These parting words of Jacob, “I began to be old … and also our lives passed like as it were unto us a dream” implies he is describing a fairly long time period that followed the Sherem experience as “we did mourn out our days” (v. 26). Although Jacob had not lived in Jerusalem, he had heard the experiences of the older family members. “A lonesome and solemn people” reflects their sadness in not being able to bring the peace of the gospel to their Lamanite brothers and sisters.
The farewell, “Brethren, adieu,” after turning over the plates to his son Enos (v. 27), has drawn some criticism. Dr. Daniel H. Ludlow has answered these critics:
Some anti-LDS critics of the Book of Mormon have raised the question as to how Jacob could possibly have used such a word as adieu when this word clearly comes from the French language, which was not developed until hundreds of years after the time of Jacob. Such critics evidently overlook the fact that the Book of Mormon is translation literature, and Joseph Smith felt free in his translation to use any words familiar to himself and his readers that would best convey the meaning of the original author. It is interesting to note that there is a Hebrew word Lehitra’ot, which has essentially the same meaning in Hebrew as the word adieu has in French. Both of these words are much more than a simple farewell; they include the idea of a blessing. Would it be unreasonable to remind these critics that none of the words contained in the English translation of the book of Jacob were used by Jacob himself? These words all come from the English language, which did not come into existence until long after Jacob’s time!
Even if Joseph Smith was not familiar with the French word, although he probably was, it could certainly have been given him by the Lord. The Lord knew the closest word in common use to the word used by Jacob. Nephi earlier said, quoting from Isaiah, “thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee” (2 Nephi 27:20).