[b-hebrew] Hebrew "If-and" construction and the Book of Mormon

Harold Holmyard hholmyard at ont.com
Thu Aug 17 23:21:11 EDT 2006

Kevin Graham wrote:

> But what we’re talking about is not just any ole if-and construction. 
> It is specifically referring to cause-effect constructions. For 
> example, “If you do X, then that Y happen.” The original Book of 
> Mormon manuscript contained at least 14 instances where it would read 
> ““If you do X, and that Y happen.” The seven examples in Heleman 12: 
> 13-20 are clearly cause and effect statements:
> 13 yea and if he sayeth unto the earth move and it is moved
> 14 yea and if he sayeth unto the earth thou shalt go back that it 
> lengthen out the day for many hours and it is done.
> 16 and behold also if he sayeth unto the waters of the great deep be 
> thou dried up and it is done
> 17 behold if he sayeth unto this mountain be thou raised up and come 
> over and fall upon that city that it be buried up and behold it is done
> 19 and if the Lord shall say be thou accursed that no man shall find 
> thee from this time henceforth and forever and behold no man getteth 
> it henceforth and forever
> 20 and behold if the Lord shall say unto a man because of thine 
> iniquities thou shalt be accursed forever and it shall be done
> 21 and if the Lord shall say because of thine iniquities thou shalt be 
> cut off from my presence and he will cause that it shall be so
> Compare these to the published version of the Book of Mormon for 
> context: http://scriptures.lds.org/en/hel/12
> == An example would be "if he sayeth unto the earth move and it is 
> moved".... It sounds like it is setting us up for some point to the 
> sentence that follows. What does that line go on to say? If there is 
> something further to expect and I have already used the coordinating 
> conjunction, then "if/and" has served its purpose.
> Yes I see what you’re getting at, but the context of the verses 
> indicate that these were cause and effect phrases. This usage appears 
> nowhere else in any 19th century English text critics can determine. 
> In fact, it appears to exist in no English examples anywhere at any 
> time. It only makes sense in Hebrew it seems.

HH: I've never read the Book of Mormon, but I notice above that a lot of 
clauses above start with "and" as well. Perhaps somebody who knew some 
Hebrew once told Smith that Hebrew clauses regularly begin with the 
equivalent to our "and"? Perhaps he even talked about this kind of 
construction with Smith.

Harold Holmyard


More information about the b-hebrew mailing list