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What were the chances that “Aha” was in use long before Lehi’s day?

It is one thing for Joseph Smith to use Hebrew names in the Book of Mormon that were known to some in Joseph’s day, but quite another to use Hebrew names that were completely unknown in Joseph’s day. 

Journal of Book of Mormon Studies gives an example:

In the May/June 1999 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, P. Kyle McCarter Jr. of Johns Hopkins University reports significant new analyses of three artifacts from ancient Israel. On two points the findings intersect with the Book of Mormon. 

The objects are bronze arrowheads on which Hebrew inscriptions have been engraved. They come from the eleventh century B.C., a time for which hardly any other instances of Hebrew writing are known. The total number of such arrow points is now near 50, so considerable new light on the history of the Hebrew script is being revealed by examining them. 

The information of special interest to students of the Book of Mormon concerns metallurgy and a name inscribed on one of the points. Using a high-magnification microscope, Dr. R. Thomas Chase of the Freer Gallery of Art, a division of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington and an authority on ancient bronzes, examined the newest set of points to be located and discovered that on one “the inscription had been incised with a steel [emphasized in the original] engraving tool.” This demonstrates that steel was in use by about 1000 BC. The Book of Mormon of course refers to the sword of Laban, who lived four centuries later; that sword was of “the most precious steel” (1 Nephi 4:9). Some have questioned whether steel was known as early as 600 BC. but clearly the new data show that that metal was in use centuries earlier. 

One of the points examined by Thomas and McCarter bears an inscription that translates as “The arrowhead of ‘Aha’ son of ‘Ashtart.'” The name Aha is apparently the same as that borne by a man mentioned in the Book of Mormon. Alma 16:5 says that Zoram, the chief captain over the armies of the Nephites at that time, “had two sons, Lehi and Aha.” Formerly the personal name Aha had not been known from the Bible or other Hebrew-language sources, but this new information documents that the name was in use long before Lehi’s day. 

– Author unknown, “Out of the Dust: Bronze Arrowheads and the Name Aha,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 8:2 (1999).

Where would Joseph have gotten the name Aha from if it was only discovered as a Hebrew name recently?


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