Alan C. Miner

According to Richardson, Richardson and Bentley, the closing word in the book of Jacob ("Adieu"--Jacob 7:27) has been the subject of harsh criticism by faultfinders. However, the fact that Jacob ends his book with the French word adieu, has actually become another evidence for the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. Some uniquely French words also appear in the King James Bible such as tache (Exodus 26:6, 11), laver (Exodus 30:18, 28) and brute (Jeremiah 10:22; Nahum 3:19). Those who criticize the Book of Mormon for using a French word are inadvertently criticizing the Bible, which is guilty of the same charge. [Allen H. Richardson, David E. Richardson and Anthony E. Bentley, 1000 Evidences for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: Part Two-A Voice from the Dust: 500 Evidences in Support of the Book of Mormon, p. 269]


According to Daniel Ludlow, 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 which 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! [Daniel Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p. 163]

“Read My Words Adieu”

According to Angela Crowell, Jacob closes his book with a farewell sentence which ends with the word "adieu." A question has arisen in the minds of some readers of the Book of Mormon as to why this common French word (adopted by English speakers) was used.

The 1828 edition of Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language defines "adieu" as "A farewell, or commendation to the care of God; as an everlasting "adieu." An understanding of the Hebrew word for "bless" helps to explain the reason "adieu" could be correctly used here.

The Hebrew verb barak means "kneel," or "bless." "Blessing is a most important concept in the OT [Old Testament]. . . Like cursing it involves a transfer by acts and words" (Bromiley 1985:275).

The power transfer that Jacob desired to endow upon the reader is brought out very clearly not only by the use of the word translated as "adieu," but also in a skillful chiastic arrangement his last verse:

And to the reader

A. I bid farewell,

B. hoping that many of my brethren

C. may read my words.

B' Brethren,

A' adieu

True to the form of ancient Hebrew chiastic structure we have at the center the most important thought--the point Jacob wishes to emphasize--"read my words." [Angela M. Crowell, "Adieu: The Right Word After All," in Recent Book of Mormon Developments, Vol. 2, p. 40]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary