“Until They Had All Gone Forth”

Brant Gardner

The mathematics of this episode indicate that “until they had all gone forth” is hyperbole. If each person were to spend a minute with the Messiah, only 720 people could come to him in twelve hours of daylight. Obviously spending less time in examining the wounds would decrease the amount of time required; but apparently this first visit covered until 3 Nephi 18:39, comprising sermons as well. Apparently we have more events than will fit into a day if “all” is taken literally. I suggest that it should not be. I suggest that the phrase “until they had all gone forth” does not literally mean all who were present but rather is the result of Nephi’s construction of the essential meaning of the event. Many did, all could have, and all knew their Messiah. I visualize this seen as a large mass of people pressing toward the present Messiah rather than an orderly queue awaiting their turn. On such an occasion, many would have touched the Savior simultaneously and the symbolic “all” would be easily applicable to the group action.

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 5