ONIDAH

Lehite GN 1. Hill, ca. 75 BC (Alma 32:4)
2. For the name in Alma 47:5, Onidah, see Oneidah.

Etymology

If the derivation of the name of the hill in ZORAMITE territory (Alma 32:4) is identical to that of the LAMANITE place (Alma 47:5), then ideally, the etymology of ONIDAH would explain why the received text contains the gloss, “the place of arms,” in Alma 47:5. However, the possibility that the two GNs are etymologically unrelated cannot be ruled out. Nevertheless, the following comments assume no distinction.

The Semitic possibilities include ʿnd and *ʾnd or a compound of two elements. ʿnd, “to bind,” would mean in the feminine participle “binder,” though this seems an unlikely name for a hill.

Several elements may be considered when looking for a compound. Biblical ʾōn, “strength,” appears with the 1.c.s. possessive suffix, ʾōnī, “my strength,” in Genesis 49:3 and as a PN in Numbers 16:1. It is also possible that the biblical GN Ono, ʾōnō (1 Chronicles 8:12; Nehemiah 6:2; 11:35), probably identical to the Amarna and ASSYRIAN GN for a city in Palestine, ʾu-nu (see Albright, VESO, p. 35), derives from this root and would mean “his strength” (RFS). From the HEBREW root ydʿ, “to know,” the imperative 3m.s. is daʿ and a noun form ʿāh in Psalms 73:11 means “knowledge.” Though the syntax would be wrong for HEBREW, ONIDAH therefore could mean “know my strength.” Less likely is “assembly of strength” from ʾōn and HEBREW ʿēdāh, “assembly.” Both of these possibilities seem unusual for a GN. Equally questionable is a derivation from HEBREW ʿv̄n, “to dwell,” because the noun is unattested (JH). Much less likely is a derivation from HEBREW yad, “hand, arm” and in the extended sense “power, arms (=armament),” because the differences in vowels, which in yad are phonemic, would make it difficult to reconcile yad and -idah, as tempting as the translation “depository of arms” might be.

The EGYPTIAN GN iwnw (Greek Heliopolis) becomes in HEBREW ʾon (“On” in the KJV). While this is inviting, it leaves -idah without an interpretation (JH). Confer also EGYPTIAN iwnt, “bow, bowman” and iwntyw “tribesmen” (RFS). There is also wnt3, part of a canal name near the first cataract and wnt as a district name in the Budge, Book of the Dead, p. 975 (RFS).

Cf. Onitah in the Book of Abraham and its variant form Onitos in the Alphabet & Grammar (RFS).

Cf. Book of Mormon ONIHAH

See also Onidah / Oneidah Variants

Variants

Oneidah

Deseret Alphabet: 𐐄𐐤𐐌𐐔𐐂 (oʊnaɪdɑː)

Notes


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