Hebrew names in the BoM


thekabalist

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Hi forum,

As a Jew I was asked by my friend Vanhin to investigate the possible Hebrew roots of the names in the BoM. We have found some exciting things! If there are any names you would like us to check please send us your requests. Do note that this is highly speculative because some names have been anglicized and it makes it hard to find the roots behind them. Take for example the biblical name "James". How many people know that "James" and "Jacob" are the same name? And how many people know that they come from the Hebrew "Ya'akov"? That being said, our research has showed some promising potential that I'd like to share here.

* (For clarity I will transliterate as capital "H" for the gutural sounds of the letters ח and in some cases כ or its ending form ך though in Jewish literature it is common to find them transliterated as "ch" or "kh")

Mormon - מרמן or מורמן – literally "from/of the master" (from - man // master - mar/mor)"

Almah - עלמה – as the Hebrew would mean maiden I assume it's Aramaic. It'd mean literally "world" or "universe" in Aramaic.

Moroni - מרני or מורני - the last yud would adjectify the word "maran" (our master) so this would mean something like "belonging to our master" (this is a rough translation)

Moronihah - מרניה or מורניה – literally means "Yah is our master"

Ammonihah - אמניה – literally "Yah is truthful"

ZaraHemlah - זרחמלה or זרה-חמלה– This is most interesting: I'm betting it's a compound name of Zarah (stranger/foreign) + Hemlah (compassion) - ie. compassion unto a foreign people?

Korihor - קריאה-אור - another possible compound name: kariah-or - which would mean "called unto light"

Moriantom - מרי–אמתם or מורי–אמתם - one more compound name: mori-amtem - which would mean "my master is their truth"

Zenock - זנוק – literally "start"

Ripliancum - "[He] has caused me to rise"

הפיל (hepil - has caused)

אני (ani - me)

קום (kum - to rise)

Coriantumr - חורין-תומר - chorin-tumr (the free - the palm) - I would suppose it means "the free people from the palm region"

Shiz looks like "She-oz" (עזש) which could mean "that is strong" or "that is goat-like"

Lib - לב - (Lev/Leb) it literally means "heart". In hebrew the letter ב can be pronounced as a "b" or as a "v". This word is also used to mean "center" or "core" much like in English.

So I assume this was a very loved baby or came to become the center of the family.

Ether sounds more israelite. There are three possibilities for Ether:

עטר - (Eter) - literally means "adorned" or "crowned"

אטר - (Eter) - means "left handed". As a humorous side-note it could also mean "weird" though I would pity a baby that is called "weird" by his own parents. Highly unlikely. Left-handed is possible though.

אתר - (Eter) - means "location", "site" or possibly "place of digging"

Lehi - לחי - (Lehi) means "jaw" or "jawbone"

Nephi - Could it come from נפיל "Nephil"? It means giant or very tall in Hebrew.

About the currency I'll take it slow as there are many. Here are a few:

senine - סנן - (senen) means "pure" or "filtered". Could it be purified silver?

amnor - I don't know but it makes me think of "am'n or" (אמן אור)which would be literally "true light" or "truly shiny".

ezrom - עזרם - (ezram) means "their aid".

onti - חנוטי - chanoti - ripened (not so sure about this one though)

senom - This is interesting. Considering its relationship with the senine, I would say it probably originally meant סננים (s'nenim) which would be the plural form of senine. I can see how s'nenim easily would become s'nem as a slang form which is pretty close to senom.

Edited by thekabalist
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Nephi - Could it come from נפיל "Nephil"? It means giant or very tall in Hebrew.

It's interesting how names come about. Nephi does mention in the Book of Mormon being very large in stature. Though his parents probably wouldn't have known that when he was named. If we are talking about the physical side only.

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It's interesting how names come about. Nephi does mention in the Book of Mormon being very large in stature. Though his parents probably wouldn't have known that when he was named. If we are talking about the physical side only.

Pam,

It is a very Jewish belief that we are influenced by our spiritual names. Every Jew has a spiritual name aside from their secular one. When someone is very ill it is often common to give them a second name. I believe it happens in the Bible too: Names changed often change the fortune of the Bible characters.

b'shalom!

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Hi Thekabalist,

Something I've always wondered - Joseph Smith gave the title "Nauvoo" to a city he built, thinking that it was Hebrew for "beautiful city". (Wikipedia mentionsHebrew: נָאווּ, I've heard people mention he was a bit off in his translation (learning Hebrew in 1830's frontier America must have been quite an adventure). Can you comment?

Thanks,

LM

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One really interesting thing is that some of those names are Jaredite. This suggests that their language was Semitic as well perhaps.

Take Ripliancum, which the record says "is large, or to exceed all" (Ether 15:8). Thekabalist's transliteration produces "[He] has caused me to rise" as one of the possible meanings. Pretty darn close.

Regards,

Vanhin

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Hi Thekabalist,

Something I've always wondered - Joseph Smith gave the title "Nauvoo" to a city he built, thinking that it was Hebrew for "beautiful city". (Wikipedia mentionsHebrew: נָאווּ, I've heard people mention he was a bit off in his translation (learning Hebrew in 1830's frontier America must have been quite an adventure). Can you comment?

Thanks,

LM

Hi there!

Nauvoo sounds a lot like the Hebrew word "nevua" which is the word for "prophecy". In fact, depending on the Hebrew dialect it'd sound nearly identical to that.

You would write it like this: נבואה

Perhaps this is what he meant? The Hebrew for beautiful would be "yafah" (יפה)

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Abinidai - אבינידה - Abi/Avi-Nidah - quite literally, my father has been banished/secluded.

(Note that in Hebrew the letter ב can sound like a "b" or like a "v".)

Someone named like that is bound to suffer persecution. Does history confirm this?

Yes it does. He was put to death by fire.

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Abinidai - אבינידה - Abi/Avi-Nidah - quite literally, my father has been banished/secluded.

(Note that in Hebrew the letter ב can sound like a "b" or like a "v".)

Someone named like that is bound to suffer persecution. Does history confirm this?

Yes it does, though the name is actually Abinadi, which probably does not change the transliteration by much, or does it?

Abinadi was a prophet that God sent to warn an evil king and his people that they must repent. He was captured, and ultimately suffered death by fire (Mosiah 17:20) at the hand of the evil king and his priests.

Regards,

Vanhin

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Yes it does, though the name is actually Abinadi, which probably does not change the transliteration by much, or does it?

Abinadi was a prophet that God sent to warn an evil king and his people that they must repent. He was captured, and ultimately suffered death by fire (Mosiah 17:20) at the hand of the evil king and his priests.

Regards,

Vanhin

Ahhh yes. Thanks for the correction Vanhin. I kept looking at it thinking it didn't look quite right. lol

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Yes it does, though the name is actually Abinadi, which probably does not change the transliteration by much, or does it?

Not really. I'd bet it's either the same or some minor variation on the word "nidah" which would account for a similar meaning.

The "i" in the end could also indicate something like "my father has cast me off", alternatively. It's always good to remember there is a degree of speculation here. But clearly a Semitic name nonetheless.

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Not really. I'd bet it's either the same or some minor variation on the word "nidah" which would account for a similar meaning.

The "i" in the end could also indicate something like "my father has cast me off", alternatively. It's always good to remember there is a degree of speculation here. But clearly a Semitic name nonetheless.

Thanks. Oh yes, we realize that there is some speculation here. But we are not foreigners to that... :)

Regards,

Vanhin

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One really interesting thing is that some of those names are Jaredite. This suggests that their language was Semitic as well perhaps.

Take Ripliancum, which the record says "is large, or to exceed all" (Ether 15:8). Thekabalist's transliteration produces "[He] has caused me to rise" as one of the possible meanings. Pretty darn close.

Regards,

Vanhin

That or Moroni gave us the Hebrew/Nephite transliterated versions of the names.

Hugh Nibley noted that the names Laban and Lemuel are Arabic, Nephi and Sam are Egyptian, and Jacob and Joseph are Hebrew. Nibley conjectured that Lehi spent his early years trading with Arabs, and naming his older sons with Arabic names. Later trading with Egypt led him to name his middle sons with Egyptian names. Finally, in his sojourn in the wilderness, Lehi returned to his Hebrew roots in naming his youngest sons.

While the name, Almah, is Hebrew for "maiden", it is also a perfectly good man's name in ancient Israel. Among the Bar Kokhba letters (written around the time of the second revolt in 135 AD against Rome), we find the name of a man Alma in conjunction with a land sale.

Famed archaeologist, F. William Albright, was impressed that the Book of Mormon would have Egyptian names in it (Paanchi, etc), in a time when no one was able to read ancient Egyptian (Champollion translated the hieroglyphics in 1829, the same year the BoM was translated).

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I would suggest the following compound name for Zeezrom:

Ez - עז (strong)

Ezram - עזרם (their help/aid)

So Ez'ezram would mean "strong is their aid". I'm betting this is the root for Zeezrom.

Professor Hugh Nibley suggested that the Z in BoM names could also be Ch'

So, Zenock would be Ch' nock or Enoch. This would also work with your change for Zeezrom, I suppose.

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