meaning “belonging to it.” The intended reference for “him” is Israel, which is a singular word meaning a collective. Without the more generic “its,” the translators were faithful to the singular, and gave us “him.” Modern usage would more likely use a plural, such as “them” to refer to the generic people. Thus, Blenkinsopp renders this verse: “when his children see what I do in their [emphasis mine] midst they will hallow my name.… ”

Text: The chapter ends here in the 1830 edition.

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