Alma 18:37 Textual Variants

Royal Skousen
and he also rehearsed unto them … all the journeyings of their fathers in the wilderness and all their sufferings with hunger and thirst and their [travel 1ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRS|travail T] etc.

As discussed under 2 Nephi 29:4, the correct interpretation for the spelling travel in this passage is the word travail. One further question here in Alma 18:37 is whether the singular form travail might be a mistake for the plural travails. Elsewhere in the text, the number for travail(s) in conjoined constructions always agrees with the number for the conjoined nouns:

Here in Alma 18:37, travail is conjoined with two plural nouns, journeyings and sufferings, which suggests that travails may be the correct reading. Perhaps the singular travail entered the text because of the two immediately preceding singular nouns, hunger and thirst (“and all their sufferings with hunger and thirst”). It seems very reasonable that given the immediately preceding singulars hunger and thirst, the plural s could have been accidentally dropped in writing the text for either 𝓞 or 𝓟.

On the other hand, the singular travail will work. Besides the example of the singular travail in Mosiah 27:33 (listed above), we have travail in Mosiah 14:11, which quotes Isaiah 53:11: “he shall see of the travail of his soul”. Although travail in Alma 18:37 may be an error for travails, the critical text will follow the singular travail since there is nothing inherently wrong with it.

Summary: Maintain in Alma 18:37 the singular travail, the 1981 LDS reading; the singular travail works here even though it could be an error for the plural travails.

Analysis of Textual Variants of the Book of Mormon, Part. 3