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JST Anomaly: An Out of Place Angel Name


David T

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I was reading my JST Old Testament, and found an interesting passage I hadn't seen before, where a standard place name is declared the name of an Angel. JST Genesis 16:14:

And there was a well between Kadesh and Bered, near where Hagar saw the Angel. And the name of the Angel was Beer-lahai-roi. Wherefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; for a memorial

Which is quite curious. I did a quick search and saw this web site giving a broken down etymology, which includes the following possible interpretations:

  • The Declaration That Makes Life Visible;
  • The Explanation That Shows The Image Of Life;
  • The Well Of Life Vision
  • Of The Life That Sees; or Sees Me.

I'm quite familiar with the common reading as being literally a well. But the additional meanings, apart from it having any seeming relation to other (later) standard -el angel names, makes this a little known curiosity in my book. (I believe names such as Michael, Gabriel, etc don't even show up until Post-Exilic text, correct?) Any thoughts from our Hebraists? Does the meaning of the words have any roots similar to the attributes given in other standard Angel names as given in apocalyptic texts (Enoch, etc)?

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I was reading my JST Old Testament, and found an interesting passage I hadn't seen before, where a standard place name is declared the name of an Angel.

I notice the 1979 LDS edition of the Bible wisely omits this emendation, which (imo) clearly shows that Joseph's reach sometimes exceeded his grasp. I think it's more likely that Joseph simply didn't understand the Hebrew than that there really is an angel out there called "the well of the living (one) who sees me." In a revelation circa March 1832 Joseph Smith declared that angels in "pure language" are called "Awmen Angls-men", which strikes me as similarly fanciful. He was given to these sorts of pronouncements. I don't take them too seriously, but I don't fault others that do.

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