Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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I am still a spirit, I have not been tabernacled in the flesh.





In the glossary of the Book of Mormon names Under the letter T there were six names. Five of these are discussed  in this entry into the web site. The name not included is THUMMIM. The the three names starting with a U includes, URIM. Rather than treat these as two  separate names,   they will be combined into a two part SPECIAL presentation on the URIM AND THUMMIM.

In the glossary, after the names beginning with S, there were only names of three letters left, T,   U,  and  Z . This further confirms that we have been dealing with West Semitic names all along. We will probably put a chart (Sassson pp. 2118—2119) of those Languages in which we found Book of Mormon names, on the web site. We went into this study not knowing what we would find.  We found a lot, more than we can digest at the present.  


TABEAL and his son are referred to in the Book Mormon once in a quotation from the Prophet Isaiah (2 Ne 17:6; Isaiah 7:6)  He and his son are otherwise  not identified in the scriptures only that they lived during the days of King Ahaz, (Pinegar p. 178) King Pekah of Israel and King Resin of Syria wanted to place Tabael’s son on the  throne of Judah instead of King Ahaz, but nothing came of the effort. Israel may have had a different history had that happened. Ahaz was a wicked king, he substituted a pagan altar and ceremonies for the temple altar which led in part to the ultimate destruction of the temple.

The name is listed in the Tanakh, the Sacred Books of the Jews. It is Hebrew and means ‘God is Good’. (Mandel p, 514) The name was  probably present earlier and was had among the names of the Akkadians where the prefix TAB- means ‘good’ and the  suffix –AEL is an abbreviation for ELOHIM, meaning ‘God’, so ‘Lord (God)  is Good’.

The prefix TAB- in Neo-Assyrian also means ‘good’ an almost exact match to the name TAB-BELI, the ‘Lord is Good’ , (Baker p. 1338-1339), and the name TAB-BET…Good is the temple’ (Ibid) is suggestive! (The prefix TAB- is found in many names in the Neo-Assyrian dictionary mostly meaning ‘good’, the suffix varies and generally designates ‘who is good.’


TARSHISH, In passages from Isaiah 3, references are made to the ‘coming day of the Lord’ and all upon whom the Day of the Lord would fall. The ’day’ will come upon everybody and upon all the features of the earth and all nations. In verse 16 it includes all the ships of the oceans and in particular “upon all the ships of TARSHISH, and upon all pleasant pictures.”  The phrase “all pleasant pictures” is used here to represent idealized and picturesque paradises TARSHISH is considered to represent. The ships of TARSHISH were large ocean going vessels of the Phoenicians, that went to far away and exotic places. (Buttrick p. 317)

There were two areas called of Tarshish. One used by Solomon at the north end of the red Sea at Ezion- geber. (Ahaaroni p.107) The other in Tartessus, Spain. Cyprus, Greece, and Tarsus also figure into these far away paradises. Tarshish exported, through the ports at Joppa and Tyre,  finely wrought silver (Jer. 10:9) and other silver, iron, tin, and lead products (Ezek. 117:12) The Quadalquiver Valley in Spain, was favored by  Plinius and Strabo as the location of Tarshish. I Kings 10:22 tells of Solomon’s fleet, built and based at Ezion-geber or Tarshish that fetched  gold, silver, ivory, monkeys and peacocks from lands around the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. (Buttrick p. 317; 2 Ch. 20:36; Douglas p. 1518)

Jonah avoids going east to Nineveh by taking a Tarshish ship from  Joppa  and heads west to Tarshish, beyond the Pillars of  Hercules.  (Jonah 1:32) He was a little miffed when he ended up in Nineveh anyway. But his preaching was effective and the people repented, saving themselves from being destroyed.  

The very word Tarshish suggests the idea of wealth, mining and smelting, such that any mineral-bearing land may be called Tarshish.

In Akkadian an old Semitic root RAIASU means ‘to melt’, ‘to be smelted’. A derived noun may be used to define a smelting-plant or refinery.  (Douglas p. 1518) So any place where mining and smelting could be carried on could be called Tarshish.  Where did Lehi get his wealth in gold and silver? Ugarit was the closest refinery, just up the coast from the port of Sidon. He knew it well!

So Tarshish had become in the minds of many, a distant paradise from which all kinds of luxuries might be brought to such areas as Phoenicia and Israel, and especially as gifts for Christ at his birth.

In his Book, OUR LORD OF THE GOSPELS, J. Reuben Clark Jr. included an APENDIX of prophecies concerning the coming, life and mission of Jesus Christ, p. 521, which singled out the Magi who came with their gifts at the birth of Christ providing references on pages 522 and 524 of more than thirty who came, from where they came, and the gifts they brought. I have never known anyone who has referenced these details. One important reference is to Isaiah 60:3,6,9 &,10: “And the Gentiles shall come to thy light [Birth] and Kings to the brightness of thy Rising [Birth] The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the Dromedaries of Midian and Ephah, all they from Sheba shall come; They shall bring Gold  and incense, and they show forth the praises of the Lord… And the Ships of TARSHISH FIRST, to bring thy sons from far, their SILVER  and their GOLD with them. Unto the name of the LORD THY GOD and the HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL, because he hath glorified thee. Their Kings shall minister unto thee.”    

So, who came first?  The Kings of TARSHISH!   What did they bring? Gold. Silver, Incense, and praise! Most of the others brought the same thing. Christ’s family were not poor when they went into Egypt for nearly six-seven years.

I spent a long time researching the references and history and archaeological records and distilled my findings in the document      provided with this entry called THE MAGI. One of the CD’s provides more details. It is called THE MAGI.

The wise men or Magi, included some who had the priesthood, some who had ancient sources referring to his coming, but all of them responded to prophetic expectations. All of the descendants of Noah are represented, as are special descendants of Abraham. At least 34 kings and related prelates came to the Savior at his birth or shortly thereafter.


TEANCUM was a Nephite military leader about 67 BC, who played a major role in the execution of the Nephite Lamanite wars that began with the dissension of Amalekiah  and concluded with the defeat of the  Lamanites in 60 BC. He led the army sent by Moroni to intercept the contentious people of Morianton in his ambition to gain possession of all the northern lands. In the ensuing battle he killed Morianton and defeated his army. (Alma 50:35) In a second campaign Amalickiah captured many of the Nephite cities on the east by the sea near  Bountiful.  (Alma 51:26-27) But was repulsed by Teancum. At night, Teancum stole into the Lamanite camp and killed Amalickiah with a javelin into his heart. (Alma 51:33-34) This caused the Lamanites to retreat to the cities of Mulek and Ammoron, the brother of Amalickiah, was made king. (Alma 52:1-3) Teancum was ordered to retake the city of MuLek. He waited for Moroni , the two leaders lured the Lamanites forces out of  Mulek and defeated them. Under orders from Moroni he used Lamanite prisoners to fortify Bountiful into a great stronghold.

Teancum had several able commanders under him. One was Helaman who took command of the army of the more than 2,000 young stripling  warriors. That is the greatest and most faith promoting war story in the Book of Mormon (Sperry p. 367) They were the sons of converts who had said they would never fight again, and buried their weapons. (See They buried their Weapons in an early article In this web site) Many of them were wounded but none of them were slain. (Alma 50:19-23) They were close to God and they stayed that way.  

Internal and external conflicts continued for a few more years. Teancum was a key figure. The Lamanites were driven into the Land of Mormon, where, acting on his own again, and at night, Teancum slipped into the Lamanite camp found Ammoron and killed him with his javelin,  but Ammoron had alerted his guards who pursued Teancum and killed him. (Alma 62:35-36) In Teancum’s  judgement he considered the two  main Lamanite generals, Amalickiah and Ammoron, to be responsible for the vast blood shed and destruction by the Lamanites. He had determined to kill both of them.  Which he did. (Pinegar pp. 178-179) But it cost him his own life.

Mormon paid high tribute to Teancum. He “had been a man who fought valiantly for his country, yea, a true friend of liberty; and he had suffered very many exceedingly sore afflictions.” (Alma 62:37)

The name TEANCUM has three elements:   TE-,   -AN, and –CUM.

In the Akkadian Dictionary the element TE- is a prefix for many words and names. In the word TE-BU-(M), even applied to an animal, means‘, ‘Lively, active, ready for battle.’ (Black p. p.403).

The second element –AN means ‘to or for’. (Black p. 16) On a tablet from Ebla the element means the ‘strong one’. (Pagan p. 281)

The ending or suffix –CUM,  is KUM in Akkadian because there is no C in Akkadian, instead they  use a K .  So the suffix or ending is –KUM, meaning ‘to or you’.  The names were all spelled out for Joseph, so the Jaredite use of the C was used in the name and not the Akkadian K. The name was a Jaredite name and the use of mimation gave the –CUM form. Bezele Porton suggests that the -UM ending, a common West Semitic suffix, is a hypocoristicon for Jehovah names. Fourteen names in the Book of Mormon contain this ending. (Porton p. 139-140)   As has been noted the –UM ending was also prevalent among the MARI texts. (Huffmon p.132)The meaning of the name would be close to:  ‘to you, or for you, Jehovah has given to be the strong one, lively, active, ready for battle.’ That was TEANCUM!  (Pinegar p. 178)

This is another one of the little details that Mormon wanted to tuck in the record, to assure once again, an original, authentic record was being translated!


TEOMNER was a Nephite military officer in the armies of Teancum, serving with Helaman about 63 BC. He was ordered to retake the city of Manti from the Lamanites.  Helaman and Gid enticed the numerically superior Lamanite force to come out from the city with their army and pursue the Nephite army into the wilderness. Flanking the pursers and hidden in the wilderness were the companies of Teomner and Gid, who slipped behind the Lamanites when they had passed and captured Manti. (Alma 38:16-23) Without the shedding of blood. (Alma 58:25) The Lamanites fled into the wilderness and the Nephites  returned to their cities. (Pinegar p. 179)

TEOMNER  is similar to the name TEUMAN, an easterner living in Egypt. Nibley, p. 194) The prefix element TE- has been discussed above, applying to this name as well.

The –OM- element is found in the Akkadian dictionary as –UM-There is no O, IN AKKADIAN In its place, the –U- is used. The Jaredite language lost none of its letters in the Tower of Babel incident but the Akkadian lost the O and the F and C, as well.  The –UM- element means ‘now’. (Black p. 420). The UM-  is found in many Neo- Assyrian names. (Baker pp.1378-1386)  Many of the listed names are Elamite. ELAM is a nation just east of ancient SUMER at the head of the Persian Gulf at the southern end of Mesopotamia. The famous city of UR, where Abraham was born is located in Sumer. The Akkadians were located at the north end of Mesopotamia on the west side of Elam.  (Aharoni p. 180) The city of Susa where many Jews were exiled, including Esther, was located in ELAM, directly east of the location of UR.

 The final suffix  element in TEOMNER  is –NER, it means  ‘host, army, all totally’. (Black p. 250) One version of the name would then be: ‘NOW, TOTALLY READY FOR BATTLE’. Another name that confirms the name comes from a geography familiar to the Jaredites, confirming the antiquity of the name


TIMOTHY was one of the twelve disciples chosen by the resurrected SAVIOR when he organized His Church among the remnant of Israel in ancient America. (3 Nephi 19:4) Of these twelve Christ said “behold, they are righteous forever. For because of their faith in the Lamb of God their garments are made white in his blood.” (1 Ne. 12:9-10; Pinegar p. 183) Little else is written of him.

The name means “one who honors God.”  (Buttrick p. 650)


The great commander and chief high priest, Captain Moroni, retired in about 56 BC and died soon after. Helaman became Chief High Priest. There was a brief period of peace. Moroniha, the son of Mormon repelled a Lamanite invasion, then following a short upheaval due to replacing a chief judge, Pahoron, the Lamanites, about 51 BC invaded again. (Helaman 1:14-17) The king of the Lamanites was TUBALOTH, (Hel. 1:16)the son of the wicked Ammoron, and an apostate, Coriantumr, a dscendant of the Mulekite Zarahemla, was put in command of the Lamanite Armies and stirred up the people.  Corianatumr took advantage of this and plunged his forces  into the heart of Nephite territory, capturing the capital city of  Zarahemla. His action left his forces vulnerable to counterattacks by the generals of the Nephite armies, Mormoniha and Lehi. The Lamanites were soundly defeated (Hel. 1:18-33) and Coriantumr was killed. (Hel.1:30-32). Tubaloth was never mentioned again. (Pinegar p. 152)

The prefix to Tubaloth is the name TUBAL-, the name of a son of Jepheth and a grandson of Noah. He had six brothers. (Gen10:2; Mandel p. 523) The name is often identified with the Akkadian TABAL, the TAB (TUB) element often, meaning ‘good’ (BUTTRICK p. 718) and the Hebrew variation: TabbaOTH, the suffix  -OTH referring to a ‘metal smithy.’ A metal smith, working with brass and iron, he is considered the discoverer of the cold forging of copper and meteoric iron. (Douglas p. 1602)  Nearly a match is the name Tabbaoth, a metal worker, the head of a family of Nethinim, temple servants, who were with Ezra on his return from exile to rebuild the temple.  A metal worker, or smithy, would be required, that’s the meaning of the suffix  –OTH.

The two prefix consonantal elements TB- ‘mean good and have been found   in names from the Murasu documents.(Coogan  p. 75) Also review TABEAL above.  TUBAL CAIN, son of Lamech  and  grandson of Cain also refers to  the name of a country known for its metallurgy. (Buttrick 718)                       BIBLIOGRAPHY

AHARONI, Yohanan, Michael Avi-onah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze’ev Safrai, The Carta BibleAtlas, Carta, Jerusalem, 2002

ALLEN, Joseph., & Blake L., Allen, Exploring the Lands of the Book of Mormon, Covenant Communications, American Fork, Utah 2011

BAKER, Heather, Ed., The Prosopography of the Nero-Assyrian Empire. Vol. 3/1, University of Helsinki, 2002

……………………………..Vol. 2, Part II, 2001

……………………………..Vol.  3/11, 2011

BLACK, Jeremy. Andrew George, Nicholas Postgate, Concise Dictionary of Akkadian, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2000

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………………………………Vol., 2, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary,

Cosimo Classisc. New York, 2010

BUTTRICK, George A., The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, Abingdon Press, New York, 1980

COOGAN, Michael D. West Semitic Personal names in Murasu Documents, Edwards Brothers Inc., Ann Arbor, 1976

CLARK,  J. Reuben, Our Lord of the Gospels, Deseret News Press, Salt Lake City Utah, 1954

DOUGLAS, J.D. The Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Inter Varsity Press, Tyndale House Pub., Hudder and Stoughton, Sydney, 1980

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MANDEL, David, Who’s who in Tanakh, Ariel Books, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2004

NIBLEY, Hugh, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, Vol. 6, FARMS,   BYU, Deseret Book Co., Salt lake City , Utah, 1987

PAGAN, Joseph Martin, A Morphological and Lexical Study of Personal Names on the Ebla Texts, Mission Archeaologica Italiana in Siria. University Degli Studi de Roma, 1998

PARRY, Donald W., Jay A. Parry, Tina W. Peterson, Understanding Isaiah, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 1998

SASSON, Jack M., Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Hendrickson, Peabody, Mass., 1995  

SORENSON, John, Mormon’s Codex, Neal Maxwell Institute, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013

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



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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