Alan C. Miner

John Welch notes some interesting background relative to the name "Gidgidonnah" (Mormon 6:13). At the beginning of Nephite history, during the time period that the prophet and patriarch Lehi lived at Jerusalem, Israel's rulers formed an alliance with Egypt against their traditional enemy, Babylon. Jeremiah vehemently criticized this choice, and there seems to be evidence that Lehi's political sympathies were as unpopular as Jeremiah's. One of Babylon's allies was Sidon; but Sidon's twin city, Tyre, had sided with Egypt. The reader should note that the people of the Book of Mormon frequently used the name Sidon. There was a city named Sido(n), a river named Sidon and, even more intriguingly, here in Mormon 6:13, a man named Gidgidonnah. Why is this intriguing? Dr. Hugh Nibley points out that the name "Gidgiddonah" is the Egyptian name for Sidon.

Also worthy of note is the fact that the name Tyre never appears in any form in the Book of Mormon, whereas in the Old Testament the two names are constantly linked; one hardly ever appears without the other. This apparent preference for Sidon over Tyre in the Book of Mormon fits perfectly into the world situation that Lehi knew. (Approach to the Book of Mormon, Melchizedek Priesthood Course, 1957, p. 52.) [John W. Welch, "A Book You Can Respect," in The Ensign, September 1977, p. 47.] [See the commentary on Alma 2:15].

Could it be that Phoenician sailors from the port of Sidon were among the Jewish group that sailed with Mulek, the son of Zedekiah, in their travels to the New World? [See the commentary on Omni 1:16; Alma 2:15]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary