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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Take away our reproach

And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. (Isaiah 4:1)

This scripture has been the subject of much contention. Other scriptures put it into context.

What does "reproach" mean? It appears at least four times in the scriptures in this sense. Once here, once in Nephi's quote of this verse, and in two other cases:
22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: (Genesis 30)

24 And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying,
25 Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men.  (Luke 1)
In each case, "reproach" refers to the depressed state of a godly woman without children. Worldly women do not want children. Women of God consider motherhood as an essential part of their identity, hence the lack of children is a reproach. In the case of Elisabeth and Rachel, they had never had children. However, this is not necessarily the case with the women in Isaiah 4:1.

What will happen before this scripture is fulfilled?
25 Your men shall be felled by the sword, your might overthrown in war.
26 Her gateways shall lie bereaved and forlorn; she shall sit on the ground destitute.
(Isaiah 3, Gileadi Translation)
In the days to come, most of those who are not in places of refuge established by God will die after great suffering. Of those who survive, there will be many women, women whose husbands have been killed or shipped away to be worked in force labor camps until they die. These women will be brutalized by their captors, and their children will be killed.
14 Then, like a deer that is chased,
or a flock of sheep that no one rounds up,
each will return to his own people and everyone flee to his homeland.
15 Whoever is found shall be thrust through;
all who are caught shall fall by the sword.
16 Their infants shall be dashed in pieces before their eyes, their homes plundered, their wives ravished.
17 See, I stir up against them the Medes,
who do nor value silver, nor covet gold.
18 Their bows shall tear apart the young.
They will show no mercy to the newborn;
their eye will not look with compassion on children. (Isaiah 13, Gileadi Translation)
These events will be worse than anything the world has ever seen (see Mark 13:19). 

The women in Isaiah's end time scenario are without children and without husbands, but those in Isaiah 4:1 will be blessed with posterity and husbands, and those children will take away their reproach.
21 Then shalt thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, a captive, and removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been? (Isaiah 49:21)

These women will have been through sufficient events that they see marriage as a great blessing, even in a polygynous union. A great help to the situation will be the fact that the unrighteous men who would not do well in such a situation will have been destroyed by the same events that left the women childless. The men who remain will have a strong connection with the Lord and will be capable of helping those women connect to God. God will wipe away their tears, teach them of his love for them, show them his wisdom, and help them heal.