The following is from the Isaiah Institute site and was written by Avraham Gileadi Ph.D. Here is a link to the original and I encourage oneClimbs readers to leave comments for Bro. Gileadi there as well if they feel so inclined.
What was it the Lamanite mothers “knew” that convinced them to entrust their young sons to Helaman to lead them in battle against a ferocious enemy that far outnumbered them? Helaman said of them, “They never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them. And they rehearsed unto me the words of their mothers, saying: We do not doubt our mothers knew it” (Alma 56:47–48).
Some background to these youths’ firmness of mind may explain the fearlessness their mothers had instilled in their sons: Traditionally, the Lamanites followed the emperor–vassal system of government that had prevailed throughout the ancient Near East. In brief, an emperor such as King Laman or an heir of Laman, the eldest son, ruled over a number of vassal kings and their city-states in his empire. As in the Hittite, Israelite, Assyrian, and Babylonian empires, the emperor was called the “father” of his vassal kings, and they were called his “sons.”
We see an example of this in King Lamoni’s relationship to his “father,” the Lamanite emperor at that time, “who was king over all the land” (Alma 18:9). Although Lamoni was called his “son,” vassal kings were Read Full Post
Avraham Gileadi, “Isaiah: Four Latter-day Keys to an Ancient Book,” in Isaiah and the Prophets: Inspired Voices from the Old Testament, ed. Monte S. Nyman and Charles D. Tate Jr. (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1984), 119–38.
The book of Isaiah has effectively remained a “sealed book’’ until the last days because only in the last days have the means to its interpretation become available. On the one hand, the Book of Mormon alone brings together the keys essential to understanding Isaiah, while on the other, time itself sets the stage for Isaiah’s prophecies to be fulfilled (cf. 2 Nephi 25:8). In the Book of Mormon, two keys for understanding Isaiah are given by Nephi and two by the Savior, though all overlap. The first two keys, which appear in 2 Nephi 25:4 and 5, may be defined respectively as the spirit and the letter of prophecy. The spirit of prophecy is spoken of as making “plain” the words of Isaiah, while the letter of prophecy causes one to “understand” them. The third and fourth keys, which appear in 3 Nephi 23:1 and 3, consist of the requirement to “search” the words of Isaiah in order to make meaningful connections, and the necessity of viewing his prophecies typologically: of seeing the past, things that “have been,” as a type of the future, things that “will be.” Used together, these keys enable us to penetrate the deepest mysteries of the book of Isaiah and in the process recognize the book for what it is, namely, a blueprint for the last days. I will first discuss the spirit and letter of prophecy.