View the full PDF (420+ pages)View PDF

Why is there a wordplay on the name “Aminadab”?

Matthew L. Bowen explains the meaning of the name “Aminadab”:

Aminadab, Amminadab, or Amminadib, taken as a theophoric [i.e., divine] name—as names in the Ancient Near East commonly were—denotes “My kinsman is willing”—i.e., Yahweh as “my (divine) kinsman” [ʿammî] “is willing [nādāb].” However, Aminadab can also be taken as a non-theophoric name, meaning, “my (non-divine) kinsman is willing,” “my people are willing”/“noble,” or “my kin are willing”/“noble” (ʿammî “my people” + nādāb “willing”). …

Aminadab is one of a handful of nādāb names born by Israelites in the scriptures, including Abinadab (“my father is willing/generous”), Nadab (“willing,” “generous,” “noble”), and its longer form Nedabiah (“Yahweh is willing,” “Yahweh is generous,” “Yahweh is noble”)

Matthew L. Bowen – “My People Are Willing”: The Mention of Aminadab in the Narrative Context of Helaman 5-6

While Joseph Smith may have seen the name in the Bible, how would he know the meaning? Evidence Central summarizes a wordplay on this name in the Book of Mormon:

In various ways, the layers of meaning associated with the Hebrew name Aminadab (ʿammî: “people,” “kinsmen,” “divine kinsman”; nādāb: “willing,” “noble”), as found in the Bible, are present in the Book of Mormon. Aminadab himself was a noble and willing kinsman to Nephi and Lehi. Through his efforts, the Lamanites willingly became the Lord’s people. And the Lord—the divine kinsman—willingly accepted the Lamanites as His people, despite their former sins. Furthermore, just as the elements in the name Aminadab are directly associated with sacrificial offerings in the Bible, Jesus directly associated the Lamanite conversion story in the Book of Mormon with sacrificial offerings. Although the name Aminadab is found in the Bible, it seems improbable that Joseph Smith, who was unfamiliar with Hebrew etymologies in 1829, would have been able to draw out the name’s meaning and thematically weave it into the text.

Evidence Central – Book of Mormon Evidence: Aminadab Wordplay

How would Joseph Smith have been able to “draw out” the name’s meaning to create this wordplay?


Add a Question
Thank you for your submission