Sunday, March 7, 2010
This morning I was studying Ether 13:8 which reads:
"Wherefore, the remnant of the house of Joseph shall be built upon this land; and it shall be a land of their inheritance; and they shall build up a holy city unto the Lord, like unto the Jerusalem of old; and they shall no more be confounded, until the end come when the earth shall pass away."
I looked up the definition of the word "confound" in Webster's 1828 dictionary and was really fascinated by the definitions it gave. Here is what it says:
Webster's 1828 Dictionary:
CONFOUND, v.t. [L., to pour out. Literally, to pour or throw together.]
1. To mingle and blend different things, so that their forms or natures cannot be distinguished; to mix in a mass or crowd, so that individuals cannot be distinguished.
2. To throw into disorder.
Let us go down, and there confound their language. Gen 11.
3. To mix or blend, so as to occasion a mistake of one thing for another.
A fluid body and a wetting liquor, because they agree in many things, are wont to be confounded.
Men may confound ideas with words.
4. To perplex; to disturb the apprehension by indistinctness of ideas or words.
Men may confound each other by unintelligible terms or wrong application of words.
5. To abash; to throw the mind into disorder; to cast down; to make ashamed.
Be thou confounde and ber thy shame. Ezek 16.
Saul confounded the Jews at Damascus. Acts 9.
6. To perplex with terror; to terrify; to dismay; to astonish; to throw into consternation; to stupify with amazement.
So spake the Son of God; and Satan stood a while as mute confounded what to say.
The multitude came together and were confounded. Acts 2.
7. To destroy; to overthrow.
So deep a malice to confound the race of mankind in one root.
The house of Joseph was confounded many times throughout it's history, most notably when the Northern Kingdom of Israel (of which the Josephite tribes were a part) was conquered by the Assyrians in 721 BC. The Assyrians followed a policy of forced deportations in which people of one location were deported to another and mixed with the native population. This was done to make the conquered people lose their identity and cohesiveness. This is exactly what happened to the northern Ten Tribes of Israel and that is why they are "lost".
Reading the definition of the word "confound" in Webster's 1828 in light of this knowledge illustrates why the Lord inspired Joseph Smith to select that particular word for this verse.