Monday, April 19, 2010

Lehi's Dream and Psalmic connections?

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to thy word." -- Psalms 119:9.

That is the King James Version. But reading the Jewish Publication Society translation of this passage of the Tanakh opens up a rich field of contemplation for me.

"With what shall a young man keep his way pure? By holding to thy word."

Holding to the word (bmr in Hebrew) immediately brought to mind the vision of Lehi in 1 Nephi 8, in the Book of Mormon. Then the similarities seemed to leap out at me. I hardly think I can be accused of paralellomania but judge for yourself:

The writer of the psalm has sought the Lord with his whole heart and pleads "O let me not wander from thy commandments." He prays that his eyes may be opened, as one might when wandering in a mist of darkness. He is a stranger in the earth, just as the visionary was in a broad field as it were a world.

He says the Lord has rebuked the proud who are cursed, which do err from the commandments, who held him in reproach and contempt as one who kept the commandments ... even princes sat and spoke against him.

The way of God's testimonies brought him joy.

I really believe Lehi, as a pious Jew, could have had this psalm in mind the night he beheld his great vision -- especially if his mind was harrowed up with concerns for his sons, his young men, as he specifically stated that it was.

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