In The Cavity of a Rock

In The Cavity of a Rock
Father Lehi

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Egyptian Wordplay in the Book of Mormon

Many people are familiar with Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon, Bible and other texts(including Mayan codex and Hopi ceremonial dress).  These would include such examples as chiasmus which is a figure of speech in which in which two or more clauses are given and then repeated in reverse order.  Another  Hebraism is called polysyndeton which is the use of several conjunctions in close succession.  This was used in 3 Nephi 4:7 "and they were girded about after the manner of their loins and they were dyed in blood, and their heads were shorn, and they had headplates".  These are just a few examples of Hebraisms.  The Book of Mormon as a record we are told was written in reformed Egyptian which consisted of a mix of both Egyptian and Hebrew.  With the above examples of Hebrew in the Book of Mormon I have often wondered if there were any "Egyptianisms" in the Book of Mormon? 

I read an article a few years ago that spoke of one Egyptianism that takes place in 1 Nephi 15:23-24 (part of verse 24).  Unfortunately I do not recall the author or the title of the article only that it impressed me enough that I took the time to write it in the margin in my scriptures next to 1 Nephi 15:23-24 which states:

"And they said unto me: What meaneth the rod of iron which our father saw, that led to the tree?

And I said unto them that it was the word of God: and whoso would hearken unto the word of God, and would hold fast unto it, they would never perish;"

In Egyptian "mdwr ntr" is "Gods words" and is translated into English as hieroglyphics.  In Egyptian "mdw" is also "staff" or "rod".  This is an Egyptianism word play on word meanings. Thus in Egyptian word meanings and word play "word of God" and "rod" or "staff" are directly correlated.  This would seem to have been something either done by Nephi in writing portions of the Book of Mormon or by the Lord himself in helping Nephi understand his fathers vision in which he saw the Tree of Life with the rod of iron which represented the word of God.  Either way it would have been something that Joseph Smith wouldn't have known when he translated the Book of Mormon in the early to mid 1800's and points once again to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.  If anyone can recall the article or founder of this Egyptianism or any others please feel free to comment and inform me so I can give credit where credit is due. 

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