Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:8:2:Hebraisms:Construct state

Hebrew influence on Book of Mormon text: Construct State

Parent page: Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Hebraisms/Construct state

Hebrew influence on Book of Mormon text: Construct State

When English shows a possessive or descriptive relationship between two nouns, it usually puts the possessive or descriptive noun first: the king's house or wood house. Hebrew, however, uses the opposite order: house the king (which would usually be translated house of the king) or house wood (house of wood). If the Hebrew word order is kept in the English translation, the word of must be added, even though it does not exist in the Hebrew.

The Book of Mormon contains a large number of what appear to be translations from the Hebrew preserving the Hebrew word order:

"plates of brass" instead of brass plates (1 Nephi 3:24)
"works of righteousness" instead of righteous works (Alma 5:16)
"words of plainness" instead of plain words (Jacob 4:14)
"chains of hell" instead of hell's chains (Alma 5:7)
"voice of the Spirit" instead of the Spirit's voice(1 Nephi 4:18)
"skin of blackness" instead of black skin (2 Nephi 5:21)
"night of darkness" instead of dark night (Alma 34:33)
"rod of iron" instead of iron rod (1 Nephi 8:19)
The Hebrew-like expression land of promise appears twenty-two times in the Book of Mormon, while promised land (common in English) is found only ten times.[1]


  1. John A. Tvedtnes, "The Hebrew Background of the Book of Mormon," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co.; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), Chapter 8.