Dr. Einar C. Erickson
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Adam was endowed with the image and likeness of the Lords above while Eve is the queen of this world. And I God provided and sent the three visitors for their protection, and taught them the holy mysteries and the prayers, which they might recite. I told them further, I have provided to you this earth, a dwelling place fit for eternity. And then sitting near them I taught the manner of calling upon the Lord to bless them.




As we arrive at the end pf the glossary of names for the Book of Mormon, we realize there are seventeen names beginning with a Z. We submit the first seven of these; five are unusual. Twelve of the Z names have the same Ze-  prefix-, some have unusual  histories . Some are well known in Mormon families, others less so. They make an interesting mix.  Most were a delight to study. I wonder if the great Joseph ever had many chances to enjoy what he was revealing? We continue to find real gems tucked away in the narratives by Mormon and Moroni. I can just see them smiling and saying: “They will really like this one!” I hope I find them all.


The name ZARAHEMLA  is used more than 150 times in the Book of Mormon, while most of these are geographical locations the name is also that of the  capital city of the Nephites. And it was the name of a leader of the Mulekites. Mulek was the lone surviving son of King Zedikiah of Judah. The city of Jerusalem was under siege and being destroyed by the Babylonians and Mulek may have been born during the final events of ther siege of July- August 587.  Mulek  is a Phoenician name. His mother may have been Phoenician and escaped the destruction with help from coastal Phoenicians and made it back to her people. We do not have the account of how, later, Mulek, as a mature person and a colony of Phoenicians were led to the promised land and ended up being mingled with the Nephites. But was on the Lord’s time table and his way of doing things., This one of those accounts that was going according to the plan of the Father, his timetable, and served his purposes, the knowledge of which will be eventually restored to us. (D&C 121:28-32

When Mosiah I was commanded of the Lord to leave the Land of Nephi,  where Lehi had originally settled, the Lord led them to a city called Zarahemla, (about 200 BC, Alma 22:29-31; Omni 1:14-17; Hel. 6:10),  the Mulekites,  whose leader was a man called Zarahemla.  Mosiah had with him the Brass Plates (Omni 1:15) and other scriptures that would rescue them from spiritual darkness. “And they dwelt there from that time forth.” (Omni 1:14-16) Zarahemla recognized the great value of the scriptures. Mosiah was accepted and was appointed king over the united people. They were taught written and spoken language skills, as well as the history of the people.  In time the two people merged.

This is another one of the stories or accounts about which we know very little, but it was done on the Lords time table and his plan, eventually we will know the details.

The prefix ZARA- in the name, is a match to ZARA in Akkadian. (Black p. 445) The meaning is ‘divided’ ‘or ‘divided into sections.’ There are a number of names with that prefix with varied meanings depending on the suffix. In the Assyrian records it shows up as the name of a slave girl being sold for one mina of silver, but the meaning is not given. (Baker Vol. 3/11 p. 1435) In the suffix the main element is  -HEM or HM, meaning ‘ardour,’ (Baker, Vol. 2/1,  p. 471) suggesting the name  means ‘my ardour is divided.’ How the name got picked up by Phoenicians and ended up in a colony in the Americas is a good question. But the antiquity of the record is supported by the presence of the name.

 The prefix ZAR- is also found on the tablets of EBLA and in some names means ‘take away’ (Pagan p, 384).

The word ZAR is Peruvian for ‘corn’, or ‘maize’. 

The consonant grouping ZRH is found among Amorite personal names and is interpreted to mean ‘to sow or seed,” (Huffman p. 188) especially in terms of offspring. In Hebrew you also get HAMULA for HEMLA. In Hebrew the meaning is ‘abundance’ applied to a personal  name, the meaning would be: ‘one who has numerous offspring’, (Reynolds p.334)


ZEBULUN was the tenth son of Jacob and sixth son of Leah. (Gen. 30:19)  At his birth a double derivation is suggested: zabal to ‘honour ‘ and zabad to “endow”  or “bestow”. Similar forms are found in Akkadian, Egyptain, and Cananite. He had three sons when he went down to Egypt with Jacob’s family. (Douglas p. 1677) The early form of the name was ZEBUL, it means ‘exalted’. (Ibid)

Zebulun had the largest territory, there were few development or cities in his area, but one strands out,  a place where Christ spent nearly thirty years of  life; Nazareth. There is more than the fact that it was  where Christ spent much of his life, three scriptures are waiting fulfilment. (2 Nephi 19:21-2; Isaiah 9 and Matt. 4:13-16) They had hosted a bright light; ‘Christ’ and suffered much and will be returned, honored in the last days. In other words, the people and land of Nazareth will receive the recognition and respect, due them. (Perry p. 206)

The reluctant prophet Jonah was from  Gath-hepher (2 Kings  14:25; Jos. 19:18), a Zebulunite city.  A census showed Zebulun could muster 50,000 warriors. Zebulun suffered a great deal under the Assyrians, (Douglas p. 1677) and was one of the ten tribes who were deported, that will return some day, soon?  He was one of those who assented unto the selling of Joseph into slavery. Joseph personally forgave him after the death of Jacob. (Mandel p.538) That may have been quite a touching sight; the brothers, after returning from burying Jacob, threw themselves at the feet of Joseph and declared they would be his slaves, but protect their wives and children. Joseph had them arise, and then individually embraced them and forgave them, and assured them their families would be taken care of.  An act of forgiveness seldom ever talked about.  ZEBULUN is also mentioned in Rev, 7:8. (Douglas p. 1677)


ZECHERIAH  is mentioned one time in the Book of Mormon in a quotation from Isaiah in which Isaiah identified him as a faithful  witness. (2 Ne. 18:2; Pinegar p. 191) It was also the name of the fourteenth king of Israel.  Nothing more is added. A prophet by that same name was active in the time 519 BC, long after the prophet Isaiah--740-701 BC. The name means ‘God has remembered. Six months after he succeeded his father on the throne Shallum, a commander of his army, conspired against him, killed him and usurped the throne. (Mandel p. 538)

 The long prefix- ZECHAR  means,, ‘remembered’ , the suffix –IAH Is the abbreviation for Jehovah or GOD, so the name means in  Hebrew,’ God [Jehovah] has remembered.’ (Mandel p. 538)

The Biblical record mentions 33 men with the name Zecheriah. (Buttrick pp.941-943) All these are biblical and written about in nearly every dictionary and commentary on scriptures. Some were kings and sons of kings, or close to kings, some were prophets or close and sons of prophets, or themselves prophets; they all played a role in the history of Israel. We will concern ourselves only briefly with the specific Zecheriah mentioned in Isaiah 8:2. He was the son  of Jeberechiah, (Mandel p. 244) and was one of the two witnesses—Uriah the Priest was the other -to the prophecies written by Isaiah on a tablet (Buttrick p 942; Mandel p. 539) concerning the conquests of the king of Assyria. Mandel p. 539, which would take the ten tribes out of the picture for most of the rest of earth’s temporal history. The prophecies were all fulfilled. The witnesses verified that they had all been written down and  then fulfilled, the  prophecies were a sign directly given by God. (Deut. 18:22; Buttrick p. 942)


Nephi recorded that it was during the first year of Zedekiah’s rule that  Lehi was called to warn the people of Jerusalem about the impending judgements of God about to befall them. (1 Ne. 1:4; Largey p.449)

There are five men in the scriptures named ZEDEKIAH. (Mandel pp. 541-544) On Mandel’s list we are only concerned with Zedekiah No. 2, the nineteenth and last king of Judah. He was twenty-one years old when he began his reign. He ruled in Jerusalem for eleven years. (2 Chron. 36:11) During the first year of his reign Lehi himself had to leave as threats were made on his life, because he was called to warn the people. The response was that severe.  The sweeping wars with the Babylonians were in progress in 586 BC. With the siege of Jerusalem completed in August 587.                                                                      

After their capture, the “king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes:  he slew also all the Princes of Judah in Reblah, Then he put out the eyes of Zedekiah [with red hot irons]; and the king of Babylon then bound him in chains and carried him to Babylon, and put him in prison till the day of his death” (Jer.  52: 10-11) The Book of Mormon explains that Zedekiah’s youngest son, Mulek,  born during the siege, so few knew about him, survived “and was guided by the Lord to the Promised Land where he established a colony and founded a new nation” (Hel. 6:10; Hel. 8:21). “For the Lord did bring Mulek into the land north, and Lehi into the land south.” (Hel. 2:1) Mosiah was commanded by the Lord to flee from the land south (the land of Lehi, also called the Land of Nephi), sometime about 279-130 BC. He and his followers were Guided northward to Zarahemla, where the Mulekites had eventually settled (Omni l1:12-16).  Thereafter the Mulekites and the Nephites were united into one nation. (Pinegar p. 191)   

MATTANIAH, which is Hebrew and means: ‘God’s Gift’, was the original name of Zedekiah. He was the son of King Josiah and Hammutal.  His brothers were Johanan, the firstborn, Eliakim, who reigned under the name Jehoichin, and Shallum reigned under the name Jehoahaz. He was 21 years old when Nebebuchadnezzar king of Babylon deposed his nephew Jehoaichin who had been king for only three months when he was summoned to Babylon with 10,000 captives, craftsmen and smiths, along with the prophets Ezekiel and Daniel, (Largey p.) and all the Temple treasury; and the king gave him the name of Zedekiah, a sign of vassalage, and made him king, the last king of Judah.  Zedekiah is Hebew and means ‘God is my righteousness’. The first page of the Book of Mormon dates to the commencement of Zedekiah’s reign.  (Mandel pp. 541-542; Galbraith pp. 106-107)

Zedekiah was a puppet  king for nine years then decided to rebel against the king of Babylon, but Jeremiah the prophet, believed that it was  God’s will that he submit to the king of Babylon, who was being used by God to punish Judah. But they beat Jerimiah and placed him under house arrest with no food. Zedekiah finally sent for the prophet Jerimiah  who told him to surrender to the King of Babylon to save the city which otherwise would be destroyed along with the temple and his own death.  Zedekiah did not take Jerimiah’s advice. He finally revolted. Breaking a covenant with Babylon. (Ez. 17:12-13; 1 Kings 24:20; Douglas p. 1679) Jerimiah, was sent back to the court of the prison and was given a little bread each day until the city was destroyed. After two years the Babylonians broke through the north east wall of the city [the present location of BYU’s Center] rendering the situation hopeless. Zedekiah with some soldiers tried to escape to the east but he only made it as far as Jericho where the Babylonians caught up with them. (2 Kgs. 25:1-7) They took him to Riblah where all his and the royal family were killed. Never again would there be a kingdom or king of Judah.

Nebuzaradan , the Babylonian commander, burned down the Temple, the royal palace, the houses of the noble and wealthy, tore down the walls of the city, and exiled the survivors, but left the land and vineyards to the poorest people who were left. Thus ended the kingdom of Judah, it had lasted 340 years from the days of Rehoboam till the destruction of the Temple of Solomon. (Mandel pp. 542-543)

In a vision Nephi saw all this destruction but was not believed.


Zedekiah was the name of one of twelve disciples (Apostles)  Chosen by the SAVIOR  when he organized His Church among the remnant of Israel in ancient America (3 Nephi 18:4)


Zeezrom  was a lawyer in the wicked city of Ammoniah when Alma and Amulek were preaching to the  proud people in the land of Zeezrom. ”He was foremost… to accuse Amulek and Alma…the object was to get gain… (Alma 10:31-32)… stir up the people to riotings, and all manner of disturbances and wickedness, that they might have more employ”…(Alma  11:20) Zeezrom “interrogated them extensively trying to trip them up.  Attributing to Amulek the false claim that the son of God “shall not save his people, (Alma  11:36-37) expert in the devices of the Devil, that he might destroy that which was good.”

These twisting and distorting statements by whomever, so the truth is obscured, is prevalent today. Amulek was simply making clear that the Lord could not save people “in their sins” “No unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God.” (Alma 11:37) Alma and Amulek expounded the doctrines of Christ and His atoning mission. Zeezrom began to tremble under the growing awareness that his position was altogether wrong.  Alma planted the seed of hope by telling him “that whosoever repenteth and  hardneth not his heart he shall have claim on mercy through  mine  Only Begotten Son, into a remission of his sins and these shall enter into my rest,”(Alma 12:14) Zeezrom recognized and admitted the truth, as did many who had been part of the discussion.  Zeezrom was harrowed up by his guilt and was encircled about by the pains of hell. But the people reviled him and turned against him and Alma and  Mulek and the people who had accepted the teachings of truth, so they drove them out, spit on them and threw stones at them and even sent men to cast stones at them and drove them out. Again Alma and Amulek were taken prisoner and incarcerated, some of the believers were killed, others escaped to Sidom including Zeezrom. Where he became very ill thinking that the two prophets had been killed, and blaming himself.  Then Mormon inserts the wonderful story of the Lord  intervening, shaking the prison down, and freeing the two prophets and telling them to depart, they went to Sidom. There they learned of Zeezrom’s condition, they went to him, discerned he had repented, and Alma blessed him, he was healed miraculously, the story spread throughout the land. Alma baptized him and he joined the two prophets in missionary work. The Lamanites overran the city of Ammonihah and destroyed it in one day. Alma called upon Zeezrom to accompany he and Mulek on a mission to the Zoramites in the land of Antionum, (Alma 31:6-7) afterwards Zeezrom went with them back to Zarahemla.  A zealous missionary, Zeezrom was asked by Helaman, the son of Helaman and grandson of Alma, to teach his sons Nephi and Lehi the principles of the gospel. The record indicates he taught them well. The Lord would “surely come to redeem his people” and one of them was Zeezrom himself. (Hel. 5:10; Pinegar pp. 191-193) This is one of the best success stories of repentance and faith and service in the Book of Mormon.

The name ZEEZROM has three prefix elements:  ZE-,  ZEE-, ZEEZR- and a suffix element:  -ROM,  found in Old Akkadian names. The doubling of vowels and consonants in Jaredite and Akkadian names is also common. In Old Akkadian names we get:  zuazu(m) zearum, zuzam, zizum, zerum, meaning ‘divide, become, separate, hated’, (Black p. 446) somewhat defining his character. The ZE- element is common In Akkadian and in Hebrew names, (Mandel pp. 544-549) with the suffix defining the meaning.

The name may be an example of metonymy: the practice of giving a person or place a name whose meaning reflects an event or trait associated with that person or place. Zeezrom tried to bribe Alma and Amulek with silver onties if they would deny  the existence of a supreme being. Zeezrom may therefore have been named at this time as a reflection of his obsession with silver. The concept is an authentic Hebrew custom. (FARMS p. 1)

ZEEZROM  was also the place name of one of several Nephite cities captured by the Lamanites in the days of Moroni and Helaman (Alma 56:13-14, about 66 BC).  Later, after Helaman recaptured the city of Manti, the cities were abandoned by the Lamanites. (Largey p. 801)

In the case of the meaning of the name used as it was for a place, the meaning could have been intended to mean ‘God’s gift.’


Following the death of Giddianhi, Zemnarihah became the appointed leader of the Gadianton Robbers. (3 Ne. 4:14, 17, about 21 A.D) Under  his command the Robbers mounted a massive campaign to take over all the Nephite territories and  laid siege to the People of Nephi believing he could defeat them by famine. (3 Ne. 4:16) However, The Nephites under Lachoneus had created a sanctuary of some cities and had provisions for seven years, and were prepared for a long siege, but the robbers fully depleted their resources and faced famine instead. Zemnarihah had to terminate the siege and withdraw. The Nephites under the command of Gidgiddoni, ordered a night march and surrounded the robbers and compelled them to surrender by the thousands or be slain, and Zemnarihah “was taken and hanged upon a tree…until he was dead.”(3 Ne. 4:27-28)  After the execution the Nephites “did fell the tree to the earth and did cry with a loud voice…that they may cause to be felled to the earth all who shall seek to slay them because of power and secret combinations.” (3 Ne. 4:28-29) The people “gave thanks to the Lord for deliverance.” (3 Ne. 4:31-353)  They taught the gospel to the Gadianton robbers, those who accepted were liberated. The rest were punished under the law. (3 Ne. 5:4-5) For a while, at least, this put an end to the abominable combinations.  (3 Ne.5:6; Pinegar p. 194-195; Largey p. 802)

The name is theophoric containing the Jehovah element –IAH. The prefix element ZEMNAR,  is a name that may have Egyptian origins, compare with Zmnhare. As Nibley points out, the two names have the same letters only in a different order with little change in sound and meaning; a common Egyptian practice. (Nibley  p. 30) It is called metonymy, the practice of giving a person or place a name whose meaning reflects an event or trait associated with that person or place. Without success Zeezrom had tried to bribe the two prophets with silver onties, which we have discussed before. Even the suffix ending of the name contains the name of another unit of silver, the EZROM. (LARGEY p. 610) ZEEZROM may therefore have named at this time as a reflection of his obsession with silver.  At any rate it is a concept that is authentic Hebrew. (FARMS p.1)

It is one of those little things that Joseph would not have known anything about. He was just translating an ancient text abridged by a capable abridger who knew what he was doing.


ZENEPHI was a Nephite commander during the final Nephite-Lamanite wars. Because Zenephi’s army confiscated the remaining supplies of Sherrizah, many Nephite widows and their daughters who tarried in the land were forced to wander in search for food. Many of the old women fainted and died. (Moro. 9:16) ZENEPHI did not survive the wars.

There are two elements in the name:  ZE- and –NEPHI. From the tablets of EBLA (before 2250 BC) we obtain two words that are a match to the prefix: ZE-,   meaning ’come out’ and ‘protection.’   (Pagan p. 384) 

The name has a Jaredite prefix Ze-and an Egyptian name -NEPHI, for a  suffix, written up previously,  who was a military commander in Ethiopian regions in the 14th  century BC.


BAKER, Heather D., The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire Vol. 3/1, P-S, The University  of Helsinki, 2000

BLACK, Jeremy, Andrew George, Nicholas Postgate, A Concise Dictionary of Akkadian 2nd Corrected Edition, Harrassowitz Verlag, Wiesbaden, 2000

BUTTRICK, George A., The Interpreter ’Dictionary, New York,1980

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

FARMS, Metonymy In the Book of Mormon, Insights, June. Foundation for Ancient Research & Mormon Studies, BYU, Provo, 1984

LARGEY, Dennis L., Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Deseret Book Co0., Salt Lake City, Utah, 2003

MANDEL, David, Who’s Who in Tanakh, Aerial Books, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2004.

NIBLEY, Hugh, 1,  Lehi in the Desert & and the World of the Jardites

PAGAN, Joseph Martin, A Morphological and Lexical Study of Personal Names in the Ebla Texts. Universita Degli Studi Di Roma, Mission Archeologica Italina in Siria, 1998

PERRY, Donald W., Jay A. Perry, Tina M., Peterson, Understanding Isaiah, Deseret Book Co., Salt lake City, Utah, 1998

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

REYNOLDS, George, Sjodahl, Janne, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, vol. 11 ,Deseret Book Co. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1956

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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