Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon
In Hebrew when several nouns are joined by "and," the possessive pronoun must be repeated with each (Kautzsch 1956:439).
And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters,
and all the persons of his house,
And his cattle and and all his beasts and all his
substance. Genesis 36:6
... thou, and thy children, and thy children's children,
and thy flocks, and thy herds ... Genesis 45:10
Jacob their father, and their little ones, and their wives
...their cattle, and their goods. Genesis 46:5-6
Book of Mormon
And he left his house and the land of his inheritance,
and his gold and his silver and his precious things ...
1 Nephi 1:29
... to leave the land of their inheritance, and their gold
and their silver and their precious things ...
1 Nephi 1:38
... our gold and our silver and all our precious things.
1 Nephi 1:87
According to Green's A Handbook to Old Testament Hebrew, "The chief connective of words and sentences is the conjunction) [vav].... the Hebrew [language] to a great extent discards the links which, in Western languages, unite words and clauses, leaving the reader to supply the connection of thought." The most often translated "and" also "includes the meaning of many particles, such as or, then, certainly, perhaps, in order to, for the sake of, and therefore" (1901:162).
'These particles were reserved for cases in which special emphasis or distinctness was desired: their frequent use was felt instinctively to be inconsistent with the lightness & grace of movement which the Hebrew ear loved; and thus in the AN., R.V., words like or, then, but, notwithstanding, howbeit so, thus, therefore, that, constantly appear, where the Hebrew has simply and . (Gescnius' Lexicon, new edition by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, part iii, p. 252)' (Green 1901:162-163).
Green pointed out the following examples.
. . . Of the garden thou mayest freely eat;
and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ...
[English usage: "but of the. . ."] Genesis 2:19-20 [2:16-17]
... in the day ye eat thereof, and your eyes shall be
opened... [English usage: "then your eyes. . . "] Genesis 3:10 [3-5]
... there is no beauty and we should desire him
[English usage: "that we should desire him.] Isaiah 53:2
The following Book of Mormon examples are from Thomas W. Brookbank's column in The Improvement Era (1914:367).
Book of Mormon
For there is nothing which is good, save it comes from
And that which is evil, cometh from the devil [English
usage: "but that which. . ."]. Omni 1:45
And it came to pass that when he had said these
words, he could say no more;
And he gave up the ghost [English usage: "then he gave.. ."]
And ye shall not clear away the bad thereof, all at once,
lest the roots thereof should be too strong for the
graft, and the graft thereof shall perish, and I lose the
trees of my vineyard [English usage: that the graft]
"And It Came to Pass"
"And it came to pass" is probably the most frequently used phrase in the Book of Mormon. This
phrase in the idiom of King James English is a render- ing of the Hebrew word vayehee. Its frequent use in the Book of Mormon is consistent with the frequent use of vayehee in the Old Testament Hebrew text. In J. A. Weingreen's A Practical Grammar for Classical Hebrezv, the author comments concerning the meaning of this phrase, "This, rather than implying a continuation with what has preceded, has little more force (when translated) then 'now it happened"' (1959:92). This phrase, " and it came to pass," and the frequent use of "and" are two of the most important evidences of Hebrew language structure found in the Book of Mormon.