|Lehite PN||1.||PN of a NEPHITE general (Mormon 6:14)|
The first issue to be handled before attempting an etymology for JONEUM is the spelling. The 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, which for Mormon 6:14 was typeset directly from O, has the spelling ‘Joneam.” When scribe 2 copied from O into P, he initially wrote “Jeneum.” But at a later time (he used heavier ink flow), “he corrected the first and second vowels. The challenge is that it is difficult to determine which vowels they were corrected to—or even whether there was a change!” In conclusion, Royal Skousen suggests, with “not a lot” of support, that this PN should read, JONEUM, even though the reading in O is uncertain.
Among the “not a lot” of evidence for preferring JONEUM over JENEUM (the original spelling in P) and JONEAM (the spelling in the 1830) is the fact that no other Book of Mormon name begins with jen- and that no other Book of Mormon name ends in –eam.
JONEUM also provides the best avenue for an etymology. In biblical PNs, the divine name yhwh when used as the theophoric element at the beginning of a name is often shortened to yo-, which is usually expressed in the King James Bible onomasticon as Jo-. For example, Joab, Joash, Jochebed, Joram, and Jozachar. The second element in JONEUM, -neum, could represent either HEBREW nĕʾum which is used often to mean “oracle” or “announcement” of God ; or it could represent HEBREW nʿm, which has the basic meaning “kindness, delight, charm,” etc. Thus JONEUM could mean either “Jehovah is (the) oracle,” or “Jehovah is kindness.”
Deseret Alphabet: 𐐖𐐃𐐤𐐀𐐊𐐣 (dʒɔniːʌm)