Highlights for Genesis 3-4
This post draws on two resources – (1) Joseph Smith’s complete translation of the Bible – amazingly, Joseph Smith corrected translations for more than 3,900 verses from the KJV Bible. And (2) Robert Alter’s “The Hebrew Bible – A Translation with Commentary.” Robert Alter’s book is considered one of the best translations of the Bible in our modern time and came highly recommended by bookofmormoncentral.org – a premiere Latter-day Saint scholarship site. Robert Alter’s lifetime work was published in 2018. See My Secrets for Falling In Love with the Old Testament for more information about these two books and where to get them.
They Gnash and Wretch Over A Pivotal Truth
This is not an original point, but have you ever been resented because you believed God has a tangible, glorified body and we have a likeness to Him? That He has a literal Son on His right hand? Like they get hateful and nasty over it? Or maybe some resent your belief in the progression of mankind after death, that we are eventually headed to godhood? (Probably takes eons, but still!) It puzzles me how anyone considers these ideas out of bounds when the Bible mentions them several times. My question to those offended by such beliefs is, “okay, maybe you don’t believe that concept – but how are you justified in mocking anyone who might take these verses literally”? It’s one of the most beautiful, essential precepts of gospel truth and light. These inspired teachings reveal who you are, where you are headed, and whose blueprint you share.
KJV Bible – Genesis 1:26-27
26 ¶ And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
The Hebrew Bible – Genesis 1:26-27
And God said, “Let us make a human in our image, by our likeness, to hold sway over the fish of the sea and the fowl of the heavens and the cattle and the wild beasts and all the crawling things that crawl upon the earth.
(Written as a poem)
And God created the human in his image,
in the image of God He created him,
male and female He created them.
Joseph Smith Translation – Genesis 1:27-29
strikethrough = words Joseph Smith deleted (sometimes what Joseph crossed out can be just as much information as what he added)
bold type = words Joseph Smith added
27 And I, God, said unto mine Only Begotten, which was with me from the beginning, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and it was so.
28 And I, God, said, Let them have dominion over the
fish fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
So And I, God, created man in his mine own image, in the image of God mine Only Begotten created he I him; male and female created he I them.
A Bible verse quoting the Savior in regards to man’s divine destiny and worth:
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)
The Back Story of Lamech
Lamech is a minor story in the KJV version of Genesis. He only gets six verses and isn’t described much more than another man who committed murder. Both the Hebrew Bible and Joseph Smith reveal a deeper story.
Let’s revisit the Hebrew translations:
The Hebrew Bible – Genesis 4:24
(Written as a poem)
“Adah and Zillah, O hearken my voice,
You wives of Lamech, give ear to my speech.
For a man have I slain for my wound
a boy for my bruising.
For sevenfold Cain is avenged,
and Lamech seventy and seven.”
Robert Alter: “the narrative context of this poem is long lost, but it looks like a warrior’s triumphal song, cast as a boast to his wives (Alter then explains the poem’s style and steadily increasing emphasis from accent marks meant to intensify the dramatic element). Perhaps, then, what Lamech is saying (quite barbarically) is that not only has he killed a man for wounding him, he has not hesitated to kill a mere boy for hurting him.”
Lamech puts himself above Cain by claiming he is more significant (avenged seventy times seven if anyone dares touch him); essentially, he claims he will be protected as Cain was. Let’s see how that turns out?
JST – Genesis 5:35-41
An accomplished and respected Hebrew scholar noted that the narrative for the poem about Lamech is missing. Joseph Smith noticed it was missing too and gifts us the rest of the story. It’s quite a peek into the secret combinations that have existed since almost the beginning of time. The following verses are essentially an extra chapter – so no strikethroughs.
35 For, Lamech having entered into a covenant with Satan, after the manner of Cain, wherein he became Master Mahan, master of that great secret which was administered unto Cain by Satan;
36 And Irad, the son of Enoch, having known their secret, began to reveal it unto the sons of Adam; wherefore, Lamech, being angry, slew him, not like unto Cain his brother Abel for the sake of getting gain; but he slew him for the oath’s sake;
37 For, from the days of Cain, there was a secret combination, and their works were in the dark, and they knew every man his brother.
38 Wherefore the Lord cursed Lamech and his house, and all they that had covenanted with Satan; for they kept not the commandments of God. And it displeased God, and he ministered not unto them.
39 And their works were abominations, and began to spread among all the sons of men. And it was among the sons of men.
40 And among the daughters of men, these things were not spoken; because that Lamech had spoken the secret unto his wives, and they rebelled against him, and declared these things abroad, and had not compassion.
Good for them, right?
41 Wherefore Lamech was despised, and cast out, and came not among the sons of men, lest he should die.
So much for “avenged seventy times seven.”
Both men (an expert scholar and an unlearned prophet) note that Lamech was boasting and had an exaggerated view of himself. But in the end, he was pretty cursed and humiliated. I find it interesting that the women were excluded from the secret oath and combinations in very early times because they were likely to expose it. I wonder if that is still true today?