Saturday, July 19, 2014

Teasing the King

After King Benjamin died (~121 BC), the first thing his son Mosiah did was send out a search party for the long lost Zeniffite pilgrims. We are told he did this because, his subjects "wearied him with their teasings." (Mosiah 7:1)

Am I the only one who gets a kick out of this image? A nerdy, neurotic kid-king in the royal cafeteria, with the jocks/courtiers throwing crumpled up bits of parchment at him, calling him names like "mostly-magisterial Mosiah" or "little Mo Peep" or "the seer who can't even see the end of his nose."

And finally, after three years of just taking this crap he's like, "no, Biff! Lay your hands off my mom! I'm gonna FIND the lost city and I'm gonna PROVE they're still alive!"

And he rallies a rag-tag group of sixteen guys led by Ammon to go up into the mountains to find them! And it's the Goonies.

Apart from the great cinema that would be, the image just doesn't jibe with a real-world setting. So I looked up "teasing" in Webster's 1828 dictionary (the version of the English language that was used when Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon) and it said:

TE'ASINGparticiple present tense Combing; carding; scratching for the purpose of raising a nap; vexing with importunity

Then I had to look up vexing and importunity. And nap.

Anyway, "vexing for importunity" back in 1828 merely meant pressing for something persistently. Doesn't say anything about sophomoric hazing.

Not, as today has:
to irritate or provoke with persistent petty distractions, trifling raillery, or other annoyance, often in sport.

So, the mystery's solved!
Our language evolved.
The peasants involved
wanted issues resolved;
it never devolved
into petty ribald.


Thaddeus said...

In the mouths of two or so witnesses...

Jancisco said...

This was such a brilliant piece of thinking.