Source:Ricks:Some Notes on Book of Mormon Names:Interpreter:4:Josh is an abbreviated form of the Hebrew name Josiah

Josh is an abbreviated form of the Hebrew name Josiah

Parent page: Book of Mormon/Anthropology/Language/Names

Josh is an abbreviated form of the Hebrew name Josiah

The Book of Mormon proper name Josh (mentioned as a place name in 3 Nephi 9:10 and as a personal name—the name of a Nephite general—in Mormon 6:14) is not, as English speakers might suppose, an abbreviated form of Joshua (Hebrew Yehōshuaʿ) but of Josiah (Hebrew Yōʾshiyyāhū). The unabbreviated name means “the Lord is a support,” from the hypothetical Hebrew root ʾashah “to support” (cf. the noun form ʾoshyāh, “support, buttress”).
Josh, in a slightly different abbreviated form from this root, appears in the Lachish Letters3 as Jāʾuš4 (an abbreviated form of yāʾushyāhū, “the Lord will give as a gift”), according to the preexilic pronunciation. In their illuminating study, “Book of Mormon Names in Ancient Hebrew Inscriptions,” John A. Tvedtnes, John Gee, and Matthew Roper note that “four of the bullae found near Tel Beit Mirsim and dating from ca. 600 b.c. bear the name Yʾš. Three of them were made from the same seal.”5 They also point out that the personal name Yʾš appears [Page 157]six times in the fifth-century BC Jewish Aramaic papyri from Elephantine in Upper Egypt.6 The Book of Mormon form, Josh, reflects the loss of the consonantal quality of the “waw” from the Hebrew root ʾwš, meaning “to give, to gift; gift, reward, etc.” Though the root ʾwš does not occur apart from personal names in the Hebrew Bible, it does occur in, for example, Ugaritic usûn, “gift”; Arabic ʾāsa, “to give, reward”; ʾaws, “gift”; Old South Arabian ʾws.7 [1]


  1. Stephen D. Ricks, "Some Notes on Book of Mormon Names," Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture 4 (2013): 155-160.