Interpreter

This post is brought to you by the Mormon Interpreter (A Journal of Mormon Scripture). View the original post here.

The calqued name-title “Lord of Sabaoth,” echoing James 5:4, occurs four times in the Doctrine and Covenants in revelations given to the prophet Joseph Smith from December 25, 1832 to August 6, 1833. Of these occurrences, only D&C 95:7 offers a gloss or interpretation for the name “the Lord of Sabaoth,” which is, by interpretation, “the creator of the first day, the beginning and the end.” Upon close inspection, this explanation makes excellent sense from an ancient Israelite etiological as well as (perhaps) an etymological standpoint. Past criticisms of the gloss in D&C 95:7 have focused on the wrongly assumed incongruity of “first day” and “Sabaoth” (“hosts”), and have neglected function of the divine name Yhwh in titles, most often represented in scripture by the term “Lord,” as in the calqued name-title Lord of Hosts. Understanding the connection between Yhwh (the form of which suggests the meaning “He creates,” “He brings into existence,” “he brings to pass”), the divine council (the “hosts”), creation (on “the first day” or “Day One”), and the underlying grammatical meaning of “Lord of Hosts” = Yhwh ṣĕbāʾôt (i.e., “He creates the [heavenly] hosts” or “He brings to pass the [heavenly] hosts”) is crucial to understanding the calque “Lord of Sabaoth” and the explanation given in D&C 95:7. When considered in its entirety, this revealed gloss is right on target. The creation/‌begetting of the heavenly hosts was associated with “the first day” or “Day One” in ancient Israelite thought. They are described as “finished” or fully prepared by the end of the six creative periods (“days” in Genesis 2:1). Additionally, “Lord of Sabaoth” or Yhwh ṣĕbāʾôt is to be understood in connection with the similarly constructed name-title Yhwh ʾĕlōhîm (“He creates gods,” “he causes gods to be,” or “he brings to pass gods”). The meristic appositive title “the beginning and the end” implies that Yhwh is not only the “author”/“creator” of Israel and its salvation but the “finisher” thereof. Far from evidence of Joseph Smith’s lack of knowledge of Hebrew, the interpretive gloss in D&C 95:7 constitutes evidence of Joseph’s ability to obtain correct translations and interpretations through revelation. Continue reading



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