Critical to all of these studies on Book of Mormon names are
the ancient tablets found in nearly every ruin in Mesopotamia and the Near East. How many are there? Who has got
what? Where were they found? Writing had to be very widespread to
be effective. Those ancient Sumerian, Lagahian, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Phoenician,
Mobaite, Edomite, pre-Exilic Hebrew and Babylonian societies were literate in
the modern meaning of the word. They have left an enormous number of records for
us to readmore than five million tablets." (Altman p. 18) See
also Brosius. Literacy was considered essential,
fathers were required to educate their children to read and tow rite. "There are
indications that thius practice was already in place by the time of the Akkadian
ascendancy under Sargon l in the mid-twenty-fourth century [after the Tower]
BC. "Everything was written down to the smallest detail of the
simplest trade or exchange." (Altman p. 18) While there is no official tally,
something is known about the number of ancient Mesopotamian tablets that are of
particular interest in this study, held by the world's museums. Recently some
data is coming from tablet held in private collections and by individuals.(see
Owen, and Snell) Experts agree that of these important documents,
there are more than 500,000 tablets, and more are found each year. The largest
collection of 130,000 or more tablets is in the possession of the British Museum, in London. A recent study is making a dent in
these tablets by cataloguing the British Museum's Tablet Collection. Vol. 1 is now
(2005) available, many more will be required. (Wunsch) The German Vorderasiatisches Museum, in Berlin, is next. The Louvre in
Paris comes in
third in the number of tablets possessed. Oddly enough, the fourth is the
Museum of Ancient Orient in Istanbul. (Donbaz p. 1) One would think that
the Baghdad Museum would have most, but it is fifth in total of
tablets held and it suffered looting during the war in Iraq. The
Yale University's Babylonian Collection has only a little
more than a paltry 40,000 tablets, but it is the largest holding in the
States. Next to it is the Pennsylvanian Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.
(Biblical Archaeology, March/April 2005 p. 39) Some West-Coast Universities have
small collections. What is sad is that most of the tablets in these collections
have lain for more than a century on shelves and in boxes, without being
translated, studied or published. So it almost goes without
saying, that these present studies are preliminary at best; so much more will be
learned when more of the tablets already possessed and more of what is being
found are translated.
The baked and unbaked clay Tablets, up to 18 inches long, and six inches wide, are found all over Mesopotamia and at distant centers where trade and exchange took place. Of all the tablets found, two sites in particular, Ebla and Nippur, account for almost 100,000. They started digging at Ebla in 1964, and at Nippur in 1888. "Nippur was also a center of intellectual activity from the early Sumerian period (before 3500 BC) on." (Miller p. 494) The site at Ebla goes back to before the flood to about 3500 BC also. But most of the tablets from Ebla are after 2400 B.C., after the flood and after the Tower of Babel. A tablet from Ebla even states that the city had not been conquered since the flood.
THE TABLETS OF MURASU FOUND AT NIPPUR (NUFFER):
In 1975 Michael David Coogan published a book, West Semitic Personal Names in Murasu Documents, It was a revised edition of his doctoral thesis presented at Harvard in 1971. (Coogan) The Murasu documents represent approximately 900 tablets discovered in 1893 in Nippur, by John Henry Haynes during the third campaign of the American excavations in Babylonia, after the first digging had been under way since 1888; as a culmination of archaeological research under the direction of the University of Pennsylvania.(Donbaz p. 1)
Nippur was in ancient Sumeria, "situated on the East shore of the old course of the Euphrates, South of Kish and Babylon [the location of ancient Babel] and a short distance Northwest of Erech, Larsa, Eridu, and Ur, [where Abraham was born]. [see the maps provided for this series] Because it was the center of the national Cult of Enlil, [the paternal, creator God] the most important of the Sumerian gods, Nippur occupied a special place in Mesopotamian history for nearly three thousand years down to the Persian capture in 550 BC and to the great transitions that took place before the Greeks entered the picture in search for Empire. (see Gilbert p. 8) No Dynasty could maintain prestige without the support of the priesthood of Nippur." (Miller p. 494). The Son of Sargon of Akkad, Naram-Sin, an aggressive conqueror, who had captured Ebla (Pettinato p. 62) and destroyed part of it about 2350 BC, had also swept south and "committed great sacrilege against Ekur, the temple and sanctuary of [the Father God] Enlil. Consequently The Curse of Agade' fell on Naram-Sin leading to the collapse in 2230 BC of the Dynasty of Agade' and Naram-Sin." (Miller p. 494) Nippur was considered to be a Holy City, not a political one. Its main temple of Inanna, dates back to about 3400 BC. Adam, living in the Western Hemisphere, with descendants spread out over the entire earth, would have been about 670 years old. "...and it was this sacred character that enabled it [Nippur] to survive the rise and fall of the various Mesopotamian dynasties and empires." (Hunt p. 50)
EXCAVATIONS AT NIPPER:
Excavations at Nipper were begun in 1888 by the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania (1888-1900), and later jointly with Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago (1948-1967), which, with a few war interruptions, continues to the present. (Donbaz p.2-3) The archaeologists have recovered more than 40,000 tablets, (Miller p. 494) one of the great discoveries of Mesopotamia. The Early Neo-Babylonian Governor's Archive From Nippur... was discovered in 1973." (Cole p. xli) No doubt more tablets will be recovered in the future, as excavations are still in progress.
The tablets cover all stages in the history of the city. As noted the earliest stages uncovered a temple of Inanna, going back as early as 3400 BC, (Miller p. 494) nearly 900 years before the flood. It is noteworthy that Innana, [could He or She be identified as Jehovah?], made a Descent into the Nether world. The records recovered shed light on Sumerian ideas of death and the netherworld, paradise and other interesting doctrines, though distorted, clearly have some connection to present Mormon beliefs restored in this last Dispensation.
The sanctuary built to the Father God Enlil, according to the Tummal Chronicle found at Nippur, was founded by Ehmebaragisi, ruler of Kish. (Miller 494) This would mean there was a Kingdom of Kish influential and active before the Flood. It was also a major kingdom after the Flood and after the Tower of Babel. (see Gelb p. 121-201). There is at present no unanimity on the date of the Flood. Until it is established for certain, the approximate date of 2500 BC will be used. As noted elsewhere, the name Kish shows up in several contexts in the genealogy of Jared, the name Kish was given to the 30th Descendant of Jared. Before the Flood, the Jaredites would have been familiar with Kish. (Erickson, Elephantine, p. 12) The tablets found at Nippur included a Sumerian Version of the Flood Story. (Miller p. 484) More important for our purposes was the discovery in 1893 of the 900 tablets mentioned above that date to about 460 BC. (Sasson p. 1481) This was the time of the last part of the return of Jewish deportations from Judah to Babylon. These tablets comprise a family archive of the House of Murasu. (The Murashu Family) Many of the tablets are legal and commercial documents. (Sasson pp. 1480-1485) As noted, Nippur is half way between Ur and Babylon; these cities are 50 miles north and south of Nippur.(see the Map) Today the Persian Gulf is 200 miles to the southeast, but anciently it was only a short distance from Ur. Only a small selection of the 40,000 tablets found at Nippur have been translated.
JEWS IN NIPPUR:
The names contained among the 900 tablets, some of the earliest found, were borne by Jews who had lived in Nippur immediately following the second deportation of the Jews from Judah after the Babylonian Conquest, about 586 BC. (Gilbert p. 7) The Babylonian Empire was at its peak, but by 550 BC the Persian Empire had displaced it. The Persian Empire than expanded to more then three times the size of the Babylonian Empire. By 323 Alexander the Great had taken over the Persian Empire and added Macedonia and territories to the northwest as well as parts of India, Egypt, and Northern parts of Africa. The House of Murashu did not return to Judea when opportunity presented itself under Cyrus. (Newsome, pp. 126-148) From Babylon they had gone south to Nippur where they had taken up commercial activities that may have included banking. (Sassons p. 1481) Some of the Jews who remained in Mesopotamia were dispersed again following the revolt against Persia in 359-338 BC, which spread Jewish peoples farther east into the Ancient Country of Elam, including the Capital city of Susa where Daniel was an official, and Ester had saved the Jews, and from whence came Zachariah and later Ezra and Nehemiah, from the first and second deportations. The Murasu documents are therefore contemporary with Lehi and the Elephantine Archives, discussed in previous studies.
"Yet as a corpus of dateable and vocalized West Semitic names, including Jewish names, the Onomasticon of the Murasu documents remains [in 1977] unparalleled among extant sources; any research on Biblical personal names, especially those of the post-exilic period [after 597 BC] must take the Murasu evidence into account." (Coogan p. 3) They, therefore give students of the Book of Mormon another group of contemporary names to use as a comparison when evaluating the names found in the Book of Mormon. At the time Coogan was writing his study, the great discoveries of Ebla were just beginning to be made. Digging at Ebla had started in 1964, but no significant tablets were found until after 1976. Now there are 20,000 names from that source alone that permit another serious analysis of Book of Mormon names because of the linkage of Ebla with many of the Semitic Empires dating back to 2500 BC. Nippur has an ancient history, and in the future we will return to Nippur to consider other names and discoveries that have been made of a history that dates almost 3000 years before the Murasu documents were prepared. All of which provide name lists that can be used to verify that the names in the Book of Mormon are authentic, and rules of Onomastic studies were met.
THE MURASHU FAMILY: (in some reports spelled MURASU)
"Nebuchadnezzar II (The Great') ...succeeded ...as ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire (605-562) ...after his victory at...Carchemish, [in Upper Mesopotamia] ...(605 BC) against Pharaoh-nechoh of Egypt...he moved [south] toward the Nile Valley and [overran and] occupied the small kingdom of Judah (c 603 BC)...(also see Newsome p. 158) [and] was responsible for three deportations of citizens of Judah. (l) In 598 BC, after Jehoakim's uprising, he sent marauding bands of Chaldeans, Arameans, Moabites and Ammonites into Judah to destroy it.' (11 Kings 24:2) [and deported the rulers and nobles] along with 10,000 of the flower of the kingdom... (2) The rebellion of Zedekiah [the puppet king of Judah] ...precipitated the 1 ½-year siege and ruthless destruction of Jerusalem...the second deportation of its citizens (August 587 BC), (11 Kings 24:20) [And ](3) ...[the] final deportation of the people of Judah took place in c. 582 BC after the murder of Gedaliah, [the] Judean puppet governor." (Miller p. 481) The exile lasted from 598 to 538 BC. (Psalm 137:1-6, Newsom, pp. 67, 156-163). Some 140 years after the deportations, a man called Khatin emerges in the Tablets from Nippur. Not all Jews returned from exile. Many had become established and financially well off, and remained in empires that came and went like day and night. Like many Jews, persistence and excellence gained advantages for them.
Murashu or Murasu, was the son of Khatin, who appears to have been a descendant of the some of original deportees from Judah in 598 BC, perhaps one of the noble ones; first to Babylon and then south to Nippur. Recent translations of the tablets seem to indicate that Khatin, also spelled Hatin, was the son of Idden-Bel. (Donbaz p. 167) As will be seen, Idden [also spelled Iddin] is a family name and appears again several generations later. In fact Khatin seems to have had a brother named Enlil-idden. (Donbaz p. 167). Khatin, and the descendants of his son Murasu (which means Wildcat', is an ancient Akkadian name, Baker, p. 770), lived in the city of Nippur during the fifth century BC, and conducted lucrative business activities in that region, which were recorded in documents for several generations. The heads of the commercial generation were the two sons of Murashu: Enlil-khatin, [the suffix Enlil means God], (Sasson p. 1480-81) the last part of the name of this son shows he was named after his grandfather, Khatin, an example of Papponymy, (Erickson p. Papponymy, 7 ) between 454 and 437 BC, and his brother Enlil-shum-idden, between 445 and 421 BC. In turn, their enterprises were taken over by their sons, Rimut-Ninurta and Enlil-khatin [named after his father and grand father], and Murashu [named after his grandfather, these are good additional examples of Papponymy confirming the practice found in the Book of Mormon]." (Sasson p. 1481) Perhaps the name Khatin was held by other members of the family during the years for which we have no record. One of the tablets, and it is difficult to exactly date them, indicates that there was another member of the family named Iba, he also had a son that was called Hatin (Khatin). (Donbaz p. 167) So more research of these archives will no doubt shed more light on the family and their names. Some of the sons and fathers had names with a prefix of the great Father God, Enlil, probably adopted after the main Temple to Enlil in Nippur. Many names from Nippur have this prefix, Enlil, in their names. This may reflect a convenience for them, it does not seem to suggest a religious change in their lives, because other names in the archives contained abbreviated elements, or hypocoristicons, of the divine name for Yahweh, and they used some of the same hypocoristicons or abbreviations for Yahweh as used in the Book of Mormon to be noted below. The abbreviations used for Yahweh omitted the need to write out the entire name of Yahweh when providing a name for someone. "New Yahwistic personal names [found on the tablets] are Samah-jama, and Rassi." (Donbaz p. 4) These abbreviations or hypocoristicons are used in Book of Mormon names in the same way.
Return a moment to one of the brothers, Enlil-shum-idden. The use of the prefix of the God Enlil serves a political purpose in Nippur, the actual Jewish name would have been Shum-idden. The elements in the name Shum are shm, with a variety of versions as noted below, and means: "a name". (Mandel p. 492) Shum is the name of a piece of gold, (Alma 11:9), "and a Shum of gold was twice the value of a seon." The halving concept from the Egyptian Wedjat-eye for weights and measures is discussed, including this term, in a previous study. (Erickson, Weights and Measures, p. 4-8) The same elements shm are also found in the name of a food plant seed, called Sheum mentioned in Mosiah 9:9. It is differentiated from the grain seeds and from the fruit seeds, so must be a vegetable or food plant of some sort. Sheum is not mentioned in the Old Testament, or in the Tanakh. However, in the Tanakh, the elements shm are contained in the name Shem, (Mandel p. 499) both Noah's second son Shem, (Moses 8:12) and a Nephite military leader of Ten Thousand in the last battle have that name. (Morm 6:14) At the time Sheum was mentioned in the Book of Mormon it was about 190 BC, so it is most likely a food plant acquired and cultivated in the Western Hemisphere after the Nephites had been there for a period of time. So, the elements, shm, (or sm,) found in Shum-idden's name, and in the name of a gold piece, Shum, are also found in the name for a food plant, Sheum, and in the name Shem, they are all the same, they all mean the same: "a name". The variants in spelling and use in names, is completely consistent with the usage and spellings in the Western Semitic language of the Neo-Assyrian Empire just before and after Lehi left Jerusalem. Since Enlil-Shum-Idden was involved in commerce and banking, a hint as to what the name Shum might means seems consistent in the use of the name Shum in the Book of Mormon. The prefix, Shum, means "a name". The Suffix, Idden (or Iddin), which means "given, to give, gave, or has given" is found in earlier Neo-Assyrian names where the prefix is the God Assur, (i.e. Assur-abu-Iddina), which comes from earlier Akkadian names (Radner p. 144), and means: Assur (God) -has given (Iddina) -a father (abu). The meaning is the same whichever prefix is used. Assur and Enlil are both prefixes that mean God. At different historical periods in Mesopotamia the God prefix changes, but all would be translated: God- gives (Idden) "a name," (Shum) ....and is found in a number of names. (Radner p. 144-145) but can also be spelled Iddin (Donbaz p. 179) Also, Shum can be spelled on some tablets as Sum, (Donbaz p. 179) as well a sumu. (Radner 1999, p. 330) Both names are vocalized the same way and appear on different tablets referring to the same individual. An example using another God prefix, Bel, is found in the name Bel-sumu-eres, which translates: God (Bel)-a name (sumu)-desired (eres) meaning "God has desired a name". Also Bel-sumu-iddina, meaning: " The Lord has given a name" (Radner 1999, p. 330) which means exactly the same as Enlil-shum-idden. The names Shum-idden, and Sum-iddin, with the same meaning, are included in name lists from the time of Nebuchadnezzar. (Weisberg pp. 40-1) The Book of Mormon correctly constructs the names and employs the elements in a proper manner, just as a Jewish family did in Ancient Nippur! Thus, Murasu names link the ancient Jews deported to Babylon at the time Lehi was on his way in the wilderness to the new promised-land to the Book of Mormon! Coincidence?
Nippur, located in the very heart of Babylonia, in the sixth and fifth century BC had a large and strong Semitic presence. Many of the tablets had notations so Aramaic speakers could read the cuniform tablets. (Sasson p. 1481) Scholars had noticed that the Murashu Family archives contained names that were particularly Jewish, suggesting that descendants from the Judean exile population were still living at Nippur during the reigns of Artaxerxes l, and Darius II [Neh 12:22] 450 BC. (Sasson p. 1481) "The Canal called Kaberu that occurs in these archives is certainly identical with the River Chebar mentioned at the beginning of the Book of Ezekiel, as one of the places where Judean deportees lived." (Sasson p. 1481, & Newsome) The Murashu Family seems not to have chosen to return to Judea when the chance arose, rather, they stayed in the Nippur region to take advantage of the system of military land tenures created by the Achaemenid rulers. (Sasson p. 1481) The grandson of Murashu, Rakhim-ili arranged for a man, Gadaliama, (note the prefix here, Gad.' It is also found in four Book of Mormon names: Gad, Gadiandi, Gadianton, and Gadiomnah, BK M. p. 533), to serve in his behalf, and he had to furnish him with a horse and military equipment, along with a mina [about 500 grams], of silver, [see Erickson Weights and Measures p. 6]. (Sasson p. 1481) Was Gadaliama also a Jew? He does have a Semitic name. Gad is also a genuine name found in Neo-Assyrian name lists, and means: "Good, or Fortune", (Radnar 1999, p. 418), and is found in many names with a variety of suffixes: Gadda, Gaddi, Gaddija, Gaddin, and Gad-iata, (good fortune has delivered) and Gad-il, (good fortune is God), all meaning "Good Fortune", (Radnar 1999 p. 418) All of the suffixes are hypocoristicons of God. Other suffixes in Book of Mormon names have different meanings, but retain the prefix Gad, "good fortune".
Another name found in the Murasu tablets is Gadia with a Yawhistic suffix on the end. (Donbaz p. 166). Some other members of the family may have actually performed military duties in order to get the benefits of what was called the plow and fallow land' also called horse' land, which they seemed to have acquired. Apparently the scribe who wrote up the conditions and bore witness was also a member of the family. It is apparent that the Murashu Family had attained education, land and financial success. Some of the business activities seemed to include banking and lending. Under various land arrangements they became large land holders and rented out and administered reservoirs, diversions, secondary canals, and land for themselves as well as for others. (Sasson p. 1483) So it would seem that this family after arriving in Babylon, originally like others, as slaves to dig canals by the River Chebar, had risen from these earlier conditions to become educated, or perhaps they were already highly educated, and enjoyed prosperity. The last tablet dealing with the Murashu Family is dated 413 BC. (Sasson 1484) This was after the close of the Old Testament and the beginning of the Intertestamental Period of darkness. One can only speculate as to what happened to them after that. But the records they left, now translated, are today most useful in confirming some aspects of Book of Mormon names. Further studies of the Murasu in Nipper are planned.
The term Semitic is used frequently when referring to Middle Eastern cultures. This term was first used by A. L. Schlozer in 1781. It is derived from Genesis 10:22. Anciently the Semites comprised more than twenty-two City States, Empires, or nations that occupied Western Asia, the Middle East and Mesopotamia. They constituted a linguistic unit, but not a cultural or racial unit. They include the following: Babylonian, Assyrians, Syrians, Phoenicians, Canaanites, Israelites, Moabites, Ammorites, Edomites, Akkadians, Urarturians, Marites, and now Eblaites. All of these, and a few others, have common linguistic elements that allow them to be classified as Semitic. On all sides of these Semitic groups were other groups, including the Hittites, Elamites, Hurrians and others. Each of these will be included in future studies. The Book of Mormon therefore, being of Hebrew origin, would also be classified as Semitic. In a future study, use will be made of a new publication that provides 32,000 Hebrew Names and their meanings. This permits one to compare the Book of Mormon names with those found in any, or all of these Semitic Societies. This is an immense undertaking when one becomes familiar with the available data on all of them, and realizing more is to come. Let us now examine some of the Murasu parallels to the Book of Mormon. This study is by way of an introduction, it is not an exhaustive study. It will suggest areas to be pursued should one be inclined to do so.
THEOPHORIC AND NON-THEOPHORIC ELEMENTS IN A NAME:
A little more information and a review of Theophoric Elements might be useful, including Non-Theophoric Elements. Theophoric Elements have been discussed in earlier studies of this series, but additional information will be added from time to time when various documentary discoveries are discussed and studied because the elements may vary with the Semitic names and discoveries being compared with. There are multiple grammatical constructs found within Semitic names that help to identify a particular name as being of Semitic origin. Attention is given to the prefix, the core or aspects of the core, ( and sometimes a Limna, such as "is") and the suffix. As we examine various names, they will be seen to have the same constructs as those found among book of Mormon names. Joseph could not have known such subtleties when he translated the Book of Mormon in 1829. And no changes or retractions of Book of Mormon names have been made.
The following chart contains some representative Semitic constructs with examples from the Murasu archives and the Book of Mormon. The consonantal elements identified by specialists in the field of Onomastic studies and found in the Murasu archives, are numbered in the left hand column so they can be identified for the discussion provided afterwards. Some Book of Mormon names that contain the same elements are then listed. An explanation and discussion of each of the items will follow. So in the Left Column the particular elements are identified that shows up in the names as a prefix, core, or suffix, or as other elements in more complex names. Remember that in Semitic languages the consonants are the deciding factor. The reader supplies the vowels, though at times marks are provided to make sure an appropriate spelling or vocalization of the name will be correct. But as noted above, changing the vowels seldom changes the meaning of the elements used. In the middle Column names from Murasu are provided showing the occurrence of an element or elements, identified in the left column in names selected from those found on the Tablets from Nippur. In the last Column, names are taken from the Book of Mormon that contain the same elements. The meanings of the various elements as far as we now have them available are provided in the discussion that follows. How could Joseph Smith have known about these elements and kept them accurate, and obeying all the Onomastic rules?
|ELEMENTS||MURASU||BOOK OF MORMON|
|1) Ab-||Abi-yaw||Abish, Abinadi,|
|2) Ah-||Ahabu, Ahiyaw,||Ahaz Aha, Ahah,|
|7) ntn||Addunatan, Elnatan||Antion, Antionah|
|Coria nton, Gadianton|
|8) nh||Anahel||Amnihu, Kumenohi|
|9) -i||Abi, Mari, Nuri||Abinadi, Amlici, Levi|
|10) -ni||Hannatani, Ana ni||Cumeni, Gidgiddoni|
|11) -ki||Mankilahi||Amaleki, Muloki|
EXPLANATION AND DISCUSSION OF CHART 1:
1) The Ab- construct is interpreted as "father". This prefix is common in all of the Semitic languages, and occurs in both Babylonian and West Semiotic Names and 20 other Semitic languages, and in particular in the Murasu documents (Coogan p. 67) At Murasu, notice how it is also combined with the hypocoristicon -yaw, as a suffix and an abbreviation for God, or Jehovah. It also appears in the form of -iah, Jehovah, which has been discussed in previous studies in this series under: Ether and Ebla. (also see Weisberg p. 26) The prefix Ab- also appears in Toponyms, or Place Names. (Krecher p. 187)
"The abbreviated forms of Yahweh [such as yaw and -i] are by far the most common theophoric elements." (Pardee p. 126) As time went on the suffix or prefix abbreviation for yaw was further abbreviated to -a. ... "in all likelihood [this] reflects the prefix [or suffix] in its presumably older form, ya'." (Krebernik p. 52)
2) The Ah- construct is common to all Semitic Languages and is interpreted as "brother". It can be used both as a prefix, which is the most common use, but also as a suffix. For many examples see the lists prepared by Weisberg p. 26-27. A unique use is ..."the prefix [Ab-] of the lst person...ab-r-ah-u." (Krebernik p. 52) where both the elements for "father", Ab- and "brother" -ah, are employed in the same name, Abrahu.
3) The consonantal elements hrm mean to "dedicate". Examples are found both at Murasu and in the Book of Mormon as shown. In any given usage in a name these three elements would be separated by vowels. The Book of Mormon names are correct in the usage of these elements.
4) The consonantal element tb means "good". The prefix Tuby in the name from Murasu is really the same as the prefix in the name from the Book of Mormon: Tubaloth, the main name elements are the two letters tb, and though there is a slight difference in the name spelling in both names, the meaning of the prefix is "good". The suffix ending of "loth" is not known at the present.
5) The elements m r have two meanings depending on how the hypocoristicon um, "God" is used. The meaning of the combination of umr can be interpreted as referring to the "Lord". The use of the -r element on the end of -um as an additional suffix, can also mean "to see". In the case of the name Coriantum-r as in the previous treatment of these elements Coriant-um-r means: Coriant-God-sees, or more clearly:: Coriant-sees-God! The mimation, or the use of the -um element is a hypocoristicon for the divine name -i, and the additional use of another suffix for the abbreviated divine element, -r, is an important designative suffix indicating exactly who it is Coriant sees! The element -r used as a final suffix can also be the form of -er, meaning the same thing, to see'. Thus, in the name of the brother of Jared, Mahonri Moriancumer (Largey p. 546) the suffix ending of -er after the -um suffix for God is indicative of the reality of what that great prophet saw, for he did indeed see God, and Jesus Christ. (Ether 3:16) Some day the details of exactly what he saw and other visions that he had will be made available. But he indeed was a Seer. (Largey p. 644) What Mahonri Moriancumer saw is so sacred as to still be withheld from moderns, but the content of his "Seeing" and what he saw will be made available before the Millennium.
6) The elements nhm meaning "to comfort, to console" are in the Hebrew word Naham for "groan, or to be sorry, or comforted" (Mandel p. 394) readily apparent in the fact that it is the name of the place of burial for Ishmael in Nahom. (Hilton p. 10) "Nahom" may be identified with Nihm [which has the same elements] in Yeman. (Largey p. 580) Again, this name appears in many of the Semitic languages with slightly different vowels, but means the same. In the Bible, Nahum, (consolation, compassion) was a great classical poet of which Deborah was one of the earliest (Nah l:1, Miller p. 467) A more extensive study of the name Nahom will be included elsewhere in this series.
7) The elements ntn constitute a verbal element which means "to give" and is found in the Murasu names and is correctly used in Book of Mormon names. Among the Book of Mormon names is Morianton. He is the 26th descendant of Jared, and therefore a name that was most likely brought from the region of the Tower of Babel by the Jaredites and retained in Jaredite records. Did the Nephites acquire that name from the 24 plates translated by Mosiah making its contents available to the Nephites, who more than a 100 years after Mosiah's translation of the record refer to a coastal Land of Morianton (Alma 50:25) about 67 BC? The people of this land were led by a man called Morianton (Alma 50:28-29, 32) who in his wickedness led his people astray and to their destruction including his own, by Teancum and Captain Moroni. (Alma 50:33-36, 55:33).
Another name is Corianton. The prefix of this name, Coria- is also found in the names of descendants of Jared: Coriantumr (18th descendant of Jared), Coriantum (20th) descendant of Jared, Coriantum (36th ) Descendant of Jared, and Coriantor (43rd) descendant of Jared. (Largey p. 431) The verbal element of ntn or nt in some of these names includes the suffix hypocoristicons or abbreviations of a varied kind: -on, -umr, -um, and or, for God (Jehovah). The younger son of Alma was called Corianton, this was about 74 BC. It is certain that Alma had access to the sacred records and could have selected the prefix name Coria, for his son, from old Jaredite names, and obeyed the ancient custom of utilizing the suffix elements ntn, "to give", and (nton) for God.
9) The element -i, is the first singular suffix providing an unusual highly abbreviated ending for names, but giving a decided emphasis on the pronunciation of the name, and can be vocalized as an "e" or as an "i". Biblical names also have this ending, such as Levi, but Levi is also an old Jaredite name, Levi was the 28th descendant of Jared. This suggests that evidence will eventually be forthcoming that will show that the name Levi has a great antiquity. It should be found in name lists that go back before the beginning of the middle of the third century BC. When the element is used in the core of a name, between a prefix and a suffix, "-i" can also mean "is", which is a lemna. The context generally identifies its use.
10) A first person singular verbal suffix is: -ni, appearing as a suffix or ending. It appears in many names of the Book of Mormon and as shown is found in the names of the Murasu from Nippur. The prefix name of Cumen in Cumeni, is a variation of Kumen mentioned elsewhere. Cumeni is the name of a Nephite City about 63 BC (Alma 56:13-14) and a Nephite Military leader killed in the last great battle. (Morm 6:14) However, this name could be from the Jaredite records because it is found in a construct with a distinct Jaredite name Kish, (30th) descendant of Jared, in the name Kishkumen, one of the wicked cities destroyed at the crucifixion of Christ (3 Nephi 9:10-11). (Largey p. 483) Nibley has pointed out that "The Nephite Kumen, Kumenonhi, Kishkumen certainly remind one of the Egyptian-Hittite name of in important city, Kumani." (Nibley p. 289) The Hittites have an ancient history and will be the subject of a future study. As previously noted, Kish is also an ancient name. "According to the Sumerian King List, [Kish] was the first city to claim dynastic privilege after the great flood." (Hunt p. 22)
11) The element -ki is a Hebrew preposition and is in Murasu names and Book of Mormon names. It is often found in a name with a prefix, a core made up of the preposition -ki, and then a suffix. Sometimes the suffix has to do with an abbreviation for God, as in names from Murasu, or in names with a prefix, a core element, then ending with the preposition -ki, as in the Book of Mormon names. In all such instances no Onomastic or Prosopographic rules are broken.
12) The unusual combination of vowels and a consonant are in the elements -ihu, which is the third person pronoun. The name Elihu found in Murasu documents is also a Biblical name, a descendant of Abraham's brother Nahor, and the name of six other characters, (Mandel p. 140) including Elihu, the Buzite, the young man who challenged the long-suffering Job and his three friends (Job 37:5, 24). The name means "He [El] is my God", -ihu means, "is my" and with the prefix and hypocoristicon El, for God, the meaning is clear. In the Bible, Elihu also was called by the name Eliel, Eliab, and one person mentioned in l Chron 12:21) was of the tribe of Manasseh, a man who deserted Saul's army with his men. The account may have been in the Brass Plates, which was essentially the record of the tribe of Manasseh. Clearly the Nephites would have utilized and built on names found in the Brass Plates as well as the Plates of Gold. The Book of Mormon correctly uses the construct in the name of Amnihu. It does establish that names were available to the Nephites from a time period before their departure from Jerusalem, therefore the -ihu usage would have been known to them and they correctly used it in their names.
THEOPHORIC ELEMENTS-CONTAINING DEITY ELEMENTS
A little more discussion of the Theophoric elements found in Semitic names and in the Book of Mormon may be of interest. Both make use of the abbreviation: -yaw = iah representing Jehovah. See the study in this series on the Elephantine Name Parallels for an additional discussion of this theophoric construct and a number of others referring to God, and Jehovah in particular. The eight major Semitic Languages (and perhaps all 22 of them did, a little more research may confirm this) of the Middle East and Near East employed a series of hypocoristicons for God, among them is -yaw = iah, other included other abbreviations such as: da, um, un, ah, etc. Extensive name lists designate the use of such suffix or prefix usages by the designation of DN or DNN. When looking through the name lists it is easy to note the names with this DN notation in the place where a hypocoristica would have been used. Besides Jehovah and Elohim there were many other Gods referred to as well. The main emphasis in these studies is in those that refer to the Gods of interest to Mormons: Jehovah and Elohim. Both of these names were referred to Pby their hypocoristica element earlier than 2500 BC. Their proper use by Joseph in the translating of the Book of Mormon speaks loudly of divine guidance in regard to the names. And as far as that goes, everything else as well. There will be more discussion of these elements as studies are made of other documentary sources and discoveries where the elements for -yaw, as well as that of -el are extensively used.
THE ELEMENT -el' DENOTING- EL OR ELOHIM:
This name element is very frequently found among names at Nippur as was consistent during the fifth to the sixth century BC. Biblical names with this element during this same time period are abundant. However, examination of Book of Mormon names reveals only three names with the -el element: Lemuel, Ishmael, and Isabel. The first two names are found in the Tanakh (Mandel) There seems to be a conflict then with regard to this name element. Close scrutiny, though, reveals that the Book of Mormon is consistent within its time-reference period. The Jews in the Book of Mormon are pre-exilic' meaning they left Jerusalem before the conquest of the city and the three deportations of people to Babylonia and Persia. Lehi and his family left at about 600 BC. Nephi states that they left "in the commencement of the first year of the reign of Zedekiah, King of Judah (my father, Lehi, having dwelt at Jerusalem in all his days); and in that same year there came many prophets, prophesying unto the people that they must repent, or the great city of Jerusalem must be destroyed. (l Ne 1:4) "And it came to pass that the Lord commanded my father, even in a dream, that he should take his family and depart into the wilderness." (2 Ne 2) "And it came to pass that he departed into the Wilderness." (2 Ne 4) This would have been about 600 BC.
In 598 BC, 21-year old Mattaniah, the third and youngest son of King Josiah, had been installed on the throne by the conqueror Nebuchadneszzar, who then changed his Jewish vassal's' name to Zedekiah, (Jer 37:l) for "to rename someone was to claim control over that person." (Reader's p. 433) So through Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezar ruled Judah. Because of political errors, misjudgments, bad advise, and listening to the false Prophet Hananiah (Jer 28:2) (note the hypocoristicon -iah) and not listening to the Prophet Jeremiah, Zedekiah (also with the hypocoristicon -iah), caused perhaps the most memorable disaster in ancient Jewish history. After a two year siege Babylonian soldiers broke through part of the wall in the eleventh year of Zedekiah's reign, on the ninth day of the fourth month (some make this July-August 587), in the evening, Zedekiah tried to escape, (11 Kings 25:4) but was overcome near Jericho only 15 miles away, and was taken to Nebuchadnezzar's base at Riblah in N. Palestine (Jer 39:1-5) and brought to trial before the King himself. For his actions he was forced to watch the execution of his young sons; then he was blinded with hot irons, led in chains to Babylon, where he died in exile. (Miller p. 838, Jer 52:11) Apparently, Mulek was born during the siege, and was able to escape and ended up with a colonizing group in the Western Hemisphere. Did the ancient mariners, the Phoenicians, take Mulek to the Americas? The main Phoenician trading routes included a port in the Canary Islands out in the Atlantic at that time (Moscati p. 81) In August, after the break through of the wall, Jerusalem was burned, its walls and temple razed and left in ruins for many decades until the decree of Cyrus in 538 permitting the return of the exiles, at least those who wanted to go back, and thus permitted the Jews to return to rebuild it. (Jer 29:10) The Nephite civilization preceded the destruction of Jerusalem and had no further contact with the eastern Hemisphere, but by vision and inspiration they knew what had happened. (2 Ne 1:4)
It is of importance to note that the Elephantine archives are also pre-exilic and there is only one name among their documents that contains the -el element. Coogan explains: "Surprisingly, El occurs in only one name at Elephantine. This may suggest a time of origin for the colony at Elephantine, since that element is relatively rare in biblical names from the late seventh early sixth century BC." (Coogan p. 58-59) This also is in perfect harmony with the Book of Mormon and substantiates Nephi's own dating for King Zedekiah. What a profound confirmation of the Book of Mormon.
It is extremely remote and unlikely that Joseph had any inkling of the authentic grammatical constructs that would be found among the unique names contained within the Book of Mormon, or all the rules that would be required to keep them authentic. The explanation that can account for these authentic names is the fact that they were borne by actual Jews and descendants of the Lehi and Mulek Colonies who lived on the American Continent from 600 BC to 499 AD. And in all name matters Joseph was correct in the constructs of names and Chronology.
D., Ed., The Prosopography of the
Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 2, Part 11,
The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, Helsinki. 2001
Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah
Coogan, Michael D., West Semitic Personal Names in Murasu Documents, Ann Arbor, Edwards Brothers, Inc., 1976
Cole, Steven W., The Early Neo-Babylonian Governor's Archive From Nippur, Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Chicago 1996
Donbaz, Veysel, & Mathew W. Stolper, Istanbul Murasu Texts, Nederlands Historisch-Archaeologisch Instituut Te Istanbul, 1997.
Erickson, Einar C., Papponymy in the Book of Mormon, Web Site Series, March, 2005
Erickson, Einar C., Elephantine Name Parallels, Web Site Series, March 2005
Erickson, Einar C. Weights and Measures, Web Site Series, March 2005
Gelb, I. J., in: Mari in Retrospect, Fifty Years of Mari And Mari Studies, Ed.
Gordon D. Young, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indian 1992
Gilbert, Martin, Jewish History Atlas, Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. New York, 1060
Hilton, Lynn M., & Hope A., Discovering Lehi, Cedar Fork Inc., Springville, Utah, 1996
Hunt, Norman Bancroft, Historical Atlas of Ancient Mesopotamia, Check Mark Books, New York, 2004
Krebernik, Manfred, Prefixed Verbal Forms in Personal Names from Ebla, in Alfonso Archi, Eblaite Personal Names and Semitic Name-Giving, Archivi Reali Di Ebla Studi 1, University Degli Studi Di Rooma "La Sapienza" Missione Archaelogica Italiana in Siria 1988
Krecher, Joachim, Observations on the Ebla Toponyms, in Alfonso Archi, Eblaite Personal Names and Semitic Name-giving, Archivi Reali Di Ebla Studi 1, University Degli Studi, Di Rooma, "La Sapienza" Missione Archaelogia Italiana in Siria 1988
Largey, Dennis, Book of Mormon Reference Companion, Deseret Book Co., Salt Lake City, Utah 2003
Nibley, Hugh, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Vol. 6, FARMS, Deseret Book Company, Salt Lake City, Utah, 1998
Mandel, David, Who's Who in Tanakh, Ariel Books, Tell Aviv, Israel, 2004
Miller, Madeleine S., & L. Lane Miller, Harpers Bible Dictionary, Harper & Row, New York, 1973
Moscati, Sabatino, The Phoenicians, Abbeville Press, New York, 1988
Newsome, James D., Jr., By the Waters of Babylon, T&T Clark. Edinburgh 1980
Owen, D. I., MVN 3. and MVN 13, The John Frederick Lewis Collection, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Inc. 1975
Pardee, Dennis, An evaluation of the Proper Names from Ebla from a West Semitic Perspective, in Alfonso Archi, Eblaite Personal Names and Semitic Name-Giving, Archivi Reali Di Ebla Studi 1, University Degli Studi Di Rooma, "La Sapienza", Missione Archaeologica Italiana in Siria 1988
Pettinato, Giovanni, Ebla: A new Look at History, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 1991
Ed. The Prosopography of The Neo-Assyrian
Empire, Vo. 1, Part l, A. Helsinki,
----------1999, Vo. l, Part 11
Readers Digest, Who's Who in the Bible, The Readers Digest Association, Inc., Pleasantville, New York 1994
Snell, D., MVN 9: The E.A. Hoffman Collection and Other American Collections, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Ind. 1980
Saggs, H. W. F., The Babylonians, A Survey of the Ancient Civilization of The Tigris-Euphrates Valley, The Folio Society, London 1988. Maps from Saggs.
Sasson, Jack M., Ed. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Vol. III, IV, Hendrickson, Peabody, Mass. 2000
Weisberg, David R., Texts from the Time of Nebuchadnezzar [605-562, which is also the time of Lehi] Yale Oriental Series, Babylonian Texts Vol. XVII, Yale University Press, New Haven 1980
Yale Oriental Series, Babylonian Texts Vol. XVII, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1980