“I Shall Lengthen Out Mine Arm Unto Them from Day to Day”

Brant Gardner

Though the Book of Mormon uses “mine arm is lengthened out” instead of KJV Isaiah’s “his hand is stretched out still” (e.g., Isa. 9:12), Nephi is drawing his imagery from Isaiah’s literary well. The meaning is the same.

At the beginning of this chapter, Nephi made an implicit division between the promises to the house of Israel and to the Gentiles, with the break occurring between 2 Nephi 28:2 and 3. While much of verse 3 might also be seen as a condemnation of apostate Israel, Nephi’s conclusion makes its application to the Gentiles clearer. The Book of Mormon serves as a corrective text for both Israel and the Christian Gentiles, but the most pointed portion of this chapter is directed to the Gentiles.

Just as Israel had Yahweh’s presence and protection yet denied it and went astray, so the Gentiles will also have the experience of having but denying God’s blessings. However, Nephi makes no particular distinction in his condemnation of the wicked, whether they be Jew or Gentile. Both peoples, who have had the opportunity to walk in God’s way yet choose not to, fall under his equal condemnation.

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

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