In Part 1, we looked at some tentative possibilities for Janus parallelism in the Book of Mormon, drawing upon examples identified by Scott Noegel in his masterful work, Janus Parallelisms in the Book of Job. Here are a few more for consideration, all uncertain, of course.
Possibility #4: Jacob 7:25 may offer another example of the Janus parallelism proposed in Example 3 of my previous post, building upon dual meanings of “rock” and “enemy” from a single Hebrew word.
25 Wherefore, the people of Nephi did fortify against them
with their arms, and with all their might, trusting in the God and rock
of their salvation; wherefore, they became as yet, conquerors of their
If the word translated as “rock” could also convey the meaning of enemy, then the “enemy of their salvation” would look forward to the end of this verse which speaks of the Nephites becoming “conquerors of their enemies.” Meanwhile, “rock of their salvation” naturally looks backward to God in whom they trust.
Possibility #5: On page 112 of Scott Noegel’s book, he examines a Janus parallelism in Job 31:35 in which a single Hebrew word can mean both “mark” (as in a visible marking) and “desire.” Perhaps something similar occurs with the only occurrence of “mark” from the small plates of the Book of Mormon in Jacob 4:14:
14 But behold, the Jews were a stiffnecked people; and they
despised the words of plainness, and killed the prophets, and sought for
things that they could not understand. Wherefore, because of their
blindness, which blindness came by looking beyond the mark, they must
needs fall; for God hath taken away his plainness from them, and
delivered unto them many things which they cannot understand, because
they desired it. And because they desired it God hath done it, that
they may stumble.
A reading of “desire” instead of “mark” might be viewed as “looking beyond the desires [of God],” which would relate to the two instances of “desired” in the last part of this verse. The meaning of “looking beyond the mark” naturally fits the preceding passage, which refers to the “words of plainness” which can be viewed as the written “mark” from the prophets whom the Jews killed. By rejecting those words and the prophets, the result is blindness, which, like “desired,” is mentioned twice before the pivotal word and relates well the concept of a visible mark. In short, this verse has blindness, blindness, mark/desire, desired, desired.
Possibility #6. Noegel on page 74 discusses a Janus parallelism from Job 21:12-13 which turns on a Hebrew word that can mean both “waste away, consume” and “carry, bear along.” This may be at play in 2 Nephi 4:25-26:
25 And upon the wings of his Spirit hath my body been
carried away upon exceedingly high mountains. And mine eyes have beheld
great things, yea, even too great for man; therefore I was bidden that I
should not write them.
26 O then, if I have seen so
great things, if the Lord in his condescension unto the children of men
hath visited men in so much mercy, why should my heart weep and my soul
linger in the valley of sorrow, and my flesh waste away, and my strength
slacken, because of mine afflictions?
The reading of “waste away” naturally relates to the slackening of his strength that follows, but the alternate reading (tentatively proposed, of course) of “carry, bear along” might relate to the preceding words about lingering in the valley of sorrow and especially to his body “being carried away” in verse 25. [Note: In Part 3, under Possibility #9, we will see that this passage has another Janus parallelism. Indeed, the majority of proposed Janus possibilities in the Book of Mormon are from Nephi, which I find interesting.]
Possibility #7. An even more tenuous example might be proposed for 1 Nephi 14:34, based on the observation that a Hebrew word,
נָגַף (nagaph, Strong’s H5062) can mean both “stumble” and “smite.” While the grammar may not work out (not sure), consider how such a word could fit Nephi’s text:
34 And it came to pass that the angel of the Lord spake unto
me, saying: Behold, saith the Lamb of God, after I have visited the
remnant of the house of Israel — and this remnant of whom I speak is
the seed of thy father — wherefore, after I have visited them in
judgment, and smitten them by the hand of the Gentiles, and after the
Gentiles do stumble exceedingly, because of the most plain and precious
parts of the gospel of the Lamb which have been kept back by that
abominable church, which is the mother of harlots, saith the Lamb — I
will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will
bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel, which shall
be plain and precious, saith the Lamb.
“Stumble” fits the immediately following description of the hindrance created by the removal of plain and precious parts of the Gospel, while the alternate reading (tentatively proposed) of “smite” relates to the immediately preceding description of the remnant of Israel being smitten by the Gentile.
The linkage of “stumble” and “plain and precious” in this passage also seems to have inspired Jacob in the above-mentioned passage of Jacob 4:14, which has its own proposed Janus parallelism.
Feedback is welcome. There are a couple more possibilities I am still exploring, but now it’s time to run for another dive adventure here in southern Thailand (Ko Lanta as our base). Wish you were here!