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The Opression Caused by Covetousness, 2 Nephi 15:8-10

2 Nephi 15:8-10

The beginning of a list of condemnations that the Lord has against the house of Israel begins in these verses. Each point begins with the word "Wo".

Vs 8 - "Wo unto them that join house to house..." There are footnotes on these verses that equate this to covetousness. This is the first condemnation against Israel: covetousness. "...Till there can be no place..." This joining together has reference to the establishment of city dwelling environments, apartments and such, that are created to save on the amount of land used. Those guilty of covetousness, are them that are responsible for the joining of houses, in other words, greedy landowners/developers that attempt to squeeze into as small a space as possible. "...That they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!" (The exclamation mark is part of the actual scripture.)

The visual that I have is of a wide expanse of land with a small area in the middle built up as a mountain of buildings. In the eyes of the Lord, here He sees the earth which he had created for man, being bought up by the rich, sometimes taken by force. Then those that lived on those lands are sent in their poverty into the big cities to dwell in cramped conditions. The earth which the Lord had made for man was being squandered by the rich.

Vs 9 - "In mine ears," this is what the prophet hears. "Saith the Lord of Hosts," What the prophet hears is the voice of the Lord. "Of a truth many houses shall be desolate, and great and fair cities without inhabitant." Because of the greed that drives the building of these great cities, the Lord has said that they will be left empty, abandoned. Why and where will they go? Crime is a rampant issue with city dwellings.

If it were me, the desire to spread myself out and work the land is an even greater motivator to remove myself from city life. Other possible causes could include inflation, these city dwelling places becoming just too expensive to live in. Such is our dilemma now.

Vs 10 - "Yea, ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath, and the seed of a homer shall yield an ephah." This seems to go back to the thought that the Lord desires that we work the land for our sustaining. These measurements are explained in greater detail in the Bible Dictionary. Basically, ten acres of vineyard will produce one bath, a liquid measurement roughly the equivalent of 8 gallons. Ten acres to yield only 8 gallons?! An ephah is a dry measure equivalent of a bath. It is a tenth of a homer, which is a larger measurement. The results should be the opposite. Where a homer of seed is planted, the harvest should be ten fold greater, not one tenth of the seed planted.

What the Lord is illustrating here is the complete reversal in productivity that is created when people are taken off of their lands and brought to dwell in cities. There is an interesting verse in Micah 2:2 that reads, "And they covet fields, and take them by violence; and houses, and take them away: so they oppress a man and his house, even a man and his heritage." This verse is given in direct reference to these verses discussed herein.