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Hebrew Name: Cumorah
Stephen D. Ricks,
Cumorah is the name of the hill in which Mormon buried the Nephite records before turning his abridgment of it over to his son Moroni (see Mormon 6:6). Suggested etymologies range from a corruption of the biblical place-name Gomorrah to a comparison with Qumran, the name of the site near the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The most plausible etymology for Cumorah, however, is the Hebrew kemôrah, "priesthood," an abstract noun based on the word komer, "priest." Komer/komer and kemôrah may be compared in both form and meaning with the Hebrew nouns kohen, "priest," and kehunnah, "priesthood."Some have privately objected that this explanation is unlikely because the term komer is always used in the Old Testament in reference to false priests (see 2 Kings 23:5; Hosea 10:5; Zephaniah 1:4), while the word kohen is used to denote Israelite priests. It seems more likely that the term komer was simply used to denote a priest who was not of the tribe of Levi, while kohen in all cases refers to a Levitical priest. Since Lehi's party did not include descendants of Levi, they probably used komer wherever the Book of Mormon speaks of priests.
- Stephen D. Ricks, "Converging Paths: Language and Cultural Notes on the Ancient Near Eastern Background of the Book of Mormon," in Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon, edited by Donald W. Parry, Daniel C. Peterson, and John W. Welch (Provo, Utah: FARMS, 2002), Chapter 12, references silently removed—consult original for citations.