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Lehite PN 1. NEPHITE who built and sailed ships to the "west sea" (Alma 63:5)


The Lehite PN HAGOTH may plausibly derive from the Hebrew הגה hāgâ “he mused, devised; meditated” (Psalms 1:2, 2:1, 38:12, 63:6, 77:12, 143:5, Joshua 1:8), and הגות hāgût “musing, meditation” in Psalm 49:3 (verse 4 in Hebrew) – in either the intensive plural הגות hagôt “devisings,” or abstract “curious, skillful,” i.e., with either an abstract nominal termination in -ôt, -ût typical of biblical Hebrew, Arabic, East Semitic, and Egyptian,[1] or as an intensive plural.[2] The -ôt ending is used, in any case, as a termination for both feminine and masculine nouns.[3] Although the –ot(h) ending looks like the feminine plural noun ending, this ending is also used in men’s names, cf. Lapidoth (Judges 4:4); Naboth (1 Kings 21:1, 3, 8, 9, and passim); and Meraioth (Ezra 7:3, 11:11; 12:15; 1 Chronicles 6:5, 7, 52; 9:11), as well as the ending the Book of Mormon PN Hagoth (Alma 63:5). Further, from the same root compare “meditation” in Psalm 19:14 (verse 15 in Hebrew) and the technical term Higgaion in Psalm 9:16 (verse 17 in Hebrew), possibly a musical directive.

HAGOTH is said to be “an exceedingly curious man,” where curious probably does not mean inquisitive, but rather “careful; studious, attentive” (OED),[4] and “skillful; erudite; careful, diligent” (Chaucer),[5] which fits well with the Hebrew root הגה hāgâ.

Another possible Hebrew etymology for HAGOTH is a form of חגג ḥgg, with its meanings of festival, or pilgrimage in Arabic, ḥajj; feast in Old South Arabic, ḥg, ḥgt. The biblical masculine PN Haggai and the feminine Haggith derive from this root. Therefore, a hypothetical Hebrew word from this root, *ḥagôt, with the abstract ending –ôt, could mean “jubilation, joy; pilgrimage.” The Hebrew word is also cognate with ancient Egyptian ḥЗg “be glad,” and the reduplicated Hebrew חגג ḥāgag “celebrate, dance,” with Egyptian ḥЗgЗg “rejoice.”


Deseret Alphabet: 𐐐𐐁𐐘𐐉𐐛 (heɪɡɒθ)


  1. Joüon & Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, 2nd ed., with corr., §§88Mj,k, 136f; Lipiński, Semitic Languages, §§ 29.46 Egyptian iЗwt “old age,” 29.47 Hebrew ḥokmōt “wisdom,” 30.3 malkūt “kingship,” 31.16 Assyro-Babylonian šarrūtu “kingship”; Hebrew niplĕʼôt “wonders, wonderful things,” Williamson, Annotated Key, 175 (Exodus 3:20); hammōṣĕʼôt “all the things which had befallen (them)” (Joshua 2:23), cited in Williamson, Annotated Key, 183, re Lambdin, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew, lesson 41, exercise (a) note 2; Joel Burnett, A Reassessment of Biblical Elohim (Atlanta: SBL, 2001); A. Cowley & E. Kautzsch, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 1910), § 145 h-o; the last two sources cited by Ryan C. Davies and Paul Y. Hoskisson, “Usage of the Title elohim in the Hebrew Bible and Early Latter-day Saints,” in A. Skinner, M. Davis, and C. Griffin, eds., Bountiful Harvest: Essays in Honor of S. Kent Brown (Provo: Maxwell Institute/BYU, 2011), 113-135.
  2. Cf. LDS “Bible Dictionary,” 620, at “Behemoth.”
  3. Joüon & Muraoka, A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, 2nd ed., with corr., §90d.
  4. See also Noah Webster, An American Dictionary of the English Language, 2 vols., 1st ed. (N.Y.: S. Converse, 1828), meaning #7, “wrought with care and art; elegant; neat; finished; as a curious girdle; curious work,” citing Exodus 28:8,27, 35:32 (maḥašābōt), meaning #8, “Requiring care and nicety; as curious arts,” citing Acts 19:19 (perierga “magic”), online at http://machaut.uchicago.edu/websters .
  5. F. N. Robinson, ed., The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2nd ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957), 942.; Webster, Noah. An American Dictionary of the English Language, 2 vols., 1st ed. N.Y.: S. Converse, 1828. Online at http://machaut.uchicago.edu/websters .


Belnap, Dan. “‘Wicked Traditions’ and ‘Cunning Arts’: Wise Men, Sorcery, and Metalwork in Nephite Society,” in D. Parry, G. Strathearn, and S. Hopkin, eds., “Seek Ye Words of Wisdom”: Studies of the Book of Mormon, Bible, and Temple in Honor of Stephen D. Ricks (Provo: BYU Religious Education/ Interpreter Foundation, 2020), 1-28, online at https://www.academia.edu/40780974/Wicked_Traditions_and_Cunning_Arts_Wise_Men_Sorcery_and_Metalwork_in_Nephite_Society?email_work_card=view-paper .

Joüon, P., and T. Muraoka. A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew, 2nd ed., with corr. Rome: Gregorian & Biblical Press, 2011.

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