Jacob 2:2 to magnify mine office with soberness
Jacob is talking about magnifying his calling in the priesthood.
Joseph Fielding Smith
"Every man who is ordained to an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood should realize fully just what that ordination means. He receives the Priesthood with an oath and covenant that he will magnify his calling and be faithful therein.
Joseph F. Smith
"Think what it means to hold keys of authority which-if exercised in wisdom and in righteousness-are bound to be respected by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost! Do you honor this Priesthood? Do you respect the office and honor the key of authority that you possess in the Melchizedek Priesthood, which is after the order of the Son of God? Will you, who hold this Priesthood, profane the name of Deity? Would you be riotous, and eat and drink with the drunken, with the unbelieving and with the profane? Would you, holding that Priesthood, forget your prayers, and fail to remember the Giver of all good? Would you, holding that Priesthood, and possessing the right and authority from God to administer in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, violate the confidence and the love of God, the hope and desire of the Father of all of us? For, in bestowing that key and blessing upon you, he desires and expects you to magnify your calling. Would you, as an elder in the Church of Jesus Christ, dishonor your wife or your children? Would you desert the mother of your children, the wife of your bosom, the gift of God to you, which is more precious than life itself? For without the woman the man is not perfect in the Lord, no more than the woman is perfect without the man." (Gospel Doctrine, p. 165)
Jacob 2:2 I come up into the temple this day
If the temple that Nephi built was fashioned after the temple of Solomon, as Nephi says (2 Ne 5:16), then there would have been an outer court, the inner tabernacle, or holy place, and the holy of holies. This was the pattern for the tabernacle of Moses and was repeated again for the temple of Solomon, "A comparison of the plan of Solomon's Temple with that of the earlier Tabernacle shows that in all essentials of arrangement and proportion the two were so nearly alike as to be practically identical. True, the Tabernacle had but one enclosure, while the Temple was surrounded by courts, but the inner structure itself, the Temple proper, closely followed the earlier design." (James E. Talmage, The House of the Lord, p. 7)Therefore, in the temple of Solomon, like the tabernacle of Moses, there were three different areas which were representative of the three degrees of glory: outer court=telestial, holy place=terrestrial, and holy of holies=celestial. Traditionally, the people could enter the outer court but only the priests could go into the holy place. Entrance to the holy of holies was restricted to the high priest who could only enter once a year.
If Jacob taught the people in the temple, it makes sense that he would have taught them in the outer room which represented the telestial kingdom. This would have been the only room big enough for a large gathering of people. If the Nephites followed the pattern of the Jews, then none of the people would have been allowed to enter the other parts of the temple unless they held the priesthood and were performing specific priesthood functions. In the days of Christ, when the Jews similarly gathered to hear the teachings of the Savior in the temple of Herod, they met in the corresponding outer courts.
Jacob 2:3 weighed down with much more desire and anxiety
Jacob's stewardship was a heavy burden. The weight on his shoulders was the godly sorrow for the sins of his people. He could not shirk from his responsibility to call the people to repentance. His faithfulness in performing his duty is a good example for those placed in positions in which they must call the people to repentance. The state of wickedness is just as prevalent in our dispensation, Behold, the world is ripening in iniquity; and it must needs be that the children of men are stirred up unto repentance, both the Gentiles and also the house of Israel (DC 18:6).
Jacob 2:5 I can tell you concerning your thoughts
One of the most powerful witnesses that a servant of God can give is when the servant reveals the thoughts of the people. Look at the powerful influence that Ammon had on king Lamoni when he revealed his thoughts in their second meeting, And it came to pass that Ammon, being filled with the Spirit of God, therefore he perceived the thoughts of the king. And he said unto him...Behold, I am a man, and am thy servant; therefore, whatsoever thou desirest which is right, that will I do. Now when the king had heard these words, he marveled again, for he beheld that Ammon could discern his thoughts (Alma 18:17-18).
The Lord can tell our thoughts and will judge us by them, our thoughts will also condemn us; and in this awful state we shall not dare to look up to our God; and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from his presence (Alma 12:14).
Jacob 2:5 ye are beginning to labor in sin
"The sins of the people in Jacob's day were not inadvertent transgressions; they had begun to 'labor in sin' in the sense that sin had become their obsession and their preoccupation. They had begun to flirt with that spirit which characterized the wickedness of the days of Noah: 'And every man was lifted up in the imagination of the thoughts of his heart, being only evil continually' (Moses 8:22)." (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 11)
Jacob 2:7 it grieveth me that I must use...boldness...before your wives and your children
Few scriptures are more eloquent in describing the Lord's delight in the purity and chastity of women. The Lord does not want the daughters of Israel to be "worldly." There is no reason for them to have a detailed knowledge of all the sordid acts of depravity which cover the earth. If the women are offended by an off color joke, an inappropriate video, or carnal music, it is a good thing in the eyes of the Lord. It shows that their feelings are exceedingly tender and chaste and delicate.
The book of Proverbs talks about two types of women, the virtuous and the foolish. Of the former it says:
'A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband...
Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her...
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy...
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Proverbs 12:4; 31:10-11,20,26-28).
Of the foolish women it says:
'As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion...
It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.' (Proverbs 11:22; 21:9)
Jacob 2:12 many of you have begun to search for gold, and for silver
The land of promise was full of natural resources, gold and silver, included. As Nephi recorded, precious ores...were in great abundance (2 Ne 5:15). The gold digging of the early Nephites was designed to set themselves apart, to give them a reason to look down on their neighbor, and to increase the value of their apparel. The foundation of their desire was pride.
Jacob 2:13 ye are lifted up in the pride of your hearts
"Among the timeless lessons to be learned from the Book of Mormon are the perils of the prosperity cycle. It is as though a people could not learn from the mistakes of the past. Whenever any group chose to keep the commandments of God, he blessed and prospered them. At that point, instead of returning constant thanks to him who had rewarded them-instead of acknowledging in humility that all that they had was a direct blessing from the Almighty-most of the people in the Book of Mormon (Nephites and Jaredites alike) lost sight of the source of their blessings. They traded the confidence of heaven for the approbation of men. Wealth became the end in life rather than a means to the accomplishment of good. Whenever the acquisition of 'things' became more important than people, then it was only a matter of time before class distinctions, caste systems, and the persecution of the poor followed. 'Wealth is a jealous master who will not be served half-heartedly and will suffer no rival-not even God.... The more important wealth is, the less important it is how one gets it.' (Hugh Nibley, Since Cumorah, p. 393.)" (McConkie and Millet, Doctrinal Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 2, p. 14)
There are few themes covered more completely in the Book of Mormon. Jacob includes this sermon on pride because it applies so well to us. Apparently, the ancient prophets who saw our day saw a lot of pride and its companions, materialism, envy, and idolatry. As Moroni tells us:
'Jesus Christ hath shown you unto me, and I know your doing.
And I know that ye do walk in the pride of your hearts; and there are none save a few only who do not lift themselves up in the pride of their hearts, unto the wearing of very fine apparel, unto envying, strifes, and malice, and persecutions, and all manner of iniquities...
For behold, ye do love money, and your substance, and your fine apparel...more than ye love the poor and the needy, the sick and the afflicted.' (Mormon 8:35-37)
From the Church News:
"I have concluded that religious people are particularly susceptible to pride. Sometimes our very goodness, or our feeling that we have the truth, sets us up for a bad case of pride. One of the problems with pride is that the more we are infected with it, the least likely we are to be aware of it. President [Ezra Taft] Benson said, 'Pride is a very misunderstood sin, and many are sinning in ignorance.'
"Obviously, then, we must assume we all have a problem with it. We simply cannot fully love the Lord as long as there is any competing pride." (Larry W. Tippetts, Church News, Sept. 2, 1989)
Ezra Taft Benson
"Pride is a very misunderstood sin. . . . The proud cannot accept the authority of God giving direction to their lives. They pit their perceptions of truth against God's great knowledge, their abilities versus God's priesthood power, their accomplishments against His mighty works.
"Our enmity toward God takes on many labels, such as: rebellion, hard heartedness, stiffneckedness, unrepentant, puffed up, easily offended and sign seekers. The proud wish God would agree with them. They aren't interested in changing their opinions to agree with God's.
"Certainly, to salvage our pride, it is easy to place the blame on others. We, nevertheless, need to rid ourselves of the festering burr before it becomes a consuming cancer that directs our rage at all we hold dear." (Church News, Aug. 1, 1992)
"There are hundreds of people in these valleys, who never owned a cow in the world, until they came here, but now they have got a few cows and sheep around them, a yoke of oxen, and a horse to ride upon, they feel to be personages of far greater importance than Jesus Christ was, when he rode into Jerusalem upon an ass's colt. They become puffed up in pride, and selfishness, and their minds become attached to the things of this world. They become covetous, which makes them idolators. Their substance engrosses so much of their attention, they forget their prayers, and forget to attend the assemblies of the Saints, for they must see to their land, or to their crops that are suffering, until by and by the grasshoppers come like a cloud, and cut away the bread from their mouth, introducing famine and distress, to stir them up in remembrance of the Lord their God." (1853, Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p. 267)
Boyd K. Packer
"Pride is the most deadly spiritual virus. In the eternal scheme of things, who is to say which is the more favored? Note carefully these words from the Book of Mormon: 'If men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.' (Ether 12:27.)
Spencer W. Kimball
"All too frequently, one who has done many splendid things in life and made an excellent contribution will let pride cause him to lose the rich reward to which he would be entitled otherwise. We should always wear the sackcloth and ashes of a forgiving heart and a contrite spirit, being willing always to exercise genuine humility, as did the publican, and ask the Lord to help us to forgive." (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 297)
Spencer W. Kimball
"When one becomes conscious of his great humility, he has already lost it. When one begins boasting of his humility, it has already become pride-the antithesis of humility.
"Humility is repentant and seeks not to justify its follies. It is forgiving others in the realization that there may be errors of the same kind or worse chalked up against itself. ...
"It is not self-abasement-the hiding in the corner, the devaluation of everything one does or thinks or says; but it is the doing of one's best in every case and leaving of one's acts, expressions, and accomplishments to largely speak for themselves." (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 233)
Jacob 2:13 ye suppose that ye are better than they
Contrast the narrow-minded pride of the spiritually weak with the humility of Moses. When Moses was privileged to see all of God's creations, he exclaimed, I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed (Moses 1:10). When man is disobedient, he is worse than nothing, or at least worse than the dust of the earth, O how great is the nothingness of the children of men; yea, even they are less than the dust of the earth. For behold, the dust of the earth moveth hither and thither, to the dividing asunder, at the command of our great and everlasting God (Hel 12:7-8). We, on the other hand, often do not follow the Lord's commands because we are so filled with pride and self-righteousness. This is in defiance of the plan of the great Creator, for, all flesh is of the dust; and for the selfsame end hath he created them, that they should keep his commandments and glorify him forever (v. 21).
Jacob 2:18 before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God
The most masterful discussion on this topic is covered by the Savior on the Sermon on the Mount. He repeated these teachings to the Nephites:
'Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also....
No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon....
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (3 Ne 13:19-33)
Jacob 2:19 after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them
This is one of the few passages of scripture which says that the pursuit of riches is okay. The D & C records:
'And if ye seek the riches which it is the will of the Father to give unto you, ye shall be the richest of all people, for ye shall have the riches of eternity; and it must needs be that the riches of the earth are mine to give; but beware of pride, lest ye become as the Nephites of old.' (DC 38:39)
The pursuit of wealth must be done with qualifications, 1) one must first seek the kingdom of God, 2) one must have obtained a hope in Christ, and 3) the riches are to be sought for the benefit of others. If a rich individual meets these qualifications and is not lifted up in pride, he or she is justified before the Lord. Otherwise, wealth, or more accurately, the love of money, is a vice which destroys the soul. As the Savior said, a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matt 19:24).
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Continuing with the words of Paul, 'For the love of money is the root of all evil' (1 Tim 6:10). It is the love of money and the love of those things which money can buy which destroys us. We all need money to supply our needs. But it is the love of it which hurts us, which warps our values, which leads us away from spiritual things and fosters selfishness and greed." (Ensign, May 1997, p. 49 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the Book of Mormon compiled by K. Douglas Bassett, p. 175)
George F. Richards
"The Lord expects us when he blesses us with the good things of this earth to remember those who are not so fortunate. We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, comfort those who mourn, and minister unto those who are poor and needy, and thus become of that class to whom the Lord, when he shall come, shall say: 'Come, ye blessed of the Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.'" (Conference Reports, Oct. 1939, p. 109)
"I will promise the Latter-day Saints that if they will go into these things allowing God to dictate in the interests of Israel and the building up of his Zion on the earth, and take themselves and their individual interests out of the question, feeling they are acting for him and his kingdom, they will become the wealthiest of all people, and God will bless them and pour out wealth and intelligence and all the blessings that earth can afford." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 20, p. 164)
Jacob 2:23-24 David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable
The Book of Mormon is a monogamous book. There are no condoned polygamous marriages in its pages. This is encouraging to the closet polygamy haters in the church. It makes it clear that the Lord has a plan for us to receive eternal life, and that polygamy is not a prerequisite. Rather, polygamy is the exception not the rule.
On the other hand, the words of Jacob should not be construed to condemn completely the practice of polygamy. In verse 30, Jacob quotes the word of the Lord as referring to the exceptional instance in which polygamy is instituted, For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, raise up seed unto me, I will command my people. What is being condemned by Jacob is the way in which polygamy was practiced by David and Solomon.
Of these two kings, Solomon clearly abused the practice more than his father did. He had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). Certainly, this many partners were taken only to satisfy his sexual appetite. This is hinted at by the book of the Song of Solomon. This book talks more about the body parts of his wives and concubines than it does about any eternal principles. This is what prompted the prophet, Joseph Smith, to declare in his retranslation of the Bible that the Song of Solomon is not an inspired writing.
Solomon also took wives of "strangers" or Gentiles which was expressly forbidden by the Lord. The Israelites were forbidden to intermarry with their Gentile neighbors because of their idolatrous practices. The Lord was afraid that the Israelites would turn to idolatry if they were exposed to these practices by their "strange" spouses. This is exactly what happened to Solomon. He was world renowned for wisdom but he was not smart enough to repel the idolatrous practices of his many wives. They turned his heart from the Lord and Solomon was condemned by the Lord for so doing:
'But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
Of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God....
And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel' (1 Kings 11:1-4, 9).
On the other hand, David had fewer wives and concubines. The exact number is not recorded in the Bible, but it does record at least 8 different women which were married to him (2 Sam 3:1-5 records the names of 6). It also states that he took an unnumbered group of concubines, And David took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem (2 Sam 5:13). Nevertheless, the scriptures state that this was justified before the Lord, in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife; and, therefore he hath fallen from his exaltation (DC 132:39).
The story of Uriah begins with David's voyeuristic episode with his wife, Bathsheba. David happened to see Bathesheba while she was bathing and was smitten with her beauty. He had her brought to him and committed adultery with her. After he found out that she was pregnant, he had her husband, Uriah, killed. This was done by placing him in the front of the battle lines and then commanding the rest of the troops to withdraw to expose him to the enemy without support. Having accomplished this, he took Bathsheba as his wife (see 2 Sam 11). Of David's actions the Lord said:
'thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon.
Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.
Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun.' (2 Sam 12:9-12)
From a doctrinal standpoint, David could have repented for the adultery with Bathsheba, but there was no forgiveness for the murder of Uriah the Hittite. This murder is the fundamental cause for David to have fallen from his exaltation as described in DC 132. Thus we see that the practice of polygamy by David and Solomon proved to be their undoing. Both fell because of their abominations before the Lord.
Jacob 2:24 What is a concubine?
Bruce R. McConkie
"In modern times a concubine is a woman who cohabits with a man without being his wife. But 'from the beginning of creation,' all down through the history of God's dealings with his people, including those with the house of Israel, concubines were legal wives married to their husbands in the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. (D. & C. 132:1, 37-39, 65.)
"Anciently they were considered to be secondary wives, that is, wives who did not have the same standing in the caste system then prevailing as did those wives who were not called concubines. There were no concubines connected with the practice of plural marriage in this dispensation, because the caste system which caused some wives to be so designated did not exist." (Mormon Doctrine, p. 154)
Jacob 2:28 I, the Lord God, delight in the chastity of women
Spencer W. Kimball
"God requires chastity. We stand for a life of cleanliness. From childhood through youth and to the grave, we proclaim the wickedness of sexual life of any kind before marriage, and we proclaim that everyone in marriage should hold himself or herself to the covenants that were made.
"In other words, as we have frequently said, there should be total chastity of men and women before marriage and total fidelity in marriage. The fact that so-called sex revolutionists would change the order and change the status is repugnant to us. We abhor, with all our power, pornography, permissiveness, and the so-called freedom of the sexes, and we fear that those who have supported, taught, and encouraged the permissiveness that brings about this immoral behavior will someday come to a sad reckoning with him who has established the standards...
"Chastity is of great value. Chastity and virtue are 'most dear and precious above all things' (Moroni 9:9), more valuable than rubies or diamonds, than herds and flocks, than gold and silver, or than automobiles and land. But, sadly, in many cases they are on sale at the cheapest shops and at the cheapest prices." (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 264-5)
Joseph F. Smith
"We believe...that we are here to fulfil a destiny, and not to fulfil a whim, or for the gratification of mortal lusts...Personal purity and proper thoughts...are the bases of all proper action. I wish that all young [people] could appreciate the value there is in this practice, and in giving their youthful days to the service of the Lord...There appears to be a something beyond and above the reasons apparent to the human mind why chastity brings strength and power to the peoples of the earth, but it is so.
"We believe in one standard of morality for men and women. If purity of life is neglected, all other dangers set in upon us like the rivers of waters when the flood gates are opened.
"We desire with holy zeal to emphasize the enormity of sexual sins. Though often regarded as insignificant by those not knowing the will of God, they are, in his eyes an abomination, and if we are to remain his favored people they must be shunned as the gates of hell...
"Unchastity, furthermore, not only fixes its penalty on the one who transgresses, but reaches out unerring punishment to the third and fourth generation, making not only the transgressor a wreck, but mayhap involving scores of people in his direct line of relationship, disrupting family ties, breaking the hearts of parents, and causing a black stream of sorrow to overwhelm their lives." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, pp. 156-7)
First Presidency Message
"You husbands and wives who have taken on solemn obligations of chastity in the holy temples of the Lord and who violate those sacred vows by illicit sexual relations with others, you not only commit the vile and loathsome sin of adultery, but you break the oath you yourselves made with the Lord Himself before you went to the altar for your sealing. You become subject to the penalties which the Lord has prescribed for those who breach their covenants with Him." (Heber J. Grant, J. Reuben Clark, Jr., David O. McKay, Oct. 1942, as taken from Daniel Ludlow's, A Companion to Your Study of the Book of Mormon, p.117)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Yet we have too many young people in the Church who do not give God's law on physical intimacy its proper priority. One survey revealed that seven out of nine girls who lost their virtue suffered that loss in cars after dances and parties. In another survey, in which seminary teachers asked students to place certain commandments of the Lord in the order of their importance, the Word of Wisdom placed first and chastity fifth. Yet another survey showed that ten of twelve students had petted to the point that they considered their virtue lost. It is hoped that these surveys were not typical of all of our youth." (Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 65)
Jacob 2:35 Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives
In the Priesthood/Relief Society manual, Joseph F. Smith, "rejoiced that he lived 'in the pure unsullied love' of his family and said, 'I would not abuse their love and confidence for all I have or am.'" (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 155)
Boyd K. Packer
"I would remind you that the father is first of all a husband, and essential to rearing of fine stalwart sons is proper regard for the wife and the mother of the family. O how important it is for a son to have a proper relationship with his father and with his mother, and for him to know that his father and his mother live together in love. There are some hideous things that can happen to a boy -- ugly, abnormal, perverted things. A proper parental pattern is the greatest insurance against tragedy such as this.
"The Prophet Jacob, in accusing wayward fathers of his day, said:
'Behold, ye have done greater iniquities than the Lamanites, our brethren. Ye have broken the hearts of your tender wives, and lost the confidence of your children, because of your bad examples before them; and the sobbings of their hearts ascend up to God against you. . . .' (Jacob 2:35.)
"If the father does not honor the priesthood he holds, rest assured that the son will do more than duplicate the inactivity. He will likely magnify the mischief he sees in you, father. Fortunately, the same may be true of your virtue and activity also."(Conference Report, p. 63)
Jeffrey R. Holland
"In the sermon on chastity, it is particularly revealing that Jacob is so sensitive to the women in his audience. Whether or not that was a result of having seen his mother in anguish over the wickedness of her eldest sons we cannot know, but it is interesting that in his unflinching declaration against sexual transgression Jacob quotes a communication from heaven as follows: [Jacob 2:31-33,35]
"...That is a poetic, profound, 'piercing' indictment, and we have the feeling here that Jacob understood then what we unfortunately understand now-that it is usually (but not always) the woman who suffers most in the tragedy of unchastity and that usually (but not always) it is the transgressing man who causes the 'sobbings of the [women's] hearts to ascend up to God.'" (Heroes from the Book of Mormon, pp. 41-2)