Kevin Barney's impressive article, "Poetic Diction and Parallel Word Pairs in the Book of Mormon" published by the Maxwell Institute is a must-read for those interested in the issue of vestiges of Hebraic language structures (Hebraisms) in the Book of Mormon. Barney treats just one of many related topics, but this issue of word pairs is well researched, well documented, and a meaningful advance in our understanding of the Book of Mormon and its Semitic roots. He offers 3 hypotheses to explain why these are found in such abundance in the Book of Mormon. Decide for yourself which one makes the most sense. Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs from Hebrew literature that are used appropriately, even skillfully, in the Book of Mormon. Given that scholars did not recognize the concept of Hebraic word pairs until decades after Joseph Smith's day, I hope you'll at least be impressed that they have been implemented so well in the Book of Mormon text.

Here is the list of 40 attested word pairs that occur in Hebrew poetry and in Book of Mormon passages. Many, of course, are logically related and not surprising of themselves to be used together, though some are far from intuitive or obvious. More important, I would suggest, is how they have been used. Is it random and clumsy, as we might find, say, in any attempted forgery written in King James lingo (why not go ahead and have your favorite Bible student try this for a few pages and see what happens?) or skillful and deliberate? Read the article and let me know your thoughts.

Index of Word Pairs

1. anger//fierce anger
2. blessed//cursed
3. blood//burnt offerings
4. city//land
5. day//night
6. dead//dust
7. deliver//destroy
8. earth//darkness
9. earth//mountains
10. eyes//heart
11. favor//blessing
12. God//man
13. good//evil
14. hearken//give ear
15. hearken//hear
16. heart//soul
17. hear//understand
18. heavens//earth
19. highway//road
20. Jacob//Israel
21. knees//earth
22. lead//destroy
23. light//darkness
24. Lord//God
25. mountain//valley
26. nations//earth
27. old men//young men
28. people//Israel
29. place//land
30. pride//wisdom
31. righteous//wicked
32. sea//earth
33. seen//heard
34. sin//righteousness
35. tell//declare
36. thousands//ten thousands
37. tree//waters
38. visions//dreams
39. walk//observe
40. way//law
Special request for your Hebrew experts:In a recent comment on this blog, Annie J. made an interesting observation. I'd like further input on this verse and causative structures in Hebrew:
There's another possible Hebraism that I discovered while reading the Book of Mormon in Japanese. It was in Mosiah 7, verse 11 - the English wording is "I should have caused that my guards should have put you to death." I noticed this because the wording is very elegant in Japanese; they have a causative - a verb conjugation that means "to cause someone to V." As I read it in Japanese and noticed how appropriate and native-like it sounded, I flipped back to the English, where I found the much more cumbersome "should have caused that …" A native English speaker, in that situation, would have said "I should have commanded my guards to put you to death," or inserted a similar verb. We're not accustomed to having a causal form of a verb.

When I returned from my mission, I asked a good friend of mine who is an Orthodox Jew and speaks Hebrew very well if Hebrew had a causative mood. She told me that it does, and that it is used often.

Now, the part I don't know is whether this knowledge would have been available to Joseph Smith or how often it occurs in the KJV. But I did think it a rather interesting little tidbit to stumble across on my own.
Yes, I think that's interesting. I don't recall seeing this verse treated in previous articles on Hebraisms. It has the feel of something that has been translated and unnatural for an English speaker to have written or spoken. Is this something that could be a plausible and perhaps relatively direct translation of good Hebrew?

Update: Looks like the Book of Mormon's frequent use of the verb "cause" in ways that are not needed and often awkward in English does fit a common Hebrew construction, as was already noted in this 1914 article about Book of Mormon Hebraisms by T. Brookbank, courtesy of Kerry Shirts:
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