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How did Joseph manage to include so many Hebrew (and other) wordplays in the Book of Mormon

A wordplay is “the witty exploitation of the meanings and ambiguities of words, especially in puns.” and is found throughout the Bible. For example as explained by Evidence Central:

In Hebrew, the name Noah was associated with “[divine] rest.”…the story of Noah in Genesis repeatedly connects the name nōaḥ with the word nwḥ (to “rest”) and the similar word nḥm (to “regret” or “be sorry”; “console oneself,” or “comfort” someone). Genesis 5:29, for example, states, “And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us.” Genesis 6:6 similarly states that “it repented the Lord that he had made” humanity. Similarly, “the ark rested” when it finally landed (Genesis 8:4) and the dove that Noah sent to look for land “found no rest” (v. 9).

– Book of Mormon Central – How Does The Book of Mormon Use a Hebrew Pun on King Noah’s Name?

The reason why wordplays are significant if found in the Book of Mormon is because they are not obvious in English. Daniel C. Peterson explains:

Matt Bowen, who has a degree in Hebrew Bible from Catholic University in Washington D.C., has found similar wordplays going on in the Book of Mormon, with the names in the Book of Mormon. And that, from my point of view is extraordinarily interesting and significant because it suggests that the Book of Mormon was not written in English because the wordplays disappear in English. They don’t work, but they work if you understand what the underlying Hebrew was likely to have been based on the meaning of the name.

Daniel C. Peterson – Apologetics: What, Why and How?

How would Joseph Smith have managed to include so many Hebrew wordplays into the Book of Mormon if he did not know Hebrew?


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