Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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The great Seth wrote this books with letters in 130 years. He placed in on the mountain that is called Chericol. This book is apparently to be brought out at the end time to reveal among other things this incorruptible holy race of the Great Savior and those who dwell with Him in love. We learn from other sources that the race of Seth or his descendants are considered to be the righteous descendants.

You will probably get a lot more out of this study if you have a Book of Mormon present turned to the list of names in the back.

In Ancient times, about the time of the Tower of Babel, called the ‘great tower' by the Jaredites (Ether 1:33) Semitic names were designated by two types, secular and theophoric. The Jaredites, descendants of Shem, originated or came from central Mesopotamia near the Tower of Babel, [near present Bagdad] and were informed of the coming confusion of tongues (Ether l:33-34).  They were told that their language would not be confounded. (Ether 1:35)  Therefore, their records would have carried Adamic language names, which would have been preserved on the twenty-four Plates of Gold compiled by Ether and later translated by Mosiah about 92 BC. (Mos 28:17).  Those interested in ancient names could therefore seek to obtain name information from the earliest archaeological Mesopotamian sources as close to the time of the Tower of Babel, or shortly after the Flood as is possible.  Therefore an examination of sources of Ancient Akkadian (Gelb pp. 13-35) and Sumerian, Northwest Semitic (Muchiki) and Amorite (Western Semitic)  records and the newly recovered records of the civilizations of Ebla, Mari, Hittite, Elam, Urkesh, Ugarit, Urartu, Egypt, Babylonian, Hurrian, and Kish might provide unique confirmation of subtle data contained in the Book of Mormon and particularly in the Book of Ether. 

Recent studies of third millennium Eblaitic, Sumerian  and Akkadian personal names provides details on the emergence of Theophoric Names.  "Appendix ( No. 111) [in a recent study] illustrates the chronological distribution of the usage of DNN [God designations] in the Old Akkadian names [some sixty-five hundred] that have been collected...the focus is not on any particular god but on the use of DNN [God designations] generally...for that reason, the name-types for which more than one god has been attested, the theophoric element, is represented in the listing only by the abbreviation DN [God]." ((Di Vito p. 296-299). A preliminary study on EBLA (c. 2300 BC, see Pettinato and Gordon) in this series will provide information on the earliest recorded appearance in recovered documents, so far, of Jehovah and the various nick-names, short versions, and abbreviations utilized to incorporate Jehovah into a name. (Wilson 28) Information will also be provided why the use of other Gods besides Jehovah were limited in Jaredite and Nephite name usages. Onomastic science (Gelb p. 22-23) includes many Name Types and how they are formed...These include "Greeting- Names, Thanksgiving-Names, Laments, Prospective Trust, Timeless Expressions, Affection, Relationship to Deity, [but most often] ATTRIBUTE-NAMES." (Di Vito, pp. 277-285).

Joseph Smith had no idea of any of above, but each name contained in the Book of Mormon was a separate enunciated issue and it was always checked to make sure the spelling had been correct. It appears as if God intended the names to be very important in verifying the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and to testify as to the veracity of Joseph's claim to be a prophet.  But only after Joseph's time have discoveries been made of ancient records and then only recently have they been translated to provide stimulation to study the names.  This series of studies are only a first step in this rewarding undertaking.  There are many persons working on the names in the Book of Mormon, their future publications are eagerly looked for.   

Until the important publication of Porten's book The Archives from Elephantine, in 1968, and then the publication in 1987 of Archaeology and Language by Colin Renfrew, and then other books that followed, listed in the Bibliographies of this series, it would have been impossible to undertake a real definitive study of Book of Mormon names, though several productive efforts have been made, particularly by Hugh Nibely in his An Approach to the Book of Mormon in 1957, and Dennis L. Largey.  Earlier books containing name information in them (such as The Babylonians by H.W.F. Saggs), which are referred to in this series, date to 1962, but the name information contained in them was not referred to until recently.  Refer back to the DISCOVERIES AT ELEPHANTINE, in this series for historical and other information on the discoveries at Elephantine. (Porten)  And only since 1992 has the great work on the 20,000 names now obtained from the thousands of tablets found at Ebla really gotten underway. (Gordon)   

Upon going over the list of 400 or so names in the Elephantine Archives (Porten pp. 133-150) it will be obvious that many of the names are theophoric.  "On the last rock [island] of the [First] cataract flourished ‘the town in the middle of the flood'—Elephantine, ruled over by Khnum, the ram-headed god prince of the cataract-region." (Yoyotte, p. 80) It will be extremely interesting to compare the theophoric names from the Elephantine Archives to the 337 proper names in the Book of Mormon (Largey p. 580) Elephantine "appears in every chapter of Egypt's political history...it was a fortress, ‘customs' post, a junction, the capital of the nome ....Its soldier-traders carried on a great international commerce during the Old Kingdom. Under Persian domination a large Jewish garrison colony built a temple to Jahweh." (Yoyotte p. 80). The Archives of Elephantine provide many names from many countries and civilizations over a long historical period, some unknown for more than 3,000 years, useful for comparison to Jaredite and Nephite names.

In an analysis of a name there are generally three elements:  (1) a prefix, (2) then a root (or core, or stem), (3) then a suffix. In some names a Lemna is included which merely stands for "is".  Any one of these elements in a name can be a theophoric element. A theophoric element or name contains an element or portion, which refers to some type of deity, i.e. Jehovah, Elohim, Baal, Ammon, El, etc. The ENTIRE name of the deity may be present in the name or JUST A COMPONENT [an element, or even a single letter] of the deity's name intended to represent him. (Vito p. 296)  Theophoric names contain at least two elements; (1) one is the name of the deity and the other (2) tells something about the deity, or what he does, and generally this is the rest of the name.  (Douglas, p. 133)  The theophoric element may be a prefix, a suffix, or both, or in the core of the name. To get a grasp on theophoric names examine the Bible. The Old Testament abounds with theophoric names.  The following are a few examples.

ISAIAH.   Yahweh (Jehovah).  "The suffix ‘iah' ending is a theophoric element, an abbreviated form denoting Jehovah.  It is found in many examples in the Bible. Other variants of the ‘iah' ending which refers to Jehovah includes:  ‘ah', and ‘ihah'". (Crim, p. 237).  It is an important element in many Book of Mormon names. The element can also be a prefix. The Pearl of Great Price also contains ancient theophoric names.

NATHANAEL.  Gift of God (Elohim)  The "el"  suffix is found frequently in the Bible. Ty's oldest son's middle name, Tyel, is an example of this type of the theophoric name.  In the case of Elohim the God element (DN) is a prefix.

BAAL-ZEBUB.  Lord of flies (Baal).  Baal was a pagan God of the Canaanites referring to a great fertility deity.  Baal cults challenged the worship of Yahweh throughout Israelite history. (Crim, p., 115)  This element or reference to this God is not found in Book of Mormon names, a very important exclusion and a critical one for the integrity of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith.  In this instance the element is a prefix.

Lets look at two well known names from the Book of Mormon, Laman and Lemuel.  Both of these names have a hypocoristicon (abbreviation) for God.  In Laman it is: -an, in Lemuel it is:  -el.  The vowels in both names can be eliminated leaving the prefix or name for each of the two sons of Lehi the same:  LM and LM.  This name, which means "WHY?"  is then attached to the abbreviated names for God, -an or -el to form the theophoric name: " WHY GOD?" In their case the theophoric name is an attribute and clearly states their Attitude! WHY GOD?  What have they to do with God?  The names for Laman and Lemuel clearly describe their attitudes. The ancient Semitic form LM with the meaning ‘Why' for Laman (and Lemuel) is found in Ancient Amorite (Western Semitic) name lists. (Gelb p. 24)  This is a remarkable parallel to the Nephite Record. This series will include a study of Amorite and Nephite name parallels.

See the study: DISCOVERIES AT ELEPHANTINE in this series for an outline of the history and background of Elephantine. On the Island of Elephantine in the Nile River  ancient archives, records of mercenary Jews who left Israel and Palestine a little earlier than the time when Lehi and his family were active in Jerusalem, were recovered in the early years of the last century. Recent studies suggest "that the Jewish mercenaries originated in the former kingdom of Israel and not [all] from Judah." (Rosenberg p. 12) This is important from the standpoint of looking in the Archives of Elephantine for names that would have been carried into that fortress by remnants of the Ten Tribes, that escaped the conquest of Israel. As will be presented below, this is the case. Lehi would have transmitted with his family more names directly associated with the Jews of Jerusalem and Judah at the time they left.  But the Brass Plates would have carried similar names found in the records of some of the mercenaries. The study of names in the Book of Mormon requires one to become familiar with languages, peoples, countries and geographies (D&C 88: 78-79) linked to or that were familiar to, the Jaredites, the Israelite mercenaries, and Jewish Mercenaries, and the Family of Lehi, at critical historical times.  Results in this search are dependent on discoveries made after the death of the Prophet Joseph and translated only as recent as the last few years. Such discoveries confirm the veracity of the Book of Mormon and the reality of a translated ancient record, and the certainty Joseph was an inspired prophet. 

A lot of the recovered documents from Elephantine have been translated. In one of the later publications there are over 400 names listed; some 160 are Jewish and Israelite names listed in the Archives of Elephantine. (Porten pp.133-150)  There are 337 proper names in the Book of Mormon. One should be able to compare the two groups with respect to their names and see if any similarities are evident. There are! CHART l, compares some of the names between the Book of Mormon and the Archives of Elephantine.  This will not be an exhaustive study, but will introduce an approach to the Book of Mormon that one can make using the rules of Onomastic studies in regard to names.  The remainder of this study will be NOTES explaining and expanding upon CHART  l.  On the CHART in the First Column the Theophoric name element or elements to be utilized for comparison will be identified. In the Second Column selected names from the 400 names or so of Elephantine will be listed. In the Third Column a selection from the 337 names found in the Book of Mormon will also be listed to show the Onoamastic parallels and to compare the two sources with each other.  The CHART will tabulate the names, then explanations of each itemized element will be provided in the NOTES that follow. The elements or hypocoristicons that refer to deity, the God designations, or DN.  are highlighted for easy recognition.




(400 NAMES) (337 NAMES)

1) YHW/H  -iah Amaniah, Hodaviah Amalakiah, 

Gedeliah Jerberechiah

Mosiah, Seriah, Uriah,

                      -ah Islah Ahah, Ammah, 



Antionah, Antiparah,

Cumorah, Gadiomanah,

Giddonah, Gidgiddonah,

Giddonah, Gidgiddonah,

Giddonah, Gidgiddonah,

Rabbanah, Onidah,

Sherrizah, Shiloah,

Nimrah, Zerahemnah

                      -ihah                       -ihah Amonihah, Moronihah

Nepihah, Onihah, 

Orihah, Zemnarihah

2)   Adoni Not Found Not Found

3)   Baal Not Found Not Found

4)   -ni Ananani Cumeni, Gidgiddini,

Himni, Lamoni, Mathoni,

Middoni, Morni, Omni

5)    -i        -ti Pilti , Manti, Moroni

Abinadi, Aminadi, 

                 -hi Abhi Giddianhi, Kumenonhi

Limhi, Nephi, Zenephi

                 -chi Semchi, Paachi

6)   -um Shallum, Nahum Antionum, Anmtum, 

Neum, Coriantum

Neum, Coriantum

Neum, Coriantum

Helorum, Shum,

Teancum, Helorum,

Irreantum, Moriantum,

7)   -ntn Nattn Antion, Antionah

       (to give)

8)    Ah- Ahio, Ahiab Aha, Ahah, Ahaz


9)    Ab- Abiosher, Abihu Abish, Abinadi


10)  -aa- Baadiah, Jaadaniah Paanchi

11)   Close Abiosher (Father Abish

        Parallels wealth)

Shelemiah Shelem

(Ya Requited)

Nahum Nahom

Shelomam (Peace) Shilom

12)   -da Kibda Kib, Amnigadda

       (Yah) (Yah honored) Onidah

13) -r

                    -mr                                                                  Coriantumr



NOTE 1:   Porten points out that the majority of names at Elephantine were theophoric.  "This overwhelming proportion of names that contain the theophoric element Yahweh reveals the devotion of the Elephantine Jews to Jehovah." (Porten p. 134)  Of the Theophoric names encountered in the Book of Mormon, FORTY THREE examples ARE found with the divine element YHWH (iah, ihah, ah) in the suffix.  Only a few have been tabulated so the obvious can be recognized. The percentage is larger if other theophoric elements besides these three are included, such as -da, -on and -um.

This totals approximately fifteen percent of all names found in the Book of Mormon.  Only a few representative examples from Elephantine are listed for brevity, whereas all those from the Book of Mormon are presented.  It is highly unlikely that Joseph Smith was aware of the concept that the following suffixes -iah, -ah,  -ihah, -da, -on,  were authentically theophoric. Among these, is a variant -i h ah  as found in Zemnarihah.   Note, again, that some Elephantine names may come from members of Israel, and therefore we would look for them in the Brass Plates, and the names Lehi brought with his family would be in the Book of Mormon, names mostly coming from the same time period but from the southern kingdom of Judah.  We would have to look elsewhere for names contained in the Jaredite record. Though after Mosiah translated the plates of Ether names from the Jaredite records would become available to the Nephites, but only after 92 BC. This makes a serious demand on the Book of Mormon that it be consistent and historically and linguistically correct.

While the oldest recorded use of Theophoric names and the hypocoristica or abbreviated forms for Jehovah, appear to be in the Semitic discoveries of Ancient Ebla and its contemporaries, the use in LDS scriptures goes back to at least the time of Enoch, where references is made to the land of Hananniah, (Moses 7:9) which has the hypocrositicon of -iah.  This suggests a very ancient usage of abbreviated forms for the diety, and if so, then records before the time of the flood, left behind by the Adamic dispensation in part contained in the Pearl of Great Price, may have this form of Theophoric names. In subtle ways this is being confirmed by the discoveries in Mesopotamia of cities and records dating before the flood that will be presented in other  studies. 

NOTE 2:   It is of great interest to know that the Book of Mormon is in perfect harmony with the Elephantine Archives in that NEITHER contain the theophoric element "Adoni",  [in Judaism, Adoni is used as a substitute to avoid pronouncing the sacred name of God] meaning: ‘Lord', which is found in pre-exilic Israelite biblical names,  such as Adoni-Bezek, [‘my lord is Bezek', after the death of Joshua, Simeon and Judah captured King Bezek and cut his thumbs and great toes off because he had done the same to seventy kings he made grovel at his feet]. Adoni-Zedek [a Canaanite King executed by Joshua, Jos. 10] Adonijah, [fourth son of David by his wife Haggith], [Adoniram [‘my lord is exhalted', was an official who was in charge of forced labor under Solomon], and others. These are mentioned because they were utilized in Jewish circles nearly 400 years before the time Lehi and Elephantine. These prefixes were in use slightly after the conquest of Cannaan by the Israelites down to the time of Hosea the Prophet and the Assyrian conquests of Israel.  Note that these are all prefixes. NO Book of Mormon names begins with that prefix. This subtle change in usage had occurred after 700 BC. It was NOT adopted by the Jews at Elephantine NOR by Lehi and his group who left Jerusalem after the Elephantine Colony was operational. And was unknown to the Jaredites. Other than by divine revelation or an authentic record translated by divine assistance, where could Joseph Smith have obtained a knowledge of these usages or lack of them in 1829?  

"In Hebrew texts, the group of four letters [the Tetragrammaton] (JHVH, JHWH, YAVH, or YHWH) representing the name of God, that is considered ineffable. The common transliteration of Jehovah [to Adoni] the result of a combination of the Tetragrammation with the vowel points of Adoni, ‘my lord' that is substituted in reading the name." (The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary p. 1385).  "William Tyndale (1494-1536) is the true father of the English bible. He had a remarkable gift for rendering the original Hebrew and Greek of the Scriptures into his native English language...Tyndale coined many English words and phrases that have become standard vocabulary in religious discourse ...Tyndale was the first to render the tetragrammaton YHWH into English as Jehovah." (Seely, p. l)   

NOTE 3:  Dr. Nibley best describes the significance of the absence of Baal names in the Book of Mormon in his Book An Approach to the Book of Mormon as follows:

"It happens for some reason or other the Jews at the beginning of the sixth century BC would have nothing to do with Baal names. An examination of Elephantine name lists show that... the change of Baal names, by substitution, is in agreement with Hosea's [a northern prophet about 745 BC] foretelling that they should be no more used by the Israelites, and consequently it is most interesting to find how the latest archaeological discoveries confirm the Prophet (Hosea), for out of the some four hundred personal names among the

 Elephantine papyri, not one is compounded of Baal..." (Nibley p. 292)


Nibley "was once greatly puzzled over the complete absence of Baal names from the Book of Mormon. By what unfortunate oversight had the authors of that work failed to include a single name containing the element Baal, which

thrives among the personal names of the Old Testament?...we learn, however,  that the stubborn  prejudice of  [the Book of Mormon] ..is really the only correct attitude it could have taken...the Jews at the beginning of the sixth century BC would have nothing to do with Baal names. An examination of the Elephantine names lists shows that the ‘change of Baal names', by substitution, is in agreement with Hosea's [Hosea 2:17] foretelling that they should no more be used by the Israelites...out of some four hundred personal names among the Elephantine papyri not one is compounded of Baal." (Nibley p. 292)  This is a major confirmation of the Prophet Joseph prophetic call.

 "Since Elephantine was settled largely by Israelites and Jews who fled form Jerusalem [and the Middle East area just before or] after its destruction, their personal names would show the same tendencies as those in the Book of Mormon.  Though the translator of that book might by the exercise of superhuman cunning have been warned by Hosea 2:17 to eschew Baal names, yet the meaning of that passage is so far from obvious that Albright as late as 1942 finds it: ‘very significant that seals and inscriptions from Judah, which...are very numerous in the seventh and early sixth centuries, seem never to contain any Baal Names..'  It is significant indeed but hardly more so that the uncanny acumen which the Book of Mormon displays on the point." (Nibley pp. 293) Thus we see that the Book of Mormon is indeed in harmony with contemporary Jewish groups and practices and with Hosea's obscure prophecy. Joseph Smith could have easily stumbled on this point.

NOTE 4:  The suffix  -ni is a Hebrew element frequently found in West Semitic (Amorite)  names.  It denotes the first person- singular verbal suffix, the English equivalent being "i".  (Coogan, p. 109)   It is more than mere coincidence that this authentic Semitic name element is found at both Elephantine and in the Book of Mormon.  It demonstrates once again that Book of Mormon names contain subtle West Semitic constructs after 700 BC, something that the young translator Joseph could not have been acquainted with in 1829.  As seen, very important Book of Mormon characters have names ending with this element.

NOTE 5:  The abundant endings of -i, found throughout the Book of Mormon may be a significant evidence for the concept of hypocoristica. And the main abridgers of the Book of Mormon: Mormon, Moroni, and Ether, were quite familiar with this abbreviated form. A hypocoristicon  is essentially a "nick name".  Theophoric names where the full or long divine element has been dropped results is an abbreviated form found frequently in the Archives from Elephantine.  There are a number of cases where both the theophoric original names and its hypocoristicon [abbreviated form] is contained within the texts; they are used one way and then another. This amounts an abbreviation of an abbreviation.  So there is both a long and a short form of the hypocoristicon

ELEPHANTINE: Poltiah  (Yehweh) transformed to:  Pilti,  Hannaiah became Hanani, Anoniah was abbreviated  to Anoni.

In the Book of Mormon there are internal examples of both the theophoric name and another possible hypocoristicon.  They are as follows:

BOOK OF MORMON:   Mathonihah (Yehweh -ihah) may well be the Long form of the hypocoristicon: Mathoni.   Moronihah may well be an extended form of MoroniNephi is the short hypocoristicon for Nephihah.

At Elephantine, therefore names ending in -i  were frequently the abbreviated form for a longer theophoric name with the Jehovah suffix.  If one examines the names in the Book of Mormon ending in -i, in addition to those just mentioned, there are a total of NINETEEN; all of which could be AUTHENTIC examples of West Semitic (Amorite) hypocoristica. (Gelb)  Details of this specific character could not be conjured up in the wildest imagination.  The names had to have come from genuine ancient texts and to have been translated by divine empowerment.  Joseph never had to retract not even one name.  Those who would relegate the Book of Mormon to having been devised on the basis of what was available at the time of Joseph and from sources known to him, or for him to have otherwise imagined details, like these names, are hit right between the eyes by the details of the Book of Mormon names and their origins. To neglect the names in the Book of Mormon is to do so at ones own intellectual and spiritual peril.  

NOTE 6:   The Yahweh hypocoristica were not limited to names ending in -i.  Porten suggests that, in at least two other examples, the -um ending might be a hypocoristicon for Yahweh names: Shelmiah  (Ya required) became Shallum,  Nehmiah  (Ya conforted) transformed to Nahum, (Ported pp. 139-140)  These are cases of Prosopagraphy, which will be further defined below.

The analysis that follows is an example of Prosopagraphy. As mentioned before, the use of -um as a suffix is a mimation.  In the Book of Mormon, the Posterity of Jared includes as the eighteenth descendant, or third son of Omer, the name Coriantumr, a hypocoristicon ending of -um with an additional suffix of -r.  The fourth son of Omer, and brother to Coriantumr, Emer, has a son called Coriantum correctly reflects the -um ending without the additional suffix of   -r (see Note 13). The name seems to be a respected family name and is handed down to later generations, the thirty-sixth descendant of Jared is also named Coriantum, and the prefix name of Coriant is the name given for the forty-third descendant of Jared but with a suffix of -or, Coriantor.  The use of the name seems to have persisted right down until Nephite times, when the surviving Jaredite is Coriantumr, with both the -um hypocoristicon, but again with the -r ending found earlier in the genealogy of Jared.  (Ether 12-15)  There are two other variations on the root or prefix Coriant that include Coriantor [the father of the Prophet Ether] and Corianton, which are also considered to be consistent with being hypocoristicons. The prefix or core name Cori-hor also had a Nephite variation with a different spelling, Kori-hor  "indicating some kind of cultural continuity, perhaps [even] through Mulekite intermediaries." (Largey p. 435) In many names C and K may be interchangeable. There is no end of things to investigate.  Mimation is extensively used in old Amorite names as will be discussed elsewhere in this series. (Gelb pp. 13-35)  The Jaredites correctly reflect the usages of these elements at their historical time period.  

There are no names in the Book of Mormon that end with -un. As mentioned elsewhere mimation, or the use of -um or -m endings "was still current in the Semitic dialects of Palestine and Syria between 2100 and 1800 BC....from Egyptian and Hittite records it is now clear that the dialects of Palestine and Syria dropped this mimation in the first half of the second millennium BC and it is preserved in the Bible only in a few pre-Hebraic words." (Nibley 2, p. 99)  Nibley also states that the Jaredites took mimation with them when they left. The Book of Ether "favors -m endings for Jaredite names. ..Nunation, the use of -un is not found in the Book of Mormon. However, the use of -n or -on is common in the [later] Book of Mormon proper names, [and] is an old-fashioned thing which in Lehi's day was a sign of conservatism and most frequently found among desert people." Nibleiy p. 289) However, in Babylonia the -um endings are found fairly common in the Personal Names of that region down until at least the time of Nebuchadnezzar. (Weisberg pp. 26-7) There are FOURTEEN names in the Book of Mormon with the -um ending. All of these mostly likely are examples of this same pattern.  This is further substantiated by one example in the Book of Mormon where both the theophoric name and the -um hypocoristicon are present:  Antionah and Antionum.

NOTE 7:  The three consonants -n  t  n  together are interpreted in Hebrew as "to give" (Porten p. 145)  Five names from the Book of Mormon contain this element; one of which is also theophoric:  Antion-ah  which means essentially "Jehovah gives."  Here, the element  Antion,  even with the addition of the  ‘io' element, still means "to give," and the suffix ending element  "ah" is the hypocoristicon for Jehovah.  Gadianton  is interesting since the prefix Gad- is Hebrew for seer.  Therefore Gadianton is interpreted, "the seer gives". He was no seer, however.  Do not let vowels confuse the issue, as they are placed there for pronunciation purposes.

NOTE 8 & 9:  In Hebrew the prefixes Ah-,  and Ab- are intrepreted to mean "brother" and "Father" respectively. They have been found Frequently in Semitic names, even in extremely old names. Often when Christ prayed he addressed the Father as Abba.  It is generally not translated into English because of the sensitive nature of the translation: it means Daddy.  Examples from both Elephantine and the Book of Mormon are presented.  In addition, the Egyptians also used Ab to designate God. To the Egyptians it meant God but also meant Amen. (Budge p. 37) In the lists of names from Ebla both forms for brother and Father are also found as a suffix.  There are at least twelve names utilizing these elements as a suffix. (Pagan p. 281) It appears that these elements may have a long and persistent history in at least eight versions of Semitic. (Pagan 418) In 1829 Joseph would not have known these prefixes or suffixes were authentic Hebrew or Egyptian name elements or Ancient Amorite or Ancient Semitic as well. In most of those Semitic languages the -ah element is not confused with the same -ah element used as a hypocoristicon for Jehovah. The translations of the names give the final way  a suffix or prefix is interpreted. Therefore they could be found in Jaredite names.  But they aren't, at least in the records we now have.  

NOTE 10:  The use of double vowel letters, such as -aa-, is found in the Elephantine name lists, such as Baadiah.  This is further conformation of Joseph's acumen that he translated names without knowing this type of usage was an interesting part of the core of certain names; such names as Paanchi (Hel l:8-9) appearing among the Book of Mormon names. "This Egyptian Paanchi ..(means He ‘Ammon' is my life)...actually claimed the throne." (Nibley p. 28).  This type of usage is  also found in early Sumerian times and would go back to about the time the Jaredites left Babel. The double -aa is also found in Egyptian to mean ‘see' (Budge p. l) and may express more than just ‘see' but may have applications in terms of visions. Did the Jaredite names as used by the Nephites come from the twenty-four plates translated by Mosiah and recorded on gold by Ether?  It is also possible that very early Semitic elements were preserved in Egyptian names given the long and extensive contact of Egypt with ancient Mesopotamia, and would have been available to the Elephantine mercenaries or traders, like Lehi, who is assumed to have been familiar with Egypt?.  

Nibley also points out the primary beginning prefixes or first letters, of name,   are of interest. "within one important family, a group of names beginning with Pa-...they are peculiar names and can be matched exactly in Egyptian. Names beginning with Pa- are by far the most common type in late Egyptian history...The most common formative element in the Book of Mormon names is the combination Mor-,  Mr-; in Egyptian the same holds true." (Nibley p. 282)  Mr as a suffix in Ebliactic seems to mean -to see, as a prefix it may have that meaning, especially since many of the names starting with those letters were prophets. ((Buccellati p. 118) Muchiki in his book on Egyptian Proper names (Muchiki) will provide some more interesting information in a later study in this series.

NOTE 11:  There are other parallels in the construction of names that occur in both the Elephantine lists as well as the Book of Mormon names. In addition to these is the use of double consonants in names such as in Giddonah and Irreantum. These are strange names, but they are genuine names and onamistically correct.  These are provided as further evidence that Joseph did not just randomly conjure up strange sounding names. They are real names.  More will be said about these names elsewhere.

NOTE 12:   The nick name or most likely another Jehovah abbreviation or hypocoristicon of Yah, is contained in a name as the element: -da.  In the Elephantine name list the name Kibda, the hypocoristicon da is a substitute for Yah, the name means  ‘Yah honored' (Porten p. 141)  In the Elephantine lists another related form is also listed ‘Kebadiah, also meaning ‘Yah Honored' with the -iah form for the diety, and Keb as a form of Kib meaning  ‘Honored'.  (Porten p. 141)  In this case, at Elephantine, there are two spellings of a name that means the same thing in each spelling. Kib and Keb without the hypocoristica of -da or -iah means the same-honored. The names mean the same though they have a different hypocoristica and use of the vowels in spelling or vocalizing  the name. In Onomastic Analysis this is called Prosopography and "thus requiring that they be considered as linguistic variants of the same name." (Buccellati p. 110). This is important because when going through the name lists for any given language, the name may have different spellings, and have a different hypocoristica element, than found in the Book of Mormon, but will retain the same meaning.  For example Shilom, Shelam, Shallum, have the same consonantal elements: SHL, SHL, SHLL, mentioned above, but all have the same meaning, ‘ peace' and would be considered the same name.

Another parallel is in the name Gedaliah meaning ‘Yah is/did great (tly)'.  (Porten p. 142) . As noted elsewhere, Kib is the son of Orihah, fourth son of Jared, in the Elephantine records he is called Kibda. The use of -da may be a Jaredite thing. Because we also find the element in the thirty-fifth descendent of Jared, Amnigaddah.  (Largey p. 431)  Such names have driven anti-Mormon's wild, yet they are brought about-face with the fact these are genuine names. The main thing is that in this very subtle detail the Book of Mormon agrees with the Elephantine archives and other Semitic languages. If Joseph is not a Prophet where and how did he get such detail and keep it correct? They pretend to know no acceptable answer. A shrug of the shoulders is not enough

NOTE 13:  

The use of  -r, mr, er, as a suffix requires more study.  These are found in Jaredite names, and may reflect an ancient type of linguistic use before the Tower of Babel.

The brother of Jared had the name of Morianc-um-er, the um being a mimation and hopocoristica for the divine name Jehovah (God), but with an additional modifier tacked on as -er. The name of the eighteenth descendant of Jared is Coriant-um-r, also having the -um element as a hopocoristica for the divine name with the added element of -r.   These elements appear to have been retained in the Ebliatic language, within a very short time after the Jaredites left and just after the Tower of Babel incident before 2300 BC.  The ending -r  has an important meaning and may reflect a profound Book of Ether doctrine.  The ending -r may be called a graphemic or morphemic element and means -‘to see,' (Buccellati p. 118-119) and as this is used to modify the -um reference to diety, it seems to mean ‘Morianc-  God - sees' or ‘Morianc -sees- God!'  This act of seeing [having visions] is not intended to be a past tense or single experience, but an on-going repeated experience! This, in an interesting way, may express the unique experiences of Mahonri Moriancumer, the brother of Jared, who did see God!  (Ether l:13) And much, much, more. So much more all of which is so profound that at the present we are not given the privilege of knowing the details, which are in the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon, but are promised to be available eventually.

Rich experiences often come with the research being engaged in. On January 7, 2005, while researching the dates for Ebla and the earliest Babylonian Dynasties that may have developed before and after the flood, between  c.2900 to 2400 BC, and therefore shed light on the Jaredites; in an Appendix to the book being studied (Saggs) there were lists and dates of dynasties beginning with the DYNASTY OF AGADE. Agade had captured Ebla (Sargon was the King of Agade). The dates given were 2371-2230 BC. This was after the time the Jaredites left, and therefore after the Tower of Babel. "The Sumerian King List gives Semitic names for most of the rulers of the First Dynasty of KISH." (Saggs p. 41).  The list of the Posterity of Jared prepared by Largey (Largey p 431) is recalled. There, on that list was the name of the thirtieth descendant of Jared. His name is KISH.  About the year 52 BC we are told in Hel 2:3, that Pahoran was murdered (Nibley 2 p. 359) by a man called Kishkumen, a founder of secret combinations.  "The robber Gadianton later assumed leadership of Kishkumen's secret band." (Largey p. 483) This man also tried to kill Helaman.  This prefix name of Kish, had it been obtained from the Jaredite record and enlarged upon with a suffix addition of Kumen? The name Kumen [KMN] is also the name of one of the twelve disciples [apostles] of Christ named in 3 Nephi 19:4 and it is found in Amorite name lists. (Gelb p. 23) It is also found as the prefix portion of the name Kumenonhi, also one of the Twelve set up by Christ. (3 Nephi 19:4).  Kish could be used as a prefix or a suffix.  So the name of Kish shows up in the early Jaredite record as well as in a much later Nephite record, for good and for bad. Joseph had got it right again.  But there is much more to be said about Kish.

The records of LAGASH, a city in the highlands south-east of Ur where Abraham was born, where ‘The KING LISTS' were found, (Saggs p. 43) are also very important.  "The King-list does not of course come under the heading of what we have called ‘contemporary documents'.  It is rather a retrospective record, assembled at a later date from [older] traditional information." (Lloyd p. 90) The traditional information includes both information before the ‘flood' and after the ‘flood'. "It presents us first with the names of eight semi-legendary rulers ‘before the Flood', and of cities with which they are believed to have been associated. ‘After the Flood', we are told, ‘Kingship was sent down from on high'.  A more factual chronicle then follows. ..a succession of dynasties is accordingly listed....[It] embodies for the first time a catalogue of the principal Sumerian Cities--Sippar, Shruppak, KISH, Ur, Adab, Mari, Akshak, Lagash, Isin, Larsa ..." (Loyd p. 90) and others about which less is known, that would have flourished in and around where the Jaredites would have lived before departing for the new world.  In fact, the name KISH may have originally been the name of a city called KISH with which perhaps the Jaredites may have been familiar. If the original city was named after an individual named Kish then they may have known him. Kish is found in the records from other cities listed, such as Ebla, Sippar, Mari, and Lagash, which will be mentioned in future studies because of major contributions to Book of Mormon names they make. But the City of Kish, King Kish, the House of Kish and the Land of Kish, and the Civilization of Kish, (Archi  p. 115)  played a major role in ancient Near Eastern history, and it is evident that the Jaredites were aware all of it. Would it be possible to perhaps re-create some aspects of the history, culture and circumstances and surroundings by the analysis of names found in the Book of Ether?    

Part of the main thrust is to establish a more accurate Chronology and History of the name records from various ancient sources, or at least a working Chronology until more detail is obtained. The system of Chronology materializing from the traditional sources "was constructed largely from evidence obtained in the 1930s during excavations by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago at sites in the Diyala region, east of [and north of] Baghdad." (Lloyd p. 91) The Diyala River area is also one of the boundaries of the Mari and Kish Civilizations as defined by Gelb. (Gelb 2, p. 124) The Chronology is "conventionally divided into THREE PHASES: (1) ‘Early Dynastic 1' (ED l), ...approximately dated to the years [beforethe Flood] between 2900 and 2750 BC; [then] (2) ‘Early Dynastic 11',  (ED 11) lasted until 2650 BC; [near the time of the flood but before the Tower of Babel] while (3) ‘Early Dynastic 111' (ED 111), divided into two-sub-phases...to account for ...three further centuries [this would be down to about  2350 BC and would be after the Flood]". (Lloyd p. 91). And this would also be after the Tower of Babel. This is the "so-called Pre-Sargonid Era (preceding the unification of Mesopotamia under Sargon of Akkad)." (Lloyd p. 91)   The period of time before the ‘Flood' and the Early Dynastic Phase ED-1, with which it correlates, is called the Protoliterate period. That would cover the time from Adam (4000 BC) to 2750 BC.  The intent here is to find out what archaeologists are now learning  about the Chronologies from Adam to the Flood; after the Flood to the Tower of Babel, and then after the Tower of Babel and then correlate it with the Book of Mormon. It is great fun, and things are coming out very well as just noted, and often with the unusual results of the discovery of additional name parallels with some insights into the world of the Jaredites. Joseph Smith would have known about none of the above.  But a lot of fine tuning need to be done, that will be accomplished as excavations, new discoveries, and publications continue. 

Profound parallels between the Book of Mormon, the Book of Ether included, and the Elephantine Colony in the names borne by their people have been presented. Joseph, remember, had no access to the documents referred to above, nor did he have any understanding of Semitic name  prefixes, roots-cores, and suffixes, or the whole concept of Onomastic Sience (Pagan 19980 and yet he broke NONE of the rules nor did he violate any of the historical changes that occurred in name usages.   This is profound evidence for the authenticity of the Book of Mormon. How could a young uneducated man have produced such a wealth of names in harmony with documents discovered more than seventy years later after his death, and some not published until a half-century to more than a century after that?  LDS are comfortable with the sure knowledge that Joseph Smith was and is a prophet and that he truly translated the Book of Mormon with the gift and power of God.


Archi, Alfonso, More on Ebla and Kish, in Eblaitica: Essay on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Ed. Cyrus H. Gordon & Garry A. Rendsburg & Nathan H. Winter, Publications of the Center for Ebla Research at New York University, Eisenbrauns Winona Lake, Indiana  1987

Buccellati, Giorgio, in Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language Vo. 3, Ed. By Cyrus Gordon, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake Ind., 1992

Coogan, Michael D., West Semitic Personal Names in Uurasu Documents, Edwards Brothers, Inc, Ann Arbor, 1976

Crim, Keith, Ed. The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible: Supplementary Vol. Nashville, Abingdon, 1976

Di Vito, Robert A., Studies in Third Millennium Sumerian and Akkadian Personal Names, The Designation and Conception of the Personal God. Studia Pohl: Series Major No. 16, Editrice
Pontificio Instituto Biblico, Roma 1993

Douglas, J.K.D., The New Bible Dictionary, Wm. B. Erdmann Publishing Co. Grand Rapids, 1962

Gelb, Ignace J., Computer-aided Analysis of Amorite, Assyriological  Studies No. 21,  The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago, 1980

Gelb, I.J., 2, Mari and the Kish Civilization, in Mari in Retrospect, Ed. By Gordon D. Young, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana 1992.

Gordon, Cyrus H., Ed. Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language Vo. 3, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake Ind., 1992

Largey, Dennis L., Gen. Ed. Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Deseret Book Co. Salt Lake City, Utah, 2003

Lloyd, Seton, The Archaeology of Mesopotamia, Thames and Hudson, London, 1978

Muchiki, Yoshiyuki, Egyptian Proper Names and loanwords In North-West Semetic, No. 173, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, 1999

Nibley, Hugh, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 2nd ed Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah. 1976

Nibley, Hugh 2, The Prophetic Book of Mormon, Deseret Book Co. Salt Lake City, Utah, 1989

Pagan, Joseph Martin, A Morphological and Lexical Study of Personal Names in the Ebla Text, Archive Reali Di Ebla Studi 111, University Degli Studi Di Roma "La Sapienza", Mission Archaeologica Italiana in Siria, 1998

Pettinato, Giovanni, Ebla: A New Look at History, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1991

Porten, Bezalel, Archives From Elephantine, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1968

Rosenberg, Stephen G., The Jewish Temple at Elephantine, In Near Eastern Archaeology, Vol 67. No. 1,  American Schools of Oriental Research, Boston, 2004

Saggs, H.W.F., The Babylonians, The Folio Society, London  1988

Seely, David Rolph, ‘Words fitly Spoken': Tyndale's English Translation Of the Bible, Insights Vol. 24, No. 6,  FARMS, BYU, Provo, Utah, 2004

Weisberg, David B., Texts From the Time of Nebuchadnezzar, New Haven, Yale University Press, 1980

Wilson, Clifford, The Impact of Ebla on Bible Records, Word of Truth, Productions, Melbourne Australia, c. 1977

Yoyotte, Jean, in,  A Dictionary of Egyptian Civilization by Georges Posener, Metheun and Co. Ltd London, 1959

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