Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zelph - Righteous Chief of Thousands

Karen Boren sent the following information to me and I was thrilled to get it. It is another witness that Joseph Smith-a man with only a 6th grade traditional education- was inspired and was a true prophet. Rich Kuchinski made the connection with the Hebrew.

In 1834, Joseph, along with a number of other men, came to some thick woods, and he stated that he felt that a great battle had taken place there. A short distance further, they came upon "a mound sixty feet high, containing human bones" (Joseph Smith 1976, 2:66).

Joseph also described what occurred about a month later, after they had crossed the Illinois River: "During our travels we visited several of the mounds which had been thrown up by the ancient inhabitants of this country--Nephites, Lamanites, etc., and this morning I went up on a high mound, near the river . . . . On the top of the mound were stones which presented the appearance of three altars having been erected one above the other, according to the ancient order; and the remains of bones were strewn over the surface of the ground. The brethren procured a shovel and a hoe, and removing the earth to the depth of about one foot, discovered the skeleton of a man, almost entire, and between his ribs the stone point of a Lamanitish arrow, which evidently produced his death. Elder Burr Riggs retained the arrow.

The contemplation of the scenery around us produced peculiar sensations in our bosoms; and subsequently the visions of the past being opened to my understanding by the Spirit of the Almighty, I discovered that the person whose skeleton was before us was a white Lamanite, a large, thick-set man, and a man of God. His name was Zelph. He was a warrior and chieftain under the great prophet Onandagus, who was known from the Hill Cumorah, or eastern sea to the Rocky mountains. The curse was taken from Zelph, or, at least, in part--one of his thigh bones was broken by a stone flung from a sling, while in battle, years before his death. He was killed in battle by the arrow found among his ribs, during the last great struggle of the Lamanites and Nephites." (Joseph Smith 1976, 2:79-80)

The letter ‘Z' in the name Zelph, is the Hebrew letter Tsade and when it stands alone it means 'Righteous'. The Hebrew word ‘elph' is Strongs #0505 and holds a definition interpretation of ‘thousands of troops under one chief' as used in Numbers 1:34-35:

"Of the children of Manasseh, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred."

The name Zelph means ‘Righteous Chief of thousands'.


  1. This is amazing...every little "jot and tittle" and "letter and word" all point to the truthfulness of this gospel.

  2. I could be wrong but doesn't the Hebrew word "elph" hold a definition interpretation of thousand?

  3. The series of Strong's words from #0502 to #0507 refer to the primitive root "to associate with, to learn" (#0502) and denote "to make thousandfold" (#0503)and "a family" (#0504)thus allowing "thousands" as well as "thousand," which is how it is used in the Numbers scripture mentioned in this post.

  4. Re: My question and your excellent answer:

    Understood. Thanks.

    Gematria gives an ordinal value to Tsadi as 18 (the eighteenth letter in the Jewish Aleph Beth) and its regular value as 90. Aleph, Lamed and Peh add up to 111. Added the regular values together (if I've added correctly--not my strength) the total equals 201, which means to make bright or burning. If you add up the ordinal numbers of Tsadi, Aleph, Lamed, and Peh you get 48, which means greatness, majesty, to tower over others. Don't know where this all leads to--just thinking and figuring out loud.

    Which got me to thinking about the etymology of the word, "elephant." Which supposedly has a Greek and Latin origin, but which I suspect is of Hebrew (or Semitic) origin.

  5. Steven, as a follower of this blog (I was the first) and someone whose life has been extraordinarily blessed by Donna Nielsen, I just have to comment here.

    You (in essence) challenged the veracity of Donna's post. She responded with Strong's Concordance documentation that elph, as used here, is correct. What you then added regarding gematria is off topic in my opinion and perhaps would be more appropriate on your own blog? (I assume you have one.)

    I suspect that many of Donna's many followers are a bit zealous of anything or anyone who appears to go after this good woman. I for one feel very protective of my scripture mentor. Forgive me if I am overstepping my bounds but be aware that some hackles have been raised here.

  6. Karen,

    I apologize if I appeared to you that I was being critical. That was not my intent. Fact is I also follow Donna, as often as time allows. And you're right she is good.

    As far as my second comment--I was simply trying to make further connections. Trying to see where else Tsade, Aleph, Lamed, and Peh might lead. It is all about the connections--isn't it?

    No harm. I'm thick skinned.