2 Nephi Chapter 27
2 Nephi 27 Isaiah 29
2 Nephi 27-30 Nephi prophesies of latter-day apostasy, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon, and the restoration of the gospel.
This chapter explains the role of the Book of Mormon in the latter days.
Before studying this chapter, please review the introductory commentary for 2 Nephi 26. Basically chapter 27 is Nephi's quoting of the Isaiah materials found in the King James Version in Isaiah 29:6-24. As mentioned in the commentary for 2 Nephi 26, however, there are differences between Isaiah's and Nephi's versions of these materials. Nephi's version contains some information not contained in the Bible's book of Isaiah. For example, there are no materials in Isaiah 29 which correspond to 2 Nephi 27:1; 2 Nephi 27:6-14 and 20-23. The possible reasons for these apparent additions by Nephi are discussed in that commentary above. Also Nephi's intended application of these prophecies is clearly the latter days, while Isaiah likely had in mind, at least in part, a historical application to ancient Judah.
1 But, behold, in the last days, or in the days of the Gentiles-yea, behold all the nations of the Gentiles and also the Jews, both those who shall come upon this land and those who shall be upon other lands, yea, even upon all the lands of the earth, behold, they will be drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations
verse 1 "the days of the Gentiles" In all of the scriptures, this exact expression is found only in this verse. However, this same time period is referred to elsewhere in scripture as the "times of the Gentiles" (D&C 45:25, 30). This period, obviously occurring in the "last days," will be that period when the fulness of the gospel will be found in the hands of the great Gentile nation. Through the efforts of "gentile" missionaries, the gospel will be disseminated to those of the house of Israel wherever they may be found throughout the world. As the remainder of this verse states, the "days of the Gentiles" will also be a time of universal apostasy and much wickedness "even upon all the lands of the earth." A gentile nation is any nation that does not have the Lord Jesus Christ as its king. In the "days of the Gentiles" there will be many Gentile nations on the earth where will be found great wickedness. The "great Gentile nation" is, specifically, the United States of America.
"drunken with iniquity and all manner of abominations" A metaphor for the senselessness and recklessness of those who are wicked.
2 And when that day shall come they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts, with thunder and with earthquake, and with a great noise, and with storm, and with tempest, and with the flame of devouring fire.
verse 2 "they shall be visited of the Lord of Hosts" In the days or times of the Gentiles, after the missionaries from the great Gentile nation have borne their testimonies to the world, then will come the testimony of the Lord which he will bear to the world, or "visit" upon the world, using the forces of nature. "Tempest" is simply another word for storm.
These are the "signs of the times" spoken of in latter-day scripture (D&C 45:25-38) by which the spiritually perceptive individual will know that the hour of the Lord's second coming is nigh. These will include "wars and rumors of wars, and the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men's hearts shall fail them." The "love of men shall wax cold, and iniquity shall abound." There will be "an overflowing scourge; for a desolating sickness shall cover the land." There will also be "earthquakes . . . in divers places, and many desolations; yet men will harden their hearts against me, and they will take up the sword, one against another, and they will kill one another." These signs will mark the beginning of the great cleansing of the earth during which there will be great destruction of the wicked people and their wicked ways. This great destruction, while it may be considered a "sign of the times," it is given a more specific label. It is one of the "signs of the coming of the Son of Man" (D&C 45:39-50). If the reader would like to review a more complete discussion of these signs, see Ye Shall Know of the Doctrine, volume 3, chapters 24, 25, and 26: Signs of the Lord's Second Coming-Introduction, Signs of the Lord's Second Coming-Those that Warn, and Signs of the Lord's Second Coming-Those that Punish and Cleanse.
3 And all the nations that fight against Zion, and that distress her, shall be as a dream of a night vision; yea, it shall be unto them, even as unto a hungry man which dreameth, and behold he eateth but he awaketh and his soul is empty; or like unto a thirsty man which dreameth, and behold he drinketh but he awaketh and behold he is faint, and his soul hath appetite; yea, even so shall the multitude of all the nations be that fight against Mount Zion.
verse 3 "as a dream of a night vision" In this latter day, the wicked who fight against Zion and expect to gain power over her, will be denied their expected victory, and they will be as empty and frustrated as a sleeper who dreams of food and drink but awakens faint from hunger and thirst.
"Mount Zion" The expression "Mount Zion" may properly be used to refer to the gathering places of the saints in the latter days.
4 For behold, all ye that doeth iniquity, stay yourselves and wonder, for ye shall cry out, and cry; yea, ye shall be drunken but not with wine, ye shall stagger but not with strong drink.
verse 4 Here Nephi addresses the wicked of the latter-days who are drunk with their owns sins. Those who "imbibe" the world's materialism, immorality, and idolatry tend to become intoxicated and addicted to that way of life and to that way of thinking. Like the drunkard they are in a spiritual stupor ("stay yourselves and wonder"). The expression "cry out, and cry" is alternatively translated, "blind yourself, and be blind" (The Interpreter's Bible) implying that the drunkard suffers from impaired vision. Finally, like the drunkard, the wicked cannot walk a straight line. They stagger because they walk in darkness and apostasy and have lost their spiritual faculties.
5 For behold, the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. For behold, ye have closed your eyes, and ye have rejected the prophets; and your rulers, and the seers hath he covered because of your iniquity.
verse 5 "the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep" "ye have closed your eyes" Ye have acquired spiritual blindness. These latter-day wicked have spiritually fallen asleep and have not responded to the Lord's attempts to communicate with them. In conditions of universal unresponsiveness, the Lord may temporarily withdraw his Spirit and cease his attempts to communicate. Thus he may "[pour] out upon you the spirit of deep sleep" or "cover" his "seers" and "rulers," that is deny access to prophets and seers.
verses 6-14 These verses in 2 Nephi 27 are additions to Isaiah 29 in that there are no materials in Isaiah 29 which correspond to them.
6 And it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall bring forth unto you the words of a book, and they shall be the words of them which have slumbered.
verse 6 Marking the end of the great period of apostasy will be the restoration and the coming forth in the latter days of the Book of Mormon. It will contain the messages or "words" of the Book of Mormon prophets who have "slumbered" in their graves for centuries.
7 And behold the book shall be sealed; and in the book shall be a revelation from God, from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof.
verse 7 "the book shall be sealed" The "book" refers to the Book of Mormon plates rather than to the Book of Mormon itself. It is likely that this prophecy refers to the portion of the plates of Mormon that Joseph Smith described as being sealed when he took possession of them. These are the plates of Mormon. This sealed portion contained the visions of the brother of Jared including his vision of things "from the beginning of the world to the ending thereof." For a more complete discussion of this sealed portion of the plates of Mormon, see the supplemental article, Those Confusing Book of Mormon Plates.
8 Wherefore, because of the things which are sealed up, the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people. Wherefore the book shall be kept from them.
verse 8 "because of the things which are sealed up" Apparently this sealed portion of the plates contains spiritual truths we are not yet ready to receive.
"the things which are sealed shall not be delivered in the day of the wickedness and abominations of the people" Bruce R. McConkie said, "It seems apparent, under all the circumstances, that the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon will not come forth until after the Lord Jesus comes" (The Millennial Messiah, 114).
"the book shall be kept from them" Here "the book" refers to the entire set of plates from which Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon (the plates of Mormon and the small plates of Nephi). Because of the unbelief of the people, they will not be privileged to view these plates, but rather will be expected to content themselves with studying Joseph Smith's translation of them.
9 But the book shall be delivered unto a man, and he shall deliver the words of the book, which are the words of those who have slumbered in the dust, and he shall deliver these words unto another;
verse 9 "the book shall be delivered unto a man" The "book," or the entire set of Book of Mormon plates, shall be delivered to Joseph Smith, Jr.
As mentioned previously, "those who have slumbered in the dust" are the Book of Mormon prophets who had been dead for centuries by the time the Book of Mormon was translated.
"he shall deliver the words of the book . . . unto another" Who is this individual unto whom Joseph Smith will deliver the words of the book? It is likely Martin Harris. We are familiar with the story of how Martin Harris took the sample of the writing on the plates to Professor Charles Anthon in New York (see JS-H 1:63-65). Perhaps this is the event to which Nephi is referring.
10 But the words which are sealed he shall not deliver, neither shall he deliver the book. For the book shall be sealed by the power of God, and the revelation which was sealed shall be kept in the book until the own due time of the Lord, that they may come forth; for behold, they reveal all things from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof.
verse 10 "the words which are sealed he shall not deliver" Joseph did not translate, or even open, any of the sealed portion of the plates.
"neither shall he deliver the book" Joseph did not allow the plates themselves to pass to another.
"until the own due time of the Lord" As discussed in the commentary for verse 8, it is suggested that we will not have access to the translation of the sealed portion of the plates until after the Lord's second coming.
"they reveal all things" See the commentary for verse 7. The sealed portion of the plates contain a grand panoramic vision of the Brother of Jared in which he was allowed to view the earth from its beginning to its end.
11 And the day cometh that the words of the book which were sealed shall be read upon the house tops; and they shall be read by the power of Christ; and all things shall be revealed unto the children of men which ever have been among the children of men, and which ever will be even unto the end of the earth.
verse 11 "the day cometh" The "day" referred to here is the Millennium. Apparently the Millennium will be a time of great revealed knowledge. "In that day when the Lord shall come, he shall reveal all things. Things which have passed, and hidden things which no man knew, things of the earth, by which it was made, and the purpose and the end thereof. Things most precious, things that are above, and things that are beneath, things that are in the earth, and upon the earth, and in heaven" (D&C 101:32-34). Can you imagine anything more exciting than having access to this abundant revealed knowledge!
12 Wherefore, at that day when the book shall be delivered unto the man of whom I have spoken, the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world, that the eyes of none shall behold it save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God, besides him to whom the book shall be delivered; and they shall testify to the truth of the book and the things therein.
verse 12 "the book shall be hid from the eyes of the world" Again, the word "book" refers to the plates and not to the translated Book of Mormon.
"save it be that three witnesses shall behold it, by the power of God" It seems likely that this verse (along with verse 22) was a trigger for the experience of the three witnesses to the Book of Mormon. These witnesses were, of course, Oliver Cowdery, Martin Harris, and David Whitmer. It is interesting that section 17 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which concerns itself with the three special witnesses of the Book of Mormon, was received in June of 1829, about the time when the final translation of the Book of Mormon was being completed. Keep in mind that the final books to be translated were those contained on the small plates of Nephi including 1 Nephi, 2 Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Jarom, and Omni (see the supplemental article, Those Confusing Book of Mormon Plates). Thus it seems likely that about the time this verse was translated, Joseph sought and received D&C 17. There are also other verses in the Book of Mormon that refer to special witnesses including 2 Nephi 11:3 and Ether 5:2-4.
13 And there is none other which shall view it, save it be a few according to the will of God, to bear testimony of his word unto the children of men; for the Lord God hath said that the words of the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead.
verse 13 "save it be a few" These are the eight witnesses-Hiram Page, Joseph Smith, Sr., Hyrum Smith, Samuel H. Smith, Christian Whitmer, Jacob Whitmer, Peter Whitmer, Jr., and John Whitmer.
"the faithful should speak as if it were from the dead" The Book of Mormon prophets will speak to the world through the medium of the Book of Mormon as if it were "from the dead" or "from the dust" (2 Nephi 3:19).
14 Wherefore, the Lord God will proceed to bring forth the words of the book; and in the mouth of as many witnesses as seemeth him good will he establish his word; and wo be unto him that rejecteth the word of God!
verse 14 The expression "words of the book" may be taken to mean the messages and concepts taught in the Book of Mormon.
verse 15-19 These verses correspond to verses 11 and 12 in Isaiah 29. You will note that Nephi's version in 2 Nephi 27:15-19 is expanded over that in Isaiah 29:11-12.
15 But behold, it shall come to pass that the Lord God shall say unto him to whom he shall deliver the book: Take these words which are not sealed and deliver them to another, that he may show them unto the learned, saying: Read this, I pray thee. And the learned shall say: Bring hither the book, and I will read them.
verse 15 "him to whom he shall deliver the book" This is Joseph Smith, Jr.
"another" This is Martin Harris.
The "learned" is Charles Anthon, a professor of classical studies at Columbia College.
"Bring hither the book, and I will read them." We are familiar with the story of Martin Harris's visit to Professor Charles Anthon in New York bearing a copy of some of the characters from the plates along with their translation. It seems likely that Martin was motivated to make this trip to satisfy his nagging doubts about the plates. Yet we see that Martin's trip was a fulfillment of ancient prophecy. After Professor Anthon had given Martin a certificate certifying the authenticity of the copied characters which Martin had shown him, the following occurred: "I took the certificate and put it into my pocket, and was just leaving the house, when Mr. Anthon called me back, and asked me how the young man found out that there were gold plates in the place where he found them. I answered that an angel of God had revealed it unto him. He then said to me, 'Let me see that certificate.' I accordingly took it out of my pocket and gave it to him, when he took it and tore it to pieces, saying that there was no such thing now as ministering of angels, and that if I would bring the plates to him he would translate them. I informed him that part of the plates were sealed, and that I was forbidden to bring them. He replied, 'I cannot read a sealed book'" (JS-H 1:61-65).
16 And now, because of the glory of the world and to get gain will they say this, and not for the glory of God.
verse 16 This verse refers to the final sentence in the previous verse, and explains Professor Anthon's motivation in offering to translate the gold plates. It certainly was not to further God's purposes, and it probably was not based entirely on scientific curiosity. Rather, apparently he saw an opportunity to get rich by marketing his "translation" of the gold plates.
In 1834, Professor Anthon denied that he told Martin Harris that the Book of Mormon characters resembled Egyptian. Not only did Martin Harris report that he did confirm their authenticity, but he returned home, told his friends about the experience, and later mortgaged his property to finance the publication of the Book of Mormon. Whatever happened during Martin Harris's visit to Dr. Anthon, Harris obviously came away very reassured. There is another piece of evidence indicating that Martin Harris and not Charles Anthon was telling the truth about their visit. In 1831 W. W. Phelps, in a letter, wrote that Anthon had translated the Book of Mormon characters and declared them to be "the ancient shorthand Egyptian." Brother Phelps could have only heard this phrase from Martin Harris, and it was not within Harris's background to make up a phrase like that. He must have heard it from Dr. Anthon himself. At the time this phrase was known to scholars, including Dr. Anthon. The world had been taught the secrets of translating ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics by the brilliant Frenchman, Jean Francois Champollion. He had broken the code by using the Rosetta Stone which contained a text repeated three times in Egyptian hieroglyphics, in Demotic or common Egyptian, and in Greek. Champollion's work had been published in 1822, and it had been reviewed in June 1827 in the American Quarterly Review, which referred to hieratic Egyptian script as "short-hand" Egyptian (Number 2 [June 1827]: 450). Anthon was familiar with this review. He owned a copy and he cited it in his Classical Dictionary. Anthon would have read this review only months before Harris's visit. Thus it is probable that W. W. Phelps heard this peculiar phrase from Harris, who in turn got it from Anthon, the only person involved who was likely to have known it. Anthon probably mentioned shorthand Egyptian because he was struck by certain obvious similarities in the transcript to hieratic or demotic Egyptian. We can only conclude that Harris told the truth about what Anthon said during their meeting. Anthon's motive for later denying his confirmation to Martin Harris was likely to protect his prestigious standing among his peers. It was a professional liability for Anthon to have been linked with the Mormons and with Joseph Smith (Re-exploring the Book of Mormon, edited by John W. Welch, 73-75).
"will they say this" Apparently Charles Anthon was not the only one who offered to translate the plates for their own selfish purposes.
17 And the man shall say: I cannot bring the book, for it is sealed.
verse 17 "The man," of course, is Martin Harris.
"for it is sealed" This apparently refers to the sealed portion of the plates of Mormon (see the supplemental article, Those Confusing Book of Mormon Plates).
18 Then shall the learned say: I cannot read it.
19 Wherefore it shall come to pass, that the Lord God will deliver again the book and the words thereof to him that is not learned; and the man that is not learned shall say: I am not learned.
verse 19 "him that is not learned" This phrase and this verse have reference to Joseph Smith, Jr.
20 Then shall the Lord God say unto him: The learned shall not read them, for they have rejected them, and I am able to do mine own work; wherefore thou shalt read the words which I shall give unto thee.
verse 20 "I am able to do mine own work" This important theme, which will be reiterated in verses 21, 23, and 26, is that the Lord will bring forth his word and bring about his purposes by faith and miracles and not by the worldly wisdom and sophistication of learned men. It is clear that the Lord did not want the Book of Mormon to come forth through the erudition of the world. It is generally by faith and miracles rather than worldly means that the Lord accomplishes his purposes (D&C 1:24; 1 Corinthians 1:27).
verses 21-23 Material corresponding directly to these verses are not found in Isaiah 29 but are an addition to Isaiah's writings made by Nephi.
21 Touch not the things which are sealed, for I will bring them forth in mine own due time; for I will show unto the children of men that I am able to do mine own work.
verse 21 This verse and the following verse contain the Lord's instructions to Joseph Smith, Jr. We have already speculated that the Lord's "own due time" will be following his second coming.
"I am able to do mine own work." See the commentary for verse 20.
22 Wherefore, when thou hast read the words which I have commanded thee, and obtained the witnesses which I have promised unto thee, then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.
verse 22 As mentioned, in this verse the Lord is instructing Joseph Smith.
"then shalt thou seal up the book again" Joseph Smith will return the plates to Moroni.
"the words which thou hast not read" This is a reference to those things contained on the sealed portion of the plates.
"until I shall see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men" It seems likely that a diligent study of the scriptures available to us today is essential to our being able to fully appreciate and anticipate with relish the eventual revelation of "all things unto the children of men."
23 For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.
verse 23 Here is a reiteration of the important theme discussed in the commentary for verse 20. The Lord will work among the children of men according to their faith and not according to their intellectualism and erudition. Some might misconstrue this concept and conclude that intellectual pursuits are evil. They are not. The ideal balance seems to be to develop your mental capabilities to their utmost and be diligent in acquiring knowledge, but then remain humble and teachable. The consummate scholar knows well his limitations and realizes how relatively little man is given to know. Indeed it is only after admitting his lack of understanding that he is able to acquire fresh knowledge and make new discoveries.
verses 24-35 The remaining verses in chapter 27 correspond directly to Isaiah 29:13-24.
24 And again it shall come to pass that the Lord shall say unto him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him:
25 Forasmuch as this people draw near unto me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor me, but have removed their hearts far from me, and their fear towards me is taught by the precepts of men-
verses 24-25 "him that shall read the words that shall be delivered him" Who is this individual? The clue is found in verse 22. It is Joseph Smith, Jr. To what specific interaction between Joseph Smith and the Lord are these verses referring? This is a prophecy of Joseph Smith's first vision!
verse 25 What a chilling indictment of the latter-day Christian churches! The Lord says, in essence, "They give me lip service only but they feel no heart-felt devotion. Their actions show that they do not love me." In other words, the Lord says, "They are hypocrites."
"their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men" "Fear" is regard or reverence. Their worship of me is a mere repetitive litany written by men.
26 Therefore, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder, for the wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid.
verse 26 "I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, yea, a marvelous work and a wonder" Here is the well-known prophecy of the latter-day restoration of the gospel, including the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.
"wisdom of their wise and learned shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent shall be hid" Refers to the false teachings that will be exposed by the marvelous work and a wonder. The worldly wisdom of the apostate churches pales when compared to revealed knowledge. To "perish" is to die out. "Prudent" means wise.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie has listed eleven elements to be included in the restoration:  gospel knowledge,  opening of the heavens (visions, revelations, ministering of angels),  priesthood and keys,  coming of Elias,  gift of the Holy Ghost,  gifts of the Spirit,  true church with its divinely inspired organization,  apostles, prophets, and other church officers,  gathering of Israel,  establishment of Zion, and  temple ordinances (Mormon Doctrine, 635).
27 And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord! And their works are in the dark; and they say: Who seeth us, and who knoweth us? And they also say: Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay. But behold, I will show unto them, saith the Lord of Hosts, that I know all their works. For shall the work say of him that made it, he made me not? Or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, he had no understanding?
verse 27 "And wo unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the Lord!" The Hebrew word that is here translated as "counsel" might well have been sod. This Hebrew word has a double meaning and might well be translated as secrets. See also 2 Nephi 28:9. Thus those who "seek deep to hide their counsel" are those who try desperately to hide their secret and wicked acts and thoughts from the Lord, an undertaking which is, of course, impossible. Yet they are foolish enough to think they are successfully hiding, and they ask, "Who sees us, and who knows us"?
"Surely, your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's clay." Unrighteous individuals are inclined to regard some commandments as an unwarranted intrusion into their natural inclinations-"turning of things upside down." In this verse these individuals are compared to clay and the Lord to a potter. A potter can do anything he wants with his clay. These unrighteous individuals may accuse the Lord, their Creator, "You may have formed us [as a potter forms clay], but you don't really understand our true nature." This metaphor makes clear the foolishness of mortals who presume to be wise or more knowledgeable than their Creator (cf. D&C 10:5-34).
The Lord answers, "I know all [your] works"-your real motivations, and especially your real potentials, your true nature. In distorting and hiding the truth, you call black white and white black. Shall the potter be regarded as less wise than his clay?
28 But behold, saith the Lord of Hosts: I will show unto the children of men that it is yet a very little while and Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field; and the fruitful field shall be esteemed as a forest.
verse 28 Lebanon is a small country just north of Palestine and west of Syria on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The vegetation and animal life in Lebanon today apparently is not as abundant as it was anciently. In early times it was famous for its wine (Hosea 14:7), its cedars (1 Kings 5:14), its cypresses (1 Kings 5:8), and its wild animals (2 Kings 14:9). The fragrance of its trees is alluded to in Hosea 14:7. Today its trees are mostly gone, its animals are scarce, and its foliage is scanty.
In the latter days (see the following verse), Lebanon will be restored, literally or figuratively, to its former condition. It shall be "esteemed" or regarded as a forest.
A figurative or metaphorical interpretation of this verse is most plausible. The verse is a metaphor which suggests a change of values and perceptions among humankind. As a result of the marvelous work and a wonder, the forests of Lebanon (a type for the pride and worldliness of people; 2 Nephi 2:12-13; 2 Nephi 19:9-10) will be replaced by fruitful fields (a type for productive covenant people of the Lord; e.g., Isaiah 27:6; Isaiah 37:31; cf. 2 Nephi 15:1-7). At that day these fruitful fields will be valued and esteemed just as much as the forests once were (cf. Isaiah 32:15).
29 And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity and out of darkness.
verse 29 In the latter days the spiritually blind and deaf will be helped to see and hear by the Book of Mormon.
30 And the meek also shall increase, and their joy shall be in the Lord, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
verse 30 The "meek" and the "poor" are likely those who are unencumbered by things of the world. They are humble before God. These shall rejoice in the restoration of the gospel.
31 For assuredly as the Lord liveth they shall see that the terrible one is brought to naught, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off;
verse 31 "the terrible one is brought to naught" As a result of the marvelous work and a wonder, Satan and those who follow him in rejecting and fighting against the Lord and his covenants will be silenced and destroyed.
Others who will be destroyed include:
"the scorner" The scorner is one who rejects the Lord and his truth with derision and contempt.
"all that watch for iniquity" These are those who are ever alert to opportunities to do evil.
32 And they that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of naught.
verses 32 Others who will be destroyed include:
"they that make a man an offender for a word" Here the Lord condemns those who would look for reasons to accuse and blame others through a distorted and critical weighing of others' words.
"lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate" Lay an unfair trap for him who seeks to find justice or carry out justice. The area near the gate of a city was used anciently to conduct judgment and other types of business (cf. Deuteronomy 21:19; Ruth 4).
"turn aside the just for a thing of naught" With specious arguments deny justice to the innocent. They reject truth and justice for some vain and temporal reward (cf. 2 Nephi 28:16; 2 Nephi 28:29:3).
33 Therefore, thus saith the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale.
verse 33 "who redeemed Abraham" In what way did the Lord redeem Abraham? It is difficult to know exactly what is meant by this phrase. The word redeem might be defined as to rescue, to buy back, to set free by paying a ransom, or to deliver from sin and its consequences. During his life Abraham was often "rescued" by the Lord. For example, the Lord directed Abraham and Lot and their families from Haran to Canaan (Genesis 12:1), and later, because of famine, to Egypt (Genesis 12:10). While in Egypt both Abraham and his wife needed rescuing from the pharaoh (Genesis 12:17-20). The Lord intervened in the matter of Abimelech's interest in Abraham's wife Sarah (Genesis 20), and, of course, the Lord intervened in the matter of Sarah's barrenness (Genesis 21). Perhaps the covenant which the Lord made with Abraham and his posterity of a promised land and numerous posterity was, in a sense, a redemption of Abraham's posterity (Genesis 17). Perhaps Nephi is here announcing Abraham's ultimate redemption from sin and his exaltation (see Alma 5:24; Alma 7:25; D&C 132:29).
"thus saith the Lord . . . concerning the house of Jacob: Jacob shall not now be ashamed, neither shall his face now wax pale" To "wax" is to grow or become. When a face "wax[es] pale," it becomes white due to shame and embarrassment. The Lord through the prophets Isaiah and Nephi is announcing the latter-day restoration of the gospel. In that day the children of Israel will no longer hang down their heads in sorrow and shame and wander about scattered in the world devoid of their own identity.
34 But when he seeth his children, the work of my hands, in the midst of him, they shall sanctify my name, and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel.
verse 34 "the work of my hands" The Lord is speaking. This phrase seems to refer to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The first line of this verse is awkwardly worded. The Lord seems to be saying: "When Israel sees the restored gospel in the midst of his people-his children . . .."
Again, to "fear" God is to esteem, regard, or reverence him.
35 They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.
verses 34-35 When Jacob (the house of Israel) in the latter days discovers in his midst the restored gospel, he will rejoice and worship the Lord. Then shall those who formerly erred, or made mistakes, in spirit come to understanding, and those who murmured shall accept instruction.