Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship


Book of Mormon, texts, Bible, literary


More than ten years ago, Stephen Ricks and John Tvedtnes presented a case for interpreting the Book of Mormon proper noun Zarahemla as a Hebraic construct meaning “seed of compassion” or “child of grace, pity, or compassion.” The authors theorized:

It may be that the Mulekite leader was given that name because his ancestor had been rescued when the other sons of King Zedekiah were slain during the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. [See Mosiah 25:2.] To subsequent Nephite generations, it may have even suggested the deliverance of their own ancestors from Jerusalem prior to its destruction or the anticipation of Christ’s coming.