“Ye Shall Repent of Your Sins That Their Skins Will Be Whiter Than Yours”

Brant Gardner

Jacob’s culminating plea escalates the theme of reversal. If the Nephites continue on their current course, then fundamental cultural assumptions will be reversed. The Nephites expect the black/white-skin color dichotomy between Lamanite and Nephite where they are “white” and the Lamanites are “black.” However, even this basic distinction will be reversed. Lamanite skins will become “whiter than yours” at the moment of the final judgment before Yahweh. The timing of this event underscores that Jacob is talking about the righteous/unrighteous dichotomy rather than physical skin pigmentation. (See also commentary accompanying 2 Nephi 5:21.)

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