The Title of Liberty

Restored in Pre-exilic Hebrew

The Title of Liberty Restored

 

What is the Title of Liberty?

The following account from the Book of Mormon explains:

11  And now it came to pass that when Moroni, who was the chief commander of the armies of the Nephites, had heard of these dissensions, he was angry with Amalickiah.

12  And it came to pass that he rent his coat; and he took a piece thereof, and wrote upon it—In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children—and he fastened it upon the end of a pole. (Alma 46:11 - 12)

17  And it came to pass that when he had poured out his soul to God, he named all the land which was south of the land Desolation, yea, and in fine, all the land, both on the north and on the south—A chosen land, and the land of liberty. (Alma 46:17)

19  And when Moroni had said these words, he went forth among the people, waving the rent part of his garment in the air, that all might see the writing which he had written upon the rent part, and crying with a loud voice, saying:

20  Behold, whosoever will maintain this title upon the land, let them come forth in the strength of the Lord, and enter into a covenant that they will maintain their rights, and their religion, that the Lord God may bless them. (Alma 46:19 - 20)

22  Now this was the covenant which they made, and they cast their garments at the feet of Moroni, saying: We covenant with our God, that we shall be destroyed, even as our brethren in the land northward, if we shall fall into transgression; yea, he may cast us at the feet of our enemies, even as we have cast our garments at thy feet to be trodden under foot, if we shall fall into transgression.

23  Moroni said unto them: Behold, we are a remnant of the seed of Jacob; yea, we are a remnant of the seed of Joseph, whose coat was rent by his brethren into many pieces; yea, and now behold, let us remember to keep the commandments of God, or our garments shall be rent by our brethren, and we be cast into prison, or be sold, or be slain.

24  Yea, let us preserve our liberty as a remnant of Joseph; yea, let us remember the words of Jacob, before his death, for behold, he saw that a part of the remnant of the coat of Joseph was preserved and had not decayed.  And he said—Even as this remnant of garment of my son hath been preserved, so shall a remnant of the seed of my son be preserved by the hand of God, and be taken unto himself, while the remainder of the seed of Joseph shall perish, even as the remnant of his garment. (Alma 46:22 - 24)

28  And now it came to pass that when Moroni had said these words he went forth, and also sent forth in all the parts of the land where there were dissensions, and gathered together all the people who were desirous to maintain their liberty, to stand against Amalickiah and those who had dissented, who were called Amalickiahites. (Alma 46:28)

36  And it came to pass also, that he caused the title of liberty to be hoisted upon every tower which was in all the land, which was possessed by the Nephites; and thus Moroni planted the standard of liberty among the Nephites. (Alma 46:36)

Where is the covenant land of the Title of Liberty?

The blessed and cursed covenant land of the Title of Liberty resides, of course, in land occupied by the prophetic United States of America! (1 Nephi 13:14-20, 30, 2 Nephi 10:10-14, Ether 2:9-12, LDS Doctrine and Covenants 10:48-51; 128:20) Too far south, or too far north and the Nephiim (how you really say Nephites” in Hebrew) would not have had the right seasons to keep the Law of Moses in all things. (2 Nephi 5:10)

What is pre-exilic Hebrew?

Pre-exilic Hebrew is Hebrew language and writing that was in use before the Babylonian exile. It is Hebrew familiar to the Book of Mormon patriarch Lehi and his son Nephi. One of the things distinguishing pre-exilic or paleo Hebrew from post-exilic and Modern Hebrew is that paleo Hebrew is written using Phoenician like letters - letters similar to those inscribed on the Tennessee Mound Tablet. The Phoenicians were ancient seafaring K’na’anim (Canaanites) who interacted with Yisra’El (Israel).

How does one translate the Title of Liberty into authentic Hebrew?

In order to translate into language and letters recognizable to Nephiim (Nephites), the words:

In memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children”

I turned to the Hebrew Bible! I wanted to avoid anachronistic vocabulary! After finding the appropriate language I converted the biblical Hebrew letters back into their more ancient pre-exilic form.

First of all, I searched for occurrences of the expression “…in memory” in the Bible. I found that the expression “…in memory” appears in 1 Corinthians 15:2 (King James Version); but this verse in New Testament Greek doesn't really say “…in memory”. Even if it did, Moroni did not write the Title of Liberty in New Testament Greek. A Hebrew translation of this verse uses another word instead of “memory”. The Greek behind the KJV NT  verse, “…keep in memory what I preached …” is rendered “…be strong in the word of my exhortation …” in Hebrew.

In the KJV Old Testament we find the expression “…in remembrance” (e.g. Shemu’El bet (2 Samuel) 18:18) But the preposition “in” before the word translated “remembrance” isn’t really there in the Hebrew Masoretic text from which the KJV was translated. The same is true for “…in remembrance” translated from other Hebrew verses; for instance Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 43:26. Much of the English Book of Mormon has been translated into the imperfect but dignified language of the King James Bible. (Mormon 9:33)

I searched the words of Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) and felt impressed to use the Hebrew plural imperative (command) “zikhru”, “remember (second person plural)”  given in the following verse: 

9  Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (Isaiah 46:9, KJV)

The imperative plural form of the Hebrew verb “remember” is more fitting than the familiar Gentile expression “In memory”, which comes across more like an epitaph for the departed.

The same imperative form of the verb “remember” appears in the writing of YirmeYahu (Jeremiah) a contemporary of Lehi. See YirmeYahu (Jeremiah) 51:50. In this verse the command “remember” is followed by the Hebrew direct object indicator or particle “et”. The verse literally reads, ...remember you (plural) ... et the LORD (the Eternal, Tetragrammaton). Because “et” has no equivalent in English it is left out of the KJV translation, just as it is in the English translation of the Book of Mormon.

An example of the Hebrew “et” being used in connection with “our God” is found in Shofetim (Judges) 10:10. Here, “Eloheynu” literally means “our Elohim”, and can be translated “our GOD”, “our Gods” or “our Godhead”; since “Elohim” is really plural. The word is usually translated “God” singular in English. Levels of Hebrew meaning are often lost in translation - even inspired translation.

We must be careful not to use the Modern Hebrew word for “religion, which is “dat”. This Persian loanword, also translated “law”, “decree”, “edict”, “commission” came into use in Hebrew scripture after Lehi left Yerushalayim (Jerusalem). It is unlikely that the Nephiim (Nephites) were aquainted with this word. Its apparent use in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 33:2 is controversial and disputed. (The New Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew-Aramaic Lexicon, דָת ,1881, pg. 206)

I favor translating “our religion” using a more ancient Hebrew word for “instruction”, “direction”, “law”: The expression is toratnu”, “our instruction”, “our law”, “our Torah”! (The New Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew-Aramaic Lexicon, תוֹרָה ,8451, pp. 435-436)

The ancient Hebrew word for “freedom” is given in Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:20 – the word is hufshah”. “...our freedom” transliterates as ...hufshatnu”.

“…our peace” comes directly from the Messianic verse Yesha’Yahu (Isaiah) 53:5. The expression is ...shlomenu”.

“…our wives (women)” is found in Bemidbar (Numbers) 14:3 – and transliterates as ...nasheynu”. The expression translated “our children” in the same verse, is “tapenu”. It is more appropriately translated “our little ones” or “tripping ones”, since very little children tend to trip as they step. A more inclusive expression translated “our children” is vaneynu”, which literally means “our sons”. See Devarim (Deuteronomy) 29:29. A group of boys and girls, regardless of their ages, are always referred to in the masculine in Hebrew.

This completes the Hebrew translation of the Title of Liberty.

How do you correctly say the ancient words of the Title of Liberty?

What follows is a “close enough” pronunciation key for the transliterated Hebrew Title of Liberty:

Pronounce i as “ee” - as in “free”!

Pronounce u as “oo” - as in “Nauvoo”.

Pronounce e as “eh” - as in “red”.

Pronounce o as “oh” - as in “Ohio!”

Pronounce ey as “ay” - as in “ray”.

Pronounce a as “ah” - as in “Nephihah”.

Pronounce kh as if your clearing you throat while making a “k” sound; otherwise just make a “k” sound - as in “kiss”.

Pronounce h the same as kh, or if thats difficult, just make an “h” sound - as in “Hanukkah”.

Pronounce all other consonants below phonetically.   

In Hebrew, the words of the Title of Liberty are poetic. Transliterated into English they read:

Zikhru

et Eloheynu

v’et toratnu

v’et hufshatnu

v’et shlomenu

v’et nasheynu

v’et vaneynu

Please read them aloud! Hear the words of chief commander Moroni! (LDS Doctrine and Covenants 84:54-57)

 

Vincent Coon      וִינְסֶנט כּוּן    Copyright 2012

 

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