|Jaredite GN||1.||Hill (Ether 9:3). Since this is in the record given by NEPHI, it is likely that he gives the NEPHITE, rather than the JAREDITE, name of the hill, hence making it the same as No. 2|
|Lehite GN||2.||Hill, 4th c. AD (Mormon 1:3; 4:23), probably the same as No. 1|
Until possible language affinities for JAREDITE names can be determined, all suggestions for etymologies of JAREDITE names must remain more speculative than substantive. With that caveat, the onomasticon does offer etymologies for some JAREDITE names, especially if it is possible that some JAREDITE names were translated into NEPHITE, or were otherwise related to one or more Semitic languages.
Since SHIM is given as a Nephite as well as a Jaredite GN, it is possible that the name is based on a Semitic/HEBREW and not a JAREDITE root. If Shim is from a Hebrew root, its most likely derivation is from the HEBREW šēm, “name, fame, renown, monument.” There are PNs using šēm, as an element (e.g., SHEM, the son of NOAH) (JH). A hill of “fame/monument” would also make excellent sense in connection with an explanatory story that, unfortunately, is lacking. There may be a wordplay going on in Mormon 1:3, “a hill which shall be called SHIM; and there have I deposited [the plates]” (Nibley), similar to the word play in Deuteronomy 12:5, lāśūm ʾet šemō šām “to put his name there” (PYH).
It is rather less likely that the Sumerian šem/šim, “perfume, aroma, gum, fragrant plant resin, salve, ointment, spices,” also “to be happy, joyous; rejoice, exult” has anything to do with SHIM. Similarly, the biblical PNs šimʾāh (1 Chronicles 8:32) and šimʾām (1 Chronicles 9:38) are somewhat less likely as the origin of SHIM. KJV Shimeah and Shimeam, respectively, are probably unconnected to the Book of Mormon SHIM, though neither can be ruled out.
Deseret Alphabet: 𐐟𐐆𐐣 (ʃɪm)
- W. F. Albright demands the meaning of “an (inscribed) monument” for šēm at Genesis 11:4, as part of the Great Tower/Ziggurat/Mountain summit (YGC, p. 87, fnn. 122123). The same is evidently true for other biblical passages, such as Deuteronomy 12:5, 11; 14:23; 16:2, 6, 11; 26:2; Jeremiah 7:12; Nehemiah 1:9. In each of these, šēm appears with the HEBREW root skn which, from the evidence of cognate languages, means “stela” (e.g., Ugaritic skn, “stela”; Akkadian šiknu, “form, image”, always alternating with s͂almu, “likeness”). In the Midrash Rabbah, Genesis (Noach) XXXVII.8, we read of the passage “And let us make a name šēm” that “the School of R. Ishmail taught: SHEM (a name) means naught else but an idol” (Cf. Sanh. 109a) (JAT).