Question: What is known about the name "Sam" in the Book of Mormon?


Question: What is known about the name "Sam" in the Book of Mormon?

"the name Samuel, which appears in the English Bible, is from the Hebrew name (Å mû'el) comprised of two elements, Shem ('name') + El ('God')"

Gee, Roper, and Tvedtnes:

Sam, brother of Nephi, came to the New World with his father Lehi and family (see 1 Nephi 2:5; 2 Nephi 5:6; Alma 3:6). Critics have suggested that Joseph Smith simply used the common English diminutive of Samuel. What these critics failed to realize is that the name Samuel, which appears in the English Bible, is from the Hebrew name (Å mû'el) comprised of two elements, Shem ("name") + El ("God").

The name Sam is attested on a bronze ringmounted seal dated to the seventh century BC60 While others have read this name as Shem, in paleo- Hebrew there is no distinction in writing between s and š (the latter written sh in English). (It is the same letter used at the beginning of the name Sariah.) Various dialects of Hebrew pronounced this letter in different ways anciently. From the story in Judges 12:6, we find that some of the tribe of Joseph pronounced it s instead of š, reminding us that Lehi was a descendant of Joseph (see 1 Nephi 5:14).[1]

Hugh Nibley noted:

Himni, Korihor, Paanchi, Pakumeni, Sam, Zeezrom, Ham, Manti, Nephi, and Zenoch are all Egyptian hero names.9 Zeniff certainly suggests the name Zainab and its variants, popular among the desert people, of which the feminine form of Zenobia was borne by the most glamorous woman of ancient times next to Cleopatra and that other desert queen, the Queen of Sheba. Recently Beeston has identified Zoram in both its Hebrew and Arabic forms.10 In another old name list, the Tell Taannek list, the elements bin, zik, ra, and -andi are prominent, as in the Book of Mormon.11[2]


Notes

  1. John A. Tvedtnes, John Gee, Matthew Roper, "Book of Mormon Names Attested in Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions," Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 9/1 (2000): 40–51.. wiki
  2. Hugh W. Nibley, An Approach to the Book of Mormon, 3rd edition, (Vol. 6 of the Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1988), Chapter 22, references silently removed—consult original for citations.