There are 13 thoughts on ““And There Wrestled a Man with Him” (Genesis 32:24): Enos’s Adaptations of the Onomastic Wordplay of Genesis”.

  1. Some online sources indicate that “Enos” means not just “man” but “mortal man” (or “frail” or “feeble”). I wonder if onomastic wordplay is also occurring in one of Enos’ closing sentences (second sentence of Enos 1: 27): “And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him”. This wording is awkward in English and would work better if “mortal” were replaced by “mortality” so as to better pair up with “immortality”. It is almost as though the sentence originally read something like this on the plates: “And I rejoice in the day when my Enos shall put on not-Enos, and shall stand before him.” Could this be?

    • I should have mentioned that Mosiah 16: 10 both mirrors and perpetuates this awkward wording: “Even this mortal shall put on immortality, and this corruption shall put on incorruption, and shall be brought to stand before the bar of God, to be judged of him according to their works whether they be good or whether they be evil”. It seems that Abinadi is harking back to Enos 1: 27, even preserving the awkward pairing of “mortal” and “immortality”. Again, I wonder if there wasn’t something particularly memorable about this phraseology, namely an onomastic wordplay.

    • Hi Mark,

      Just saw your comment. Yes, I have long wondered about “mortal” (cf. ʾānaš = sick, weak) as an additional play Enos in Enos 1:27, as you have suggested. There appears to be some additional support for that very idea in the language of Enos 1:1-2 with the pairing of man-God (“knowing my father that he was a just man”/”blessed be the name of my God for it”;”the wrestle which I had before God”). The ʾĕlōhîm were beings who belonged to the divine realm vis-à-vis those in the mortal realm (cf., e.g., 1 Samuel 28:13, “I saw gods ascending out of the earth [spirit world].” Enos’s writings begin with him “wrestling before God” and conclude with him becoming like God and seeing his face with pleasure. I might just have to revisit this in print sometime soon. 🙂 Great comment!

  2. Brother Bowen,
    I read this and have shared it to my visiting teaching discussion, I am very impressed of how much you can connect each names with their meanings. I feel grateful that I learned this from you and it benefits me and my gospel knowledge. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  3. Thank you for your great insight. I have never tried to understand the meanings of the wrestles of Jacob and Enos in the wordplay since I am not familiar with Hebrew language. It was good to view the familiar concepts with a new perspective. I especially liked you to summarize the wordplay used by Enos in a chart. Thanks for your great work again.

  4. Brother Bowen, I have read this and shared it with my cousin Brennan. I found this very interesting and this helped me understand what was going on in the story, whereas before, I was kind of confused. Thank you!

  5. I’ve read and shared it. I had trouble understanding a lot of it since I’m not familiar with the Hebrew language, but the explanations and translations were able to lessen my confusion.

  6. An especially nice job of setting out the more esoteric aspects, which only the initiated will fully appreciate.

    You are right to see the combined effects of both real and folk etymologies in the puns you examine in the Bible and extend to the Book of Mormon. Also, you are on solid ground in interpreting Jacob as “May He (God) Protect,” or “May-El-Protect-Him,”* and it is likely hypocoristic for Jacob-El, based on the Hyksos royal name Yaˁqub-hr / Yaˁqub-ˁr, which William Ward interprets as “May the Exalted One Protect.”**

    However, you might want to note how Stanley Walters interprets ʼîš tam (Genesis 25:7) as “a moral person”# (see your note 15 “plain man”), and you might rather parallel that with ʼîš ṣaddiq tamim “a just man and perfect” (Genesis 6:9).

    * David N. Freedman, “The Original Name of Jacob,” IEJ, 13 (1963):125-126; John Bright, A History of Israel, 3rd ed. (Westminster, 1981), 93.
    ** Ward in O. Tufnell, Scarabs and their Contribution to History in the Early Second Millennium B.C. (Warminster, 1984), 68, fig. 29; M. Noth IPN.
    # Walters in D. Freedman, ed., Anchor Bible Dictionary, III:607.

    • Bob, thank you for kind comments and insights! I certainly agree with Stanley Walters’ translation of ‘ish tom. In fact, I was thinking just Friday as this piece was going to publication that I could have and maybe should have done more to connect Enos’s description of his father Jacob as a “just man” and the description of Noah as a “just man and perfect” (Genesis 6:9; cf. footnote 3) with the description of biblical Jacob as an ‘ish tom (Genesis 25:27, see footnote 15). I also think that Enos had this very description of his ancestor Jacob in mind when he describes his own father similarly in Enos 1:1. Nephi’s description of his “goodly parents” (to which Enos also alludes) is broad enough to include not only Lehi and Sariah, but also his biblical ancestors (e.g., Joseph).

      It is also interesting that Enos’s name itself is in the antediluvian patriarch list and is tied to humanity’s beginning to call on the name of YHWH. Enos uses the term “rest” at least three times including his final remarks in Enos 1:27. I wonder whether Enos alludes to Noah both in his first and last words (a kind of inclusio). His words “blessed be the name [shem] of my God for it” might allude not only to Genesis 4:26 and to the blessing and new “names” in Genesis 32:26-30, but to Shem and YHWH the God of Shem (God of name/renown) in Genesis 9:26. It is fun to consider at any rate. Enos was certainly literate and knew the importance of records kept and records comprehended.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

All comments are moderated to ensure respectful discourse. It is assumed that it is possible to disagree agreeably and intelligently and comments that intend to increase overall understanding are particularly encouraged. Individual authors are given the option to disallow commenting or end commenting after a certain period at their discretion.

Close this window

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This