I’m off to Ireland for three weeks. Won’t be posting for a while.
With very interesting images. This is an important discovery relating to the origins of Israelite cult and temple.
Israeli archaeologists recently discovered a seal with the name “Matanyahu.”
[I originally wrote that "As far as I am aware this names is not attested in the Bible" After I wrote this, friend of mind pointed out that the name Mattaniah occurs in 2 Kgs 24:17, 1 Chr 25:4, 2 Chr 29:13, which in Hebrew is MTNYHW. So there is a biblical example of this name. (I originally searched for Mataniah, but not Mattaniah. D’oh!)]. The name also occurs in the Book of Mormon:
3 Nephi 19:4, mentions Mathonihah as one of the twelve disciples of Jesus.
Hebrew (and Semitic) names had consonantal roots with a variety in vowel pronunciation that changed by dialect and through time.
Matanyahu is spelled on the seal = MTNYHW, vocalized by modern scholars as MaTaNYaHW. The precise ancient vocalization is uncertain. The YHW is a shortened form of YHWH, the name of the LORD in the KJV.
The BOM Mathonihah would have been spelled in Hebrew MTNYHH. The BOM vocalization is different–given 600 years of vocalic shift between the seal and the Mathonihah’s name. The “th” of MaTHonihah is the same letter as T in Hebrew, which was pronounced differently in different dialects (e.g. Sibbolet vs. Shibboleth, or Sabbath vs. Shabbat, etc.)
My assumption is that the wide variety of names ending in “ihah” in the BOM are theophoric YHWH names in an idiosyncratic BOM pronunciation. Thus, Matanyahu is a theophoric name ending in YHW/yahu, or the name of the LORD. Notice it drops the final H. BOM “ihah” names were presumably YHWH contracted to YHH, just as YHWH is contracted to YHW in the seal.
Thus, given the phonetic and spelling system of Hebrew the MTN-YHW/Matanyahu is a close match with the BOM MTN-YHH/Mathonihah.
Matt Roper brought these to my attention. I haven’t read them yet.
Brian Steed, Wars and Rumors of Wars: Understanding Mormon’s Metaphor, 2010
John Kammeyer, The Nephite Art of War, 2012
John Kammeyer, Warfare in Mesoamerica: Battles in the Book of Mormon, 2012