“A Just Man”

Joseph F. McConkie, Robert L. Millet

In the present text, Enos says that his father was “a just man” because Jacob had taught him to write and had nurtured and instructed him in the things of God. For this Enos’s heart is filled with thanksgiving.

“My Father… Was a Just Man”

This is the equivalent of saying, “My father was faithful in keeping the law of the gospel.” It is common for us to think of a “just man” as one who is impartial and fair. As used in the scriptures (Enos’s reference to Jacob, his father, for instance), it has a far deeper meaning. A just man is one that has kept his covenants with exactness and honor. Just is a legal term derived from the Latin jus, meaning “right” or “law.”

An action that is justified in the eyes of the law is one which, upon examination, can be found to be right or lawful. Thus we read that Joseph the husband of Mary was “a just man” (Matthew 1:19), that Simeon, who blessed the Christ child in the temple, was “just and devout” (Luke 2:25), and that angels appear to “just and holy men” (Alma 13:26). The doctrine of justification embraces the idea that one who has been obedient to the laws and ordinances of the gospel has the rightful expectation of obtaining an exaltation.

Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 2