strtoupper('“H')e Had a Perfect Knowledge of the Language of the People”

These details corroborate the scenario proposed here. Sherem is well educated, a fact he demonstrates by his eloquence and knowledge of the scriptures. Jacob’s comment about Sherem’s “perfect knowledge of the language” suggests that he was verbally artistic, eloquent, and persuasive. But it also suggests the possibility that Sherem is fluent in a language not his own—prima facie evidence of a learning that probably exceeds that of anyone known to the Nephites, including the traders. The traders would certainly know how to communicate in the language of their trading targets, but to do so with “perfect knowledge” would be rare indeed. Such an accomplishment impressively demonstrates Sherem’s learning.

Jacob terms Sherem’s persuasive eloquence both “flattery” and “power of speech.” Sherem is impressive not only in what he says, but apparently in personal prestige. The Nephites seem to recognize and respect his education and achievements. These indications likewise point to his identity as a foreigner.

Brant Gardner -

Brant Gardner

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