Book of Abraham names – are they egyptian or hebrew?
There is a far better source for these strange Book of Abraham words. Yes, they do come from an ancient language. Unfortunately for the LDS case, it is not Egyptian, but Hebrew. (I’ll explain why it is unfortunate in a moment).
The word ‘kokob’, which appears in this verse is the Hebrew word for star. ‘kokaubeam’ is one possible legitimate Hebrew plural for ‘stars’. Now, what about the others? ‘shinehah’ is interesting. It is very close to the Hebrew word for ‘two’, which is ‘shenayim’. (Remember that Hebrew had no written vowels, so the two words are actually closer together than they appear). ‘olea’ is also very interesting. It is close to a Hebrew word that means ‘night’. (The word in question is ‘layil’. One possible variant is ‘layolah’.)
Why is this all interesting? Because all three of these word appear in the same Old Testament verse – Genesis 1:16:
‘And God made two (shenayim) great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night (layil): he made the stars (kowkab) also.’
Now, why is this unfortunate for the LDS case? Because, you see, Joseph Smith was studying Hebrew at the time he pretended to translated the Book of Abraham. His teacher was one Andrew Seixas, who had written his own Hebrew Grammer manual, which makes much use of the first chapter of Genesis as examples.
I think, from this point on, the implications should be obvious. The Book of Abraham seems to know very little Egyptian. (In fact, I do not know of even one legitimate Egyptian word that appears in the Book of Abraham). It does, however, seem to be surprisingly accurate on a number of Hebrew words.