Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Poetic Experiment--Alma 7:7-9

I am home from sacrament meeting today to stay with our baby. And so I've been reading Alma 7, which includes some of my favorite Christmas scriptures.

As I read verse 7 and noticed the three "beholds" in that sentence, I started to wonder: might this prophecy have been in verse before its translation? What might it have sounded like if I had the original language?

I don't claim any right to retranslate the Book of Mormon, but I decided to experiment with the basic structure to emphasize the poetic parallels in verses 7-9. You'll notice I've taken a few liberties with the text--I will excuse myself for doing so on the grounds that you already have the correct version and that sometimes getting a few things wrong in a literary variation is worth it if it helps you discover more of what's going on in the source.

Here's Alma's prophecy in my lines:   
For behold: I say to you, many things will come
And behold: one is greater than all others
For behold: the time is not far when the Redeemer will live
and be seen by his people.

Now listen: I do not say
if he will come to us
while he dwells in his mortality.
Yes, listen: the Spirit has not said
if he will come to us
while he is clothed in clay.

Of these things, I do not know:
but there is one thing I know:
that the Lord God has the power
and his Word can do all things.

But behold: the Spirit surely called to me, saying:
"Cry out to this people, saying:
'Repent! And ready the path for the Lord!
Yes, walk in his paths, in his iron-straight paths.
For behold: the kingdom of heaven is coming down
Yes, the Son of Heaven's King is coming down
to dwell on the face of the earth.'" 

Merry Christmas.


  1. I like the way you have arranged it, very moving. Some one should set it to music; it would make a nice Christmas hymn.

  2. Almost thou persuadest me to love poetry.

  3. Beautiful. I will be reading in Alma 7 tonight before I go to sleep.



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