Jacob 5: Why vineyards and olives?

Jacob 5:3, “For behold, thus saith the Lord, I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay.”

The parable appears to be drawn from two biblical sources–the Song of the Vineyard in Isaiah 5, and Paul’s discussion of the relation of the Gentiles to the Jews in Romans 11. The problem for the author of the Book of Mormon is that Isaiah and Paul used slightly different metaphors–Isaiah that of a vineyard, and Paul that of an olive tree. It is thus quite significant that halfway through the parable, Zenos appears to forget that he is using an olive tree as his metaphor, and begins to use the whole vineyard as his focus.

Jacob 5:41, “And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant: What could I have done more for my vineyard?”

Significantly, the break appears at the same point that the Book of Mormon quotes a passage from Isaiah:

Isaiah 5:4, “What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?”

From this point on, the prophet Zenos refers exclusively to the, “fruit of the vineyard,” apparently forgetting that vineyards yield grapes, not olives.

Holy Hanna… thanks.

I had picked up on this at some point on my mission, and even made a note; never thinking that it would clearly indicate copying out of the Bible from two separate sources.

More Book of Mormon issues here.

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Last edited by EmmaHS on February 2, 2013 at 5:32 pm

1 Response to Jacob 5: Why vineyards and olives?

  1. Pingback: All in Joseph Smith's milieu: a response to LDSLiving article on Book of Mormon evidences - Mormon Bandwagon

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