29 July 2014

EJ&T: Leviticus 25: Rules for buying land and slaves

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Every 49 years, blow a trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month.
  2. Thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubile to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. Leviticus 25:8-9

  3. Declare a jubilee year every 50 years.
  4. During each jubilee year, proclaim liberty throughout the land; return to your place of birth; and do not plant or harvest any crops.

    Ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubile; it shall be holy unto you: ye shall eat the increase thereof out of the field. In the year of this jubile ye shall return every man unto his possession. Leviticus 25:10-13

  5. Buy and sell property based on the number of years since the last jubilee, with the price proportional to the number of years until the next jubilee year.
  6. If thou sell ought unto thy neighbour, or buyest ought of thy neighbour's hand ... According to the number of years after the jubile thou shalt buy of thy neighbour, and according unto the number of years of the fruits he shall sell unto thee: According to the multitude of years thou shalt increase the price thereof, and according to the fewness of years thou shalt diminish the price of it: for according to the number of the years of the fruits doth he sell unto thee. Leviticus 25:14-17

  7. Don't oppress one another.
  8. Ye shall not oppress one another. Leviticus 25:14
    Ye shall not therefore oppress one another. Leviticus 25:17

  9. Don't sell real estate. The land belongs to God, not you.
  10. The land shall not be sold for ever: for the land is mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with me. Leviticus 25:23

  11. If you buy land, you must allow the seller the right to buy it back.
  12. In all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. Leviticus 25:24
    With every purchase of land you must grant the seller the right to buy it back. Leviticus 25:24, New Living Translation

  13. If one of your close relatives is forced to sell land, then you must buy it, with the usual Jubilee year pricing.
  14. The poor relative has the right to buy it back, but if he can't, then you get to keep it until the next jubilee when you must return it to him. (Or something like that.)

    If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold. And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it; Then let him count the years of the sale thereof, and restore the overplus unto the man to whom he sold it; that he may return unto his possession. But if he be not able to restore it to him, then that which is sold shall remain in the hand of him that hath bought it until the year of jubile: and in the jubile it shall go out, and he shall return unto his possession. Leviticus 25:25-28
    If one of your fellow Israelites falls into poverty and is forced to sell some family land, then a close relative should buy it back for him. If there is no close relative to buy the land, but the person who sold it gets enough money to buy it back, he then has the right to redeem it from the one who bought it. The price of the land will be discounted according to the number of years until the next Year of Jubilee. In this way the original owner can then return to the land. But if the original owner cannot afford to buy back the land, it will remain with the new owner until the next Year of Jubilee. In the jubilee year, the land must be returned to the original owners so they can return to their family land. Leviticus 25:25-28, New Living Translation

  15. If you sell a house in a walled city, you have the right to buy it back within a year after the sale.
  16. But if you don't buy it back within a year, the sale is final. You won't get it back even at the next jubilee year.

    And if a man sell a dwelling house in a walled city, then he may redeem it within a whole year after it is sold; within a full year may he redeem it. And if it be not redeemed within the space of a full year, then the house that is in the walled city shall be established for ever to him that bought it throughout his generations: it shall not go out in the jubile. Leviticus 25:29-30
    Anyone who sells a house inside a walled town has the right to buy it back for a full year after its sale. During that year, the seller retains the right to buy it back. But if it is not bought back within a year, the sale of the house within the walled town cannot be reversed. It will become the permanent property of the buyer. It will not be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. Leviticus 25:29-30, New Living Translation

  17. If you sell a house in an village without a wall, you may buy it back whenever you like.
  18. Or you can just wait until the jubilee year when you'll get it back for nothing.

    But the houses of the villages which have no wall round about them shall be counted as the fields of the country: they may be redeemed, and they shall go out in the jubile. Leviticus 25:31
    But a house in a village—a settlement without fortified walls—will be treated like property in the countryside. Such a house may be bought back at any time, and it must be returned to the original owner in the Year of Jubilee. Leviticus 25:31, New Living Translation

  19. Levites own the suburbs and always have the right to buy back any property they sell.
  20. Notwithstanding the cities of the Levites, and the houses of the cities of their possession, may the Levites redeem at any time. And if a man purchase of the Levites, then the house that was sold, and the city of his possession, shall go out in the year of jubile: for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their possession among the children of Israel. But the field of the suburbs of their cities may not be sold; for it is their perpetual possession. Leviticus 25:32-34
    The Levites always have the right to buy back a house they have sold within the towns allotted to them. And any property that is sold by the Levites—all houses within the Levitical towns—must be returned in the Year of Jubilee. After all, the houses in the towns reserved for the Levites are the only property they own in all Israel. The open pastureland around the Levitical towns may never be sold. It is their permanent possession. Leviticus 25:332-33, New Living Translation

  21. Help the poor.
  22. If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee. Leviticus 25:35

  23. If someone in your country becomes poor and is sold to you as a slave, treat that person as a servant, not as a slave, and set them free on the next jubilee year.
  24. if thy brother that dwelleth by thee be waxen poor, and be sold unto thee ; thou shalt not compel him to serve as a bondservant: But as an hired servant, and as a sojourner, he shall be with thee, and shall serve thee unto the year of jubile. And then shall he depart from thee, both he and his children with him, and shall return unto his own family, and unto the possession of his fathers shall he return. ... Thou shalt not rule over him with rigour. Leviticus 25:39-43

  25. When you buy slaves, buy a heathen from a nearby country. After you buy them, they are your property and your children will inherit them after you die. They will be your family's slaves forever.
  26. Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession. And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever. Leviticus 25:44-46

  27. If a foreigner buys someone who lives in this country, the slave may be bought back by the slave's family, with the usual jubilee year pricing.
  28. And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the stranger's family: After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him: Either his uncle, or his uncle's son, may redeem him, or any that is nigh of kin unto him of his family may redeem him; or if he be able, he may redeem himself. And he shall reckon with him that bought him from the year that he was sold to him unto the year of jubile: and the price of his sale shall be according unto the number of years, according to the time of an hired servant shall it be with him. If there be yet many years behind, according unto them he shall give again the price of his redemption out of the money that he was bought for. And if there remain but few years unto the year of jubile, then he shall count with him, and according unto his years shall he give him again the price of his redemption. And as a yearly hired servant shall he be with him: and the other shall not rule with rigour over him in thy sight. And if he be not redeemed in these years, then he shall go out in the year of jubile, both he, and his children with him. Leviticus 25:47-54

25 July 2014

Alma 24: Bright Swords

If you remember from the last chapter, the Anti-Nephi-Lehi’s were doing pretty good for themselves. But, (in the Book of Mormon) if things are going well, you can bet that war is just around the corner. The local Amalekites, Amulonites, and Lamanites who had not converted began to rebel against the king, and to “take arms against” the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. (I suppose you could call them Anti-Anti-Nephi-Lehis!)

And it came to pass that the Amalekites and the Amulonites and the Lamanites who were in the land of Amulon, and also in the land of Helam, and who were in the land of Jerusalem, and in fine, in all the land round about, who had not been converted and had not taken upon them the name of Anti-Nephi-Lehi, were stirred up by the Amalekites and by the Amulonites to anger against their brethren. Alma 24.1
And their hatred became exceedingly sore against them, even insomuch that they began to rebel against their king, insomuch that they would not that he should be their king; therefore, they took up arms against the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi. 24.2

I guess the king was pretty intimidated by these rebels, because he decided to abdicate the throne and pass off his problems to his son. His son was pretty into the struggle, though, so maybe it was a good choice. He even changed his name to Anti-Nephi-Lehi. That must have made for some strange dinner parties. “Have you met my son, Anti-Nephi-Lehi?”

Now the king conferred the kingdom upon his son, and he called his name Anti-Nephi-Lehi. 24.3

But it didn’t matter a whole lot, either way. Turns out the king died the same year.

And the king died in that selfsame year that the Lamanites began to make preparations for war against the people of God. 24.4

When Ammon and his buddies had heard about the Lamanite’s battle preparations, they decided to rally their troops in the land of Midian, and then hold a war council in the land of Ishmael.

Now when Ammon and his brethren and all those who had come up with him saw the preparations of the Lamanites to destroy their brethren, they came forth to the land of Midian, and there Ammon met all his brethren; and from thence they came to the land of Ishmael that they might hold a council with Lamoni and also with his brother Anti-Nephi-Lehi, what they should do to defend themselves against the Lamanites. 25.5

But there was a problem. Not a single one of their new converts (The Anti-Nephi-Lehis) would fight. Not even to save their lives. They were just too damn enlightened. Mr. Anti-Nephi-Lehi gave a speech explaining all about how their sins had been washed away, and they didn’t want to sin any more. He spoke at length about how their swords had been washed clean by the blood of God, and how he didn’t want to stain them again with the blood of his brethren. He said that even if the Lamanites were going to kill them, they would bury their swords deep in the earth and not use them to defend themselves.

Now there was not one soul among all the people who had been converted unto the Lord that would take up arms against their brethren; nay, they would not even make any preparations for war; yea, and also their king commanded them that they should not. 24.6 
Now, these are the words which he said unto the people concerning the matter: I thank my God, my beloved people, that our great God has in goodness sent these our brethren, the Nephites, unto us to preach unto us, and to convince us of the traditions of our wicked fathers. 24.7 
And behold, I thank my great God that he has given us a portion of his Spirit to soften our hearts, that we have opened a correspondence with these brethren, the Nephites. 24.8 
And behold, I also thank my God, that by opening this correspondence we have been convinced of our sins, and of the many murders which we have committed. 24.9 
And I also thank my God, yea, my great God, that he hath granted unto us that we might repent of these things, and also that he hath forgiven us of those our many sins and murders which we have committed, and taken away the guilt from our hearts, through the merits of his Son. 24.10 
And now behold, my brethren, since it has been all that we could do (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts, for it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain— 24.11 
Now, my best beloved brethren, since God hath taken away our stains, and our swords have become bright, then let us stain our swords no more with the blood of our brethren. 24.12 
Behold, I say unto you, Nay, let us retain our swords that they be not stained with the blood of our brethren; for perhaps, if we should stain our swords again they can no more be washed bright through the blood of the Son of our great God, which shall be shed for the atonement of our sins. 24.13 
And the great God has had mercy on us, and made these things known unto us that we might not perish; yea, and he has made these things known unto us beforehand, because he loveth our souls as well as he loveth our children; therefore, in his mercy he doth visit us by his angels, that the plan of salvation might be made known unto us as well as unto future generations. 24.14 
Oh, how merciful is our God! And now behold, since it has been as much as we could do to get our stains taken away from us, and our swords are made bright, let us hide them away that they may be kept bright, as a testimony to our God at the last day, or at the day that we shall be brought to stand before him to be judged, that we have not stained our swords in the blood of our brethren since he imparted his word unto us and has made us clean thereby. 24.15 
And now, my brethren, if our brethren seek to destroy us, behold, we will hide away our swords, yea, even we will bury them deep in the earth, that they may be kept bright, as a testimony that we have never used them, at the last day; and if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved. 24.16
So that’s what they did. All of the Anti-Nehpi-Lehis gathered together and buried their swords DEEP in the ground. So deep, in fact, that no archeologist has ever found a single one from that era! They must have had some great shovels.
And now it came to pass that when the king had made an end of these sayings, and all the people were assembled together, they took their swords, and all the weapons which were used for the shedding of man’s blood, and they did bury them up deep in the earth. 24.17
But all of this peace-loving hippy nonsense didn’t stop the Lamanites from fighting. They finished their war preparations and then marched on the Anti-Nephi-Lehis.
And it came to pass that their brethren, the Lamanites, made preparations for war, and came up to the land of Nephi for the purpose of destroying the king, and to place another in his stead, and also of destroying the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi out of the land. 24.20
But, true to their word, the Anti-Nephi-Lehis didn’t resist. They called out to God and prostrated themselves on the ground, even as the Lamanites started to stab them with swords.
Now when the people saw that they were coming against them they went out to meet them, and prostrated themselves before them to the earth, and began to call on the name of the Lord; and thus they were in this attitude when the Lamanites began to fall upon them, and began to slay them with the sword. 24.21
The Lamanites saw the Anti-Nephi-Lehis as easy pickins, and started just slaughtering them one after another. After killing a bunch of them they became really weirded out by the whole thing. Why weren’t they fighting back at all? The Lamanites started feeling really guilty, and they threw down their weapons after killing 1,005 of them. They even started repenting about the people they had killed.
And thus without meeting any resistance, they did slay a thousand and five of them; and we know that they are blessed, for they have gone to dwell with their God. 24.22
Now when the Lamanites saw that their brethren would not flee from the sword, neither would they turn aside to the right hand or to the left, but that they would lie down and perish, and praised God even in the very act of perishing under the sword— 24.23
Now when the Lamanites saw this they did forbear from slaying them; and there were many whose hearts had swollen in them for those of their brethren who had fallen under the sword, for they repented of the things which they had done. 24.24

And the people of Anti-Nephi-Lehi ended up converting a lot of the opposing team. What a tactic! I doubt that there has ever been as impressive of a display of nonviolent resistance achieving it’s goals. And the cost wasn’t too great, because obviously the slain Anti-Nephi-Lehis went straight to heaven. I bet they even got 72 virgins and their own planet!
 And it came to pass that they threw down their weapons of war, and they would not take them again, for they were stung for the murders which they had committed; and they came down even as their brethren, relying upon the mercies of those whose arms were lifted to slay them. 24.25 
And it came to pass that the people of God were joined that day by more than the number who had been slain; and those who had been slain were righteous people, therefore we have no reason to doubt but what they were saved. 24.26 
And there was not a wicked man slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people. 24.27
But they didn’t manage to convert any Amalekites or Amulonites, or any of the people of the order of Nehor. Those guys were just way too wicked. In fact, most of the 1,005 dead Anti-Nephi-Lehis were killed by those guys. All of the people who converted were Lamanites--direct decsendants of Laman and Lemuel.
Now the greatest number of those of the Lamanites who slew so many of their brethren were Amalekites and Amulonites, the greatest number of whom were after the order of the Nehors. 24.28
Now, among those who joined the people of the Lord, there were none who were Amalekites or Amulonites, or who were of the order of Nehor, but they were actual descendants of Laman and Lemuel. 24.29
Because, as we can plainly see, if someone is good and then becomes bad, they are worse than people who are just bad from the start. Why? Because...you know... they just are.
And thus we can plainly discern, that after a people have been once enlightened by the Spirit of God, and have had great knowledge of things pertaining to righteousness, and then have fallen away into sin and transgression, they become more hardened, and thus their state becomes worse than though they had never known these things. 24.30

23 July 2014

Alma 23: The Anti-Nephi-Lehies

Remember king Lamoni's proclamation from the last chapter? We never heard exactly what it was, but it's all explained in the first few verses of Chapter 23. The proclamation was to protect Mosiah's sons. The Lamanites were prohibited from doing the following things to Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni (or any other of their preachers):

1. Lay their hands on them
2. Bind them
3. Cast them into prison
4. Spit on them
5. Smite them
6. Cast them out of their synagogues
7. Scourge them
8. Cast stones at them
9. Prevent them from going to their homes, temples, or sanctuaries
Behold, now it came to pass that the king of the Lamanites sent a proclamation among all his people, that they should not lay their hands on Ammon, or Aaron, or Omner, or Himni, nor either of their brethren who should go forth preaching the word of God, in whatsoever place they should be, in any part of their land. 23.1 
Yea, he sent a decree among them, that they should not lay their hands on them to bind them, or to cast them into prison; neither should they spit upon them, nor smite them, nor cast them out of their synagogues, nor scourge them; neither should they cast stones at them, but that they should have free access to their houses, and also their temples, and their sanctuaries. 23.2
This proclamation made it much easier for Aaron and his brothers to do their job. They went freely from city to city, and they started converting thousands of Lamanites. They also established churches and consecrated priests in all the places they visited, so they wouldn't lose members when they went somewhere else to preach. And it worked. They retained every single member that they converted.
And now it came to pass that when the king had sent forth this proclamation, that Aaron and his brethren went forth from city to city, and from one house of worship to another, establishing churches, and consecrating priests and teachers throughout the land among the Lamanites, to preach and to teach the word of God among them; and thus they began to have great success.  23.4 
And thousands were brought to the knowledge of the Lord, yea, thousands were brought to believe in the traditions of the Nephites; and they were taught the records and prophecies which were handed down even to the present time. 23.5 
And as sure as the Lord liveth, so sure as many as believed, or as many as were brought to the knowledge of the truth, through the preaching of Ammon and his brethren, according to the spirit of revelation and of prophecy, and the power of God working miracles in them -- yea, I say unto you, as the Lord liveth, as many of the Lamanites as believed in their preaching, and were converted unto the Lord, never did fall away. 23.6
Here's the list of people they converted:

1. The people in the land of Ishmael
2. The people in the land of Middoni
3. The people in the city of Nephi
4. The people in the land of Shilom
5. The people in the land of Shemlon
6. The people in the city of Lemuel
7. The people in the city of Shimnilom

Now, these are they who were converted unto the Lord: 23.8 
The people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Ishmael; 23.9  
And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Middoni; 23.10 
And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the city of Nephi; 23.11  
And also of the people of the Lamanites who were in the land of Shilom, and who were in the land of Shemlon, and in the city of Lemuel, and in the city of Shimnilom. 23.12
That's a pretty good haul! But not everyone was converted. They had a tough time with the Amalekites--they only converted a single one. But Amalekites are notoriously hard to deal with. 
And the Amalekites were not converted, save only one; neither were any of the Amulonites; but they did harden their hearts, and also the hearts of the Lamanites in that part of the land wheresoever they dwelt, yea, and all their villages and all their cities. 23.14
The Lamanites who had converted had a problem, though. They didn't want to be associated with the other, wicked Lamanites.  They needed a new name... something fresh... snappy... descriptive... something that just rolls of the tongue. The king consulted Aaron and his priests, and they thought long and hard about it. Then they came up with the perfect name: The Anti-Nephi-Lehies! (Luckily for them, the URL Anti-Nephi-Lehies.com is still available!)
And now it came to pass that the king and those who were converted were desirous that they might have a name, that thereby they might be distinguished from their brethren; therefore the king consulted with Aaron and many of their priests, concerning the name that they should take upon them, that they might be distinguished. 23.16  
And it came to pass that they called their names Anti-Nephi-Lehies; and they were called by this name and were no more called Lamanites. 23.17
 They worked hard, and became a successful, industrious people. Because of their conversion and name change, God's curse didn't follow them any longer. It's unclear whether or not their skin became lighter after the curse was lifted. We'll get back to that later.
And they began to be a very industrious people; yea, and they were friendly with the Nephites; therefore, they did open a correspondence with them, and the curse of God did no more follow them. 23.18

22 July 2014

Alma 22: Aaron and the King

After Aaron and his brethren were released from prison, they decided to pay a thank-you visit to Lamoni's father, who was king of all the land. 

When they arrived at his palace, they went right up to him, bowed, and offered to become his servants.
Now, as Ammon was thus teaching the people of Lamoni continually, we will return to the account of Aaron and his brethren; for after he departed from the land of Middoni he was led by the Spirit to the land of Nephi, even to the house of the king which was over all the land save it were the land of Ishmael; and he was the father of Lamoni. 22.1 
And it came to pass that he went in unto him into the king's palace, with his brethren, and bowed himself before the king, and said unto him: Behold, O king, we are the brethren of Ammon, whom thou hast delivered out of prison. 22.2 
And now, O king, if thou wilt spare our lives, we will be thy servants. 22.3a
He didn't accept their offer. Instead, he asked why Ammon wasn't with them, and Aaron told him that Ammon was in the land of Ishmael, preaching, and he was too busy to make the trip.
And the king said unto them: Arise, for I will grant unto you your lives, and I will not suffer that ye shall be my servants; but I will insist that ye shall administer unto me; for I have been somewhat troubled in mind because of the generosity and the greatness of the words of thy brother Ammon; and I desire to know the cause why he has not come up out of Middoni with thee. 22.3 
And Aaron said unto the king: Behold, the Spirit of the Lord has called him another way; he has gone to the land of Ishmael, to teach the people of Lamoni. 22.4
The king had a few questions for Ammon. What was the whole "Spirit of the Lord" thing again? And do I have to repent or not? It's all very confusing.
Now the king said unto them: What is this that ye have said concerning the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, this is the thing which doth trouble me. 22.5 
And also, what is this that Ammon said -- If ye will repent ye shall be saved, and if ye will not repent, ye shall be cast off at the last day? 22.6
Aaron answered him, and then asked him if he believed in God. The king gave a real wishy-washy answer, but ended by saying that he would believe if Aaron said that there was a God (and if Aaron pinky-swore).
And Aaron answered him and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God? And the king said: I know that the Amalekites say that there is a God, and I have granted unto them that they should build sanctuaries, that they may assemble themselves together to worship him. And if now thou sayest there is a God, behold I will believe. 22.7
Aaron told him that God did indeed exist, and then he went on to tell him all about God and the scriptures, going all the way back to the creation of Adam.
And it came to pass that when Aaron saw that the king would believe his words, he began from the creation of Adam, reading the scriptures unto the king -- how God created man after his own image, and that God gave him commandments, and that because of transgression, man had fallen. 22.12 
And Aaron did expound unto him the scriptures from the creation of Adam, laying the fall of man before him, and their carnal state and also the plan of redemption, which was prepared from the foundation of the world, through Christ, for all whosoever would believe on his name. 22.13  
And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king. 22.14
Then the king asked Aaron about the whole eternal life thing. What would it take for him to join that club? He said that he'd give up his whole kingdom if Aaron could get him into heaven. But Aaron gave him the good news: all he had to do was to bow down before God and repent.
And it came to pass that after Aaron had expounded these things unto him, the king said: What shall I do that I may have this eternal life of which thou hast spoken? Yea, what shall I do that I may be born of God, having this wicked spirit rooted out of my breast, and receive his Spirit, that I may be filled with joy, that I may not be cast off at the last day? Behold, said he, I will give up all that I possess, yea, I will forsake my kingdom, that I may receive this great joy. 22.15
But Aaron said unto him: If thou desirest this thing, if thou wilt bow down before God, yea, if thou wilt repent of all thy sins, and will bow down before God, and call on his name in faith, believing that ye shall receive, then shalt thou receive the hope which thou desirest. 22.16
So that's what he did. He lay prostrate upon the floor and made a little speech to God, and then was suddenly struck as though he was dead.
And it came to pass that when Aaron had said these words, the king did bow down before the Lord, upon his knees; yea, even he did prostrate himself upon the earth, and cried mightily, saying: 22.17 
O God, Aaron hath told me that there is a God; and if there is a God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and I will give away all my sins to know thee, and that I may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead. 22.18
All of the kings servants saw this, and they ran to tell the queen what had happened. She was angry with Aaron--she thought he killed her husband. She ordered her servants to kill Aaron and his friends. None of them were willing, because they knew how powerful Aaron was.
Now the servants had seen the cause of the king's fall, therefore they durst not lay their hands on Aaron and his brethren; and they pled with the queen saying: Why commandest thou that we should slay these men, when behold one of them is mightier than us all? Therefore we shall fall before them. 22.20 
Then the queen told her chicken-shit servants to round up a mob who would do the job. But before she could get her lynch-mob together, Aaron decided to just wake the king up.
Now when the queen saw the fear of the servants she also began to fear exceedingly, lest there should some evil come upon her. And she commanded her servants that they should go and call the people, that they might slay Aaron and his brethren. 22.21 
Now when Aaron saw the determination of the queen, he, also knowing the hardness of the hearts of the people, feared lest that a multitude should assemble themselves together, and there should be a great contention and a disturbance among them; therefore he put forth his hand and raised the king from the earth, and said unto him: Stand. And he stood upon his feet, receiving his strength. 22.22
Everyone was pretty amazed, and they became a little afraid of Alma. But the king calmed them down, and even managed to convert everyone in his household. Quick work!
Now this was done in the presence of the queen and many of the servants. And when they saw it they greatly marveled, and began to fear. And the king stood forth, and began to minister unto them. And he did minister unto them, insomuch that his whole household were converted unto the Lord. 22.23
Around that time, the crowd was starting to gather. The king spoke to them and calmed them down, and then told Alma to start preaching.
Now there was a multitude gathered together because of the commandment of the queen, and there began to be great murmurings among them because of Aaron and his brethren. 22.24 
But the king stood forth among them and administered unto them. And they were pacified towards Aaron and those who were with him. 22.25 
And it came to pass that when the king saw that the people were pacified, he caused that Aaron and his brethren should stand forth in the midst of the multitude, and that they should preach the word unto them. 22.26
Then the king made a proclamation throughout all the land. We never get to hear what exactly the proclamation is, because the author gets sidetracked with a long geography lesson, but that's okay.
The rest of the chapter is pretty dull, unless you are really into speculative Book of Mormon cartography, in which case you can piece together something like this:

Since the journey between the "East Sea" and "West Sea" was only a day and a half journey, it pretty much had to be in Central America. (Unless, you know, this stuff is all just made up.)
And now, it was only the distance of a day and a half’s journey for a Nephite, on the line Bountiful and the land Desolation, from the east to the west sea; and thus the land of Nephi and the land of Zarahemla were nearly surrounded by water, there being a small neck of land between the land northward and the land southward. 22.32

21 July 2014

EJ&T: Leviticus 24: Baking cakes, stoning blasphemers, eye for eye and tooth for tooth

In the Every Jot and Tittle project, I am listing all of the Bible's commandments from Genesis to Revelation, in accordance with Jesus's words in Matthew 5:18-19. I have no idea how many commandments I'll find, but Jewish tradition claims there are 613. See here for a list of those that I've found so far.

  1. Bake twelve cakes using two kilograms of flour. Put them in two rows on a table with frankincense on them. Each Sabbath set them before the Lord, where Aaron and his sons (and their descendants) will eat them.
  2. Thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake. And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the LORD. And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the LORD. Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the LORD continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. And it shall be Aaron's and his sons'; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the LORD made by fire by a perpetual statute. Leviticus 24:5-9

  3. Blasphemers shall be stoned to death.
  4. He that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death. Leviticus 24:16

  5. If you kill someone else's animal, you must replace it.
  6. He that killeth a beast shall make it good; beast for beast. Leviticus 24:17

    He that killeth a beast, he shall restore it. Leviticus 24:21a

  7. If you damage another person, you will be damaged in the same way. Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, blemish for blemish.
  8. If a man cause a blemish in his neighbour; as he hath done, so shall it be done to him; Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for tooth: as he hath caused a blemish in a man, so shall it be done to him again. Leviticus 24:19-20

  9. The same laws shall apply to foreigners as to those who live in the country.
  10. Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country Leviticus 24:22