“As the Waters Cover the Sea”

Brant Gardner

Literary: Nephi cites Isaiah 11:9 without alteration. As has been noted previously when Nephi cited these verses as part of the whole historical and sacred foundational text, the import of these verses is to show the dramatic alteration in the normal state of affairs that will be ushered in when the Messiah comes to triumphantly reign. The known order of the world is turned upside down, but the currently dangerous becoming manifestly safe. It is a literary series of contrasts that shows by extreme the type of total transformation that will come with the entry of the Messiah.

With this verse, Nephi leaves off the direct citation of Isaiah. However, it is most fascinating what Nephi declines to include from this very passage of Isaiah. It cannot be presumed that Nephi would not have known these passages, and so some choice occurred in not including them.

Isaiah 11:10

10 ¶ And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Isaiah 11:11

11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.

Isaiah 11:12

12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

Nephi has cited these verses in the past, and has referred to them several times. In this particular context, he is more interested in the restoration of the people in the last days, and probably is leaving these verses implied for those who know Isaiah as well as Nephi does.

Multidimensional Commentary on the Book of Mormon