Dr. Einar C. Erickson
Ancient Document Mormon Scholar
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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.

Ether 10:17  reads: "And it came to pass that Corom, (19th descendent of Jared), did that which was good in the sight of the Lord all his days; and he begat many sons and daughters; and after he had seen many days he did pass away, even like unto the rest of the earth; and Kish reigned in his stead."  Kish is an unusual name that stands out, he was the 30th descendent of Jared. Kish is a very ancient Kingdom, though it seems to have become famous after the Flood. In the newly discovered Kingdom of Ebla (1976) in northwestern Syria, 68 documents were found in which Kish is mentioned. (Archi 1997, p. 125) The ancient  "Sumerian  "King List's first post-diluvial dynasty---Kish---rose to prominence." (Saggs p. 27)  Kish is recorded as the first great prominent city after the flood.  A city that most likely would have been known by the Jaredites. The fact that the name Kish is found in the Jaredite records is evidence for the antiquity and accuracy of the Book of Ether as an authentic historical record.  Kish was "an early Sumerian City, now modern Tell al-Uhaimer, eight miles east and a little south of Babylon. Excavations by H. de Genouillac in 1912-14, and S. Langdon in 1923-33...unearthed ...ziggurats...temples...palaces. And numerous clay tablets ...shed[ing] light on early Sumerian culture (Early Dynastic period, about 2900-2370 BC)." (Miller p. 371)  When Ebla was destroyed at about 2250 BC, there was a "disappearance of a cultural linguistic horizon linking Ebla to pre-Sargonic Mari,  (Erickson, Mari, 29 June 2005) and too many cities in northern Babylonia dubbed the ‘Kish Civilization.'" (Sasson p. 1128)  The French excavations [still in progress, Sasson p. 1732] and "soundings at Kish (Tell Iingharra/Tell Uhaimir) confirmed the complicated heredity [of ancient Kish and Sumer]." (Sasson p. 1731)  Remember that a ‘Tell' is a high mound over an ancient ruin, modern names are given to the mound until they identify by excavations  which ancient city it may have been.


The name Kish shows up in other Jaredite names as well: The 25th descendent of Jared has Kish as a suffix in the name Riplakish. (Ether 10:4) The 15th descendent of Jared is an unnamed daughter of a man named after Jared (the 14th descendant of Jared). She marries a no-good by the name of Akish. (Ether 8:10)  Akish was the son of Kimnor, he desired to marry Jared's daughter, she was promised to him on condition that he bring King Omer's head to Jared, her father (14th descendent of Jared). Later Kish kills his father in law in order to become king himself, and then establishes secret combinations. (Price p. 159)  Book of Mormon students will recall the name Kishkumen (Hel 1:8-12) the founder of secret combinations among the Nephites. He was murderous, ambitious and rebellious. (Largey p. 483) It was the infamous Gadianton who assumed leadership of Kishkumen's organization. Kishkumen was also the name for a wicked city burned at the time of the crucifixion of  Christ. (3 Nephi 9:10-11) In the name Kishkumen, Kish is a prefix, the suffix is also a name, Kumen. It is the name of one of the twelve prophets of the Nephites (3 Nephi 19:4, and the prefix of another of that twelve, Kumenonhi.  All of this is sufficient reason to look into the Kingdom of Kish and the family from whence came this name found in the record of the Jaredites, and latter even in the names held by some of the northern Ten Tribes. Such names would have been transmitted in part down to the Nephites through the Brass Plates and perhaps the records of genealogies of other Jaredites.


Modern Warka [a large Tell] is the site of the ancient city of Erech (Uruk), it precedes Kish, modern Al-Uhaimir, in what is called the Uruk Period. "Writings of the Uruk state cannot be read, although some scholars believe that on the basis of similarities of archaic signs with later Sumerian signs, they are able to identify various city-names." (Saggs p. 33) Names seem to persist regardless of the language. Is there a relation of this unreadable language and the Adamic Language which would have been prevalent before the Flood? The Jemdet Nasr Period which followed, yields texts that are also difficult to read, in fact texts from any site of that age are difficult. Kish comes on the scene in the Jemdet Nasr III period.  Kish is therefore one of the older sites in the Sumerian region.  ‘Uruk [biblical Erech] was founded by Meskiaggasher and his successors, although it was a later king, Gilgamesh, [of the great Epic] who engaged in a power struggle with the rival Sumerian kingdoms of Kish and Ur." ( Hunt. P. 20) "Enmebaragesi and his son Agga are the first Kish rulers, we know from early inscriptions." (Hunt p. 22)  Not long after, two other important sites appear on the scene, Shuruppak, the subject of a study in this series, with astonishing parallels, and Abu Salabikh, an ancient will be studied and the data included in this web site.

"By the middle of the third millennium, what has come to be known as the Mature Harappan Period (about 2500-1900 BC) [in upper India] began....the distinctive square seals of the Harappan civilization have been found in Mesopotamia and Iran and at Kish." (Sasson p. 1457)  Trade in the Indian Ocean, from the Upper Indus River, up the Persian Gulf and up the rivers of Mesopotamia was taking place vigorously as early as 3500 BC.


"According to the Sumerian King List, the first city to claim dynastic privilege after the great flood was Kish (Kic). However, its supremacy was far from assured, and rivalry from Lagash and Umma weakened Mesopotamia at a time when Semitic invasions threatened." (Hunt p. 22)  The invading Semites were the Amorites (Amurru in Deuteronomy 20:17), the full disaster fell on the earlier States between 2029-2006 BC. (Saggs p. 54) The Language of the Amorites is rich in parallels to Book of Mormon names. (See Mari on the Erickson web site July 2005) The early Semitic language spoken in the early Mesopotamian areas was akin to Aramaic.  See the Chart on Sumer and Akkad in the Third Millennium accompanying this study. "The excavations show continuous habitation [of Kish] from the proto-literate period until the climax of Sumerian civilization, when Kish was apparently overthrown by an invasion of Semite-speaking peoples." (Hunt p. 22)

"The Sumerians, like the Israelites, had a tradition of a great flood, but they held that their history began even earlier. Their King List knew of five cities-Eridu, Bad-bibira, Larak, Sippar and Shuruppak-so ancient that they existed before the flood." (Saggs p. 26)

"The account of the pre-diluvial dynasties end: ‘Five cities were they. Eight kings reigned for 241,200 years. The Flood swept thereover.' The incredible lengths of reigns show the remote-ness of these traditions." (Saggs p. 27)  Thus a tradition of pre-diluvians having long lives is found in the Sumerian tablets on par with Biblical account. "From the Early Dynastic period, four thousand gods are known by name...[But] ‘the creator God', the great God, was Enlil...king of the earth...called the ‘Father of the Gods' or ‘king of the Gods'...who as Lord of the earth, had planned and created the world and its plants."( Saggs pp. 256-257)

"There is a reference to the assembly of the City of Kish choosing a king as late as 2300 BC; he took the throne-name Iphur-kish (‘Kish assembled') to emphasize the popular basis of his rule." (Saggs p. 132)  In "The epic dealing with the siege of Erech by the King of Kish shows that Gilgamesh, the ruler of Erech, having defeated his rival [Kish] neither put him to death nor humiliated him, but showed clemency and returned him to his own kingdom." (Saggs p. 180)  In "The ‘Epic of Etana'...Etana was a man who is referred to in the Sumerian King Lists as a post-diluvian king of Kish, the city which was the northern cultural centre corresponding to Erech in the south."  Saggs p. 348)


It was the Great Hammurabi who "welded into one Kingdom the many former city states of Summer and Akkad, and brought them under one legal system. From that time [1800 BC] it was recognition at Babylon, (not as formerly) at Nippur, which gave legitimation to a dynasty." (Saggs p. 69)  For the next 1500 years Babylon would be the center of most activities influencing the Mesopotamian area, and the biblical world.

"At the turn of the third to second millennium some peoples speaking Indo-European languages had moved from north of the Caucasus into parts of what is now Asiatic Turkey. There the most important group, the Hittites, had reformed first a kingdom and then an empire, based on the region of the Haly River. Suddenly, in 1595 BC,  Mursalis l, the third major ruler of the Hittite Empire, swept out of Asia Minor into Syria (where he took Aleppo), down the Euphrates, sacking Mari on the way. The conqueror reached Babylon, [and no doubt Kish which was near by] which he plundered and burnt, and then returned to his capital, as suddenly as he had come, but it was too late to crush a court conspiracy which led to his assassination. His stay in Babylon had, however, been long enough to bring to an end the reign of the last of Hammurabi's successors...and to disrupt government. Babylon was first taken over briefly by the southern dynasty of the Sealands, [people of the wet lands at the head of the Persian Gulf] and then by the Cassites." (Saggs p. 70)  Another ethnic group then enters the picture, the Hurrians. "These peoples have long been known in the Old Testament as the Horites, (Genesis 14:6, Deuteronomy 2:12)." (Saggs p. 71)  They had immigrated into the region from the vicinity of the Black Sea and out of Ancient Armenia. "an important Hurrian state, known as Mittanni, [was] to develop in the Habur region...it stood as an equal with Egypt and the Hittite Empire." (Saggs p. 72)  About 1450 BC the Hurrians became powerful enough to annex Assyria, and "controlled the whole area from Lake Van ....to the Syrian coast." (Saggs p. 73)  However, Babylon reasserted itself, "and controlled the whole of Mesopotamia." (Saggs p. 73)


Ancient "Eridu flourished and before the King List's first post-diluvial dynasty-Kish-rose to prominence. Archaeology shows that there was no important occupation of Eridu after the Uruk period, (before 3000 BC)  and that it was virtually abandoned well before the Early Dynastic period; that is to say, the heyday of Eridu was past by about 3000 BC.  Excavations have established that Kish did not become a major city until the Jemdet Nasr period (i.e. in the century after 3000 BC). This [helps] fixes the date at which Sumerian tradition placed the Flood as between 3000 and 2900 BC." (Saggs p. 27) More likely the flood was closer to 2500 BC. But it is interesting to note how the scholars try to establish a working date for the Flood.  "The first centre in terms of Political power...fell to Kish, recorded as the first dynasty after the Flood. Kish lay in Akkad, that is, north Babylonia, not far from the site of the later Babylon. The city has been excavated [started by the French] to virgin soil, and the earliest major phase of occupation was in the Jemdet Nasr period....Kish was indisputably the most important centre of north Babylonia in the Early Dynastic period: such was its traditional reputation as a centre of political power that later in the millennium, even when it was no longer an independent dynastic capital, its name was included in the title of any ruler who claimed dominion over the whole of Babylonia." (Saggs, 28)  The Jaredites were around when Kish had risen to this glory. There was no way the Jaredites would not have been familiar with this Kingdom and its founding families and rulers.  The Jaredites, so familiar with the Tower of Babel, could have lived within 50 miles of the great City of Kish, and for a time have been subject to its rule and influence.

"‘Me-salim, King of  Kish' had arbitrated between two city-states, arranging peace terms and setting up a boundary stone to demarcate their territories...This power of early Kings of Kish to wield authority far beyond the borders of its own city-state eventually led to the title ‘King of Kish' being adopted by any ruler who claimed over lordship of Sumer and Akkad, even if his primary territory was some city-state other than Kish." (Saggs 37)   So, there was no way that the Jaredites would not be familiar with Kish, and that familiarity would include transmitting that name into their genealogies.


"The last king of the first Dynasty of Kish, as stated in the Sumerian King List, was Akka,  son of Enmebaragesi. ...  ‘Kish was smitten with weapons. Its kingship was carried to Eanna (i.e. Erech).'  With the mention of the defeat of Akka, we link up indirectly with one of the epics from Erech." (Saggs pp. 28-29)  This is Epic of Gilgamesh. "Nine Erech epics [are known]." (Saggs p. 28)  In one of the Epics of Gilgamesh messengers come to Akka, son of Enmebaragesi from Kish, asking the question "Are we to submit to the house of Kish?" (Saggs p. 29) These epics have been treated by Nibley and others. (Pritchard pp. 25-86)  Gilgamesh is an ancient name.  The prefix, ‘Gil' in the name is found in the name of the second son of Jared, Gilgah (Ether 6:14) was also the name of a valley in Ether 13:27, 29, 30) Gilgah was also the name of one of the leaders of ten thousand that fell at the Battle of Cumorah (Mormon 6:14). In the name Gilgamesh the prefix Gilga is also a given name, and the name ‘mesh, or mish'  comes from the God Chemish found in the ancient name Carchemish, which means ‘quay of the God', it was one of the main crossings of the upper Euphrates River. Abraham probably used it on his way from Haran to the Promised land. Gilgah or Gilga, both are the same and are vocalized the same.  The elements and name of Gil are found in Old Testament names, and from the time of Assurbanipal, including: Gihilu, gil, Gilaia. They are also found in Ancient Akkadian,  Gilgames-edasu-saksid,  and in Hurrian as Gilu, Gilua, Giluni, Gilua and Giluuni. (Radner p. 423).  The use of the prefix and the name would have not been uncommon, so the Jaredites and later even the Ten Tribes, no dobut in with Semitic peoples bearing these names transmitted them down through time.


The Jaredites testify to the existence of this Kingdom and its rulers by the utilizationof the name Kish in their genealogical lines.  The name Kish was given to the 3 descendent of Jared, the 15th Descendent was the daughter of a man named Jared after his illustrious ancestor marries a man named Akish.  The 25th descendent of Jared was a man named Riplakish.  The name of Kish in a variety of names may have also been included in other Jaredite records. (Largey p. 431)  Without the occurrence of Kish in the Book of Mormon in the Jaredite records, our interest in this ancient important Kingdom would not have been stimulated. Where could Joseph Smith have obtained information about this ancient Kingdom and Family in order to incorporate the names into an ancient record?  Who, in the world, at the time the Book of Mormon was published, even knew anything about Kish or the discoveries that would be made in Mesopotamia?  And who suspected a unique biblical link of the Bible to the ancient kingdom that would be remarkable evidence that such a record as the Brass Plates may have actually existed?


"...In ancient Mesopotamian civilization from its very beginnings, before 3000 BC, and that by 2800 BC the Semitic element was so prominent, at least in the north of what was to become Babylonia, that the Sumerian King List gives Semitic names for most of the rulers of the first Dynasty of Kish. By 2600-2500 BC, tablets from Abu Salabikh, near Nippur in central Sumer, bear a large number of Semitic names, including the names of about half of the scribes who wrote those tablets, in Sumerian." (Saggs p. 41)

"Some Scholars avoid giving absolute dates which may subsequently prove to be inaccurate, by referring to periods rather than years BC." (Saggs p. 24) Of use, therefore, is a Chart prepared by Saggs provided in the web site and for use in this study.

Kish, however is extremely important for dating and establishing the stratigraphy of Ancient Sumer. "An ancient cemetery was found at Kish, which revealed a complete sequence of pottery from the earliest proto-literate period through to that of Nebuchadnezza [the time of Lehi] ...including the so-called goddess jars that provide a chronological reference for dating remains at other sites." (Hunt p. 23)

                                           CHART - SCAGGS PAGE 25

Uruk IV Proto-literate; Proto-historic before 3000
Uruk III Jemdet Nasr; Proto-literate; Proto-historic 3000-2900
Early Dynastic Elba; Mari; Kish 2900-2370
ED I   2900-2700
ED II   2700-2600
ED III Fara 2600-2370
late ED III pre-Sargonic 2500-2370
Agade Addadian; Sargonic 2371-2230
Gutian dynasy of Gutium, post-Akkadian 2250-2120
Ur III Third Dynasy of Ur; Neo-Sumerian 2113-2006

Additional Charts and Correlations of regional areas are found in Saggs  pp. 415-419The period of time before the flood, and before 3000 BC is called the "Proto-literate;

Proto-historic" or ‘Uruk IV' Period.  (Saggs p. 25)  Another great city developing before the Uruk IV period was ‘"Erech [which was] by no means the only city developing in the Uruk (Proto-literate) period." (Saggs p. 24)  By 2900 BC, "there may have been as many as fifty substantial urban complexes in south Mesopotamia...about a dozen had already reached a stage of political and social development for which the term ‘city state" is appropriate."  (Saggs p. 24) Most of these developed after the flood. "This development continued and saw its peak during the succeeding four hundred years. Typical of this period was the rise of dynasties ruling individual city-states or grouping of states; for this reason it is generally known as ‘Early Dynastic ED'." (Saggs p. 24) (See the chart by Saggs)  During this period, which was post the flood, populations proliferated, the Jaradites were commanded to depart from the region, the Tower of Babel incident occurred, and the proliferation of tongues occurred. Then after the flood, "Just after 2400 BC came the first successful attempt at creating an empire ...[the Akkadian, Sargonic], enduring for more than a century until it broke down under the pressure of its own internal stresses, coupled with foreign invasion...The final two centuries saw a brief return of independent city-states, culminating in another more compact empire, [Third dynasty of Ur} which in turn collapsed a few years before 2000 BC under the weight of immigrant Semites.(Saggs p. 24)  The disappearance of the Third Dynasty of Ur (2000 BC) is also associated with the invasion out of Iran, then known as Elam, (a name found in 2 Nephi 21:11, probably from an Isaiah passage in the Brass Plates). Sumerian "now became replaced by the Semitic language, Akkadian." (Saggs p. 57) An announcement that they have finally been able to translate ancient Elamitic was made in January 2005 referenced in a previous study.

After the fall of Ur 111, "many petty Amorite rulers, not only in South Mesopotamia but spread over the whole region from the borders of Elam to Syria" (Saggs p. 60)  and the east coast of the Mediterranean, and they stayed there for most of the Israelite period. Thus, ancient Sumerian and Elamitic names, Akkadian names, (Di Vito), and especially Amoritic, (Gelb),  names are all extremely fruitful for researching for Book of Mormon name parallels.  The yield is truly amazing.


In 1981 Gelb wrote an article, entitled Ebla and the Kish Civilization', which he
revised  (Gelb 1992), dating the Ebla archive to the Pe-Sargonic period (bout 2450 BC) extending back to the time of the early years of the ancient Sargon when he was still battling for domination for what would later be called the Akkad Empire.  Synchronous texts from Ebla and Mari permitted Sargon to stress the role of Mari within the frame of the Kish Civilization, thus linking these three great early civilizations, Ebla to the northwest, Mari in the center, and Kish to the southeast in the Mesopotamian region.(See maps). Gelb "stressed the importance of the city and state of Kish and of the title ‘King of Kish' in early Dynastic times." (Gelb 1992, p. 123)  All three of these Kingdoms are the subject of various studies in this series. All yield exciting confirmation of the development and correct use of Onomastic Science of the prefix, roots, and suffix developments of Book of Mormon names and distinct parallels to names found in that Sacred Book.

From the Royal Archives of Ebla, vase fragments were found that  "contained the titles of two Pharaohs, Chephren, of the Fourth Dynasty, and Pepi  l, [2333-2283] of the Sixth Egyptian Dynasty, who began to reign bout 2300 BC." (Pettinato p. 60)  Sargon of Akkad has a proposed date of about 2340-2284, and for his son Naram Sin, 2260-2223, in order to conform to the time of the capture of Ebla and its destruction by Naram Sin about 2250 BC.  "Ar-Ennum was the third King of Ebla at the same time Iblul-Il was the King of Mari, (Pettinato p. 61) [who may have been a second generation after the flood and] who clearly lived before the Sargonic perod and the establishment of the Akkad Empire [which would be just after the flood].  In the Ebla Archives "the city most frequently mentioned [in early times] is Kish,  followed by the city of Adab." (Pettinato p. 61)  Thus the archive of early Ebla seems to be "contemporary with the First Dynasty of Kish (2600-2500 BC)." (Pettinato p. 61) Thus, the sites of the cities of Kish and Ebla and Mari, may have all have had a pre-flood history, and extensive post flood histories  and then a profusive history after the tower of Babel.  What does this all mean?  It means that records from these early stages of the developments of the cities and kingdoms of Ebla, Mari and Kish are prime sources for verifying names found in the Jaredite records, and then transmitted down to the Nephites, they would show up in the Nephite records after the plates of Ether had been translated (Mosiah 22:14) after 279 BC.  The engraved stone that was found  bore Coriantumr's royal genealogy. Mosiah translated the stone and the plates, (Omni l:19-22)  Conversely, it means that some names found in the Book of Ether and transmitted to the Nephites after 279 BC,  should be found in these three Cities, at least, and others directly associated with them down until the time the Jaredites left the Babylonian area.  More detailed archeological studies will no doubt provide even more accurate dates for all of the personages and authorities found in the various archives, and the dates may change, but not by very much, perhaps by less than 40 years.


"We know of many Sumerian city-states in the middle of the third millennium, but the one about which we are best informed is Lagash. This city-state was based on three distinct urban centres, Lagash,  itself, ...Girsu...and Nina, which together....had a free population of 100,000...[today] these sites still enjoy considerable agricultural prosperity, by virtue of an efficient system of irrigation canals." (Saggs p. 350  "The Lagash records refer back to still earlier events, and thereby tell us something of the wider aspects of Early Dynastic Sumerian Political organization." (Saggs p. 37)

Between 2500-2000 BC the population of Lagish rose to as much as 120,000. (Yoffee p. 443) The Population of Kish only rose to 60,000. This compares with the ancient civilization of Mohanjo-Daro and Harappa, in the Indus Valley, and Memphis in Egypt that had populations of 60 to 80,000 at the same time period. (Yoffee p. 43)  Trade goods from India and Egypt are found at Kish.  Before archaeologist knew anything about such contacts, the Book of Abraham tells of the Egyptian Influence on Ur and upon Abraham. On his way to Haran, Abraham would have passed only a short distance from Kish, and his records may have transmitted some of these ancient names down in time. Abraham was born about 2052 BC and lived during a time of great upheavals in the region.

Lagash and Kish, farther up the Euphrates River, prospered because of the Persian Gulf trade. Gudea, a Gutian ruler of Lagash before 2100 BC, "claimed that ‘Magan, Meluhha, Gubi, and Tilmun brought tribute; their ships came to Lagash with timber.' Stone, bitumen and gypsum were brought in shiploads for the building of the temple of Ningirsu, whilst other imported good included diorite from Magan, cedar wood from the Lebanon, copper from Kimash (in western Iran) and gold from Hahu in Asia Minor." (Saggs  p. 49)  Were the Jaredites merchants and traders like Lehi?  They seemed to have traveled great distances with ease and not much discomfort.

The City of Kish lasted three thousand years, and at its height covered 5.5 square kilometers. (Yoffee p. 57)  Lagash will be included in a future study.


"In early Dynastic Kish ‘palaces' are ... designated...In the third Dynasty of Ur, there are also temples and ziggurats, and we have a list of Kings, but where is the Palace?"  (Yoffee p. 228)  Records abound in the tablets that refer to Kings and their Palaces.

But  Archaeologists found few palaces. It was the palace archive of Ebla that yields so many tablets and names used in these studies. About 165 BC,  a group of late Babylonian scholars, based on traditions and records available to them, recorded the names of ancient Mesopotamian sages and the kings they advised.  It was an "original attempt to portray Mesopotamian history and some of its most famous figures. It draws on the venerable tradition of the seven sages and Mesopotamian king lists." (Yoffee p. 159) A convenient starting point for the interpretation of the Early Dynastic period is a composition known as the ‘Sumerian King List', which gives an account of the dynasties ruling in Sumer and Akkad in the third millennium. (Saggs p. 26)  A later version, incorporating older materials was prepared in the second millennium. Five cities so ancient that they were listed as having been before the flood  "Eight Kings reigned for 241,000 years.  The Flood swept thereover...[Then] the King List's first post-diluvial dynasty-Kish-rose to prominenace."  (Saggs p. 27, 415) Kish is one of the first important cities developed after the flood.  From the story of Ether, that would also mean before the Tower of Babel. The Jaredite leaders evidently knew about these ancient post-flood cities and transmitted names from them into their records, and then these show up in the Nephite record.

By 2400 BC Sargon of Akkad established the Akkadian State, "his ascent to power from the venerable city of Kish (which he had conquered)" (Yoffee p. 142)   and built a new capital at Akkad, his grand-son Naram-Sin conquered Ebla, and other City States along the Euphrates River down south past Kish, to set up the first Pan Mesopotamian State.  But it didn't last. Kish did persist as a city state down to about the time of Christ. It is of interest to note that for his army, Naram-Sin had a single delivery of 60,000 dried fish. (Yoffee p. 142)  Some fishermen did very well. The Army diet was blah.


In Hebrew the name Kish means ‘bow'. (Mandel p. 321)  Kish shows up in a strange relationship to the northern tribes of Israel and some aspects of the Biblical Narrative. In   1 Sam 9:1, in the 11th century BC, Kish of the tribe of Benjamin, was a wealthy and powerful man in his community.  "One day some of Kish's assess were lost, and he sent his son Saul, a tall and good-looking young man, to search for them. This search led to Saul's meeting with the prophet Samuel, and his anointment as king." Mandel p. 321) In l Sam 9:1, the father of Kish is called Abiel.  In the first Book of Chronicles he is called Jeiel (l Chron 9:35) In l Chron. 8:33 it says that Ner was the father of Kish. Was there three men called Kish, or one man whose father had three different names?  The point we wish to make here is that Kish was a name given to a member of the ten tribes. The main body of the tribe of Benjamin was joined with the tribe of Judah in southern Palestine at the time, but this Kish lived in the southern extremity of the Northern Tribes where Samuel lived, and seemed to be included in events of that southern border of the Tribes.

Kish, another Benjamite, living in the territory of the northern tribes when he was taken captive, was the father of Shimei and an ancestor of Mordecai and Esther. (Esther 2:5)  Since Mordecai and Esther were both residents of Susa, a Persian Capital in the fifth century BC, could the name of their ancestor have been derived during the Babylonian captivity when they were in the vicinity of Babylon near the ancient city of Kish?  The family had been in captivity for nearly a century.

In l Chronicles, Kish, was the son of Mahli, a descendant of Merari, the son of Levi. "His sons--one of them was Jerahmeel--married the daughters of his brother Eleazar, who had died without sons." (Mandel p. 321, l Chron 23:31)

In the "8th century another descendant of Merari,  Abdi, also had a son he called Kish. This Kish lived during the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah. He was one of the Levites who assembled all the other Levites to make themselves ritually clean and to purify the temple." (Mandel p. 321)

Another name with the prefix Kish, is Kishi, meaning ‘my bow' who lived in the 11th Century, and was also called Kushaiah, (Mandel p. 321) a Theophoric variation of the name, with the hypocoristicon suffix of  ‘iah', for Jehovah, or God; meaning: ‘God is my Bow'.  He also was a descendant of Merari.  (l Chron 15:17) Kish had a son, Ethan, who "was one of the Levites appointed by King David to play trumpets and cymbals in the House of the Lord. His descendants were gatekeepers in the Temple." (Mandel p. 321)  He had to have had some musical ability.

Note that nearly half of the above references of men named Kish are related to a common ancestor: Merari.  The name means ‘bitter'. (Mandel p. 350) He is mentioned in Genesis near the 17th century BC as one of the three sons of Levi and the ancestor of the clan of Levites. He was one of the seventy Israelites who immigrated to Egypt. (Gen 46:11) His brothers were Kehath and Gershon.  His sons were Mahli and Mushi.  His Grandsons from Mahli were Eleazar and Kish.  His grandsons from Mushi were Mahli, Eder and Jerimoth.  Did Jacob pick up the name Kish, and at least two variations of the name, Kishi, and Kushaiah, a theophoric name, and put it into his records during the 20 or more years he spent in Haran with Laban to obtain his wives and great wealth? It is evident that the name was part of the name baggage being carried into Egypt when they immigrated there during the Famine and were reunited with Joseph. In particular that name seems to have been taken up and used from time to time by descendants of Merari, the Son of Levi, among the Levites wherever they were scattered.  Was the name Kish, therefore, a name that appeared frequently in the BRASS PLATES?  Particularly in the tribes of Levi, Benjamin and Manasseh?

The prefix Kish is also found in the name of Kishon, ‘stream of the god Kish' (Miller  p. 371), the River is referred to in the story of Barak's victory, and Elijah's slaughter of the prophets of Baal. It flows into the sea north of Mt. Carmel. (Alexander p. 673)


At the time of Isaiah (before 720 BC), Assyria was very precarious and Babylon was very active.  It threatened a future captivity, which became a reality.  King Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, and a submissive vassal of Assyria, was temporarily taken to Babylon by King Esarhaddon. Esarhaddon succeeded his father Sennacherib as king of Assyria (691 BC, 2 Kings 19:22, Alexander p. 664). He was the father of Ashurbanipal who succeeded him in 669 BC. (Miller p. 170) During that forced visit, did Manasseh pick up the name Kish from the locals? The City of Kish was only a short distance from Babylon. (Kitchen p. 52) Did some of the Nephite usages of this name come from the Brass Plates, since the name occurs in the tribe of Manasseh, did King Manasseh bring it back with him? Or did the Nephites derive their use of the name from the record of the Jaredites?  Either way, the name ultimately derives from the Ancient Kingdom of Kish right after the flood. The name Kish provides a strange thread of continuity and reality from ancient times into the Book of Mormon.


Three genealogies of three individuals are mentioned in the Book of Mormon record that would be useful for transmitting names into Nephites usage. One of these is that of Zarahemla, who was taught in the language of Mosiah,  and gave a genealogy of his fathers. That genealogy would go back to Zedikiah.  It would have some names that may have been prevalent in Jerusalem at the time of Zedikiah who was captured and deported to Babylon, and Muelek who was brought to the western hemisphere. [some think by the Phoenicians] (Omni l: 19-22)

Another is the genealogy of Coriantumr which was engraven on stone and translated by Mosiah giving the genealogy and an account of Coriantumr the last surviving Jaredite. (Omni l: 21-22).

Another was the genealogy provided by Ether in the account of his own genealogy back to Jared.  The Gold Plates of the Jaredites may also have included the genealogy of Mohonrhi Moriumtumr, the brother of Jared.  Which, while translated,  was not abridged by Moroni into the present record. Much of it remains as part of the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon.  These all suggest that an entire array of names was transmitted down from  Jaredite times, and from the time of Zedikiah, that in some cases, may not have been or could not have been transmitted down through the Brass Plates.

This study is an attempt to open some doors for further research and point how many and rich the sources and areas are that could be mined for confirmation of historical and linguistic confirmation of Book of Mormon names. The entire complexity of it all was kept in perfect order and lucidity by the Prophet Joseph Smith. No Corrections or retractions were ever made, or called for.


Largey has worked out this genealogy from the Book of Ether (Largey p. 431)  His chart is an excellent reference and useful in these series.


As discussed in previous studies in this series, names can be constructed with a prefix, a root, and a suffix.  Sometimes a name may be just a prefix, or just a root, or just a suffix, most of the time a name may consist solely of a prefix, or just a prefix and just a  suffix.  Some names may be a little more complicated than this, but for the most part, the construct of a name follows this pretty well.  So, we are interested in finding any names in the most ancient tablets and texts that might fit into the world of the Jaredites. From the Jaredite records such names might be transmitted down into use by the Nephites when their records were found and translated after 278 BC.

Morphological and lexical lists of personal names have been tabulated from the Ebla texts which also contain names from the Hittite, Akkad, Sumerian, Mari, and Kish civilizations of about the same period.  For the most part we will be looking at the names in the Eblaitic Texts found after 1976, any occurrence of a name from these texts found in the Book of Mormon would constitute profound evidence that the Book of Mormon names are authentic, thus the Book of Mormon is authentic, they cannot be separated.


Notice the Third name in the Genealogy of Jared, it is Gilgah.  He is one of the four children of Jared, the second by birth. The name is composed of a prefix, ‘Gil', and a suffix ‘gah'.  The prefix name Gil is found in several forms in the lists of names assembled and published. It is the prefix in the name Gilaahu,  Gil can mean ‘adversary' or ‘exhultation' the suffix, ‘ahu' means ‘brother'. So Gilaahu means ‘adversary of brother'. (Pagan pp 312)  The suffix ‘ahu' is also found in ancient texts and has been discussed in previous studies. Other forms of the name include:  Gilaar, meaning ‘adversary of Har (ar)',  Gili, meaning ‘my exultation',  Giliim, ‘exultation of Lim'. (Pagan p. 312) Gilum, also meaning ‘exultation'. The variations are many, the meaning is the same. (Pagan page 312)


Also note that the 3lst descendent of Jared is Lib. (Ether 1:17) Clearly this is a prefix being used as a name.  The name should be found in one or another of the five civilization named above, and perhaps others as well. Taking into consideration that we certainly do not have all of the names from these civilizations, it is worth the effort to check the names we do have from the available ancient records and see what can be found.  So, in checking for the name Lib, it can be expected at times to be coupled with a root or a suffix, or both. In the old Akkadian names we do find Lib, and many names with Lib as a prefix.  Alone the name means ‘man' or ‘the one'. In the Akkadian name Libbalaiu, which also can designate an office, the meaning is the ‘man from the inner city'.  Varieties of the name, which is quite common in Akkadian, include names such as Libbali-hammat, Libbali-sarrat, Libbalitu, Libiraiu, (meaning ‘man from Libiru'), Liblut, meaning ‘may he, ‘[the man] live'.  Also Libusu,  meaning ‘may they [ill wishers] come to shame'.  All of the names are ancient Akkadian, but were passed on down through 2300 years of generations to the time of Nebuchadnezzar. (Baker pp. 660-661) This would be at the time of Lehi. In ancient Nippur, an archive of tablets was found dating to about 700 BC, just before the time of Lehi.  In those tablets one can find the name ina-lib-bi where lib is used as a root in the name. (Cole p. 269) Lib is also found elsewhere. "Beginning with the Hyksos [descendents of Shem] in the 18th century BC, and then the Libyans and the so-called Sea People [the Phoencians] a few centuries later," (Chadwick p. 204) Egypt was constantly being invaded. Note that Lib is found associated with the Libyans, and the Phoenician Sea People. So, the Jaredite records have the name of Lib, and the Brass Plates could have had the Lib names also from the constant contact with the Phoenicians the Northern Tribes may have had, and the Hebrew records and those at the time of Lehi may have been familiar with the names as well. The name LIB also appears in other records that will be discussed in future additions to the web site. The ancient records confirm it as an authentic ancient name, just as they confirm many other names.


Alexander, David, & Pat Alexander, Eds. Eerdmans' Handbook to the Bible, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan 1977

Aharoni, Yohanan, Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze'ev Safrai,  The Carta Bible Atlas, Carta Jerusalem, 2002

Archi, Alfonso, Eblaite Personal Names and Semitic Name-Giving,  Archivi Reali Di Ebla Studi 1, University Degli Studi Di Roma, Missione Archaeologica Italiana In Siria, 1988  The great discovery of tablets at Ebla were made after 1977.

..................1987,  Eds. Cyrus H. Gordon and Gary A. Rendsburg, and Nathan H. Winter., More on Ebla and Kish, in Vol. l Eblaitica: Essay on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language,   Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana,  1987

Baker, Heather D.  Ed. The Prosopography of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, The Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project. Vo. 2, Part 11, L-N, University of Helsinki, Finland 2001

Cole, Steven W.,  The Early Neo-Babylonian Governor's Archive From Nippur, Oriental Institute Publications Vol 114, University of Chicago, Illinois, 1996

Di Vito,  Robert A., Studies in Third Millennium Sumerian and Akkadian Personal Names,  Studia Pohl: Series Major 16, Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico, Roma 1993

Erickson, Einar C., The Ancient City of Mari and the Book of Mormon, Web Site. 29 June 2005

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

..................1992, Mari and the Kish Civilization, in Mari in Retrospect, Ed. Gordon D. Young, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana 1992

Hunt, Norman Bancroft, Historical Atlas of Ancient Mesopotamia, Checkmark Books, New York, 2004

Kitchen, Kenneth L. On the Reliability of the Old Testament, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2003.  Also mentioned in The Kitchen Debate, Biblical Archaeological Review, July/August, Vol. 31 No. 4, pp. 50-51,  2005

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

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

Mandel, David, Who's Who in Tanakh, Aerial Books, Savyon, Israel, 2004

Martin, Harriet P, Francesco Pomponio, Giuseppe Visicato, Aage Westenholz, The Fara Tablets in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, CDL Press, Bethesda, Maryland, 2001

Miller, Madeleine S., & J. Lane Miller, Harper's Bible Dictionary, Harper Row, New York, 1973

Pagan, Joseph Martin, A Morphological and Lexical Study of Personal Names in the Ebla Texts, University Degli Studi Di Roma, Archivi Reali Di Ebla Studi 111, Missione Archaeologica Italiana, in Siria, 1998

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

Price, Lynn F., Every Person in the Book of Mormon, Horizon Publishers, Bountiful, Utah, 1995

Roaf, Michael, Cultural Atlas of Mesopotamia and the Ancient Near East, Andromeda Books, Oxford, England  2004

Saggs, H. W. F., The Babylonians, London Folio Society, Cambridge, 1999

Sasson, Jack M., Ed. Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, Vol. 1-4,  Hendrickson, Peabody, Massachusetts, 1995

Young, Gordon D.,  Mari In Retrospect, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana 1992

Young, Cyrus H., Gary A. Rendsburg, Nathan H. Winter, Eblaitica: Essays on the Ebla Archives and Eblaite Language, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, Indiana, 1987

Yoffee, Norman, Myths of the Archaic State, Evolution of the Earliest cities, States and Civilizations, Cambridge University Press, New York, 2005

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