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Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon.




(Kerry's note: This is one of the most interesting and complete analysis of Hebrew Idioms in the Book of Mormon ever in print. It is with great excitement that I present this for your reading and research)

  At the beginning of these remarks, it is confessed that not many different kinds of Hebrew idioms are known to the writer to exist in the Book of Mormon; but our readers may rest assured that those which are brought to their attention, will be sustained by proofs fully competent to manifest their Jewish character, and a few of them well sustained, make it necessary for us to refer the authorship of the Book of Mormon to some person or persons who were familiar with the peculiarities of the Hebrew language.

  With respect to the idiom first to be considered, we find the following statement is given in Green's Hebrew Grammar, paragraph 269, as the principle upon which it is based. He says: "The dependence of one verb upon another is most distinctly expressed by putting the second verb in the infinitive. The second verb may, however, be in form co-ordinated with the first by being put in the same or an equivalent tense with or without a copulative, the true relation between the verbs being left to be inferred from their obvious signification." He then gives some examples to illustrate the application of the principle thus enunciated, and from them the following are selected: "I know not (how) I shall flatter." In this example how is a supplied word, and an infinitive is thrown out of use by co-ordinating flatter with know. The meaning of the expression becomes plainly manifest by restoring the infinitive, as, "I know not how to flatter." A second illustration is, "How can (or shall) I endure and see the evil that shall come upon my people"—the second verb is here put in the same order as the first one, instead of being made to occur in its usual dependent relation, as, "How can I endure to see," etc. This example is taken from Est. 8:6; and if we incorporate the marginal reading into the text, it will read, "How can I be able that I may see," etc. The sense is not thereby modified, but this rendering serves to show that the connective is not always the same—that one being used which the sense most obviously demands. With this peculiar idiomatic structure of sentences let us now compare the following expressions taken from the Book of Mormon:

  1. "How is it that he cannot instruct me, that I should build a ship?" (I Nephi 17:51); instead of, "How is it that he cannot instruct me how to build a ship?"—build in the text being co-ordinated with instruct.

  2. "And bade him that he should read;" for "And bade him to read" (I Nephi 1:11).

  3. "Commanded my father * * * that he should take his family" (I Nephi 2:2).

  4. "Did plead with me that I would forgive them" (I Nephi 7:20).

  5. "And desired him that he would give unto us the records" (I Nephi 3:24).

  6. "I began to pray unto the Lord that he would have mercy on me" (I Nephi 8:8.)

  7. "I cast my eyes round about that perhaps I might discover my family also" (I Nephi 8:13).

  8. "I, Nephi, am forbidden that I should write the remainder of the things which I saw and heard" (I Nephi 14:28).

  9. "The Lord created the earth that it should be inherited" (I Nephi 17:36).

  10. "He hath created his children that they should possess it" (I Nephi 17:36).

  Many more examples can be found in the Book of Mormon to illustrate the idiom under consideration, but those now given suffice all present purposes, since they manifest beyond a doubt that this peculiar form of expression was familiar to the writers of that record. The reader can easily supply the infinitive form of the dependent verbs.

  Again, we find that the Nephite authors made frequent use of a figure of speech called enallage, which is a convenient term to express the substitution of one gender, person, number, case, mode, tense, etc., of the same word for another; and learned commentators inform us that it was frequently applied by the ancient Hebrews.

  Dr. Angus in the Bible Hand Book, paragraph 277, speaking of Hebraisms, says that plural forms are sometimes put by the Jews for the singular to imply that there are more than one person or thing held in view, though it may be to only one that the direct address or reference is made. In other words, when more than one was to share in a thought, or sentiment, the plural was sometimes used to show that the single individual chiefly in mind was not the only one to whom it was applicable, and, conversely, when more than one was to be included, the singular could be substituted for the plural to show, among other things, that those to whom the thought or command, etc., was directed, were not viewed collectively only, but as individuals also, who separately composed the mass. An example of the substitution of the singular for the plural occurs in the terms used by Moses in giving the ten commandments to the Israelites (Ex. 20).

  Just previous to the announcement of these laws, God had instructed his servant to speak to the people, saying, "Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagle's wings, and brought you unto myself. Now, therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenants, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine" (Ex. 19:4, 5). This is a preface to the ten commandments, and plural forms are used exclusively when reference is made to the whole body of the Israelites; but there occurs a remarkable and uniform substitution of the singular for the plural, when the obligation of the law is being laid upon these same people. By the use of thou and thy instead of ye and your, however, every individual is searched out and made to feel his personal accountability before the law almost as sensibly as if he had been commanded by name to observe it. None could deceive himself with the vain plea that all must be well with Israel individually in the sight of God, because collectively the people were acknowledged by him. It is thus manifest that this idiom placed in the power of the Jews a wonderfully effective mode of address. An example of a different kind—one that illustrates the substitution of the plural for the singular, is found in Gen. 19:29, where it is stated that God overthrew the "cities" in which Lot dwelt. Now Lot could dwell in only one of the cities of the Dead Sea plain, as physical necessities require us to suppose, but in using the plural for the singular in this case, the manifest purpose is to point out the fact that disaster had befallen not only the city where Lot had his abode, but that other cities also in the same neighborhood had been overwhelmed, and probably in the same manner. Other examples of this kind of enallage occur in Judges 12:7; Nehemiah 3:8; and elsewhere in the Bible.

  Turning, now, to I Nephi 2:19, 20, we find a remarkable change in number involving the Hebraism under consideration. The text reads thus: "And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me saying, Blessed art thou, Nephi, because of thy faith, for thou has sought me diligently, with lowliness of heart. And inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper and shall be led to a land of promise, yea, a land which is choice above all lands." It is to be observed with respect to the grounds for the change in this text from the singular to the plural, that as Nephi's faith in God, and his diligence in serving him, were not characteristic of all the people with whom he was associated, the Lord commends him personally for his individual righteousness, and so uses the singular pronoun in his address; but, on the other hand, as he purposed making the promise of prosperity under the stated conditions broad enough to apply not only to Nephi, but to all his companions as well, and to their posterity, ye is appropriately substituted for the singular thou in the latter part of the text, according to the principles of the idiom in hand. Nephi, further, though a chosen and highly favored servant of God, was thus left without any grounds for claiming special favors and privileges under the general promise of prosperity to all who should heed the commandments of the Lord.

  In I Nephi 17:55, there is another fine example of enallage. This verse reads: "And now, they [Nephi's brothers] said, We know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying, I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother, wherefore, worship the Lord thy God, and honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God shall give thee." The exhortation to his brothers to refrain from their idolatrous act is thus made with all the force of an appeal to each of them individually. Each one was to judge of Nephi's humanity by the personal consciousness they individually had of their own humanity, and consequent lack of all just claim to divine honor; and if there happened to be one among them who was less richly endowed by nature than his brothers, Nephi by the use of the Jewish idiom, placed himself upon an identical footing with that one, so far as the nature of his being was concerned. In concluding remarks upon this example of enallage, may it not be said justly that it was purposely brought by the spirit of inspiration into the closest association with that other example of the same kind in the latter part of the quoted text where thy is used in reciting a portion of the ten commandments, in order that our attention should be called more readily to Nephi's use of this Hebraism.

  A third example is taken from Jacob 7:6, "For I have heard and also know that thou goest about much, preaching that which ye call the gospel." Here Jacob, being the only preacher concerned, the singular pronoun is used, but as his teachings were regarded not only by himself as gospel, but were so esteemed by all the Nephite Christians, a change to the plural ye is allowable and highly appropriate according to the genius of the Hebrew.


Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon.




  These instances in which the principles of enallage have been applied, are not the only ones that occur in the Book of Mormon, and a few additional ones, without accompanying remarks, shall now be given, in connection with certain Biblical texts, in order that the correspondence of the two records upon the point in question may be perceived at a glance:


 Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry (Ex. 22:22, 23.)

  And it shall be if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them and worship them, I testify against you this day, that ye shall surely perish (Deut. 8:19.)

  Remember and forget not how thou provokest the Lord thy God to wrath in the wilderness: for from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came into this place, ye have been rebellious against the Lord (Deut. 9:7).

  And thou shalt write them upon the door-posts of thine house,


  We knew that ye could not construct a ship, for we knew that ye were lacking in judgment; wherefore, thou canst not accomplish so great a work (I Nephi 17:19).

  For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said, I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not (I Nephi 17:12).

  And I said unto him, Believest thou the scriptures? And he said, Yes. And I said unto him, Then ye do not understand them (Jacob 7:10, 11),

  Now Amulek said, O thou child of hell, why tempt ye me. Knowest thou that the righteous yieldeth to no such temptation? (Alma 11:23).


  and upon thy gates: that your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children (Deut. 11:20, 21).

  Notwithstanding thou mayst kill and eat flesh in all thy gates, whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, according to the blessings of the Lord thy God which he hath given thee * * * only ye shall not eat the blood; ye shall pour it upon the earth as water. Thou mayst not eat within thy gates, etc. (Deut. 12:15-17.)


  Now I would that ye should remember that what I say unto thee, I say unto all (Alma 12:5).

  Behold my sons and my daughters, who are the sons and daughters of my second son, behold I leave unto you the same blessing which I left unto the sons and daughters of Laman; wherefore thou shalt not utterly be destroyed; but in the end thy seed shall be saved (II Nephi 4:9).

  These Hebraisms are thus demonstrated to be fully as characteristic of the language of the Book of Mormon as they are of that of the Bible, and some of the grammatical errors in the former, to which our attention is sometimes called by our opponents, are also found in the Bible, which is a model of correct English; and they should not be regarded by any one as fit matters for ridicule, but be viewed in their true light, as peculiarities necessarily associated with the use of a Hebrew idiom, and hence as affording unimpeachable evidence that the Book of Mormon was not written by Joseph Smith, nor by any other man who was not thoroughly familiar with some peculiar principles of the Jewish language.

  If those who peruse these remarks will turn to Christ's sermon on the mount, and read especially Matt. 5:39; 6: 1, 2 and 6, 7, and 16, 17, and 7: 1-5, they will find that, if there is any ground for charging illiteracy against the Book of Mormon writers because of the peculiarities in the use of language just passed upon, an identical charge of illiteracy can be sustained against the writers of the Bible.

  Remarks relative to the Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon will be closed, for the present, with a few observations respecting the use of we in the text where Nephi says, "We are a descendant of Joseph" (I Nephi 6:2). Writers of these times frequently use we instead of the singular I, as it seems to savor less of egotism, and Nephi's substitution of we for I in the cited text, suggests to some minds grounds for the charge of modernism against his writings; but his language is fully sustained as proper by examples already produced, where a plural form is used for the singular to imply that the person or thing contains within himself or itself what is to be divided amongst many. In this case, Nephi could not alone claim the honor of being a descendant of Joseph, for his illustrious descent was necessarily shared with all the other members of his family. Thus this alleged mistake, or error, on the part of Nephi is, when rightly viewed, simply another evidence of the authenticity of his writings.

  Passing now to another phase of our general subject, it becomes necessary to quote again some recognized authority as the foundation for our remarks. Turning, therefore, once again to Greene's Hebrew Grammar, paragraph 69, we learn that the "formation of words and their inflections are accomplished partly by internal changes and partly by external additions. * * * The external additions are significant syllables welded to the root or to the word, either at the beginning or the end." This statement of the principles upon which Jewish words are built up, shall be supplemented with a part of paragraph 181, as follows: "All nouns are, with respect to their formation, reducable to certain leading types or classes of words, each having a primary and proper import of its own. The derivation of nouns, as of the verbal species, from their respective roots and themes, calls into requisition all the expedients, whether of internal or of external changes, known to the language."

  A general exhibit, illustrating the application of some of these principles in the formation of many of the Nephite proper names, is to be submitted; but before presenting it, there is one Nephite name that deserves special consideration, together with the meaning given to it in the Book of Mormon. The one thus singled out is Rabbanah (Alma 18:13).

  The termination in ah is a very common one among Jewish proper names, and almost invariably carries with it the idea of some kind of relationship to Jehov-ah For example: Abij-ah, means him to whom Jehov-ah is a father. Azari-ah signifies helped of the Lord, and Hezeki-ah, strength of the Lord. Further, the meaning of the Hebrew name Rabbi is, generally, "teacher," but it also has the meaning of "master," or Lord, as we readily gather from the context of Matt. 23:7, 8. A few relative remarks from the able pen of Dr. Adam Clarke in his notes on the text just cited now follow, and the special attention of our readers is requested to the points that he presents for our consideration. He says: "There are three words used among the Jews as titles of dignity, which they apply to their doctors—Rabh, Rabbi and Rabban, each of these has its particular meaning: Rabban implies much more than Rabbi, and Rabbi much more than Rabh. They may be regarded as three degrees of comparison: Rabh great, Rabbi greater, and Rabban greatest." Now it is evident, from all the facts which bear upon this matter, that Rabban-ah must have some meaning that is associated with the highest of earthly dignities on one hand, and with the power, wisdom, or other attributes of Jehovah on the other,—with those of Him who is King of all kings. The Book of Mormon, therefore, in giving to the name Rabban-ah the meaning of "powerful or great king," is correct to the last degree. From the context of Alma 18:13, where the name occurs, we learn that Lamoni, a Lamanitish king, and his people did not think the appellation beneath the dignity of the Great Spirit, whom they imagined they saw in their presence clothed upon with a body of flesh and bones. Not only is the meaning of this word correctly interpreted by the Book of Mormon writer, but it is built up upon unquestioned principles for the formation of names in the Hebrew. No mistake of any character has been made. It is derived from the proper root. The proper modification of that root is selected in order that its whole force—all the force and meaning that it was capable of being made to express—might appear in the new name, and, finally, the proper termination is added to associate it with the Almighty, or the Great Spirit, as he was known to the Lamanites.

  The evidence which other Nephite names afford in favor of the Jewish origin of the Book of Mormon is very valuable; and some of the characteristics, by which they are distinguished as Hebraic, shall now be made apparent by means of the promised exhibit, which is of a comparative nature, showing at a glance the correspondence that exists between many Biblical names and others that are of Nephite formation. By means of this exhibit, our readers will also get a view of the prefixes and suffixes, and other modifications that have been applied or effected in the formation of these Nephite names, which have been constructed according to the principles last quoted from Hebrew Grammar:


  Abinad-ab Abinad-i Gid

  Abinad-om Gid-don-ah

  Abish-ag Abish Gid-eon Gid-ianhi

  Gosh-en A-gosh Gid-gid-doni

  A-kish Am-gid

  Kish Kish-cumen Mori-ancumer

  Riblah Ripla-kish Mori-ah Mori-anton

  Aminad-ab Aminod-i Mori-antum

  Gola-n An-gola Zer-ah Zer-ah-emn-ah

  Car-chemish Chemish Gaz-ara Gaz-elem

  Math-on-i Hesh-bon Hesh-lon

  Math-u-sala Math-on-ih-ah Jacob

  Mil-com Com Gath Jacob-u-gath

  Gim-zo Gim-gim-no Josh-u-a Josh

  Hag-gai Hag-oth Gath O-gath

  Jeho-ash Jeho-cab Shem-non

  Kim Shem Shem-lon

  Eli-a-kim Kim-nor Shem-nil-on

  Shiz-a Shiz Shim-ron Shim

  Tubal Tubal-oth Nephi-h-ah

  Zara Nephi Ze-nephi

  Hem-dan Zara-hem-la Enoch Z-enock

  Amni-gad-d-ah Enos Z-enos

  Gad-iandi Ammon Ammon-ih-a

  Gad Gad-iant-on Par-ah Anti-par-ahh

  Gad-iomn-ah Sar-ah Sar-i-ah

  Amal-ek Amal-icki-ah Nim-rod Nimrah

  Jon-ah Anti-(j)i-on-ah Nahor Nehor

  Gil-gal Gil-g-ah Jared Sar-i-ah

  Shilo Shilo-m Shillem Shilem

  Elam He-lam-an Sidon Sidom

  Hem-dan Hem Zorab Zoram

  Nahum Nahom Onam Ante-onum

  Shurr Emmer Emer

  Shur Sher-riz-ah Etham Ethem

  Ah-i-ah Ah-ah Ezra Ezrom

  Ah-i Ah-a Jacob Jacom

  Rib-blah Rib-l-ah Mosol-lamon Laman

  Ab-(sa)-lom Ab-lom Omar Omer

  Am-aron Shiz-a Shez

  Aaron Amm-aron Shulam Shule

  Amnon Amnor Zera Zeram

  Melech Melek Jashen Jeshon

  Jordan Jordon

  The names that appear in the foregoing lists, from Zara to the close, comprise a class in which it appears very probable that most of the variations from the Biblical standard are due to modifications in their orthography by the Nephites, and when we consider that these people were cut off entirely from communication with their brethren in Palestine during the whole period while the Book of Mormon history was making, it is not strange that such changes in some of the Jewish names were made. Their occurrence was inevitable under the circumstances; and they are just as necessary and valuable as evidence to sustain the authenticity of the Book of Mormon record, as the remarkable features of correspondence connected with the names in the first part of the exhibit are. Our case would be very defective without these variations.

  Taking the names that have been given above as of Jewish origin, and this course seems fully justified, and adding them to those in the Book of Mormon that are identical in every way with Biblical names, there are fully sixty per cent of all that occur in the former work that are Hebraic on their face—about thirty per cent in the foregoing lists alone.


Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon.




  The different terminations of the Nephite proper names, excluding those applied to God, Christ and the Holy Spirit—many of which are translatable terms—number over sixty; but more than forty of them belong to names that are found in identical form in both the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and hence this large number is accounted for at once as certainly Jewish. Of the remainder we find all but two of them among Biblical names as follows:


  osh Rosh

  or Beth-peor

  hu Elihu

  um Rheum


  no Adino

  oth Aloth

  ath Gath

  le Baale

  ib Chezib

  ag Abishag

  ez Bozez

  iz Ziz

  f Zif

  et Eliphalet

  ne Mene

  la Bethhogla

  The termination of Nephite proper names not found in any Biblical ones that the writer has examined, are r without a preceding vowel, as in Coriantumr, and ts in Hermounts. More than one example of the use of names with these terminations by the sacred writers of the Bible might be supplied, but it is not considered necessary as most of them would be readily recognized by students of the Jewish scriptures. Two names ending in um have been given, for, at first thought, some assume that this termination is Latin only.

  Most of the suffixes that the Nephites welded to the base were so common and familiarly Jewish that no special attention need be directed to more than a few of them—one of which is hah, evidently instead of ah. This form, however, is authorized by the terminal ending in Janohah, apparently from the same base as Jano-ah—both Bible names. The combination hah is found in the Nephite names Nephi-hah, Moroni-hah, Ammoni-hah, and Cameni-hah. Sometimes ah, when added to a base, was preceded by a vowel sound as Ahaz-i-ah from Ahaz. Among the Nephite names we find analogically formed those of Amalick-i-ah, Sar-i-ah and Mos-i-ah. Again, oni was a musical termination to which the Jews seemed somewhat partial. We find it in Ben-oni, from Ben, and in Rabb-oni, from Rabh. The Nephites used this ending in Gidgidd-oni, Math-oni, and in Math-oni-hah they welded the two suffixes to the same base.

  It is not necessary to prolong these observations in order to call further attention to the fact that in the matter of forming new names by addition of suffixes, the Nephites were orthodox Jews. Those who wish to pursue this inquiry at greater length can readily find examples in the comparative exhibit that is given on preceding pages, or in the general list of names that is to follow. Coming now to an examination of the prefixes that were used by the Nephites in the formation of their proper names, we find that they are about all included in the following enumeration: Te, Pa, Z, Ze, H, See, A, Am, O, and Ab. The first, or Te, with Omner, gives Teomner; Pa and Cumeni occur together in the name Pacumeni; Z and Enock form Zenock; Ze and Nephi welds into Zenephi; H and Elam-an makes Helaman; See and Zoram combines into Seezoram; A and Kish gives Akish; Am and Moron appears in Ammoron; O and Gath in Ogath and Ab and Lom welds into Ablom—all of them being genuine Nephite names, as an examination of the general list will disclose. Considering the limited number of proper names in the Book of Mormon—about three hundred different ones altogether—it will be observed that the Nephites were very liberal in the use of prefixes in forming them. We have seen how these prefixes were joined with certain roots or bases in order to form new names; but a question of greater interest and importance now claims our attention as to whether these particular prefixes are sanctioned by ancient Jewish usage as disclosed from lists of Bible names. That they are strictly Hebraic and properly used is evident from the illustrations that soon follow. The first column gives the prefixes that were applied by the Nephites in compounding some of their own names. In the second column there is entered base names taken from the Bible. In the third column will be found other Bible names, and of course Jewish; but which might just as well be formed by welding the Nephite prefix to the Hebrew base of the second column. Stronger proof than this that the Jews and the Nephites were of the same race, and understood alike the principles of the same language, can scarcely be expected or needed:



  Te Beth Tebeth

  Koa Tekoa(h)

  Mani Temani

  Resh Teresh

  O Beth Obeth

  Zorah Ozorah

  Pa Dan Padan

  Shur Pashur

  Rosh Parosh

  Arah Parah fn

  Ze Bul Zebul

  Resh Zeresh

  Z Enan Zenan

  Ethan Zethan

  Immah Zimmah

  Uriel Zuriel

  Se Elah Selah fn

  or Machi Semachi

  See Ephar fnSeph(a)er fn

  Eron fnSera(o)n fn

  A Gar Agar

  Hiram Ahiram

  Ner Aner

  Rumah Arumah

  Am Asa Amasa

  Azia Amazia(h)

  Ittai Amittai

  Ram Amram

  Ab Iram Abiram

  Iron Abiron

  Ner Abner

  Raham Abraham

  In order that it may be demonstrated still further by visual evidence that the Nephite proper names are genuinely Hebraic, it will be necessary in the first place to give the names and powers of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, and afterward a complete list of all proper names that occur in the Book of Mormon together with some untranslated terms that are also to be subjected to our inspection, and for convenience they shall be divided into several different groups. Taking these matters up in the order thus indicated we find that the names and powers of the Hebrew letters are:


  1 Aleph

  2 Beth Bh, B

  3 Gimel Gh, G

  4 Daleth Dh, D

  5 He H

  6 Vav V

  7 Zayin Z

  8 Hheth Hh

  9 Teth T

  10 Yodh Y

  11 Kaph Kh, K

  12 Lamedh L

  13 Mem M

  14 Nun N

  15 Samekh S

  16 Ayin

  17 Pe Ph, P

  18 Tsadhe Ts

  19 Koph K

  20 Resh R

  21 Shin Sh, S

  22 Tav Th, T

  No English equivalents have been written for the first or the sixteenth of these letters—the powers for all of which have been given as Greene's Hebrew Grammar illustrates them. It is difficult to represent equivalents for the two just numbered without some accompanying explanation. Aleph is regarded as the weakest of the letters and its value is likened to the English silent h in hour. The power of Ayin is uncertain; but some modern Jews give it the sound of ng, or of French gn in champagne. Though the power of Yodh is given above as English y others of equal authority with Greene give it the sound of j or i. This letter, Yodh, is the first one in the original name Jehovah, which is variously pronounced as just written, or as Yehovah. Now, looking the Hebrew alphabet over very carefully, we find that it has no equivalent for the English q, x or w, and, as a consequence, any word or name that has one or more of these letters in it, is not a genuinely Jewish word or name. Even the familiar names Jew and Hebrew, as here spelled, must be excluded. They are not in the proper form for Hebraic names. Their orthography condemns them as foreign to the language of Israel. To be orthographically correct, if Jewish, they should be spelled Ju and Hebru; but more respecting them hereafter. Now, in order to ascertain whether the Book of Mormon conforms its orthography to these limitations of the Hebrew alphabet, we must not examine foreign words or names, nor any terms that are English signs for Jewish words, which were not spelled as the translation is; but we can take the proper names in that book, and which are known to be of Nephite origin, for they are not translated, but have been, as it were, transferred bodily from the Nephites down to us, and determine this question by the showing thus made. Proceeding, then, on this basis, to examine all the proper names (and untranslated terms) that occur in the Book of Mormon, there is not found a single one of them that has a q, x or w in it. That is to say, so far as the names in question can be traced to a purely Nephite origin, they do conform in their orthography to the limitations of the Hebrew alphabet, and this remarkable consistency is especially forced upon our attention by the spelling of the Nephite name "Amnihu" as here given, instead of "Amnihew" or "Amnihugh," according to some of the English methods of representing the long sound of u.

 GENERAL LISTS. (Class No. 1.)
















































































  Ezrom Jesus Mocum Satan

  Ethem John Moriancumer Seantum

  Ether Jonas Morianton Sebus

  Eve Joneam Moriantum Sezoram

  Ezias Josh Mormon Seth

  Gad Joshua Moron Shared

  Gaddiandi Jordan Moroni Shazer

  Gadianton Jordon Moronihah Shem

  Gadiomnah Joseph Moses Shemlon

  Gazelem Judah Mosiah Shemnon

  Gid Judea Mulek Sherem

  Giddianhi Kib Muloki Sherrizah

  Giddonah Kim Nahom Sheum

  Gideon Kimnor Nazareth Shez

  Gidgiddoni Kish Nehor Shiz

  Gilead Kishkumen Nephi Shule

  Gilgal Korihor Nephihah Shur

  Gilgah Kumen Neum Shiblom

  Gimgimno Kumenonhi Nimrah Shiblon

  Hagoth Laban Nimrod Shilem

  Hearthom Lachoneus Noah Shilom

  Helam Laman Ogath Shim

  Helaman Lamanitish Omer Shimnilon

  Helem Lamah Omner Sidom

  Helorum Lamoni Omni Sidon

  Hem Lebanon Onhah Sinai

  Hermounts Lehi Onidah Siron

  Heshlon Lehonti Ontah Solomon

  Heth Lemuel Oreb Teancum

  Himni Levi Orihah Teomner

  Isaac Lib Paanchi Timothy

  Isabel Limhah Pachus Tubaloth

  Isaiah Limher Pacumeni Zarahemla

  Ishmael Limhi Pagag Zedekiah

  Israel Luram Pahoran Zeezrom

  Jacob Mahah Pharaoh Zemnarihah

  Jacobugath Malachi Philistines Zemnariah

  Jacom Manti Ramah Zenephi

  Jared Manasseh Riplah Zeniff

  Jarom Mathoni Riplakish Zenock

  Jasher Mathonihah Ripliancum Zenos

  Jashon Melchizedek Sabbath Zerahemnah

  Jehocab Melek Salem Zeram

  Jehovah Middoni Sam Zerin

  Jerusalem Midian Samuel Zion

  Jeremiah Minon Sariah Zoramites


  The next list is composed of Nephite terms that in general have not been translated: and all of them have been handed down to us without alteration phonetically:

 (Class No. 2.)

  Amnor Irreantum Rabbanah Shum

  Antion Leah Rameumpton Shiblon

  Cumoms Liahona Senine Shiblum

  Cureloms Limnah Seum Shublon

  Deseret Neas Seon Ziff

  Ezrom Onti Sheum

  The names now given include all those of Nephite origin that we should expect to conform orthographically to the power of the Hebrew alphabet.


Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon.




  The following sacred names occur in the Book of Mormon and are made:

  (Class No. 3.)

  Almighty Lord God Omnipotent

  Almighty God Lord Jesus Christ

  Beloved Lord of Hosts

  Christ Lord Omnipotent

  Comforter Maker

  Creator Mediator

  Eternal Father Messiah

  Everlasting Father Mighty God

  Father Mighty One

  God Most High

  God of Israel Most High God

  King Only Begotten

  Holy One Prince of Peace

  Holy One of Israel Redeemer

  Holy Ghost Savior

  Holy Spirit Shepherd

  Holy Messiah Son

  Lamb Son of God

  Lamb of God Son of Righteousness

  Lord Spirit

  Lord God Wonderful Counsellor

  Lord God Almighty

  The next group includes words that, though common sometimes, or generally, have, for one reason or another, been made proper nouns in the Book of Mormon:

 (Class No. 4.)

  Bountiful Great Spirit Priesthood

  Chief Judge High Priest Scriptures

  Cherubim Judge Teacher

  Desolation New (Jerusalem) Tower

  Gentiles Priest Twelve


  Finally, a special list of names or parts of names, reserved for particular notice, is found in

 (Class No. 5.)

  Alpha Christ Omega Tower

  Anti Jew Red Sea Twelve

  Arch Hebrew New Wonderful

  Bible Mary

  This last list shall be subdivided into (a) Those that are of Greek origin as, Alpha, Omega, Christ, Bible, Anti and Arch. (b) Those that are common translatable terms as New, Tower, Twelve, Wonderful, and Red Sea. (c) Gentile forms of certain proper names as Jew and Hebrew.

  In Class No. 1 of the general list there are several names that are compounded with the Greek "Anti," which in one or two instances was changed to "Ante," perhaps through a typographical error, or it may be the result of the substitution of one vowel sound for another, thus causing a variation that seems to have been quite common among the ancient Jews, and which grew out of their system of writing only the consonants of words, as, for example, b-r-d, which, in English might stand for bard, beard, bird, board, broad, brad or bred. Now, the presence of these few Greek words in the Book of Mormon instead of discrediting its authenticity in any degree, serves only to confirm its claims as a true historical record. When the colony under Lehi left Jerusalem, Egypt, Babylon, Greece and Israel were all hoary with age, though Rome was still in her swaddling clothes. The Greeks had taken Troy 684 years, and Homer had lived two centuries at least before the first line of the Book of Mormon history was written. Four hundred years before Lehi's departure from his native land the people of God had attained to world-wide fame by the building of their first magnificent temple under Solomon, and by the wisdom of their greatest king. The Jews and the Greeks were not very remote neighbors, and some traces of Greek in the Book of Mormon are to be expected. Indeed, if we found nothing whatever of that language, in that book, it would be hard to explain how it transpires that the learned founder of the Nephite people knew no Greek; knew nothing of a people with whom they doubtless had more or less literary and commercial intercourse.

  Thus the occurrence of these Greek words in the Book of Mormon are perfectly consistent with what the record should disclose. In the Nephite name "Ziff," we find a Babylonian name copied outright, and this fact seems to link these two people also together at some time in neighborly association. In this connection it is worthy of remark that the Nephite name "Antionah" is apparently compounded from the Greek "Anti," the Egyptian name "On," and the Hebrew termination "Ah." "Antiparah," another Nephite name, easily separates into the Greek "Anti," and "Parah" of the land of the Jews. Anti-on-um is doubtless derived from a Greek, an Egyptian, and a Hebrew source. The names Christ, Bible, (and Mary may be included here) were all given to the Nephites by direct revelation; and the sacred use of the Greek Alpha and Omega was introduced among them by the Savior himself.


Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon.




  Respecting the terms new, twelve, tower and wonderful, it is observed that they are not Nephite names at all; but simply English words used for the originals, and the occurrence of the letter w in them is of no consequence to invalidate the claim that the Nephite names are spelled without a q, x or w.

  A few words of explanation respecting the use of the proper name, Red Sea, in the Book of Mormon, instead of the Hebrew name for that body of water, may not be out of place. It appears that as far back as B. C. bc when the work of translating the Hebrew scriptures into Greek was in progress, into the version called the Septuagint, or the LXX, (seventy) the waters in question were known by the name Erythra Thalassa, the first of these words meaning red and the other sea (Exodus 15:4). Later it was called in Latin Mare Rulrum—Mare meaning sea and Rulrum, red. It does not appear, therefore, that the Jews or any other ancient people had any name for this body of water that could not also be given in a foreign language under the proper term for red and sea, or, in other words, it is a proper name raised to that order or position from common translatable terms; and the Book of Mormon is perfectly consistent in the use of the English name—as much so as it is when it translates the originals for white or black, instead of giving us the Hebrew for those words.

  With respect to the name Hebrew, it is not a properly constructed Jewish name at all. Some authorities are of the opinion that it is derived from Eber, or Heber, one of the later descendants of Shem. If this be true, the form of the name, according to principles of analogy for forming Jewish names, should be Eberites, or Heberites. Other learned men are of the opinion that it is derived from ibrhi, which has practically the meaning of stranger, or foreigner, and, on this ground, the name in the plural would be Ibrhim. Jew and Jews are names given to the children of Israel by their neighbors, and both Hebrew and Jew are foreign terms, though both are derived from Jewish bases. Now, if it had been necessary, for instance, to use the Gentile name Alexander Quincy Law in translating the Book of Mormon, we should expect to see it spelled as here given, and there is, therefore, nothing unusual, strange, or inconsistent about the case when the Book of Mormon spells the Gentile name Jew and Hebrew, each with a w. If they were strictly Jewish names the matter would appear in a different aspect. As the case stands, the statement that the Book of Mormon proper names, if of purely Nephite origin, make no use of the Gentile q, x or w, cannot be controverted; there is no possible ground for argument or denial. The Hebraisms and Jewish analogies that have now been passed upon demonstrate that the Prophet Joseph Smith was not the author of the Book of Mormon. He knew nothing of the Hebrew language, while the records in question are full of evidences that their writers were thoroughly familiar with its principles and use. Sidney Rigdon was not the author of that book, for he did not see it or Joseph Smith until after the work was published. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was organized on the sixth day of April, 1830, and Sidney Rigdon was not admitted to fellowship in it until the following October. The Book of Mormon was first published in 1829.



  In the foregoing groups of names, those that are of Jaredite use are listed together with those of the Nephites as having a Jewish origin. It is very probable that some of our readers desire to know upon what grounds this common classification is based. In reply, it is admitted that with our present information on this matter, nothing sufficiently definite to remove the last remnant of doubt from every mind can be submitted, but it appears, nevertheless, from more than one consideration, that no palpable mistake has been made in assuming that the Jaredite and the Nephite names belong to peoples who had a common racial origin.

  Certainly no one claims that the first writers of the Book of Ether (a subdivision of the Book of Mormon) are to be numbered among those whom the Christian world now recognizes under the names of Hebrews, Israelites or Jews. The name Hebrew, from Eber or more probably from Ibrh or Ibr, was doubtless not coined in any form until about the time that Abraham left his native land in obedience to the command of the Almighty—long after the Jaredites had colonized America—and the names Israelites and Jews are of still later origin. No one should conclude, however, from these facts, that the Jewish race—the chosen people of God—did not exist for many centuries before the new names, just mentioned, were applied to them,—did not exist in pre-diluvian days. Jesus Christ was a Jew by birth and his genealogy is traced back to Adam without any admixture of known Gentile blood.

  That the Jewish race existed before the dispersion at Babel is quite clearly shown by the fact that the Hebrew language came out of the confusion of tongues almost, if not wholly unimpaired. Speaking with respect to its preservation, Dr. Angus, in the Bible Hand Book, paragraph 26, (3), says: "It may be added that the Hebrew of Abraham's day was probably closely allied to the original tongue, if it were not itself identical with it. This conclusion is based chiefly on the proper names of the early chapters of Genesis. These names are all significant in Hebrew, and the meaning in that tongue always explains the reason why they were given." Dr. Adam Clark commenting on Genesis 11:1, says: "All mankind was of one language, in all likelihood the HEBREW; and of one speech; articulating the same words in the same way. It is generally supposed that after the confusion mentioned in this chapter, the Hebrew language remained in the family of Heber. The proper names and their significations given in the scripture, seems incontestible evidence that the Hebrew language was the original language of the earth—the language in which God spake to man, and in which he gave the revelation of his will to Moses and the prophets. 'It was used,' says Mr. Ainsworth, 'in all the world for one thousand seven hundred and fifty-seven years, till Phaleg, the son of Heber, was born, and the tower of Babel was in building, one hundred years after the flood (Gen. 10:25, 11: 9). After this it was used among the Hebrews or Jews, called, therefore, the Jew's language until they were carried captive into Babylon, where the holy tongue ceased from being commonly used, and the mixed Hebrew (or Chaldee) came in its place."

  "It was the universal belief among the rabbins, the Christian fathers and the older theologians, that the Hebrew was the language of Adam and Eve, and that it prevailed among all mankind till the dispersion at Babel,"—Johnson's New Universal Encyclopedia (appendix) Art. Semitic Languages. Thus it appears that there has been a very general concensus of opinion among theologians that the Hebrew language existed long before the dispersion, and after that event, in a state of remarkable purity even down to the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. It appears, further, that the main foundation for this opinion, is based on the proper names and their significations in the first few chapters of Genesis. There are altogether about two score only of such names in the whole of the Mosaic pre-diluvian history, and for convenience in comparing them with those of a later date and use, the list is herewith presented, omitting those that belong to the Deity: Abel, Adah, Adam, Assyria, Cain, Cainan, Ethiopia (Cush), Eden, Enoch, Enos, Euphrates, Eve, Gihon, Ham, Havilah, Hiddekel, Irad, Jabel, Jared, Japheth, Jubal, Lamech, Mahalaleel, Mehujael, Methusael, Methuselah, Naamah, Noah, Nod, Pison, Seth, Shem, Tubal Cain, Zillah.

  The termination of a number of these names occur in the familiar ah, several others in the well known el, and some of them are transmitted entirely down to later Jewish times. It will, further, be noticed how some of these early names in Genesis are compounded, as, Tubal-Cain, from Tubal and Cain; Mehujael, from Jael and a prefix; Methuselah, from Selah and a prefix.

  Further strong evidence that the Hebrew language was in use before the flood, and that it was not confounded when the building of the tower of Babel was stopped by the confusion of tongues, is found in the fact that the names of the Deity and of persons are used before the deluge and the dispersion that are used immediately after the latter event without any explanation of the divine personages or ancient worthies that were to be identified. If the language of Noah and his people was confounded, the names for God and Jehovah, and the whole list of worthies from Adam to Noah, would have been meaningless and indistinguishable to every post-Babelite without an explanatory guide to let him know, for instance, that the Z of his day was identical with the A of Adamic times, but just where it should appear, if needed at all, the Bible supplies us with no reference keys. God's chosen people knew who JEHOVAH was after the dispersion just as readily and as fully as they did before it, without having his identity revealed anew to them. It appears, further, from the Biblical records, that genealogies were kept by the people of the Lord from the days of Adam to those of Noah and his descendants, who lived at the time of the dispersion. Christ's lineage is traced to Adam, and it is scarcely possible that no other pre-diluvian families left a genealogical record also, but even if they did not, the fact that one single family lineage was preserved for about one thousand seven hundred years is quite conclusive evidence that there were written records in existence before the deluge. Learned men who have studied the subject are of the opinion that the present Biblical account of creation was largely copied by Moses from earlier records.

  From this standpoint it is apparent that if the Hebrew were the universal language at the time of the dispersion, its preservation was essential, unless every record that was in existence before the building of the tower of Babel was to become sealed and useless to mankind, just as the Egyptian hieroglyphics were not decipherable before the discovery of the Rosetta stone, which gave the keys to them through a KNOWN language. If there were many languages in use at the time in question, the preservation of ONE of them to serve as a key to decipher the records of the past was also necessary. If they were all confounded, the history and records of anti-diluvian days might just as well have been written in the language of the supposed inhabitants of Mars. But we have evidence that one language did come out of the general confusion of tongues at Babel unimpaired; and the consistency of the Book of Mormon in stating (Ether 1:35) that the language of Jared was not confounded affixes a broad seal of divinity to that work. What "unlearned youth," if an impostor, would even have thought of covering the point in question; and of doing it by the preservation of the Hebrew? Deeply laid, indeed, in the foundations of truth is that work which God has brought forth in the last days by the hands of Joseph Smith, his prophet, seer and revelator.

  In the statement just made that the Book of Mormon provides for the preservation of Hebrew when the language of the rest of the world was confounded, a few necessary remarks have been anticipated. The grounds upon which such men as Dr. Angus and Dr. Clark base their opinion that the Hebrew was in use before the building of Babel, and after it practically unmodified, is found in the earlier and later Biblical names and their significations. The evidence thus afforded is considered incontestible. Now, while we cannot give the meaning of the Jaredite names, an examination of them will show that they are largely built upon Biblical Hebrew models, and that is sufficient for present purposes—the evidence sustains the classification as heretofore given. It is scarcely necessary to add that it is taken for granted that those who used the Hebrew language were of the Jewish race. Gentiles have never been eager to adopt Jewish manners, customs or speech.

  The keeping of genealogies, too, by the Jaredites, while not conclusive that they were of the Jewish race, is, nevertheless, in line with Jewish customs or obligation. If, further, St. Paul understood the situation aright, they were Jews; for he says that to these people,—not to Gentiles—the oracles of God have been committed, and the Jaredites certainly received from him a code of his laws and authority to administer them.


Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon



  In volume XII, of this publication, beginning with number 2, the writer was privileged to call attention to some peculiarities pertaining to the use of language and forms of expression which occur in the Book of Mormon. Conforming, as they do, to certain specialties of the Hebrew, they afford evidence that that work was written originally by Jews. As opportunity presented itself, at a later period, for further investigation, the subject was again taken up, and the results, in part at least, are submitted to the reader. No pretense of exhausting it, however, is made. Our efforts in this direction may, perhaps, have the effect of inducing some more competent writer to show us fully to what a great extent the Book of Mormon is idiomatically, Hebraic, and how largely it conforms in all respects to Jewish literary characteristics. Some of the points which shall be considered in the following pages are sustained by copious quotations, or numerous references, or by both; but we trust the reader will not lose patience on that account. The subject sought in submitting passages and references freely is to manifest beyond reasonable doubt that these Hebraic expressions and constructions have not been written into the text, in a sort of haphazard manner, by an impostor, whose purpose was to deceive the public; and to show, moreover, that they occur in general with a frequency and a consistency which can be attributed fairly to authors only who used the Hebrew as their native language.

  Some of the Hebraisms, on the other hand, can be illustrated by but few examples; but even in this case the enemies of the Book of Mormon are welcome to all the benefit to their cause which they are able to derive from that fact; for if only a few of these Hebraisms and practices can be placed on a satisfactory standing as originating with people to whom they were native and familiar,—used apparently because they could not avoid using them according to the genius of their language—it is not material that some one may attempt to show that an occasional one might occur in the book by the design of an impostor. If some of these points rest on a foundation which is not rationally assailable, they all do as a logical consequence. And, moreover, we should remember that the Bible may be searched from beginning to end without finding more than a few examples which illustrate some certain idioms of the Hebrew; and one peculiar expression, we risk in saying, occurs in a single instance only. Translated into understandable English it reads, "when shall it once be?" but literally, "after when yet?" (Jer. 13:27).

  In order that what is now to be said, and what we have heretofore said pertaining to our general subject, may be presented to the reader in one view, brief illustrations of some Hebraisms, considered in Vol. XIII, will be submitted again in connection with others of the same, or like nature, as opportune occasion arises.

  Coming now to the work more particularly in hand, it is observed, first, that the Hebrew frequently uses nouns in the plural where the English idiom requires the singular form. The respective idioms thus oppose each other in a marked degree. Some plurals of this character occur in the Hebrew of the Bible as follows:

  bloods, Gen. 4:10and often elsewhere.

  sojournings, Gen. 17:8; 28:4; 37:1.

  wraths, Job 21:30.

  salvations, Ps. 28:8; 53:6. Isa. 33:6.

  revenges, Ps. 94:1.

  wisdoms, Prov. 1:20.

  the goings out of lives, (the issues of life.) Prov. 4:23.

  Without citing references, in order to economize space, other Hebrew plurals belonging to the same class, are subjoined, viz.: creators, desolations, stammerings, righteousnesses, understandings, deaths, meltings, prosperities, bitternesses, drosses, wastes, choices, etc.

  Some of these words occur as English plurals also, but we do not use them in that form where our idiom takes the singular; for instance, we say, "the people of his choice," not "the people of his choices," Dan. 11:15.

  Some plurals employed instead of the singular, selected from quite a number that occur in the Book of Mormon, now follow; and where it can be done without quoting at length in order to give the sense, a few words from the context where the respective examples are found, will be added in several cases:

  "there shall be bloodsheds." II Nep. 1:12.

  "the gifts and callings of God." Moro. 3:4.

  "and his great condescensions to * * men." Jac. 4:7.

  "because of the destructions of my people." I Nep. 15:5.

  "and great slaughters with the sword." I Nep. 12:2.

  With references only, we have:

  *envyings, II Nep. 26:21; *plunderings, Al. 37:21; *priestcrafts, II Nep. 10:5; *rebellions, Al. 61:14; understandings, Mos. 8:20; witchcrafts, III Nep. 21:16; *deceivings, III Nep. 21:19; magics, Morm. 1:19and murderings, Al. 50:21. Those marked thus * occur more than once. This list might easily be lengthened, but the number of examples before us suffice the purpose. A consistency connected with the use of these plural forms in the Book of Mormon should be noticed. Learned Hebraists inform us that plurals instead of the singular are sometimes employed in Hebrew writings to express an intensive sense of the idea or thing so pluralized. Thus "wisdoms" in Prov. 1:20should be taken to mean "excellent wisdom," or "wisdom exceeding great," to borrow a term from the Book of Mormon. Observing this invested, intensive meaning which sometimes pertains to this usage of the plural, we find that the Book of Mormon writers have employed them from the native Jewish standpoint. The context shows that in a large percentage of examples an intensive, qualifying word should be supplied, as, "fearful bloodshed," "shocking or atrocious murder," "astonishing condescension" of God, "widespread priestcraft," "awful destruction," etc., etc., and if anything is yet lacking to confirm the correctness of these statements, the associated history of the people to whom these plurals were addressed or applied, does it effectually—sets a broad seal of consistency upon their use which can not be broken.

  Readily suggested by the foregoing remarks is the Hebraic practice, not invariable, of course, of using a term in the singular for one in the plural. Examples of the character illustrate but one phase of the principles of enallage which was considered more generally than is now necessary, in Vol. XIII; but by way of contrast with the use of the plural for the singular as just reviewed, a few examples showing the use of the singular where our idiom requires the plural, are herewith supplied:

  "Now these are the commandments which the Lord you God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it. That thou mightest fear the Lord thy God, to keep all his statutes * * * which I command thee, thou and thy son, and thy son's son, all the days of thy life, and that thy days may be prolonged." (Deut. 6:1, 2; see also verses 16-19; Ex. 23:9, 31; Num. 28:3, 4etc.)

  The following passages from the Book of Mormon manifest that in this respect also the principle of enallage was familiar to and used by the Nephite writers:

  "And now, they said, we know of a surety that the Lord is with thee, for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has shaken us. And they fell down before me, and were about to worship me, but I would not suffer them, saying, I am thy brother, yea, even thy younger brother." (I Nep. 17:55.)

  Another example:

  "For the Lord had not hitherto suffered that we should make much fire, as we journeyed in the wilderness; for he said, I will make thy food become sweet, that ye cook it not." (I Nep. 17:12.)

  In all these illustrations—Biblical and Book of Mormon—the unwarranted substitution of the singular for the plural, according to English standards, is very noticeable. No composition in our language which observes its idioms can ever be characterized by peculiarities of this nature.


Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon




  2. Concerning the Use of the Hebrew Conjunction for "and".

  "The Hebrew sedulously avoids all involution of sentences. Consequently, instead of linking its clauses together into a complex whole by conjunctions of various power expressing their precise relation of dependence and subordination, it prefers, where this is possible, to connect them together by means of the simple conjunction and, leaving the exact nature of the connection intended to be inferred from the meanings of the clauses themselves. The conjunction may accordingly be employed not only where we would use and, but before an adversative clause."—Green's Heb. Gram., par. 287. ("Adversative" is italicised by the writer.)

  Following these statements, the professor cites an example from Gen. 2:16, 17,—"of every tree thou mayest eat, but of the tree of the knowledge," etc.

  If, now, we substitute "and" instead of "but" in this passage, the meaning of what has just been said respecting the use of and to connect an adversative clause, will become apparent to our youngest readers. The two clauses will then seem joined together in an unusual, or strange, manner. Let us read them in full thus: "Of every tree of the garden, thou mayest freely eat; and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it." The connecting of clauses in this manner by a word which expresses the relation of addition where that of subtraction or of opposition is involved, is something wholly foreign to English modes of thought or form of expression. It may be denominated a Hebraism of the first water. This double-duty service which the ancient Jews required of their conjunction for and accounts in some measure for the frequent occurrence of this word in the Bible. We are all sufficiently familiar with the text of that book to make it unnecessary to quote any passages to recall to mind the fact that it occurs and recurs in some portions of it with great frequency. Readers of the Book of Mormon have all doubtless observed that it, also, is characterized in the same manner. Its great plainness depends largely upon the abundant use which was made of this familiar connective. This latter statement is based on a superficial view of the matter, however, since it does not point out the real reason why the Book of Mormon is plain and, in general, easily understood; and so it is supplemented by another which does hit the mark, namely: that the writers of the Nephite records, as they came from first hands, compelled by the characteristics of Jewish minds to eschew the involution of sentences and intricate forms for the expression of their thoughts, found themselves bound to the necessity of having frequent resort to the use of their conjunction for and, and so we find their writings abounding with it, plainness and simplicity naturally a resultant. These observations relating to what Prof. Greene states in the first portion of the foregoing quotation from his grammar, seemed to fall into place here quite conveniently, and we shall now resume remarks which are more closely connected with the matter in hand where this digression occurred.

  We have seen that the Biblical writers sometimes employed the conjunction and to connect adversative clauses—a very marked transgression against English usage—nevertheless, the English Book of Mormon is chargeable with the same want of conformity to our idiom, and the fault, if such it be, is often repeated. One example is found in I Nep. 16:2where it is written: "I said unto them, that I knew I had spoken hard things against the wicked; and [but] the righteous have I justified." Others occur as follows: "And he raiseth up a righteous nation, and [but] destroyeth the nations of the wicked. And he leadeth away the righteous into precious lands; and [but] the wicked he destroyeth."—I Nep. 17:37, 38. "Behold, here are our weapons of war; we will deliver them up unto you, and [but] we will not suffer ourselves to take an oath, * * which * * we shall break."—Al. 44:8. "And the law is given unto men. And [but] by the law no flesh is justified."—II Nep. 2:5. "Many shall be afflicted in the flesh, and [but] shall not be suffered to perish."—II Nep. 6:11. "There is nothing which is good, save it comes from the Lord, and [but] that which is evil cometh from the devil."—Om. 1:25. "* * For ye have said that ye teach the law of Moses. And [but] what know ye concerning the law of Moses?"—Mos. 12:31.

  For additional examples see II Nep. 2:7; 6:14; 9:25, 30; 28:28; 30:10; Jac. 5:18, 32, 65, 69, 77; 6:4; 7:7; Enos 1:22; Mos. 2:8, 13; 9:19; 18:34; 19:8, 21; I Nep. 17:48and often elsewhere.

  A few of the passages cited begin with "and," which should be "but," according to the English idiom, and, of course, the connection must be made with the preceding verse or verses.

  3. Concerning the Use of "and" for "or".

  Not only did the ancient Hebrews make frequent use of "and" for "but," but they also employed it sometimes where the sense requires the disjunctive "or." The failure to recognize this fact occasions difficulty in some cases in the interpretation of scripture, or gives a meaning which is contrary to the law of God or impossible according to natural principles. Thus, as violating the law of God against the offering of human sacrifices, the account given in the Bible concerning the vow made by Jephtha, and its fulfilment in the person of his own daughter, supplies a case in point; for many contend that the reading justifies the conclusion that she was slain as an offering to the Almighty. Destructive, however, of this horrible supposition, is Dr. Hale's exposition of the meaning of Jephtha's vow and the manner of its fulfilment. He says:

  "When Jepthah went forth to battle against the Ammonites, he vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, If thou wilt surely give the children of Ammon into my hand, then it shall be that whatsoever cometh out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall either be the Lord's, OR I will offer it up for a burnt offering."—(Jud. 11:30, 31.) According to this rendering of the two conjunctions vau, in the last clause 'either', 'or', (which is justified by the Hebrew idiom; thus, 'He that curseth his father and his mother,' (Ex. 21:17) is necessarily rendered disjunctively, 'His father or his mother,' by the Septuagint, Vulgate, Chaldee, and English, confirmed by Mat. 15:4the paucity of connecting particles in that language making it necessary that this conjunction should often be understood disjunctively, the vow consisted of two parts: (1) That what person soever met him should be the Lord's, or be dedicated to his service; and, (2) That what beast soever met him, if clean, should be offered up for a burnt offering unto the Lord."—(Clarke's Commentary,—Judg. 11:40.)

  The interpretation thus given to Jephtha's vow and the manner of its fulfilment, is perfectly consistent with the character of God, and with his law which made provision for the consecration of either men or women to his service. This harmony is effected by simply observing the use which the ancient Hebrews sometimes made of a copulative conjunction instead of one having a disjunctive meaning. Respecting the other example given by Dr. Hale's, the original, if understood according to the English meaning of "and", would require that the punishment (death) could not be inflicted on a culprit unless he should curse both his parents, while, we may be sure, the penalty would be incurred if either his father or his mother should be cursed by him.


  Instances in which "and" is used for "or" in the Book of Mormon are quite numerous; but only some of those which manifest most plainly a disjunctive sense shall be submitted. "Now they had sworn in their hearts that they would return to the land of Nephi, and if their wives and their children were slain, * * that they would seek revenge, and [or] also perish with them."—Mos. 19:19.

  Doubtless, since the love of life is strong in all human beings, these men swore only to seek revenge; for who can think that they would not have saved their own lives, if they could, after effecting the revenge they sought?

  "If they be good, to the resurrection of endless life and happiness, and [or] if they be evil to the resurrection of endless damnation."—Mos. 16:11.

  "But this much I tell you; what you do with me after this, shall be a type and [or] a shadow of things which are to come."—Mos. 13:10.

  "Wo unto them that turn aside the just for a thing of naught, and [or] revile against that which is good, and say that it is of no worth."—II Nep. 28:16.

  What they thus say is not at all applicable to the first clause, and so a disjunctive should separate the second one from it. "But Alma, with his guards, contended with the guards of the king of the Lamanites, until he slew, and [or] drove them back."—(Al. 2:33.) To drive the slain back is not possible; but by interpreting "and" in the sense of "or", according to the Hebrew idiom, this text presents no difficulty. "And again I ask, were the bands of death broken, and [or] the chains of hell, * * were they loosed? I say unto you, yea, they were loosed, and their souls did expand."—(Al. 5:9.) The answer here given can refer only to the loosing of the chains of hell, and the disjunctive "or" is the proper English connection.

  "They durst not lay their hands on Aaron and [or] his brethren."—Al. 22:20.

  "Moroni being in the course of the march, therefore Jacob was determined to slay them, and [or] cut his way through to the city of Mulek."—Al. 52:34.

  "And he denieth none that come unto him, black and [or] white, bond and [or] free, male and [or] female."—II Nep. 26:33. "None" in this text has its usual signification of "no one" and unless the Hebrew idiom being illustrated is made to apply in this case, the meaning of the passage is that God will deny no one, let him or her be black and white, bond and free, or male and female. There are creatures who make texts like the one just passed upon—texts that are not constructed according to our idiom—subjects for ridicule, and, by holding them forth to the derision of the unthinking masses, bring contempt in some degree upon the Book of Mormon, though what is thus often ridiculed through ignorance is simply a testimony, or testimonies, that that book was written by Hebrews.

  The conjunction "and" is also made to do service instead of "for" in II Nep. 25:29. "And now, behold. I say unto you, that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not, and [for] Christ is the holy one of Israel." So also for "while," as, "And those men again stood to scatter their flocks; but Ammon said unto his brethren, encircle the flocks round about that they flee not; and [while] I go and contend with these men."—Alma 17:33. The writer has at hand no Biblical references showing a corresponding use of "and" for "while" and "for," but these examples serve to illustrate the Hebraic practice—often repeated—of uniting propositions together by "and" instead of some more appropriate connective.

  4. Concerning the Use of "and" for "when".

  The Hebrew conjunction for "and" may also be used before a clause expressing a co-existing act or condition, as, "Noah was six hundred years old, and [i. e. when] the flood was upon the earth."—Gen. 7 :6.—Heb. Gram., par. 287 :1.


  "And it came to pass that they were about to return to the land of Nephi, and [when] they met the men of Gideon."—Mos. 19:22.

  "And Gideon pursued after him, and was about to get upon the tower to slay the king, and [when] the king cast his eyes round about towards the land of Shemlon."—Mos. 19:6.

  "And it came to pass that a long time had passed away, and [when] the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant."—Jacob 5:29.

  Nothing further shall at present be remarked concerning the uses which the Book of Mormon makes of the conjunction "and." Sufficient, and more, has already been brought forth to manifest that in this respect that book is far more Hebraic than English. It employs this conjunction in various constructions which the idiom of our language does not provide for, or directly antagonizes.


Hebrew Idioms and Analogies in the Book of Mormon




 5. The Severance of Associated Ideas.

  No attempt will be made to explain what is meant by the "severance of associated ideas," since the examples which follow manifest the meaning clearly. The first one is taken from Gen. 6:1, 2reading thus, "And it came to pass * * * that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were fair." This passage unadorned with a Hebraism would read in plain English, "* * the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair,"—the daughters of men and their fairness being comprehended in one view,—while it almost appears from the Hebraic coloring of the text as if those men first saw the daughters spoken of, and after that, by a second effort, they discovered that they were fair. At any rate, if such was not their mode of perceiving and thinking, the form for expressing the ideas contained in the text, is peculiar. Another: "And, behold, the Lord stood above it and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham; the land wherein thou liest, to thee will I give it," Gen. 28:13; or, according to the English form of expression, "I will give thee the land whereon thou liest." "Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire, your land, strangers devour it."—Isa. 1:7. "The bed whither thou art gone up; thou shalt not come down from it."—II Kings 1:6.

  Compare with these Hebraic constructions the following examples of a like character taken from the Book of Mormon: "And I beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people."—I Nephi 11:32. "I saw the multitudes of the earth, that they were gathered together."—I Nephi 11:34. "And I saw the earth and the rocks, that they rent."—I Nephi 12:4. In this same verse, the next one, and in verse 20, several other illustrations are found. "And I saw the devil, that he was the foundation of it."—I Nephi 13:6. "And I beheld the Spirit of God, that it came down, and wrought upon the man."—I Nephi 13:12. See also verses 13, 14, 15, 38, and I Nephi 8:7; 14:14; 16:28. These examples by no means include all that occur in the Book of Mormon.

  Before submitting illustrations of other Hebraisms, let us pause briefly to fix our attention upon the peculiar constructions observed in the passages just quoted from the Bible and the Book of Mormon, respectively. Notice how the different propositions or ideas are made, as far as possible, to stand alone—separate and distinct from their fellows even though closely related. To conceive of ideas or to express them in this manner, betokens a mentality which is not common to humanity. The strangeness of the whole thing is remarkable, and we find ourselves obliged to account for it by referring its existence to some peculiarity of the mental faculties or activities of a people by whom the involution of sentences in the expression of thought was "sedulously" avoided—perhaps repugnant and doubtless impossible with the paucity of connectives which the Hebrew supplied.

  Trained thus for generation after generation in certain peculiar modes of thinking, the mind becomes a kind of mold, and in general the conceptions which pass through it take on something of the form in which they are cast, and so the Nephite, as a Jew, was bound to disclose his racial identity by signs and marks which no English Gentile bears. When almost every page, indeed, we might, without much exaggeration, say, when almost every verse of the Book of Mormon proclaims its Jewish origin in one way or another—by the abounding use made of the simple conjunction and, by the frequent use of and for but or for or, by the use of this connective to express a co-existing act or condition; i. e., and for when, by the lack of any greatly involved sentences, by the operations of that strange Hebraism which, as it were, tears associated conceptions to pieces and shows us the parts separately—when, we repeat, such features mark that book, some of them found in it from the first chapter to the last one, how puerile it is for any person to claim that they were put there by an alleged impostor, let him be either the unschooled Joseph Smith or the better educated Sidney Rigdon.

  6. The Hebrew Equivalent for "To Signify" or "To Denote."

  In the Hebrew and Chaldee languages, as used in the originals of the Old Testament, there is no term which expresses, "to signify," or, "to denote," and in a number of instances, where necessary, the writers of the Bible have used a figure to express the sense of these words, and say that the figure employed is that which it stands for or represents, as. "The seven * * * kine are [represent] seven years."—Gen. 41:26, 27. In later years Daniel wrote. "The ten horns are [signify] ten kings."—Dan. 7:24. When the Savior explained to his disciples the parable of the man who sowed good seed in his field, he made use of this Hebraism a number of times. See Matt. 13:38, 39. St. John, in his book of Revelation, follows an identical form of expression, as, "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven candlesticks * * * are the seven churches."—Rev. 1:20.

  Turning, now, to the Book of Mormon for illustrations of this Hebrew idiom, we find one occurs in I Nephi 11:25as follows: "I beheld that the rod of iron which my father had seen, was [represented] the word of God;" and in chapter 15:24in the course of an explanation to his brothers of the meaning of the "rod of iron," Nephi again states that it was the word of God. Again: "Behold the fountain of filthy water which thy father saw; yea, even the river of which he spake; and the depths thereof are [represented] the depths of hell." "And the mists of darkness are [signify] the temptations of the devil. * * * And the large and spacious building which thy father saw is [typifies] vain imaginations."—I Nephi 12:16, 17, 18; see also chap. 11:36. And again: "Knowest thou the meaning of the tree which thy father saw? And I answered him, saying, Yea, it is [represents] the love of God."—I Nephi 11:21, 22.

  7. Concerning Verbs in the Infinitive.

  We have already observed that the Hebrew uses a plural noun, in some instances, where we employ a singular; and that another peculiar idiom of that language occurs where the singular is employed instead of the plural, according to English usage,—practices respecting nouns and pronouns which involve a double contrariety. Now, we find that by discovering the use of the infinitive form of the verb at times, on the one hand, and by making use of the infinitive on the other, in some constructions where we do not, the Hebrew contrasts with the English in the relation of another double contrariety.

  To illustrate these different idioms in connection with one another, which should be done in order that the reader may readily perceive the difference between the Hebrew and the English, we shall have to review some points treated on heretofore. Omitting the quotation from Green's Hebrew Grammar, (See the ERA, Vol. XIII, p. 117), which relates to the co-ordination of verbs, a few illustrations of this Hebraism shall be submitted as follows:

  "How can I endure and see" (Est. 8:6), or "How can I endure to see."

  "I know not [how] I shall flatter" (Job 32:22), i. e., "I know not how to flatter."

  Corresponding Hebraisms found in the Book of Mormon read thus:

  "They also sought his life, that they might take it away" (I Nephi 1:20), for "They also sought to take away his life."

  "How is it that he can not instruct me, that I should build a ship?" (I Nephi 17:51); or, supplying the infinitive, "instruct me how to build a ship?"

  Examples of the same, or of a similar, character are quite numerous in the Book of Mormon, and, being readily found, no other passages are now quoted.

  It is worthy of note in this connection that the many illustrations in that book which show an infinitive discarded, disclose at the same time that peculiar trait of the Jewish mind which often severed closely associated ideas, and held them up to view as separate conceptions. How remarkably does the Book of Mormon manifest that it was written by Jews who "sedulously avoided" complexity in form of expression!

  So much, then, respecting the Hebraism which relates to the non-use of the infinitive where we employ it. What follows under this number shows the Hebraic use of the infinitive in cases where the English idiom requires us to discard it, and to resort to some other construction to express the same thought: Thus, first citing illustrations from the Bible, "created and made," (Gen. 2:3) reads literally, "created to make." Again, the Hebrew of Deut. 6:3according to Dr. Adam Clarke is, "Ye shall hear, O Israel, and thou shalt keep to do (them),"—the reference being to the commandments of God. "Ye shall hear, O Israel, and shall keep them," is all that is necessary in English to express these commands. "Keep to do" is not an Anglicism, "And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder," etc., (II Chron. 34:7). This reading is proper from an English point of view; but if the Hebrew be followed, and we say "beaten the * * * images to make powder," the construction will strike us as quite strange. "And threw down the high places and the altars * * * until they had utterly destroyed them all," (II Chron. 31:1)—until "to make an end" is the Hebrew phraseology here. The commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy," (Ex. 20:8) is an example of the Hebraic use of an infinitive contrary to the English idiom; but so familiar have we become with this passage that we usually fail to notice any peculiarity in its structure, yet this feature will be observed at once if we change an expression of frequent use among ourselves into an identical form. Thus, for instance, a teacher does not enjoin his pupuils to remember to keep the rules of the school, but to remember them and keep them.

  Book of Mormon Examples: "And had led them out of the land of Jerusalem, to leave the land of their inheritance," (I Nephi 2:11). "Led them to leave" is not English form, and a participial construction is suggested, as, "leaving" or "forsaking at once the land of their inheritance, and their gold." "And whose was found to commit iniquity"—Moro. 6:7. "Yea, and I beheld that the fruit was white to exceed all the whiteness that I had ever seen."—I Nep. 8:11. We would recast this passage about as follows: "the fruit was whiter than anything I had ever before seen." "And I desire that ye should remember to observe the statutes * * * of the Lord."—II Nep. 1:16. "And we did observe to keep the judgments."—II Nep. 5:10* * * "Ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are;" (Mos. 2:34) "and should render" harmonizes better with our idiom. "Have ye taught this people that they should observe to do?" Mos. 13:25. "He doth remember all my commandments to execute them."—Alma 18:10. "But ye do always remember your riches, not to thank God for them."—Hela. 13:22. See also Alma 49:14; 57:21; 58:40; Hela. 3:20; Moro. 7:30.

To be Continued in PART 2