1. This word Babylon comes from the Akkadian language (a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic) and is a composite of two words, “bab” (gate) and “ilu” (god). So it means “gate of god” most likely referring to the great temple complex dedicated to Marduk where priests could approach their god Marduk at his gate. The Hebrew world “el” (god) is related to the Akkadian word “ilu.” In the Old Testament the word for God is usually written in the Hebrew as “Elohim” which is the plural form of “el.” Interestingly, the Akkadian word “bab” (gate) has endured through the centuries and is still in use today in the Arabic language. A traveler to Egypt today when passing through doorways into buildings will often be greeted by a man who is called the “bowab” (the doorkeeper). The unwary traveler however, will give away all of his money in tips within the first day because each “bowab” asks for a tip as he opens the door! The Hebrew version of the word Babylon is “babel” and means “confusion” no doubt inspired by the confusion of tongues that occurred in primeval history and is recorded not only in Genesis but the Book of Ether as well as many other ancient texts.
  2. Much of this information is drawn from John Bright’s A History of Israel (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1981) and the entry on “Mesopotamia” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman (Doubleday: New York, 1992), 4.714-777.
  3. See 1 Kings 12.
  4. For further historical information of this war and the history leading up to this war see OT Gospel Doctrine #34 in the Meridian archives.
  5. Our English word “humility” derives from the Latin word humilis which means “low” as in “low to the dust.”
  6. For a perspective on the whereabouts of the 10 Lost Tribes see footnote #12 in OT Gospel Doctrine #34 in the Meridian archives.
  7. See Isaiah 36-39 for a historical treatment in scripture of the difficulty imposed upon Judah by the invading Assyrians and the mighty salvation wrought by the Living God on behalf of Judah.
  8. Bright, A History of Israel, pp. 312-313.
  9. See the Book of Jonah that describes one prophetic attempt to call the Assyrians to repent, with apparent success for the hand of the Lord is stayed for perhaps another generation before Assyria’s eventual collapse.
  10. Ashurbanipal is an Assyrian word that means “the god Ashur is the creator of an heir.” Unfortunately, this name-prophecy was short-lived for Ashurbanipal’s dynasty and empire soon came crashing to the earth within two decades of his death.
  11. These patterns of kingly (father-to-son) wickedness bear striking resemblance to episodes in the Book of Ether.
  12. This brought about his unfortunate and premature death in a battle at Megiddo ca. 609 BC.
  13. This powerful display of covenantal worship and commitment is paralleled in striking similarity in the Book of Mormon in what we know as King Benjamin’s speech. See Mosiah 2-6.
  14. For more scriptural details of the Egyptian military campaign, Josiah’s failed attempt to stop the march and Jehoahaz’s rise to the throne see 2 Kings 23:29ff and 2 Chronicles 35:20-24.
  15. In Ancient Near Eastern Tradition a king had two names: his birth name and his throne name. In essence, when the new king took the throne he received a new name to mark that he had received royal power from God to serve as the king.
  16. A second temple was begun about seventy years later after some Jews returned from exile under the direction of Zerubbabel (this names means “born in Babylon”). It was this second temple which King Herod (37 – 4 BC) later enlarged and refurbished, which was known to Jesus and the people of his day.
  17. Much of the information concerning Jeremiah is drawn from Bright’s A History of Israel and from the entry on “Jeremiah” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 3.684-698.
  18. Jeremiah received his call as a prophet from the Lord while still a very young man. He was probably about the age of Joseph Smith at the time of the first vision, making him about 14 years old. This was the year 627 BC. We learn in Jeremiah 1:5 that the Lord had foreordained Jeremiah to be a prophet unto the nations. The Lord knows who he calls and he will magnify those that he calls. Elder Eyring spoke of these truths recently at the October 2002 General Conference when he offered the following counsel about receiving callings from the Lord: “First, you are called of God. The Lord knows you. He knows whom He would have serve in every position in His Church. He chose you. He has prepared a way so that He could issue your call…You are called to represent the Savior. Your voice to testify becomes the same as His voice, your hands to lift the same as His hands. His work is to bless His Father’s spirit children with the opportunity to choose eternal life. So, your calling is to bless lives…Your call has eternal consequences for others and for you. In the world to come, thousands may call your name blessed, even more than the people you serve here…Just as God called you and will guide you, He will magnify you. You will need that magnification. Your calling will surely bring opposition. You are in the Master’s service. You are His representative. Eternal lives depend on you. He faced opposition, and He said that facing opposition would be the lot of those He called.”
  19. The Davidic promises, given unto King David by the Lord, promised David a dynasty and property (see The Anchor Bible Dictionary “Davidic Covenant” 2.69-72). Apparently David felt that it was an eternal covenant that could never be broken (see Psalm 89:4-5). The people of Israel (this before the two kingdoms split) apparently were partakers of the blessings and benefits of this covenant. Thus, during the time of Jeremiah many people took security in a nearly 400 year old covenant, believing that they could do anything that they wanted without consequence and that God would maintain his covenant. Jeremiah knew better. Jeremiah recognized that any covenant is null and void, even if one of the subscribing parties is God Himself, if any party is not true and faithful, (i.e. if God’s children fail to be obedient to his laws).
  20. Bright, A History of Israel, pp. 333-336.
  21. “Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been” (Mormon 9:31).
  22. In the Ancient Near Eastern culture many societies had cults of the dead. In other words, these were rituals and activities for families to remember their deceased ancestors. It was a way of gathering the family together to show respect to those who had passed on to the next life. Among the activities that would take place, the father officiating as priest at the family shrine located in the home, was a meal and drinking of wine. It was believed that the deceased ancestors needed to receive food and drink. So for the food and drink offered to the deceased the individuals in the family did eat and drink in kind.

    This could lead to much merriment and in some cases insobriety if too many wine libations were poured in behalf of the deceased. Thus Jeremiah spoke out against these things. How could the people be merry at a time when they should be in sackcloth and ashes as they repented of their many sins? See The Anchor Bible Dictionary “Dead, Cult of The” 2.105-108.
  23. Gordon B. Hinckley, “The Times in Which We Live” Ensign (November, 2001), p. 74.
  24. As a sign that he fulfills such promises read the story of Jeremiah’s contest with the false prophet Hananiah in Jeremiah 28.
  25. The name Urijah means “Light of Jehovah.” In symbolic and analogous terms wicked king Jehoiakim murdered the light of Jehovah.
  26. The English word “lovingkindness” is translated from the Hebrew word hesed. This unique and special Hebrew word carries powerful significance. One scholar has said the following things about the Biblical word hesed: “In general one may identify three basic meanings of the word, which always interact: ‘strength,’ ‘steadfastness,’ and ‘love.’ Any understanding of the word that fails to suggest all three inevitably loses some of its richness. ‘Love’ by itself easily becomes sentimentalized or universalized apart from the covenant. Yet ‘strength’ or ‘steadfastness’ suggest only the fulfillment of a legal or other obligation…Marital love is often related to hesed. Marriage certainly is a legal matter, and there are legal sanctions for infractions. Yet the relationship, if sound, far transcends mere legalities. The prophet Hosea applies the analogy to Yahweh’s [Jehovah’s] hesed to Israel within the covenant (e.g., 2:21). Hence, ‘devotion’ is sometimes the single English word best capable of capturing the nuance of the original. The [Revised Standard Version Translation] attempts to bring this out by its translation, ‘steadfast love.’ Hebrew writers often underscored the element of steadfastness (or strength) by paring hesed with `emet (‘truth, reliability’) and `emunah (‘faithfulness’).” Vine, Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, p. 142