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|Title||“Can You Suppose That the Lord Will Spare You?”: Moroni’s Charged Rhetoric in Alma 60:30–32|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2022|
|Authors||Bowen, Matthew L.|
|Journal||Interpreter: A Journal of Latter-day Saint Faith and Scholarship|
|Keywords||Captain Moroni; Onomastics; Wordplay; Zarahemla (City of)|
Under the duress of a lengthy war, and prompted by recent Lamanite military successes, as well as incensed at the government’s failure to resupply Helaman’s armies with provisions and to send men to reinforce the city Nephihah, Moroni sent a second scathing letter to the leaders of the Nephite nation in the Nephite capital city Zarahemla. As other scholars have noted, the name Zarahemla likely denotes “seed of compassion” or “seed of sparing.” In this article, I propose that Moroni’s rhetoric in the letter includes an acerbic word-irony involving the meaning of Zarahemla perhaps achieved in terms of the Hebrew verb yaḥmōl (“[he] will spare,” from ḥml, “spare,” “have compassion.” This word-irony points out that although the Lord had spared the people of Zarahemla and the Nephites in the past, the uncompassionate behavior of the nation’s leaders in Zarahemla was creating conditions under which the Lord would not spare the leadership in Zarahemla. Moroni wrote, “Behold, I come unto you, even in the land of Zarahemla, and smite you with the sword … For behold, the Lord will not suffer that ye shall live and wax strong in your iniquities to destroy his righteous people. Behold, can you suppose that the Lord will spare you…?” (Alma 60:30–32). The covenant background of this threat will also be explored.
For a summary of this article, check out Interpreting Interpreter: https://interpreterfoundation.org/interpreting-interpreter-captain-moronis-spiteful-spare/
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