Sometime after JS arrived in , Missouri, he apparently answered two sets of questions, one regarding Isaiah chapter 11 and the other, labeled “Questions by ,” relating to Isaiah chapter 52. The dating of these two sets of questions and answers is uncertain, but they were probably produced sometime between 16 and 29 March 1838. While JS could have met with Higbee, who was a member of the , anytime during this period, the one time they were known to be together was during a meeting of the high council and on 24 March 1838, suggesting that Higbee may have posed his questions to JS after the meeting adjourned that evening. The answers to the first set of questions, regarding Isaiah 11, begin with “thus saith the Lord.” The revealed answers may have provoked Higbee to ask the questions about Isaiah 52:1–2, though the answers given to Higbee’s questions do not include the same revelatory language. These verses regard the redemption of and introduce Isaiah’s suffering servant oracles, including the material in chapter 53, which is one of traditional Christianity’s most important texts for Christianizing the Old Testament. Isaiah 52:1–2 is quoted twice in the Book of Mormon, and other passages in chapter 52 also appear in the book. JS revelations also repeat or allude to verses in this chapter, using them to explain the and reestablishment of the house of Israel in the latter days.
posed two questions. The answers, presumably from JS, stated that those called of God in the last days would be given authority to gather scattered Israel home to Zion. These answers may have been considered as having special significance at this time because of JS’s move to , the Saints’ “Land of Zion.” Probably sometime in mid- or late April, inscribed the questions and answers in the “Scriptory Book,” probably from an earlier manuscript.
See, for example, Calvin, Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, 4:109–132; Wesley, Explanatory Notes upon the Old Testament, 3:2085–2088; and Henry, Exposition of the Old and New Testament, 4:241–248.
Calvin, John. Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. Translated by William Pringle. 4 vols. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1948.
Wesley, John. Explanatory Notes upon the Old Testament. 4 vols. Bristol, England: William Pine, 1765.
Henry, Matthew. An Exposition of the Old and New Testament: Wherein Each Chapter Is Summed Up in Its Contents; the Sacred Text Inserted at Large, in Distinct Paragraphs; Each Paragraph Reduced to Its Proper Heads; the Sense Given, and Largely Illustrated; with Practical Remarks and Observations. First American ed. 5 vols. Philadelphia: Ed. Barrington and Geo. D. Haswell, .
1st. Q. What is ment by the command in Isiah 52d. chap 1st. verse which saith Put on thy strength O and what people had I[sa]iah referance to
A. He had reference to those whome God should call in the last day’s who should hold the power of to bring again zion and the redemption of Israel.
And to put on her strength is to put on the authority of the priesthood which she (zion) has a right to by lineage: Also to return to that power which she had lost
Ques. 2d. What are we to understand by zions loosing herself from the bands of her neck 2d. verse.
A. We are to understand that the scattered remnants are exorted to to return to the Lord from whence they have fal[l]en which if they do the promise of the Lord is that he will speak to them or give them revelation See 6th. 7th. and 8th. verses The bands of her neck are the curses of God upon her or the remnants of Israel in their scattered condition among the Gentiles. [p. 18]