Dr. Einar C. Erickson
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Noah took with him into the Ark the books of these teachings. When he came out of the Ark he ordained in his turn that the generations that came after him were to repeat the many things and the holy mysteries written in the books of Seth upon the majesty of the Father.

 

 

INTRODUCTION:

 

From time to time we have noted parallels that are internal, tucked away in obscure places of the Book of Mormon, and I am sure, were intended to be found, to give added testimony that Joseph was working with an authentic document; several more are included in  this entry to this web site, Including the practice of the Lamanites and Nephites to make up military cadre with a leader and ten thousand men; and the names RAB and RABBANAH found on ancient clay tablets and RAMAH, also known as CUMORAH. 

 

PATHROS

 

PATHROS  is a designation for Upper Egypt. Hebrew PATHROS (P’thoris or P’ithores)  is a borrowing from Egyptian, meaning the “Southern Land.” In Egyptian texts   P’-T-RSY is used to designate the whole of Egypt above Memphis; the Southern Land and Cush, (Buttrick p. 676) as sequenced in Isaiah 11:11.  Isaiah makes specific reference to God’s great premillennial program to recover the remnant of his people by naming all of the countries known to the people of his day so it would be known this is a worldwide gathering.  “And it shall come to pass in that day, that he shall set his hand again the second time to recover his people.”  (Isaiah 11:11)  “...3—PATHROS the Upper kingdom of Egypt with its capital at Thebes (about 400 miles south of Cairo).”  (Skousen p. 249)

 

PATHROS is further attested to in Jer. 44:1; 15; Ezek. 29:14; and in Ezek. 30:14 as THE ORIGINAL HOME OF THE EGYPTAINS. The gentilic form PATHRUSIM is in the lists of Gen. 10:14 and Chr. 1:12. (Buttrick p. 676)  “The Land of Egypt being first discovered by a women, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Egyptus, which in the Chaldean signifies Egypt, which signifies that which is forbidden.” (Abraham 1:23) Nibley discusses in detail the evidence for this that Joseph Smith could not have had access to, and which was accumulated after his death. (Nibley pp. 192-195)  “It is in Egypt that Abraham is most at home…it is only in Egypt that he comes to his own. (Nibley p. 91)

 

PEKAH

 

PEKAH, son of Remaliah, is mentioned once in the Book of Mormon, in a passage from Isaiah, (Isa. 7:1) quoted in 2 Nephi 17:1. He was an evil king of Israel. (2 Kings 15:25; 16:1; Pinegar p. 125)

 

With the help of the Gileadites he murdered Pekahiah, successor to Menahem, at Samaria (2 Kings 15:21) In the 52nd year of Uzziah of Judah (2 Kings 15:27) he seized the throne and reigned as king from about 737 to 732 BC   

 

These were years of conspiracy, the rule of wicked kings, including Ahaz, none gave heed to the warnings of Isaiah and other prophets. This was the time of the rise of the Assyrians. (Isaiah 7:1 -9:1; Skousen pp. 199-240) Pekah made the mistake of becoming anti-Assyrian. He aligned himself with the Syrians, unsuccessfully besieged Jerusalem, captured the Jews at Jericho and transferred them to Samaria, but released them at the intercession of Obed the prophet. (Douglas p. 1180)  Pekah was murdered by Hoshea who then assumed the throne. Assyria laid waste to the region about 721 BC , deporting many including  the ten tribes. Their whereabouts is still a mystery. Hoshea became subject to the Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser. The land became impoverished by the demanded tribute of 12 talents (72 tons) of gold and one thousand talents (6 thousand tons) of silver. (Buttrick p. 708) Those decades changed the history of Israel forever. An epic account of what happens when you disregard the prophets.

 

In Hebrew,  the name PEKAH means “opening.” (Douglas p. 1181)

 

PHARAOH

 

The common term in scripture for the kings of Egypt derived from the Egyptian term for “great house” or Egyptian court. After the time of Abraham (1975 BC) it came to be applied to the person of the king as a synonym for “His Majesty” or simply the person himself or the king or ruler. (Douglas p. 1208)  Many different Pharaohs played a role in religious history. (Douglas pp. 1208-09)

 

PHILISTINES

 

The Philistines were a people of Aegean origin who occupied the South    coast of Palestine and were often at war with the Israel. The name Philistia is first found in the Egyptain form prst as the name of one of the “People of the Sea,” who invaded Egypt in the eighth year of Rameses III (1188 BC).  Philistia is the name applied to the territory that they occupied. In Assyrian it appears as Piliti and Palastu. (Buttrick p. 791) The source of the modern name Palestine. (Douglas p. 1218) There is no acceptable Semitic etymology for this name, and it is quite probably of Indo-European origin. The “People of the Sea” and all around the coastal and Island areas of the Mediterranean were also called Phoenicians. (Moscati  p. 152) During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries BC there were extensive population movements. Great Ports like Tyre and Sidon were established.  Sidon and other names would show up in the Book of Mormon suggesting Lehi had more contact with the regional peoples than researchers have as yet given him credit for.  

 

RABBANAH

 

RABBANAH is a term given to Ammon by one of king Lamoni’s servants (Alma 17:13) after he defeated the Lamanites at the waters of Sebus. (Alma 18:13) and as evidence brought back the severed arms of those he had fought. (Alma 17:38)

 

Of the more than three hundred names peculiar to the Book of Mormon. Mormon was only moved upon to define several of them.  RABBANAH  was one of them! Why?

 

Alma and the sons of Mosiah after their miraculous reconversion to the gospel gave up their rights to the kingdom and choose to embark on missionary work that would last 14 years. They first went up to the Land of Nephi, Lamanite territory, to preach to the Lamanites. Ammon was is their leader, he blessed all of them, and they went off, each alone, to serve the Lord. Their sufferings, successes and deliverances are provided in the summary at the end of Chapter Alma 16.  A detailed account follows in Chapters Alma 17-26; one of the great stories of the Book of Mormon.  Ammon, goes to the land of Ishmael, is captured, about to be killed when he convinces the king, Lamoni, to take him on as a servant. Lamoni recognizes the character and integrity of Ammon, even offers him a daughter as a wife, but Ammon declines. After just three days as a servant of the king he is assigned with others to take the herds of the King to the waters of Sebus. (Alma 17:26) There, Lamanite bullies and hoodlums scatter the herds driving them off. Such scattering by evil men had happened before and the king had had the servants killed, so the servants wept in fear of their expected fate.  (Alma 17:26-31)

 

Ammon rallied the servants, they recovered the herds and returned to Sebus. Ammon had the servants circle the herds to keep them from being driven off and then alone went do deal with the Lamanite hoodlums who were more than just a few. They did not know of the promise of the Lord to protect the Sons of Mossiah, or anything about the Lord. They figured anyone of them, alone could deal with Ammon. Thus they were totally surprised when Ammon with his sling quickly killed six of their leaders, and another with his sword; their stones did not even touch him. When some rushed him he cut of their arms. They fled in fear. The servants then gathered up the arms, not a few, as evidence of Ammon’s power. (Alma 17:39)

 

 The king held court and all of the servants bore their witness to what had happened, Lamoni was astonished and said: “Surely this is more than a man. Behold is this not the Great Spirit who doth send such great punishment upon this people...they answered the king…whether he be the Great Spirit or a man, we know not; but this much we do know , that he cannot be slain…that he is a friend of the king…we do not believe that a man has such great  power, for we know that he cannot be slain…the king heard these words …now I know that it is the great Spirit …come down to preserve your lives…the Great Spirit whom our fathers have spoken…this was the tradition of Lamoni, which he had received from his father.” (Alma 18:1-12) Lamoni was fearful that he would be punished for having slain the servants who had been previously sent to Sebus. So he sent for Ammon who was continuing to obey the orders of the king, who coming into the court saw the countenance of the king had changed and turned to go back out. “One of the kings servants said unto him, RABBANAH, which is, being interpreted, powerful or great king, considering their kings to be powerful; and thus he said unto him: RABBANAH, the king desireth thee to stay.  Therefore Ammon turned himself unto the king, and said unto him: what will thou that I should do for the, O king?” (Alma 18:13-14) There then follows a lengthy story of the conversion of Lamoni, his wife, his servants, the involvement and reference to a female Lamanite, Abish,  a secret convert,  the disposition of Ammon,  the conversion of Lamoni’s father and interesting doctrinal teachings, with miraculous and simple detail.

 

MORMON had gone out of his way to explain the servant’s use of RABBANAH. Both he and the servant were well informed about using the name RABBANAH.  About 2300 BC, the name was used as a place name for a “great and powerful  capital city”  RABBAH OF THE AMMONITES, founded by the sons of AMMON; RABBATH OF THE CHILDREN OF AMMON. (Dt. 3:11; 2 Sam. 12:26; 17:27; Ezk. 21:20; Buttrick p. 2 Vol. 4) Located about 21 miles east of the Jordan River. The  city  persisted for more than 4300 years.  Regardless of how many conquerors came and went often lending their own names to the city for a while. It is one of the few cites where there has been inhabitants through nearly all of its vicissitudes. The AMMONITES were in constant contact and conflict with the northern ten tribes, a real thorn in the flesh. King David conquered it, but King Solomon lost it. The Greek, Ptolemy Philadelphius  conquered it then rebuilt it, naming it Philadelphia after himself, (Douglas p. 1314) it became  one of the ten great Greek cities of the Decapolis and a great trading center. (Buttrick pp. 1-3) Lehi would have gone through it more than once at some point in his merchant life. Today it is still a great capital of a Kingdom, it still retains its ancient name, it is AMMON, the modern capital of Jordan. The last time I was there they lost my luggage for three days, they X-rayed it and destroyed all my film.       

 

Child sacrifice was practiced there. The prophets spoke against RABBAH as representing the people of AMMON. (Douglas p. 1314; Je. 49:2; Ezk. 21:22; 25:5)

 

Though used as a place name, it was also used as a reverential name for leaders and teachers, and as enhanced names for powerful and divine beings, as Mary may have used it. (John 20:16) The Semetic or Hebrew prefix RABB or RAB, meaning great or powerful, was retained. The Akkadians  well knew the usage of the core meaning, in the words RABBUT(m), with mimation, meaning  “greatness, grandeur,” RABIANUM,  “MAYOR) RABISU(M) an official, of palace, judicial, royal, of god,  spirit, of throne.”  RABIS “greatly, of divine orders, of king on throne, to sit in majesty.” RABITUM  “capital city, Queen, great things.” (Black p. 294) About all of the meanings that are given in the ancient documents are related to this word or name.  From the same time period as the Akkadians there are the clay tablets recovered from EBLA destroyed by the Akkadians about 2250 BC which contain the words RABBA and  RABA, “the great one,” and RABBATUM and RABBUTU “great.” (Fagan p. 258)  But Mormon interpreted the name as meaning  “powerful or great king.” (Alma 18:13)

 

 Used as a title it is related to ancient Near Eastern cognates designating “greatness”, such as Rabboni (John 20:16) and Rabbi.  (Largey p, 672)

 

In the Western Hemisphere the name accrued the superlative meaning “powerful, ” While in the Eastern Hemisphere where early on it had the meaning of “My master” or Master,” (Sabourin pp. 315-316) as a title of respect, and was used of Jehovah as teacher of Moses. (Ab. 1:6) In the TALMUDIC era RAB, (the earliest form) was used chiefly of Babylonian teachers and RABBI was used of Palestinian teachers.  Editors of the MISHNA were known as RABBI. In Modern Judaism the rabbinate is an ordained office.  In the New Testament, “RABBI” implies an honorific title with no overtones of official appointment; It is employed of the teachers of the Law, (Math. 23:7-8) and even to John the Baptist. (John 3:26) In all other cases, both Rabbi and RABBONI mean JESUS, and are used in direct address to him, Mark and Mathew use the term for Christ, and John reports even a Pharisee did. (John 3:2; Buttrrick p. 3, Vol. 4)

 

Then there is the episode in the garden when Mary does not recognize the risen Christ at first, until in an evident tone of endearment he addresses her simply as “MARY”: “JESUS saith unto her MARY.” She turned herself, and saith unto him, RABBONI which is to say MASTER.” (John 20:16-17) Her response is immediate. Note that in the context of Alma’s day, the term is a Lamanite word, it is similar to other Semetic words as noted below.  (Ludlow p. 207) Mormon made certain that we were to know’ by his insertion of the meaning that the Lamanites used it as a superlative description for POWERFUL. So there were two different histories of the term, internal evidence for an authentic document Joseph was translating.  

 

The Translator’s Handbook says the word means “ TEACHER.” But it is  more intimate than that, Mary rises and embraces him. The Inspired Version says: “hold me not.” (Smith, JST John 29:17) The Translator’s Handbook says: “Do not hold onto me, stop holding on to me; touch me no more,” (Newman p. 611) confirming Joseph was right.  And she had used the heightened form of RABBONI, more intimate than just “master or teacher.”  No doubt one is familiar with the ongoing discussion about these two verses. What is believed to be the relationship between JESUS and MARY is supported by the Handbook and the Joseph Smith translation.

 

For the time and place Mormon’s interpretation was correct. The term is related to ancient Near Eastern cognates designating “greatness.” The meaning of the word is  “POWERFUL” but used by Mary when she recognized Jesus was the one standing there may have been something more intimate: “Oh Husband.” (John 20:16: Largey p. 672)

 

RAHAB

 

The 40 years of wandering were over. The conquest of Canaan was about to begin. The Israelites were camped on the east side of the Jordan opposite Jericho. They were led by Joshua who sent two spies to view the land especially the city of Jericho the largest settlement in the lower Jordan. (Jos. 2:1). They found lodging with a Harlot, Rahab. But they were betrayed to the King who demanded the strangers be brought out. She told the king’s men they had left before the city gate closed, quick, they could catch them before they got to the Jordan. The men left to look for them. She made a deal with the spies agreeing  not to inform on them and to help them escape if they would agree to spare her, her parents, her brothers and sisters,  and their families. She had heard how the Lord had saved Israel from their enemies she said: “I know that the Lord has given you this land.” (Jos. 2:9) They told her to hang a scarlet cord from her window. Her house was on the wall of the city so she lowered them down the wall with a rope. At the conquest of Jericho she and her household were saved. Every one in the city were killed but the house of Rahab were saved. and they  peacefully spent  their days among the Israelites. Some Jewish legends say she married Joshua and was an ancestor of the prophet Jeremiah. But the New Testament places her in the family tree of Jesus. Salmon married Rahab and she became the mother of Boaz, the man who married Ruth. You know the rest of the story. 

 

The name in Hebrew is derived from REHABIAH and means “wide or broad.” (Gardner p. 366) In the Old Testament RAHAB was the name of the sea Serpent, the awesome monster, who contended with God to disrupt the creation, and was the Leviathan mentioned in Job 3:8 and 41:1, it was also a perjorative name for Egypt, traditional enemy of Israel as “worthless and empty,” “Rahab who sits still.” (Is. 30:7)  In this context the name means “proud, boisterous, arrogant,” certainly applicable to the serpent monster Lucifer.  

 

RAMAH and RAMOTH

 

RAMAH [RAMOTH) is a little town north of Jerusalem the place of RACHEL’S TOMB.  The tomb is on the right side of the road just before you pass through the present security gate to get to Bethlehem. Here she gave her great lament and died in Jacob’s arms at the birth of Benjamin, little brother of Joseph. Ramah  is mentioned in the story of DEBORAH, the story of the  Levite, and Bassha 00and Asa, and where Jeremiah was released. (Math. 2:18; Judges 4:5, 19:13; 15:17, 22; Jeremiah 40:1) (Alexander p.  874)

 

RAMAH AND RAMOTH are from Isaiah 10, extracted by Nephi and included in 2 Nephi Chapter 20. The Assyrians were on the move south occupying all the little and big towns along the way. They would eventually remove the ten tribes. ISAIAH  saw the coming devastation and capture. His warnings were not heeded. “They [the invading armies] have taken over the passage (pass, ravine}, they have taken up their lodging (they bivouac) at Geba: [less than ten miles away], RAMATH (RAMAH) is afraid, [trembles]; Gibeah of Saul is fled.” (Sperry p. 220) With a fierce and brutal invading army just a few miles away anyone would tremble.

 

RAMAH,  in the Book of Mormon, was the name given to the site where Coriantumr gathered his people for  four years in preparation for the final battles that ended the Jaredite civilization.

 

RAMAH  was also where Mormon later hid all the sacred records except a few which he gave a to Moroni (Mormon 6:6; Ether 15:11-12: Largey p. 672)

 

The hill Ramah was the same hill that the Nephites called Cumorah. “The Nephites final gathering spot was in the same area of the hilly upland where the Jaredites had fought the final battle of their civil war nine hundred years earlier. The hill now called Cumorah was known to the Jaredites as Ramah. There remain [today] Latter Day Saints who insist that the final destruction of the Nephites took place in New York but any such idea is manifestly absurd. Hundreds of thousands of Nephites traipsing across the Mississippi Valley of New York, pursued by… Hundreds of thousands of Lamanites is a scenario worthy of a witless sci-fi movie. Not of history.” (Sorensen p. 688, MAPS 1 & 10)  

 

Cumorah was in the land of Zarahemla in the basin of the Sidon River, the area today is drained by the Grijalva River (the central Depression of Chiapas) in central Mexico. (Sorensen p. 294)

 

Mormon’s text says that the Nephite forces were organized in armies of 10,000 men (e.g. Limhah…with his ten thousand, and Jencum…with his ten thousand,” etc. (Mormon  6:14) Cortez met the armies of old Xicotenga …organized into five armies…there were ten thousand; of another great chief.…another ten thousand, and a third…there were as  many more.” This comparison is interesting, although the single parallel does not constitute a particularly compelling evidence for a connection. (Sorensen p. 109)

 

What is compelling is that the Mesoamerican history and geography correctly does represent places and historical events in the Book of Mormon so there should be lots of these kinds of parallels-and there are.

 

RAMATH: (See RAMAH above) 

 

 BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

ALEXANDER, David and Pat Alexander, Eds, Eardman’s Handbook to  the Bible, William E. Erdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1973

 

BLACK, Jeremy. Andrew George, Nicholas Postgate, Eds.  A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, Harrassowitz Verlag,  Weisbaden. 2000

 

BUTTRICK.  George A.  The interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 4 Vol.  Abingdom  Press, Tyndale House Publishers, New York, 1962

 

DOUGLAS, J. D., The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Inter-Varsity Press Tyndale House Publishers, Hoddard and Stroughton, Sydney, 1980

 

FAGAN, Joseph M., A Morphological and lexical study   of Personal Names in the Ebla Texts, Missioin Archaeologica Italana Siria, Archivi Reali Di Ebla Studi 111, Universita Degli Studia Di Roma, La Sapienza, 1998

 

GARDNER, Joseph I., Who’s Who in the Bible, Reader’s Digest. Pleasantville, New York, 1994

 

LARGEY, Dennis I., Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2003   

 

LUDLOW, Daniel, H., A Companion to your Study of the Book of Mormon, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City,  Utah. 1976

 

MANDEL, David, Who’s Who in the Tenakh, Aerial Books, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2004

 

MOSCATI, Sabatino, The Phoenicians, The Abbeville Press, New York, 1988

 

NEWMAN, Barclay M. &  Eugene A. Nida. A Translator’s Handbook on the Gospel of John, United Bible Society. New York, 1980

 

NIBLEY, Hugh, Abraham in Egypt, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah 1981

 

SMITH, Joseph, Inspired Translation, Herald Publishing House, Independence Missouri, 1980

 

SORENSEN, John  L., Mormon’s Codex, Beal Maxwell Institute,  BYU, Deseret Book, Salt Lake City, Utah 2013

 

SPERRY, Sidney B., The Book of Mormon Compendium. Bookcraft, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1968

 

PINEGAR, Ed. J., The Book of Mormon Who’s Who. Covenant Communications, American Fork, Utah 2007

All research and opionions presented on this site are the sole responsibility of Dr. Einar C. Erickson, and should not be interpreted as official statements of the LDS doctrine, beliefs or practice.
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