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Lehite PN 1. Military officer, son of ZORAM, ca. 81 BC (Alma 16:5)


The Lehite PN AHA is probably identical to the extra-biblical Hebrew PN אחא ʾḥʾ from the second half of the seventh century[1] (Tel Masos) and the late eighth century[2](Arad)(JAT). AHA would then be composed of the common Semitic noun ʾāḥ, "brother," and the hypocoristic ending[3] (abbreviated theophoric element) ā (often represented by the Semitic consonant א). This PN would then mean, "[God is a] brother" or "[God is a ] divine kinsman."[4] See also other HEBREW PNs containing ʾāḥ, e.g., Ahab, Ahiah, Ahimelech, etc. Further, see the Iron Age I name inscribed on an arrowhead, ʾḥʾ, found in Israel),[5] and compare Ugaritic aḫrm, aḫqm, aḫmlk;[6] “Canaanite” ʾḥyhw,[7] ʾḥnʿm;[8] Amorite a-ḫi-ia, a-ḫi-e-ba-al, a-ḫi-ì-lí, ar-ši-a-ḫu-um[9] and the Ebla PNs ar-šè-a-ḫa (14 v. I:7) and ì-lum-a-ḫa (43 v. IV:5).[10]

Other suggestions include EGYPTIAN noun ʿḥ3, “warrior,” name of the first EGYPTIAN pharaoh.[11]. This is perhaps an example of metonymy, since the ZORAMITES were very militant and AHA himself is a military officer, a “chief captain,” as was his father[12] (RFS, JAT). Muchiki also mentions ancient Egyptian iḥЗ < ˤḥЗ "warrior," which may have been borrowed as Aramaic ʼḥʼ. He also suggests Egyptian iˁḥ, iḥ "moon" as a possible source of that Aramaic PN.[13] Reynolds also saw AHA as Egyptian, namely, "The name of a watchman at the gates of one of the many gods of Egyptian mythology."[14] Unfortunately it isn't clear which Egyptian name he is referring to.

It has been suggested that AHA might not be a PN, but rather the Hebrew appellative for brother, ʾḥ, plus the 3ms pronominal suffix, and would mean, “his brother.”[15] An analogous example could be cited where the Masoretic text pointed a word in [2 Samuel 6:3-4] as the PN Ahio, but could possibly have been pointed, as suggested long ago by Wellhausen, as an appellative, ʾaḥîw, “his brother” (JWW).[16] Thus, if [Alma 16:5] were interpreted analogously, the PN AHA would be read as his brother, "His name was Zoram and he had two sons, Lehi and his brother."[17] However, the final /a/ in AHA would need to be explained. The standard Masoretic vocalization of “his brother,” aḥîw, lacks any semblance of final /a/. The posited north Israelite vocalization of “his brother,” *ʾaḥe[18], does not contain a clear indication that /a/ is present. The preexilic Judahite vocalization, ʾaḥaw, does contain /a/, but only as part of the diphthong, leaving the /o/ unexplained[19]. In other words, AHA could mean “his brother,” but only with difficulty.

Note the Hebrew exclamation aha in Isaiah 44:16 and Ezekiel 25:3.

See Book of Mormon AHAH


Deseret Alphabet: 𐐁𐐐𐐂 (eɪhɑː)


  1. Shmuel Ahituv, Echoes from the Past: Hebrew and Cognate Inscriptions from the Biblical Period (Jerusalem: Carta, 2008), 164. This PN in Hebrew is spelled אחא.
  2. Ahituv, Echoes from the Past, 147. This PN in Hebrew is spelled אחא.
  3. For a discussion of hypocoristic endings, see under ALMA.
  4. Martin Noth, p. 69, states that both ʾāḥ, “brother,” and ʾāb, “father,” are without doubt theophoric elements themselves
  5. P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., “Over the Transom: Three More Arrowheads,” Biblical Archaeology Review 25–3 [May–June 1999], 42–43; citation supplied by RFS.
  6. ref 6
  7. ref 7
  8. Donner and Röllig, Inschriften,186:4.
  9. I. J. Gelb, Computer-Aided Analysis of Amorite. Assyriological Studies, 21. Chicago: Oriental Institute, 1980.
  10. Materiali Epigrafici di Ebla (Napoli: Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli), 2 pt. 1.
  11. Hugh W. Nibley in Lehi in the Desert/The World of the Jaredites/There Were Jaredites (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book/Provo, UT: FARMS, 1988), 25; Id., An Approach to the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book/Provo, UT: FARMS,1988), 286
  12. Ibid.,, 286.
  13. Y. Muchiki, Egyptian Proper Names and Loanwords in NW Semitic, 63-64, citing Ranke, Personnenamen, I.12.14-13.10; 44.7-16.
  14. George M. Reynolds in Commentary on the Book of Mormon VI:160
  15. Jo Ann Carlton Hackett and John W. Welch. “Possible Linguistic Roots of Book of Mormon Names,” FARMS Preliminary Report CAR-81 (Provo: FARMS, 1982), 4.
  16. Wellhausen, Der Text der Bücher Samuels, 167, “die Verwandlung des Appellativs אחִיו… in einen Eigennamen.” In this book, Wellhausen makes no mention of the fact that the LXX has “his brothers.”
  17. Carlton and Welch, p. 4
  18. For a discussion of the northern Israelite pronunciation and the Judahite vocalization, and the equivalence of early -h and later -w as the 3.m.s. pronominal suffix, see Cross and Freedman, SAYP, SBL Diss. 21, p. 183 (RFS).
  19. The 3ms pronominal ending –aw¬ is no doubt a shortening of –ahu, since the preexilic orthography simply attaches ה to the end of the noun being modified. In other words, it is not the /a/, but rather the /w/ that indicates the 3ms suffix. AHA lacks this indicator. To state it differently, the /a/ in –aw serves as a helper vowel to separate the monosyllabic ʼḥ from the indicator of the 3ms pronominal suffix, -w/ō.
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