Jacob the poet-prophet

A gifted writer, much of his writings are evocative in their imagery.

December 30, 2013

TODO: Write about his preaching found in the book of 2 Nephi!

The Book of Jacob

Chapter 1 - Jacob is observant

Verses 4-6

4 And if there were **(1)**preaching which was sacred, or **(2)**revelation which was great, or **(3)**prophesying, that I should engraven the heads of them upon these plates, and touch upon them as much as it were possible, for Christ’s sake, and for the sake of our people.

5 For because of faith and great anxiety, it truly had been made manifest unto us concerning our people, what **(1)**things should happen unto them [(by preaching?)].

6 And we also had many **(2)**revelations, and the spirit of much **(3)**prophecy; wherefore, we knew of Christ and his kingdom, which should come.

Evocative usage of metaphor and simile

1:2 - regarding what to write in the records:

...I should not touch, save it were lightly, concerning the history of this people...

1:19 - regarding the effect of the sins of those he taught:

...otherwise their blood would come upon our garments, and we would not be found spotless at the last day.

2:5 - The path of sin, though appealing and seamingly "easier", is a laborious one.

I can tell you concerning your thoughts, how that ye are beginning to labor in sin, which sin appeareth very abominable

2:8 - The effect of God's word is restorative

And it supposeth me that they have come up hither to hear the pleasing word of God, yea, the word which healeth the wounded soul.

2:9 - But it often has to get worse before it gets better...

Wherefore, it burdeneth my soul that I should be constrained, because of the strict commandment which I have received from God, to admonish you according to your crimes, to enlarge the wounds of those who are already wounded, instead of consoling and healing their wounds; and those who have not been wounded, instead of feasting upon the pleasing word of God have daggers placed to pierce their souls and wound their delicate minds.

2:15 - Sign-seekers have seen as much:

O that he would show you that he can pierce you, and with one glance of his eye he can smite you to the dust!

2:35 - The consequences of sin.

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. And because of the strictness of the word of God, which cometh down against you, many hearts died, pierced with deep wounds.



Yea, it grieveth my soul and causeth me to shrink with shame before the presence of my Maker


Jacob is the first writer in the book of Mormon to use the phrase "hundredth part" illustrating how little he was able to write regarding the goings-on of the people.

Sense of humor?

4:1 - Jacob describes the difficulty of writing on plages:

...I cannot write but a little of my words, because of the difficulty of engraving our words upon plates...

He then proceeds to write the longest chapter in the Book of Mormon, Chapter 5, which has 77 verses. (Thanks to Scott Anderson for this insight.)

Vivid description of God's power through prophets


6 Wherefore, we search the prophets, and we have many revelations and the spirit of prophecy; and having all these witnesses we obtain a hope, and our faith becometh unshaken, insomuch that we truly can command in the name of Jesus and the very trees obey us, or the mountains, or the waves of the sea.

Closing arguments

It seems that Jacob must have thought that Chapter 6 was the end of his writings.


5 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, I beseech of you in words of soberness that ye would repent, and come with full purpose of heart, and cleave unto God as he cleaveth unto you. And while his arm of mercy is extended towards you in the light of the day, harden not your hearts.

6 Yea, today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts; for why will ye die?


12 O be wise; what can I say more?

Description of mortality


26 And it came to pass that I, Jacob, began to be old; and the record of this people being kept on the other plates of Nephi, wherefore, I conclude this record, declaring that I have written according to the best of my knowledge, by saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream, we being a lonesome and a solemn people, wanderers, cast out from Jerusalem, born in tribulation, in a wilderness, and hated of our brethren, which caused wars and contentions; wherefore, we did mourn out our days.

Farewell and adieu


And I make an end of my writing upon these plates, which writing has been small; and to the reader I bid farewell, hoping that many of my brethren may read my words. Brethren, adieu.


The Book of Jacob - The Book of Mormon

-Michael Whatcott