Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shavuot and Abinadi’s Message to King Noah

Could the events of Mosiah 11-17 have occurred on Shavuot. There are several evidences that point in this direction.

The Ten Commandments were first given on Shavuot and  the events of Mosiah 11-17 recall this event. Abinadi uses Exodus type terminology, referring to “bondage,” "deliver[ance]" and "burdens lashed upon their backs" (Mosiah 11:21, 23;12:2, 5; compare with Exodus 1:11). Furthermore, he repeats the ten Commandments (Mosiah 12:34-36; 13:12-24) and following this his "face shone with exceeding luster, just as Moses' face shined while at mount of Sinai, while speaking with YHWH." (Mosiah 13:5; compare Exodus 34:29-30).

The harvest festival theme of Shavuot is another important element which demonstrates the Shavuot connection.  Abinadi, in keeping with the harvest festival theme of the
holiday, cursed the crops of King Noah's people (Mosiah 12:6

Mosiah 11-17 also contains several parallels with the Shavuot liturgy, most particularly Psalm 50. For example:

Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence
(Ps. 50:3)

YHWH will come down in the sight of all the people
(Ex. 19:11)

God himself shall come down among the children of men
(Mosiah 15:1)

Psalm 50:13-14 indicates that God prefers thanksgiving to sacrifices while Mosiah 13:11 calls for God's commandments to be "written in your hearts."

Psalm 50:16-21 like Mosiah 11-17 is a strong rebuke to keep the Torah of God.

Both Psalm 50:16, 22 and Mosiah 11:23; 12:29 call us to keep the Torah not just proclaim it.

Two years earlier Abinadi had been exiled from the city (Mosiah 11:28-12:1). Certainly  Abinadi would have chosen an opportune time to return. A festival occasion would have given Abinadi a large audience, making it an optimum time to enter the city and give his
Message to a large number of people.

When all of these facts are considered it seems very likely that the festival of Shavuot serves as the backdrop for the events recorded Mosiah 11-17.

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