Jacob 1:9–11 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
wherefore he anointed a man to be a king and a ruler over his people [ 1ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] now [ 1|, ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] according to the reigns of the kings [ 1|. ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST] [ 1ABCDEFGH|10 IJLMNOPQRST|9 K] the people having loved Nephi exceedingly he having been a great protector for them having wielded the sword of Laban in their defense and having labored in all his days for their welfare
wherefore the people were desirous to retain in remembrance his name and whoso should reign in his stead were called by the people second Nephi and third Nephi etc. according to the reigns of the kings and thus they were called by the people let them be of whatsoever name they would

In this passage, the 1830 compositor interpreted the now as an adverb of time rather than as a narrative connector. He placed a comma after the now and a period after the first occurrence of the phrase “according to the reigns of the kings”. All the LDS and RLDS editions have maintained this punctuation. But more reasonably, the end of verse 9 actually begins a new sentence and this passage should read as follows:

In other words, Jacob started out this part of his narrative by first referring to “the reigns of the kings”; then he allowed a long parenthetical description to intervene in order to explain why his brother Nephi was held in such honor by the Nephites, so much so that it led them to call their subsequent kings after him. In other words, the phrase “according to the reigns of the kings” occurs both before and after the entire parenthetical explanation. It is also clear that the word now cannot be used as a simple adverb of time to refer to the anointing of the succeeding king since that anointing of the king had already taken place, prior to Nephi’s death.

This change in the punctuation was first suggested to me by D. Charles Pyle (personal communication, 6 October 2003). He indicated that this punctuation change is also found in the Restored Covenant Edition of the Book of Mormon (Independence, Missouri: Zarahemla Research Foundation, 1999).

Summary: Change the punctuation in Jacob 1:9–11 so that the last part of verse 9 (“now according to the reigns of the kings”) is assigned to the text at the beginning of verse 10.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 2