AARON

From Book of Mormon Onomasticon
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Jaredite PN 1. Jaredite son/descendant of HETH, who dwelt in captivity (Ether 1:15, 10:31)
Lehite PN 2. Nephite son of MOSIAH II in 1st century B.C. (Mosiah 27:8–10, 32–37, 28:1–9, Alma 17:1–3, 35:14)
3. Lamanite king in 4th century A.D. (Mormon 2:9, 3:4, Moroni 9:17)
Lehite GN 4. City of, near AMMONIHAH, NEPHIHAH, and MORONI (Alma 8:13–14, 50:14)
Variants None

AARON is identical to the KJV PN = Hebrew ʾahărōn (Numbers 8:2–26, Deuteronomy 32:50, Micah 6:4) = LXX Greek aarōn. However, none of the Book of Mormon uses refer to Moses’ brother. The etymology of biblical AARON remains obscure, with several suggestions having been made, none of which have proven to be widely acceptable. A few of these suggestions follow:

According to Ran Zadok, aside from the -ōn termination typical of name-formation,[1] the Hebrew etymology is based on ʾhr, which is to *ʾār (from root ʾWR or ʾYR “give light”)[2] as -rhm (of ʾAbrāhām) is to rām, thus possibly meaning something like “Light-giver.”

Apparently basing their etymology on the Arabic PN Harun “Aaron,” Reynolds & Sjodahl offer “A Mountain of Strength” from Arabic harûn “mountainous,”[3] as in Harun al-Rašid. A Hebrew folk-etymology with the same meaning may also have existed, but we have no evidence of it.

Koehler & Baumgartner cited Ignaz Hösl’s suggestion that it derived from Egyptian ʿЗ-rn “Great-is-the-name (of God, or of Pharaoh),”[4] but William F. Albright doubted it could be shown to be Egyptian,[5] and John Gee argues that such a correspondence is impossible since (1) there is no ʿ to З shift in Egyptian until Ptolemaic times, and (2) Coptic ran, “name,” has a short -a- vowel. Moreover, the -h- in ʾahărōn is absent from the crucial portion of the Egyptian examples such as ʿЗ-Ḥr “Horus-is-great” (= Phoenician ʿḥr), Ḥr-ʿЗ, ʿImn-ʿЗ, Mwt-ʿЗ, Зst-tЗ-ʿЗ, Зs(t)-ʿЗ(t) [= Phoenician ʾsʿʾ], Ptḥ-ʿЗ,[6] etc.

Another very unlikely possibility adds a prothetic -a-, to a problematic instance of Aramaic Ḥrwn on a 26th Dynasty Serapeum grave stele as a transliteration of Egyptian Ḥr-wn “Horus-exists,”[7] which improperly suggests that -h- might derive from -ḥ-.

See PAHORON/PAHORAN, PHARAOH.

See also Comnor / Comron Variant

RFS

Notes

  1. Zadok, Ran. The Pre-Hellenistic Israelite Anthroponymy and Prosopography, OLA 28. Louvain: Peeters, 1988.
  2. Same?
  3. Reynolds, George, and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 7 vols., P. C. Reynolds, ed. SLC: Deseret Book, 1955-1961.
  4. Koehler, Ludwig, and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 5 vols., revised by W. Baumgartner & Johann J. Stamm. Leiden: Brill, 1994.
  5. Albright, William F., Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: A Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968. Pagination differs from London edition.
  6. Muchiki, Yoshiyuki. Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in North-West Semitic, SBL Dissertation Series 173, 15-16. Atlanta: Society for Biblical Literature, 1999.
  7. Muchiki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords, 83, citing Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqâra, 190.

Bibliography

  • Albright, William F., Yahweh and the Gods of Canaan: A Historical Analysis of Two Contrasting Faiths. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1968. Pagination differs from London edition. YGC
  • Hösl, Ignaz. “Zur orientalistischen Namenskunde: Maria–Moses–Aaron: Eine philologische Studie,” in Serta Monacensia für F. Babinger, 80–85. Leiden: Brill, 1952.
  • Koehler, Ludwig, and Walter Baumgartner, The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, 5 vols., revised by W. Baumgartner & Johann J. Stamm. Leiden: Brill, 1994. HALOT
  • Muchiki, Yoshiyuki. Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in North-West Semitic, SBL Dissertation Series 173. Atlanta: SBL, 1999.
  • Reynolds, George, and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, 7 vols., P. C. Reynolds, ed. SLC: Deseret Book, 1955-1961. CBM
  • Segal, J. B. The Aramaic Texts from North Saqqâra with Some Fragments in Phoenician. London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1983.
  • Tvedtnes, John A. “What’s in a Name? A Look at the Book of Mormon Onomasticon.” FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996):34–42.
  • Zadok, Ran. The Pre-Hellenistic Israelite Anthroponymy and Prosopography, OLA 28. Louvain: Peeters, 1988.