“What Will Ye That I Should Do?”

Dr Hugh Nibley has commented on the windows mentioned in the text implying the use of glass.

In Joseph Smith’s day and long after there was not a scholar who did not accept Pliny’s account of the origin of glass without question. I used to be perplexed by the fact that the reference in Ether 2:33 to “windows … [that] will be dashed in pieces” (emphasis added) can only refer to glass windows, since no other kind would be waterproof and still be windows, and they would have to be brittle to be dashed “in pieces.” Moreover, Moroni, in actually referring to “transparent glass” in Ether 3:1, is probably following Ether. This would make the invention of glass far older than anyone dreamed it was until the recent finding of such objects as Egyptian glass beads from “the end of the third millennium B.C.” and “plaques of turquoise blue glass of excellent quality” in the possession of Zer, one of the very earliest queens of Egypt… .[T]he earliest dated piece of glass known comes from the time of Amenhotep 1; yet under his immediate successors glass vases appear that indicate an advanced technique in glass working: “they reveal their art in a high state of proficiency; that must be the outcome of a long series of experiments,” writes Newberry… .
… . We now realize that the scholars who categorically deny Marco Polo’s claim to have seen colored glass windows at the court of the Grand Khan spoke too soon. A contemporary of Marco “mentions that the windows of some of the yachts or barges had plate glass” in China, … It is interesting that the earliest use of window glass in the Far East was for ship windows, … A Chinese observer in central Asia in 1221 was impressed by the great native industry, which produced among other things windows of clear glass.

A fourth principle of revelation is illustrated in the second problem with the ship recognized by the brother of Jared. Rather than just giving a solution to their having no light, the Lord asked what the brother of Jared wanted him to do? He also pointed out that windows or fire would not do the job (v. 23). However, the Lord assured him that he would be with him and the Lord was in control (v. 24), and agreed with the brother of Jared that he could not cross the great deep without help (v. 25). The Lord seems to be leading the brother of Jared to do what Oliver Cowdery had not done when he attempted to translate the recordings on the plates of Nephi.

5 And, behold, it is because that you did not continue as you commenced, when you began to translate, that I have taken away this privilege from you.
6 Do not murmur, my son, for it is wisdom in me that I have dealt with you after this manner.
7 Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me. [D&C 9:5–9]

The brother of Jared needed to know that he must put forth his best efforts, and then the Lord would help him and improve those efforts.

Monte S. Nyman -

Monte S. Nyman

Book of Mormon Commentary: I Mormon Make a Record

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