Jacob 3:11 — LeGrand Baker — ‘slumber of death’
11 O my brethren, hearken unto my words; arouse the faculties of your souls; shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death; and loose yourselves from the pains of hell that ye may not become angels to the devil, to be cast into that lake of fire and brimstone which is the second death.
“…shake yourselves that ye may awake from the slumber of death;”
Like his brother Nephi, when Jacob taught his people, he depended heavily upon the sacred rites and scriptures of his ancient forefathers who had lived at Jerusalem. Here, it is most likely that he is reminding them of one of the Psalms which they would have sung, both as a hymn and also as a part of their ancient temple ceremonies. The Old Testament scripture that contains this idea is the 13th Psalm. The speaker of the Psalm in the temple drama, probably the king, prays that God will “lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death.” It seems apparent that the death he fears is not one which would be brought about by an assassin’s knife, but rather a death which he can experience while his body still lives, but while his soul is dark and his “eyes” cannot see. This seems to be the same idea which Jacob is expressing, and a is a continuation of the idea of darkness which he expressed earlier. The entire psalm reads:
1 How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?
2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyeslest I sleep the sleep of death;
4 Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.
5 But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.
6 I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (Psalms 13:1-6)