Saturday, June 15, 2013

Elijah's Return in the Targums

Joseph Smith records that when the angel Moroni visited him, he quoted the final verses of Malachi a little differently. So do the Targums:
Will I not send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the future day for the coming of the great and dreadful presence of the Lord? He shall turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers lest it be revealed and I find the whole earth in sin and I smite it with utter destruction.
A number of differences between the Targums and the Hebrew text are telling. In the Hebrew text the day of the Lord is great and dreadful, in the Targums, it is the presence of the Lord that is great and dreadful. In the Targums, God will find the world in sin if Elijah does not turn the hearts of the children to the fathers or the fathers to the children.

In both cases, the consequences of not turning the hearts is utter destruction, though this is clearer in the Targum than in most English translations.