There are 10 thoughts on ““Possess the Land in Peace”: Zeniff’s Ironic Wordplay on Shilom”.

  1. We named our second son Shilom and I enjoyed this as I also found these concepts when studying in Mosiah and Alma 23. I wonder sometimes if Shilom was a person since lands were named after people as well. It’ll be neat to know one day and meet that person if they exist. Any thoughts on Zerin from the Book of Ether as it is also the name of a place albeit a mountain….and the name of our first son.

  2. I wonder how much Nephite language changed over the course of their history? How much language did they absorb from their neighbors into their own speaking and writing?

    • It undoubtedly changed with time as all languages do. However, Moroni, writing hundreds of years later, reports that the Nephites were still using a form of Hebrew (Mormon 9:33). I think it is also significant that Alma the Younger, in his preaching at Ammonihah, clearly employs wordplay on Melchizedek in terms of m-l-k (“king”/”reign,” Alma 13:17-18) and z-d-q (“righteousness,” vs. wickedness, etc., Alma 13:10, 17) and Salem in terms of š-l-m (“peace,” Alma 13:18), without offering interpretive glossing formulas for the names (e.g., “which is by interpretation). A Hebrew-speaking/literate people would not need them. In other words, he is addressing a Nephite audience and clearly assumes that they know the Hebrew meaning of the names Melchizedek and Salem (Shalem). This takes place several generations after Zeniff’s time.

  3. Matt, as always, interesting observation and article. Another great evidence of Hebrew wordplay in the Book of Mormon.

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