RAMATH

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Biblical GN 1. A location in ancient ISRAEL (2 Nephi 20:29 = Isaiah 10:29)

Etymology

RAMATH is the name of a location in ancient ISRAEL but is not mentioned as a separate PN or GN in the book of Mormon.[1]

This spelling, RAMATH, occurs only once in the Book of Mormon, namely in the quote from Isaiah 10:29. The King James Bible text of Isaiah 10:29, however, has Ramah, meaning “height” in HEBREW.

Royal Skousen, ATV 2:759, makes a strong case that the Book of Mormon spelling in this ISAIAH passage, RAMATH, is a scribal error on Oliver Cowdery’s part for the King James ISAIAH spelling Ramah. He cites the proximity of Aiath in verse 28 and Hamath in verse 9 as being the analogical source for Cowdery’s error, along with the fact that Cowdery analogically misspells other King James biblical names in the ISAIAH passages of 2 Nephi 18-20.

Both JAT and RFS have suggested that the Book of Mormon spelling with –th (which represents the sound of an aspirated HEBREW taw, ﬨ) might be an archaic form of the feminine ending.[2] It is however unlikely that the HEBREW of LEHI’s day would have retained the anachronistic feminine ending –at(h). Nevertheless, there is a plausible scenario in which the archaic ending might have been preserved, namely, if the EGYPTIAN text (see Mosiah 1:4) of the ISAIAH portions of the Brass Plates had somehow represented a taw, and that taw was copied onto the small plates.

The Ramath of King James Joshua 19:8 is not related to the Ramah of Isaiah 10:29, and hence also not related to 2 Nephi 20:29, for two reasons: It is spelled with an aleph in HEBREW, râʾmat (the construct form); and, rather than being in the tribal territory of BENJAMIN (as in the ISAIAH passage), the Ramath in Joshua 19:8 is specifically designated as being in the Negev/South.

See also RAMAH.

See also Ramath Variants.

Variants

Deseret Alphabet: 𐐡𐐁𐐣𐐊𐐛 (reɪmʌθ)

Notes


  1. The Book of Mormon GN in the Book of Ether, Ramah, will be treated as a separate entry.
  2. In Semitic languages in general, what became the grammatical feminine forms ended originally in –at or –t. Those which ended in the latter retained the feminine marker –t. But those that ended in –at eventually dropped the phoneme /t/, leaving the /a/ vowel, which was indicated in HEBREW orthography with the vowel/consonant combination /-āh/. In biblical HEBREW the /t/ returns when any suffix is attached to the end of a /-āh/ feminine form.
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