There are 6 thoughts on ““Swearing by Their Everlasting Maker”: Some Notes on Paanchi and Giddianhi”.

  1. Thank you for this article – fascinating writings as usual!
    I have a couple of thoughts that I think would fit well into your article.
    First, I think there is a strong correlation between the Savior’s commandments at the temple Bountiful, and Mormon’s motivation for utterly refusing to lead them any more. If we compare 3 Nephi 12:33-37 with Mormon 3:9-11,14-16 we see the correlation:

    3 Nephi 12:33-37
    And again it is written: Thou shalt not forswear thyself but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths. But verily verily I say unto you: Swear not at all, neither by heaven – for it is God’s throne – nor by the earth – for it is his footstool – neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair black or white. But let your communication be, yea yea, nay nay; for whatsoever cometh of more than these are evil.

    Mormon 3: 9-10, 14-15
    And now because of this great thing which my people the Nephites had done, they began to boast in their own strength and began to swear before the heavens that they would avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren who had been slain by their enemies. And they did swear by the heavens and also by the throne of God that they would go up to battle against their enemies and would cut them off from the face of the land… And when they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ that they would go up unto their enemies to battle and avenge themselves of the blood of their brethren, behold, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.

    I see several connections: swearing by the heavens, swearing by the throne of God, and Mormon’s rationale so plainly stated: “they had sworn by all that had been forbidden them by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”

    It seems that Mormon took the sermon on the mount very seriously. A violation of it by his people was justification for his determined action. (4 Nephi 1:27, Mormon references another violation the Savior’s commandments)

    You seem to indicate that the Savior’s commandments about oaths are part of the reason Mormon repented of his oath. While that may be the case, I think it’s more the opposite: the Savior’s commandments were the reason Mormon started, rather than ended, his “utter refusal”.

    My second though is related, and I hadn’t noticed it until reading your article, so thank you again. There seems also to be a strong correlation between the Savior’s commandments in 3 Nephi and the story of Jared and Akish and their oaths in Ether 8:13-15:

    And it came to pass that Akish gathered in unto the house of Jared all his kinsfolks and saith unto them: Will ye swear unto me that ye will be faithful unto me in the thing which I shall desire of you? And it came to pass that they all sware unto him by the God of heaven and also by the heavens and also by the earth and by their heads that whoso should vary from the assistance which Akish desired should lose his head; and whoso should divulge whatsoever thing Akish made known unto them, the same should lose his life. And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish.

    Notice that Moroni’s abridgment of this event includes even more connections to the Savior’s sermon at the temple: swearing by the heavens, swearing by the earth, and swearing by their heads. In that order. It seems clear that Moroni making a deliberate connection here. He wanted us to notice the violation of the Savior’s commandments as evidence of the Jaredites’ great wickedness. It seems Moroni was just as familiar with the sermon on the mount as his father was. Perhaps we should all be more familiar with it too, and take it just as seriously as they did.

    • Elliot, thank you for your insightful comment. I wholeheartedly agree! I briefly mentioned something to this effect on p. 169, but it could have been fleshed out a bit more. And you’re right: Mormon took the Sermon at the Temple very seriously and he made a point of showing that the Nephites were directly contravening Jesus’ commandment in 3 Nephi 12:33-37. He did this to show just how far they had degenerated from the conditions of righteousness that prevailed after this sermon was given.

      Also, I agree with you about Moroni. I think he’s using language that makes his audience recall 3 Nephi 12:33-37.

      Great thoughts! 🙂

  2. Another brilliant contribution! I look forward to your book (please!) reviewing all (so far) proposed wordplays in the Book of Mormon. Getting longer every month!

    I was intrigued by the link you made between infant mortality and Paanchi as “a form of the common Egyptian name p3 ʿnḫ, [which] most plausibly denotes ‘the living one’.” Interestingly, in Brian Stubbs’ work, Exploring the Explanatory Power of Semitic and Egyptian in Uto-Aztecan (Provo, UT: Grover Publications, 2015), one of his over 400 parallels between Uto-Aztecan and Egyptian is this, item #427 on p. 144, where he finds multiple UA languages sharing a word possibly related to ankh that refers to infants:

    427 Egyptian(F) ʕnx ‘to live, v, (living) person, n’:
    UACV-141 *onka / *oŋa ‘baby’: I.Num15 *oŋa(a)(’a) ‘baby, child, young (of animals)’; M88-’o15 ‘baby’; KH/M06-’o15: NP(Yerington) oha’a ‘baby’; NP(McDermitt) onka’a; NP oŋa’a ‘baby’ (Snapp, Anderson, Anderson 1982, 20); NP(B) oha’a; Mn ’owaa’ ‘sound of baby crying’; Mn owaa’-cci-cci’ / owaa’-nugu’ ‘baby’; TSh ohmaa(cci) ‘little baby’ (Dayley); Sh ohmaa ‘baby’; Sh pa’ohmaa ‘water baby’; WSh ohaa(cci) ‘baby’; WSh pa’ohaa ‘water baby’; Cm ohnáa’ ‘a baby’; SP oa-C/N ‘young of animals’; SP ïŋaa’- ‘baby’, SP paa-ïŋaa’-ppici ‘water baby’; Ch ïŋa’apici. A medial cluster *-nk- > -ŋ- in NP and SP further lenites elsewhere, Iannucci’s reconstruction *oŋa serving well. TSh and/or Sh have forms with and without -m-, so the -maa forms likely contain another morpheme, perhaps *mara ‘little’. [medial cluster w/hm/hn/ŋ/ø] [e1,e2,e3] [NUA: Num]

    Perhaps worried Egyptian parents weren’t the only ones who gave a hopeful name like Paanchi to their newborn babes. It would be interesting to see if in UA languages, an ancient “onka” root was also used in personal names.

    Also of potential interest is item 406, p. 142, where Egyptian b’ (ram, soul) shows the same pair of meanings in UA (bighorn sheep, all living creatures) in Proto-UA *pa’aC/ *pa’at (bighorn sheep) and *pa’a (living beings).

    • Thanks, Jeff! That book is coming, I promise. 🙂 I loved your blog today on this and your thoughts here. According to Hugh Nibley, Paanchi was one of the names that impressed William F. Albright. It is really hard to get away from that one as an Egyptian name, and it’s intriguing to consider a connection with UA *onka / *oŋa.

      Your connection made me think of Mormon’s words to Moroni in Moroni 8:12: “But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and a respecter to persons…” and in Moroni 8:22: ” For behold that all little children are alive in Christ, and also all they that are without the law. For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law.”

      This, I think, is especially relevant given the deteriorating circumstances in which Mormon wrote this letter: death was extremely prevalent and the dwindling remnant of Nephite faithful were apparently anxious to have their children baptized before they were killed.

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