Source:Echoes:Ch7:12:The construct state

The Construct State

Parent page: Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Hebraisms/Construct state

The Construct State

Donald W. Parry:

Biblical Hebrew juxtaposes two or more nouns to form a construct chain. When this Hebrew form is translated into English, the term of is often added to show the relationship between the nouns. In Hebrew one says "tables of stone" (Exodus 24:12) or "the word of the Lord" (Genesis 15:4), not "stone tables" or "the Lord's word."

There are numerous examples of the construct state in the Book of Mormon. These include "plates of brass" (1 Nephi 3:24), "rod of iron" (1 Nephi 8:19), "sword of Laban" (2 Nephi 5:14), "temple of Solomon" (2 Nephi 5:16), "the commandments of the Lord" (2 Nephi 5:19), "land of promise" (1 Nephi 17:33), "works of darkness" (2 Nephi 25:2), and "plans of awful wickedness" (Helaman 6:30). Also, the term Lord's is found "but twice in the entire Book of Mormon, while the equivalent of the construct state of nouns using his name occurs about three hundred times in a possessive sense in expressions such as 'commandments of the Lord,' 'name of the Lord,' 'people of the Lord,' 'presence of the Lord,' 'promises of the Lord.'"25 Similarly, the term God's is found twice in the Book of Mormon, while the construct forms "church of God," "commandments of God," "kingdom of God," "Spirit of God," and so on are found more than 450 times.26 The overwhelming practice of preferring the construct state over the possessive and related forms is a strong indication of Hebraic writing.[1]


  1. Donald W. Parry, "Hebraisms and Other Ancient Peculiarities in the Book of Mormon," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 7, references silently removed—consult original for citations.