Book of Mormon Notes– How deep can you dig?

2012, October 19

“Book of Mormon || Textual Discrepancy between the ‘Book of Mormon’ and the ‘Book of Mormon Stories’ Children’s Reader–Who Burned Abinadi and Was ‘Scourge’ Mistaken for ‘Scorch’ in Mosiah 17?” by grego

Book of Mormon || Textual Discrepancy between the “Book of Mormon” and the “Book of Mormon Stories” Children’s Reader–Who Burned Abinadi and Was “Scourge” Mistaken for “Scorch” in Mosiah 17?

grego
(c) 2012

“Book of Mormon Stories”, the LDS Church’s publication for children, reads:

“King Noah ordered his priests to kill Abinadi. They tied him up, whipped him, and burned him to death. Before he died, Abinadi said King Noah would also die by fire. (Mosiah 17:13-15)”

Did the priests tie Abinadi up, whip him, and burn him? And was Abinadi whipped?

These are the related verses:

Mosiah 17:1 And now it came to pass that when Abinadi had finished these sayings, that the king COMMANDED THAT THE PRIESTS SHOULD TAKE HIM AND CAUSE THAT HE SHOULD BE PUT TO DEATH.
Mosiah 17:5 And it came to pass that the king CAUSED THAT HIS GUARDS should surround Abinadi and take him; and they bound him and cast him into prison.

Mosiah 17:6 And after three days, having counseled with his priests, he caused that he should again be brought before him.
Mosiah 17:7 And he said unto him: Abinadi, we have found an accusation against thee, and thou art worthy of death.

Mosiah 17:11 And now king Noah was about to release him, for he feared his word; for he feared that the judgments of God would come upon him.

Mosiah 17:12 But the priests lifted up their voices against him, and began to accuse him, saying: He has reviled the king. Therefore the king was stirred up in anger against him, and HE DELIVERED HIM UP THAT HE MIGHT BE SLAIN.

Mosiah 17:13 And it came to pass that THEY took him and bound him, and SCOURGED HIS SKIN WITH FAGGOTS, YEA, EVEN UNTO DEATH.

Mosiah 17:14 And now when the flames began to scorch him, he cried unto them, saying:
Mosiah 17:15 … that many shall suffer the pains that I do suffer, even the pains of death by fire…
Mosiah 17:18 …ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire.
Mosiah 17:20 And now, when Abinadi had said these words, he fell, having suffered death by fire…

So actually, the Book of Mormon text does not say that King Noah ordered his priests to kill Abinadi, and that they did so. I’m pretty sure it was the guards that did it, under the priests’ ok’s.
Mosiah 17:12 But the priests lifted up their voices against him, and began to accuse him, saying: He has reviled the king. Therefore the king was stirred up in anger against him, and HE DELIVERED HIM UP THAT HE MIGHT BE SLAIN.
Mosiah 17:13 And it came to pass that THEY took him…

Who does “they” refer to? It doesn’t say. Even so, look what happened above:
Mosiah 17:1 And now it came to pass that when Abinadi had finished these sayings, that the king COMMANDED THAT THE PRIESTS SHOULD TAKE HIM AND CAUSE THAT HE SHOULD BE PUT TO DEATH.
Mosiah 17:5 And it came to pass that the king CAUSED THAT HIS GUARDS should surround Abinadi and take him; and they bound him and cast him into prison.

So even though the priests are commanded to take him and kill him, it’s the guards that do it. I imagine the priests recommended or requested this action of the king, and he consented. I imagine that’s what happened the second time, too–the guards were the ones who took him, bound him, and burned him.

In addition, it doesn’t say that they “whipped” him. It says:
Mosiah 17:13 And it came to pass that THEY took him and bound him, and SCOURGED HIS SKIN WITH FAGGOTS, yea, even unto death.

Let’s take a look at definitions of “scourge” and “faggots [fagots]”:

SCOURGE, n. skurj. [L. corriggia, from corrigo, to straighten.]
1. To whip; a lash consisting of a strap or cord; an instrument of punishment or discipline.
2. A punishment; vindictive affliction.
Famine and plague are sent as scourges for amendment.
3. He or that which greatly afflicts, harasses or destroys; particularly, any continued evil or calamity.
4. A whip for a top.

SCOURGE, v.t. skurj.
1. To whip severely; to lash.
2. To punish with severity; to chastise; to afflict for sins or faults, and with the purpose of correction.
3. To afflict greatly; to harass, torment or injure.

FAG’OT, n. [Gr. See Fadge. The sense is a bundle or collection, like pack.]
1. A bundle of sticks, twigs or small branches of trees, used for fuel, or for raising batteries, filling ditches, and other purposes in fortification.

First of all, if “scourge” here means “whip”, it would mean they “whipped his skin with bundles of sticks, yea, EVEN UNTO DEATH”. But we know they didn’t, because of this:
Mosiah 17:14 And now when the flames began to scorch him, he cried unto them, saying…
Mosiah 17:15 … that many shall suffer the pains that I do suffer, even the pains of death by fire…
Mosiah 17:18 …ye shall suffer, as I suffer, the pains of death by fire.
Mosiah 17:20 And now, when Abinadi had said these words, he fell, having suffered death by fire…

So it doesn’t make very good sense. It could mean SCOURGE 3, and that would barely pass. But…

My thinking is that “scourge” in this verse:
Mosiah 17:13 And it came to pass that THEY took him and bound him, and SCOURGED HIS SKIN WITH FAGGOTS, YEA, EVEN UNTO DEATH.

should actually be “scorch”, but was misheard and/or written wrong by the scribe. Scourge” had been used before in the Book of Mormon (nine times up to Mosiah–and even though that was translated afterwards, it lends that the book of Lehi might have contained it), so it might have just been assumed that was the word. Here are the verses:
Mosiah 3:9 And lo, he cometh unto his own, that salvation might come unto the children of men even through faith on his name; and even after all this they shall consider him a man, and say that he hath a devil, and shall scourge him, and shall crucify him.
Mosiah 15:5 And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.

Both talk about Jesus being scourged, or whipped. Jesus was scourged (“whipped”) before he was slain, and that story, also Biblical, might have enough sway to have let “scourge” pass unnoticed for “scorch” in this circumstance.

“Scorch his skin” is a prevalent phrase that doesn’t just mean SCORCH 1, but SCORCH 2 in Webster’s:

SCORCH, v.t.
1. To burn superficially; to subject to a degree of heat that changes the color of a thing, or both the color and texture of the surface. Fire will scorch linen or cotton very speedily in extremely cold weather.
2. To burn; to affect painfully with heat. Scorched with the burning sun or burning sands of Africa.

SCORCH, v.i. To be burnt on the surface; to be parched; to be dried up. Scatter a little mungy straw and fern among your seedlings, to prevent the roots from scorching.

Later, we read:
Alma 15:3 And also Zeezrom lay sick at Sidom, with a burning fever,… therefore he began to be SCORCHED WITH A BURNING HEAT (SCORCH 2 in Webster’s).
Alma 32:38 But if ye neglect the tree, and take no thought for its nourishment, behold it will not get any root; and when the heat of the sun cometh and SCORCHETH it, because it hath no root it withers away, and ye pluck it up and cast it out (SCORCH v.i.).

Look at this, too:
Mosiah 17:14 And now when THE FLAMES BEGAN TO SCORCH HIM, he cried unto them, saying…

the very word we are looking for that fits, just a few verses away, in the same context!

3 Comments »

  1. Possible that “scourge” should be “scorch”. Another possibility is that “even unto death” doesn’t mean “until he died”, but rather that the scourging brought him nearly to death, like ” to death’s door”. Then, the scourging can be more like a whipping and then he was burned to actual death. It’s possible that the sticks were lit and that he was whipped or poked with burning sticks.

    Another note: these small discrepancies can hardly be used to fault the Book of Mormon Studies Children’s Reader. I don’t think you’re saying or implying anything negative, but just saying that the children’s reader is obviously a simplified summary and so we shouldn’t be surprised to see a few minor doctrinally-unimportant points that aren’t exactly correct.

    This post has got me thinking a lot more about Abinadi as a type of Christ. There’s are more parallels than I realized: the mock trial, scouraging, iconoclastic testimony, ignominious death, etc. That adds a new dimension.

    Darin

    Comment by Darin Ragozzine — 2012, November 17 @ 3:47 pm

  2. Ever thought that these bundles of wood were on fire? And they beat him with it burning his body with fire? You think a whip hurts when it strike your body… try getting whipped with a bundle of hot embers at the tip of the wood where it not only breaks the skin but sears it at the same time.

    Comment by mrnirom1 — 2016, May 11 @ 2:14 pm

  3. Did some more research. According to the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary.. the Dictionary that Joseph Smith had access to.. here is what it says:

    Scourge

    SCOURGE, noun skurj. [Latin corriggia, from corrigo, to straighten.]

    1. To whip; a lash consisting of a strap or cord; an instrument of punishment or discipline.

    A scourge of small cords. John 2:15.

    2. A punishment; vindictive affliction.

    Famine and plague are sent as scourges for amendment.

    3. He or that which greatly afflicts, harasses or destroys; particularly, any continued evil or calamity. Attila was called the scourge of God, for the miseries he inflicted in his conquests. Slavery is a terrible scourge

    4. A whip for a top.

    SCOURGE, verb transitive skurj.

    1. To whip severely; to lash.

    It is lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman?

    Acts 22:25.

    2. To punish with severity; to chastise; to afflict for sins or faults, and with the purpose of correction.

    He will scourge us for our iniquities, and will have mercy again.

    Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Hebrews 12:1.

    3. To afflict greatly; to harass, torment or injure.

    It does not only mean to whip… but to punish with severity.. To afflict greatly, to harass, torment or injure.

    Now use that with the bundled stick being hot with coals of fire.. and then afflict him greatly by touching his skin with those hot coals.. until he dies. He was then put to death by fire.. which then fulfills his prophecy.

    Comment by mrnirom1 — 2017, June 2 @ 2:05 am


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