Esoteric Egyptian in the margins of

the Book of Abraham

A Heuristic Study

What do the Hebrew letters alphabetically dividing Psalm 119, and the hieratic characters copied in the margins of early Book of Abraham manuscripts have in common? Both correlate with their scriptural text. Both serve as meaningful indices to their assigned text. Neither completely contain the written psalm or the book of Abram. In other words, these peripheral symbols are not the source of the scripture they relate to.

In the case of Tehilah (Ps.) 119, each psalm division starts with a Hebrew word whose first letter fits alphabetically in order relative to the other psalm segments. This clever literary device is all but lost in translation, save for the annotated Hebrew letters. Even then, it is not clear to most English readers why Hebrew letters appear in the psalm.

In the case of the Book of Abraham manuscripts, the “Egyptian” characters (copied sequentially from the opening lines of the Hor Book of Breathings) contain symbols that the Ahmehstrahans (Joseph Smith’s esoteric Egyptians) reinterpreted.

Joseph Smith correctly understood that the lines of characters were to be read right to left, top to bottom. The characters were transcribed in order, but separated to correspond to particular paragraphs of the Book of Abraham. It is clear, though, that these symbols are not the source of the Book of Abraham!

In other words, contrary to both Mormon and Anti Mormon claims, the hieratic (priestly script) transcribed in the margins of Book of Abraham manuscripts do not represent, even ostensibly, an “Egyptian” text of the Book of Abraham. The copied characters are not the writings of the Hebrew prophet any more than the letters of the Hebrew aleph-bet (in alphabetical order) are the text of Tehilah (Ps.) 119.

The characters were copied one after another by lay individuals from a few short lines of a papyrus fragment (“Small Sensen” fragment, Hor Book of Breathings). The fact that the characters were placed (in order) alongside whole paragraphs of revealed Book of Abraham text, was enough to clue both prophet and scribe to that fact that these characters could not contain a comprehensive Egyptian manuscript of the Book of Abraham.

What then is their purpose? Joseph Smith’s Grammar and Alphabet of the Egyptian Language is key to answering this question. The “Ah meh strah ans” (the name sounds similar to “Am-Mitsrayim” עַם־מִצְרַים, meaning “people of Mistrayim”) saw in, or imparted to such symbols unusual meanings which they related to a Sepher Avram (an Account of Abram) in their possession, perhaps  circa 2nd century BCE.

Their interpretations in this case, are not to be regarded as standard Egyptian; though the Ah-meh-strah-ans were certainly capable of reading standard Egyptian characters and texts. Theirs was an amazing method of transcending, or going beyond a text by drawing upon a wider range of symbolism and languages (e.g. Hebrew, occasionally Greek etc.). They related this culturally larger database back to the Egyptian symbols. In other words, they read the standard meaning in the Egyptian text - but then they went beyond it, establishing a trove of new connections and inferences.

In addition to transtextual interpretation, the Ah-meh-strah-ans had an esoteric spoken language unique to their order. They associated this language with a kind of reformed and supplemented hieratic script. The unique terminology and symbols of the several Ah-meh-strah-an degrees fill the pages of the Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers, including a sampling of the esoteric “Egyptian Alphabet” in the Prophet’s own handwriting - consistent with those of his scribes.

The heuristic work that follows is intended to help students of scripture discover esoteric meanings in the characters placed beside the Book of Abraham text. In particular, we seek possible meanings like those the multilingual Ah-meh-strah-ans of Ptolemaic times might have perceived.

In this work, the main portions of text draw primarily from an 1835 manuscript of the Book of Abraham (incomplete and imperfect) originally in the handwriting of W. W. Phelps and Warren Parrish (Scribes to the Prophet Joseph Smith).

Bordered in olive are the copied hieratic characters seen in the margins of the manuscript. To the right of the copied characters is the actual hieratic (bordered in silver) as it appears in the so called “Small Sensen” or Book of Breathings papyrus fragment. Below these images is the hieroglyphic equivalent drawing from Hugh Nibley’s The Message of the Joseph Smith Papyri an Egyptian Endowment, Second Edition, pp. 34-35. Much thanks to the immortal professor!

Small Sensen Papyrus fragment

The “Small Sensen” papyrus fragment from the Hor Book of Breathings, among the Joseph Smith papyri collection

Also in olive, in the text below, are final publication spellings of various names appearing in the scripture.

Commentary is in blue.

For reference sake, here  is a sampling of hieratic characters (several seen in the “Small Sensen” fragment) and the hieroglyphs they relate to:


hieratic and hieroglyphic Egyptian

W. W. Phelps handwriting begins: Translation of the Book of Abraham written by his own hand upon papyrus and found in the CataCombs of Egypts

Joseph Smith would later amend the introduction to read: “A TRANSLATION Of some ancient Records that have fallen into our hands, from the Catecombs [catacombs] of Egypt, purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt, called the BOOK OF ABRAHAM, written by his own hand, upon papyrus.” (Times and Seasons, March 1, 1842)

1842 Intro to Book of Abraham

In his effort to reconstruct, or simulate an inspired Ah-meh-strah-an version of the Sepher Avram, “purporting to be the writings of Abraham, while he was in Egypt”, the Prophet borrowed symbolic representations (facsimiles with text) from more than one funerary scroll. Hence the mention of “ancient Records” plural. It was the adaptation, redaction and Ahmehstrahan styled reinterpretation of these symbol laden facsimiles that constituted “A TRANSLATION Of some ancient Records [plural] … from the Catecombs of Egypt”.

Joseph’s definition of “TRANSLATION” is a prophet’s, not necessarily a scholar’s definition. This begs the question: did the transtextual indexing of the opening lines from the Hor Book of Breathings (assigning them to the revealed Book of Abraham text) also qualify as “TRANSLATION” in the Prophet’s view?

The Book of Abraham text itself was, to use the Prophet’s own words, a work of “present revelation”. (Times and Seasons, “Persecution of the Prophets”, September 1, 1842, Vol. 3, pg. 902) Despite what other brethren thought and openly opined about the source of the Book of Abraham, there was no scroll of Abraham with the mummies that came to Kirtland. The Abram text was received by pure revelation, not unlike section 7 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants.

Joseph Smith’s Journal records for the date 26 November, 1835 – Thursday: “at home, we spend the day in transcribing Egyptian characters from the papyrus…” The contemporaneous recorded history of Joseph Smith also uses the word “transcribing”; but redacted History of the Church 2:320 (Thursday, 26 November, 1835) tampers with the Prophet’s words (undoubtedly with good intentions) and changes them to read, “Spent the day in translating Egyptian characters from the papyrus…”


(1) H1 S1

In the land of the Chaldeans, at the residince of my

The hieratic character on the far left was apparently transcribed from a portion of the “Small Sensen” fragment now missing - or the character came by revelation. The basic symbol, however, appears repeatedly throughout the text of the papyrus scroll. See samples (18), (19), and especially (27).

Ed Goble is among the LDS scholars who have commented on the fact that this hieratic character is the well known “reed” symbol, equivalent to the reed hieroglyph. You will find it in the list of hieratic and hieroglyphic characters above.

The Ah-meh-strah-ans adapted and interpreted this symbol (Joseph Smith Egyptian Papers) to signify “Za Ki on-hish or Kulsidon hish – The land of the Chaldees” (the fifth part of the first degree, handwriting of W. W. Phelps, scribe to Joseph Smith, 1835, pg. 4), or “Za Kio an-hi-ash, or Kalsidoan hiash – the land of the Chaldeans” (fifth part of the first degree, handwriting of Oliver Cowdery, scribe to Joseph Smith, 1835, pg. 4).

The almost reed-like glyph to the right of the hieratic symbol is reinterpreted as an Ah-meh-strah-an “character of the second degree” signifying “Kah-oan for Chaldee” (Ahmehstrahan Alphabet, Second Degree, pg. 15). Look for evidence of this small character at the beginning of the text, in the upper right-hand corner of the “Small Sensen” fragment - to the right of the missing piece. Here, again, is what you are looking for:


It is obvious that there is an intended correlation between these characters and the first line of the Book of Abraham, to which they are assigned. It’s also obvious that these symbols alone are not sufficient to bring forth the line of text. They only serve to correlate with the revealed scripture. Please consider that the original Bronze Age text of the Sepher Avram may not have been written in Egyptian.

Also consider that even though “Kalsidoan hiash” sounds, like “Chalcedon”, an ancient town in Asia Minor, this doesn’t prove there is a geographical or historical connection. Ed Goble notes the similarity to “Karduniash” which turns out to be disappointingly anachronistic. Keep in mind that “Za Kio an-hia-sh” and “Kalsidoan hiash“, are Ah-meh-strah-an terminology. These were probably not Abram’s terms.

A Hebrew word for “reed” is “qaneh” (קנה). A variety of reeds grow in northern Mesopotamia. Reed plants are not exclusive to the south. It’s possible that at least part of the land of the Kasdim (later called “Chaldeans”) was in Abram’s time, referred to as a land of reeds, or the land of “Qanah”.

The Hebrew word “qaneh” or “qanah” has other meanings ranging from “create” to “posses” and “acquire”. Wordplay is possible with Hebrew words for “zeal”, “jealousy”, “possessiveness” and “ardent love”. (The New Brown – Driver – Briggs – Gesenius Hebrew and English Lexicon, 7068 - 7071, pp. 888-889)

El-qanah” or “Elkenah” could therefore be not only the fitting name of a local Semite gone bad (Abraham 1:20), but it could contain a reference to a Mesopotamian land named after a useful variety of plant(s) that flourished along her rivers. See Yehoshua (Josh.) 16:8; 19:28 for examples of biblical locations named “Qanah”, “Kanah” (KJV).

(2) H2

fathers, I, Abraham, saw, that it was needful for me to obtain another place of residence, and see ing there was greater happiness and peace and rest, for me, I sought for the blessings of the fathers, and the right whereunto I should be ordained to admin ister the same: Having been a follower of righteousness;

Like the “reed” character (1), the hieratic character on the left in sample (2) appears to have either been copied from a portion of the “Small Sensen” fragment now missing, or obtained by revelation. More complete lines of hieratic text begin with sample (7).  

Ed Goble is among the LDS scholars who have commented on the fact that the hieratic character in sample (2) relates to the well known “coil [of rope]”coilhieroglyph. Ed has successfully related this symbol to the name “Abraham” in multilingual ways.

Different Ah-meh-strah-ans degrees associate this symbol with “Ah brah – oam – father of many nations a prince of peace, one who keeps the commandments of God. A patriarch a rightful heir, a highpriest” (pg. 2), “Ah broam – a follower of righteousness”, “Ah-brah broam – The Father of the faithful. The first right-The elder”. See also “Kiah broam – coming down from the begin[n]ing To some place or fixed period The first in lineage, or right in lineage”, “Ki Ah broam: that which goes before, until an other time, or a change by appointment.” (pp. 16, 20)

Again, it is obvious that there is an intended correlation between the reinterpreted characters (2) and the lines of the Book of Abraham, to which they are assigned. As with sample (1), it’s apparent that these symbols alone are not sufficient to completely reveal the lines of scripture to which they are assigned. The symbols only serve to correlate with the revealed text.


(3) H3

desiring one <to be> one who possessed great Knowledge; a greater follower of righteous ness; <a possessor of greater Knowledge;> a father of many nations; a prince of peace; one who keeps the commandments of God; a righful heir; a high priest, holding the right belonging to the fathers, from the be begining of time; even from the begining, or before the foundation of the earth, down to the present time; even the right of the first born, or the first man, who is Adam, or first father, through <the> fathers, unto me.

Similar to sample (2), Egyptian sample (3) ostensibly represents the next consecutive symbols copied from the portion of the “Small Sensen” fragment that is now missing. Or, the curious symbol was revealed. The Ah-meh-strah-an meaning relates to a composite character interpreted as “Kish broam-kiah brah oam – Zub Zool oan This character shown dissected”:  “Kia brah oam Coming down from the beginning – right by birth – and also by blessing, and by promise – promises made: a father of many nations; a prince of peace; one who keeps the commandments of God; a patriarch; a rightful heir; a highpriest.” (pg. 3)

Correlation with the Book of Abraham text (above) is apparent.


(4) H4

Warren Parrish handwriting begins: I sought for mine appointment unto the priesthood according to the appointment of God, unto the fathers, concerning the Seed.


(5) H5

my fathers having turned from their righteousness, and from the holy com mandments, which the Lord their God had given unto them, unto the worshiping of the gods of the heath ens.


(6) H6

utterly refused to hearken to my voice for their hearts were set to do evil, and were wholly turned to the god of Elkkener [Elkenah; “Elkkener” is likely a misspelling. Or could “Elkkener” be an alternate name? E.g. “El qoneh-ur” = “God, possessor of flame (light, e.g. moonlight)”, similar to the title found in Bereshit (Gen.) 14:19. Consider the possible wordplay, and mutation from “El (God) kenah” to moon god “khonsu] and the god of Zibnah [Libnah] and the god of

[Pg. 1]

Mahmackrah and the god of Koash [Korash]  and the god of Pharaoh King of Egypt, therefore they turned their hearts to the sacrafice of the heathens, in offering up their Children unto these dum Idols, and hearkened not unto my voice, but endeavoured to take away <my> life by the hand of the priest of Elkkener [Elkenah].


(7) H7 S7


The priest of Elkkener [Elkenah] was also the pri est of Pharaoh, now at this time it was the custom of the priest of Pharaoh the King of Egypt to offer up upon the altar which was built in the land of cha ldea for the offering unto these stran ge gods, both men women and chi ldren, and it came to pass, that the priest made an offering unto the god of Pharaoh, and also unto the god of Shagreel, even after the manner of the Egyptians.

(now the god of Shagreel was the Sun) even a thank offering of a child did the priest of Pharaoh offer upon the altar which stood by the hill called Potiphers [Potiphar’s] hill at the head of the plain of Olishem.

The Ah-meh-strah-ans (the Esoteric order of ha-Mitsrim, the Egyptians) would have immediately recognized in the “house” hieroglyph house, and its phonetic “Pr” value, its affiliation with “Par’oh” (“Pharaoh”). “Pharaoh” literally means “Great house”. See also “Pharaoh”, LDS Bible Dictionary. Note in the hieratic form of sample (7), the “water” symbol represented as a simple linewater - hieratic character below the “house” symbol. Incomplete though these symbols are, the hieratic water symbol below the house symbol resembles a hieroglyphic representation of the title of Pharaoh. See the complete hieratic form of the “house” glyph in the table above, and compare it, and sample (7) with :

"Great house" = "Pharaoh"

The linear “column” hieroglyph below the “house” is interpreted to mean “great”. The hieratic water character (in the Small Sensen text) resembles it - simulating the title of “Pharaoh”

It appears that the hieratic “house” character was copied imperfectly. Even so, there is a resemblance, to the Ah-meh-strah-an eye, between this revised, or imperfectly copied character and a character (pronounced “Phah ho e oop”) interpreted to mean “Royal blood of Pharaoh” listed in the Ah-meh-strah-an degrees, pg. 17.

The Ah-meh-starh-ans might have seen more than “Pharaoh” in the characters of sample (7). They may have also seen blood - blood in the waters of Mitsrayim (Egypt) water and in every wood and stone pot pot. (Shemot (Ex.) 7:19) The Ah-meh-strah-ans could have seen in the waters the thrashing “god of Pharaoh” - Horus in the form of a crocodile. (See Book of Abraham Facsimile 1, Fig. 4, and YehezqEl (Ezek.) 29:3)

The line of Egyptian text which sample (7) commences, literally reads, “In this great pool of Khonsu”. (See NOTES, below) Michael D. Rhodes notes that the crocodile in the waters of “Lake Khonsu” depicted in the first Book of Breathings vignette, most likely represents “Horus ... in his form of a crocodile”; as similarly represented in a Dendera Temple inscription. (The Hor Book of Breathings A Translation and Commentary, pg. 20)

What at first may have appeared to be beyond hope, in terms of providing any connection to  the Book of Abraham text (above), now is seen to have at least one key correlation - “Pharaoh”! We need only demonstrate that the character samples correlate in some way with the revealed Book of Abraham text. We should not insist that the hieratic characters are the source of the text. They are not! The text is a work of pure inspiration.


(8) H8 S8


now this priest had offered upon this altar three Virgins at one time who were the daughters of Onitah, one of the royal descent directly fro[m] the loins of Ham; these Virgins were offered up because of their virtue, they would not bow down to worsh ip gods of wood and <or of> stone,

[Pg. 2]

therefore they were killed upon this altar.

Here the “stand”, stool or mat hieroglyphstandis adapted to represent an “altar”. Precedence exists for this kind of interpretation: In Book of Abraham Facsimile 1 (adapted from the first vignette of the Hor Book of Breathings), the mummification lion coach is reinterpreted as an “altar”.

Consider the Hebrew wordplay between “harEl” (mount of God, altar-hearth), “ariel” (altar), and “ariEl” (lion of God). See for instance “YehezqEl (Ezek.) 43:15-16, Divre Hayamim (1 Chr.) 11:22. A Hebrew word for “couch” or “bed” or “bedstead” is “eres” (עֶרֶשׂ). See Devarim (Deut.) 3:11.

Could the “duel” hieroglyph duel be reinterpreted to stand for more than one unspeakable act performed upon the altar, or could it be interpreted to tell of a pair of altars; an altar in the land of the Kasdim like one in the land of Mistrayim (Egypt)?

(9) H9 S9


And it was done after the manner of the Egyptians, and it came to pass, that the prie sts, laid violence upon me, that they might slay me also, as they did those Virgins, upon this altar, and that you m ight have a knowledge of this altar, I will refer you to the representation, at the comme ncement of this record.

Here the pool” hieroglyph appears identical to theraised platform” hieroglyph platform which could serve to represent this “altar” set up in a singular irrigated land (i.e. Mitsrayimah (Egypt), or Qanah, land of the Kasdim) represented by the “irrigated land” hieroglyph irrigated land.


(10) H10 S10


It was made after the form of a bed-stead such as was had among the Chaldeans, and it stood before the gods, of Elkkener [Elkenah]. Zibnah  [Libnah] Mahmachrah [Mahmackrah, Korash,] and also, a god like unto that of Pharaoh King of Egypt that you may have an understanding of these gods, I have given you the fas sion of them, in the figures at the beginn ing, which manner of figures is called by the Chaldeans Rahleenos.

The N-water ripple symbols here represent the waters of lake Khonsu (named after the moon god) which conceal Horus, “god of Pharaoh” in the form of a crocodile. See below, the academic interpretation of the sample (10) character in context of the Hor Book of Breathings.

Horus (crocodile) in the pool of Khonsu

Horus, “god of Pharaoh”, in the form of a crocodile, skulking in the waters of  the pool of Khonsu (Hor Book of Breathings, first vignette)


(11) H11 S11


And as they lifted up their hands, up on me, that they might offer me up, and take away my life, behold I lifted up my voice, unto the Lord my God, and the Lord hearkened, and heard, and he filled me with a vision of the Almighty and the Angel of his presence, stood by my feet, and immediately loosed my bands.

Here we may see the feet of the priests (Avram’s kin) approachingapproaching to destroyto destroy. (Mishle (Prov.) 1:16, Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 59:7) And in response the Eternal, hearing the plea of his son Avram, stays his destroyers, brakes down the altar of Elqanah, destroys the gods of the land, and smites to death Elqanah’s and Par’oh’s priest. See sample (13) below.


(12) H12 S12


And his voice was unto me, Abram [later versions substitute the familiar but anachronistic Abraham” possibly for the sake of a goy (gentile) audience], Abram, behold my name is Jehovah, and I have heard thee, and have come down to deliver thee, and to take thee, away from thy fathers house, and from all thy knds-folks, into a strange land,

[Pg. 3]

which thou knowest not of, and from all this because they have turned their hearts away from me, to worship the god of Elkkener [Elkenah], and the god of Zibnah [Libnah], and of Mahmachrah [Mahmackrah, and the god of Korash], and the god of Pharaoh King of Egypt; therefore I have come down to visit them, and to destroy him who hath lifted up his hand, ag ainst thee, Abram my son to take away thy life; behold I will lead thee, by my hand, and I will take thee, to put upon thee my name, even the priesthood of thy father, and my power shall be over thee, as it was with Noah, so shall it be with thee, that thr ough thy ministry, my name shall be known in the earth forever, for I am thy God.

Here the multilingual Ah-meh-strah-ans could have interpreted the hieraticwater - hieratic character, or  N-water ripple hieroglyph (water) to signify the river of Egypt (n’har Mitsrayim, Bereshit (Gen.) 15:18). The Egyptian symbol does carry the phonetic value “n”, which also happens to be the first sound in the Greek word “Neilos” (Νειλος) from which we get the word “Nile”. “Neilos”, or “Nile” also happens to sounds somewhat like “nahal”, a Hebrew word for “river” or “river valley”.

The Gentile/Semitic word “Nile” best corresponds to the Egyptian loanword “Y’or” (יְאוֹר), i.e. Shemot (Ex.) 2:3. The first letter in the word “Y’or” is the Hebrew letter yod (י). So the Ah-meh-strah-ans had the option of equating water (orwater - hieratic character, in hieratic script) with “yod”. Thus:

water (waters of the Nile) = Neilos (Νελος) = Y’or (יְאוֹר) = Heb. letter yod (י).

“Yod” means “hand”. Anciently, “yod” was represented by a hand and forearm character: Yod

The Egyptian “sieve” sieve symbol can be used to represent a phonetic “h”. This is somewhat comparable to the Hebrew letter “hey” (ה). “Hey” signifies “prayer” or “praise” as in “Halelu-Yah” = “Praise ye the Eternal (the LORD)”. Anciently, the letter “hey”, or rather “hilul”, was symbolized as a man with upraised arms: Hey  

Learning to read the symbols as the Ah-meh-strah-an could have, we perceive in the characters of sample (12) the two Hebrew letters spelling the abbreviated name of the Eternal - Yah. Thus:

the sacred name of Adonai in R12

= “Yah” (He who will ever be, and who ever was), the Lord (King = su rush) rescues Avram (his quail chick = coil) from the bird of prey (Khonsu, the bloodthirsty moon god, or Horus, god of Par’oh).  See sample (2) commentary.

Alternately, the sieve hieroglyphsieve may be equated to the Hebrew letter “het” (ח); which in combination with the “yod” (י) spells “hai” (חי) meaning “alive, living”; as in “Elohim hai, the living God(s)” (Yesha-Yahu (Is.) 37:4), or as in “the Eternal is alive (lives)” (Tehilah (Ps.) 18:47, 46, KJV).

The Egyptian sieve symbol sieve, with its four parallel lines cutting though a circular barrier, was also understood to represent the life supporting membrane, or veil that is the placenta. This veil or membrane fulfills its purposes, and is sacrificed or discarded in child birth. A similar symbol was utilized by the Ah-meh-strah-ans to represent the earth in her four quarters four quarters of the earth , subject to the governance of higher powers.

The Ah-meh-strah-ans appear to have associated the four quarter symbol  with the name of the Eternal, the sacred Tetragrammaton. In fact, “yah.t”, an Egyptian word for “earth”, is somewhat similar to the sacred name of the Hebrew God. (Michael D. Rhodes, “The Joseph Smith Hypocephalus Seventeen Years Later”, pg. 8) Joseph Smith anglicized the sacred name with the conventional “J” instead of the Hebrew “Yod”. See TETRAGRAMMATON AND EARTH.

Rather than attempt an authentic pronunciation of so sacred a name, it is best to refer to the four quarters of the earth symbol as the “Ah-meh-strah-an cross of ha-Adon” or simply the “cross of Adon”. This symbol may have been related to the sieve hieroglyph. The Ah-meh-strah-ans may have perceived in the sievesievesymbol (Amos 9:9), the God behind the blood stained veil, (Vayiqra (Lev.) 4:17) whose name is spelled with the Hebrew letters depicted by a hand, a man with upraised arms, and a nail (hook, or peg):

Ahmestrahan cross of Adon

“The earth under the government of another …”, Ah-meh-strah-an 3rd degree, Second part, pg. 29.


(13) H13 S13 (Incomplete text)

Behold Potiphers [Potiphar’s] hill was in the land of Ur, of chaldea, and the Lord broke down the altar of Elkkener [Elkenah], and of <the> gods of the land, and utterly destroyed them, and smote the priest, that he died and there was great mourning in chaldea, <and> also in the court of Pharaoh. which Phar aoh signifies King by royal blood.

Now this King of Egypt was a descen dant from the loins of Ham, and was a partaker of the blood of the canaanites. by birth; from this descent sprang all the Egyptians, and thus the blood of the canaanites was preserved in the land.

[Pg. 4]


(14) H14

The land of Egypt being first discovered, by a woman, who was the daughter of Ham, and the daughter of Zeptah [later versions substitute Egyptus”, which is as anachronistic as the translated term “Egypt”, KJV OT], which in the chaldea, signifies Egypt, which sig nifies that which is forbidden. Which When this woman discovered the land. it was under water, who after settled her sons in it, and thus from Ham, sprang that race, which preserved, the curse in the land.

Appears to correlate with Ah-meh-strah-an degrees: pp. 5, 10, 14, 18, 21.


(15) H15

Now the first government, of Egypt was established by Pharaoh, the eldest son of Egyptes [Egyptus], the daughter of Ham, and it was after the manner of <the> government of Ham, which was patriarchal, Pharaoh being a righteous man established his Kingdom, and judged his pople wise ly and justly all his days, seeking ear nestly to imitate, that order established by the fathers in the first generations, in the days of the first patriarchal reign, even in the reign of Adam, and also Noah his father, who blessed him w ith the blessings of the earth and with the blessings of wisdom, but cursed him as pertaining to the priesthood

Appears to correlate with Ah-meh-strah-an degrees: pp. 5-6, 10-11, 14, 18, 21-22.


(16) H16

Now Pharaoh being of that lineage by which he could not have the rig ht of priesthood, notwithstanding, the Pharaoh’s, would feign claim it. from Noah, through Ham, therefore, my father was led away, by them their Idolitry, but I shall endeavour hereafter to delinia te the chronology, runining back

[Pg. 5]

from myself to the beginning of the creation, for the records have come into my hands which I hold unto the present time.

Appears to correlate with Ah-meh-strah-an degrees: pp. 5-6, 10-11, 14, 18, 21-22.


(17) H17 S17


Now after the priest of Elkkener [Elkenah]  was smitten that he died there came a fulfillment of those things which were spoken unto me, concerning the land of Chaldea that there should be a famine in the land, and accordingly a famine prevailed throughout the all the land of Chaldea, and my father was sorely tormented, because of the famine, and he repented of the evil which he had determined against me, to take away my life, but the records of the fathers, even the patriarch’s concerning the right of priesthood, the Lord my God preserved in mine own hands, Therefore a Knowledge of the begi nning of creation, and also of the planets and of the Stars, as it was made known unto the fathers, have I Kept even unto this day.

The apron of three fox skins hieroglyph apron of fox skins , having the phonetic value of “ms”, signifies birth, to bring forth, produce, fashion, create . This symbol correlates with “…a knowledge of the beginning of creation …” in the Avram text.

The folded cloth or seat-backing hieroglyph seat-backing may symbolize the creator’s back being turned to the people (e.g. Shemot (Ex.) 33:23). As a consequence, something dangerous diagonal stroke takes place having to do with bread bread bun and water water .

(18) H18 S18


And I shall endeavour to write so me of these things upon this record, for the benefit of my posterity, that shall come after me.

The bread bun bread bun may here be taken to signify “benefit” (that which promotes or enhances well-being).

The vulture (phonetic value “A”) is named in Torah, “ha-raham” (הָרָחָם), and “ha-rahamah” in the feminine. The word is translated “the gier eagle” (KJV). See Vayiqra (Lev.) 11:18, Devarim (Deut.) 14:17. The Hebrew name of the fowl derives from “raham”; signifying “compassion”, “affection”, and the “womb”.  The bird is so named because she is supposed to be tender towards her young, or alternately because “the male and female bird never part company”. We may consider then the wordplay in “Av-raham” = “Father of compassion (affection)” = bread bun + .

The repeated reed symbols reedreed may have been interpreted, in this instance, by the Ah-meh-strah-ans, to signifying, writing with a reed upon papyrus. Thus we may see a correlation with Av-raham endeavoring “to write some of these things upon this record, for the benefit of .. posterity ...”


(19) H19 S19


Now the Lord God caused the fam ine to wax sore in the land of Ur, in somuch that Haran my brother died, but Terah my father yet lived, in the land of Ur of the Chaldees, and

[Pg. 6]

it came to pass that I Abram took Sarai to wife and Nahor my brother, took Milcah to wife.

As in sample (12) the abbreviated name of the God behind the blood stained veil (sieve or placenta membranesieve) is represented by symbols which can be interpreted to approximate or represent “Yah”. Here the two strokes duelare equivalent to two reeds reedreed, which combined are assigned the value “Y” (י). The sieve can represent a Hebrew “hey(ה) like sound. In actuality the sound is closer a “het” (ח) - but close enough to approximate the sacred name without actually uttering it!

Read the other direction, the symbols may be seen to connote חי - “the living God”.

The human foot character (phonetic value of “b” or “בּ” = “in”) also connotes “place”, or “position”.  

The Ah-meh-strah-ans could therefore have interpreted the double reeds behind the heel (to the left of the foot), to represent a place - a land of reeds, “Qanah”. The word “arah” עָרָה , also means “reed”, but more commonly means “make bare”. “Arah” sounds similar to “Ur”, city in the land of the Kasdim. The Semitic name “Kasdim” eventually came to be translated (rather inaccurately) as “Chaldees”, i.e. the King James Bible.

The Ah-meh-strah-ans could therefore have seen in sample (19) the Eternal living God visiting the land of the Kasdim [in judgment] with the dust of his heel - making bare Ur .

Note the difficult to discern “father” bread bunbread bun and “son” or “child” egg egg symbols seen at the end of hieratic sample (19) - on the left bread bun and egg. As a hieroglyph, the bread bun resembles a “hillhill. The egg resembles a gibbous moon. Is it too much to suggest that the Hebrew word for “egg”, “betsah” sounds somewhat like the Hebrew word for “home” or “house” - “baytah” or “bet”? (Bereshit (Gen.) 19:10) These Ah-meh-strah-an symbols can be related to Haran (mountaineer) son of Terah (the name possibly has to do with the moon) dwelling at Ur. But the symbols can just as appropriately be associated with sample (20):


(20) H20 S20


who was the daughter of Haran. [blank line]

As indicated, the bread bun symbol resembles Egyptian symbols for “hill”hill , or “hillsidehillside. (See hieratic characters in the table above) A common Hebrew word for “hill” is “har” (הר), as in the name of Avram’s brother“Haran” (הרן). “Haran” likely means “mountaineer” or “hill climber”, a name befitting the highlands of northern Mesopotamia.

The egg symbol eggsymbol could easily have been interpreted by the Ah-meh-starh-ans to signify “begot” or “brought forth”.

The woman signifies a “daughter”. The symbol is also appropriately used in connection with a “goddess” or a “queen”, which is what “Milkah” means.


(21) H21 (Missing characters at the end)

H21a (Complete, in another W. Parrish Manuscript) S21a


Now the Lord had said unto me Abram, get the[e] out of thy country, and from thy Kindred, and from thy fathers house, unto a land that I will shew thee, therefore I left the land of Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan, and I took Lot my brothers son, and his wife, and Sarai my wife, and also my father followed after me, unto the land which we denominated Haran and the famine abated, and my father tarried in Haran, and dw elt there, as there were many flocks in Haran, and my father turned again unto his Idolitry, therefore he continued in Haran.

The Ah-meh-strah-ans would have recognized in the “shu feathershu feather, Maat the symbol of Maat, the goddess of truth. But “mat” (מַת) in Hebrew is “a mature man”. (Iyov (Job) 31:31)

The “oar” symbol oar in Egyptian connotes one who is “justified”, but the Hebrew word for “oar”, “shayit” (שַׁיִט, i.e. Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 33:21) is related to שׁוט which connotes, “go”, “rove”, or “travel”. The Ah-meh-strah-ans may have even entertained wordplay between the sound of שׁוט and שׁבת, which means “rest.”

The “milk jugmilk jug and “bread buns” bread buns suggest to the Ah-meh-strah-an mind an abundant place of “milk” and “grain”. (Shemot (Ex.) 3:8, Devarim (Deut.) 8:7-9) There could also be a subtle reference in these symbols to “Haran”, his son Lot, and hill country. See sample (20).

As in sample (19), the “two stroke” symbol is phonetically equivalent to “y” = “yod” (י) = “hand” (Yod). Below the hand and forearm marks is the “tied papyrus scroll” symbol papyrus scroll - tied.

Thus the Ah-meh-strah-ans might have interpreted sample (21) to signify: A just man traveling to a place of milk, and much bread, by the hand [of him whose name is written] upon the scroll [in scripture].

The hand and wrapped up, tied up scroll could also suggest the taking of Lot by the hand, since “Lot” means “wrap up”, “wrap closely, tightly”, “enwrap in confidence or secrecy”.


(22) H22 S22


But I Abram and Lot my brothers son, prayed unto the Lord, and the Lord appeared unto me, and said unto me, arise and take Lot with thee, for I have purposed to take thee away out of Haran, and to make of the[e] <a> minister to bear my name unto a people which I will give in a Strange land which I will give unto thy seed after thee, for an eternal me morial everlasting possession <when> if they

[Pg. 7]

hearken to my voice.

The first hieratic character of sample (22) happens to appears somewhat similar to the hieratic “coil” symbol. See samples (2, 26) and the equivalent hieratic/hieroglyphic symbols in the table above. The “coil” symbol is phonetically equivalent to the “quail chick”. The Ah-meh-strah-ans associated the “coil” with “Ah broam – a follower of righteousness”. See for instance Ah-meh-strah-an degrees pp. 16, 20.

A transtextual interpretation follows:

The Egyptian owlsymbol owl, mulak has the phonetic value “m”. The Hebrew equivalent is the letter “mem” (מ), as in the word “malakh” (מַלְאָךְ), which means “messenger”, and the word “meshar’t” (מְשָׁרְת), translated “minister”. “Messenger” and “minister” are parallel terms, which appear together in plural form in Tehelim (Ps.) 104:4.

The Egyptian word for “owl”, “mulak” sounds strikingly similar to the Hebrew “malakh”, “messenger”.

The Ah-meh-strah-ans could certainly have interpreted the “owl” to mean “malakh”, “messenger”.

The “branch” symbol branch looks strikingly like the ancient “yod” Yod, represented by the hand and forearm.

With the “sieve” symbol sieve approximating the Hebrew letter “hey” Hey , or rather “hilul”, the Ah-meh-strah-ans of old may have interpreted the symbols in sample (22) to represent “messenger [minister] of Yah (the Eternal)”. This of course correlates well with the sepher Avram text with which it is associated.

But there is more in the possible  Ah-meh-strah-an view of these symbols: The owl, “mulak” sounds disturbingly similar to an idol or idols associated with child sacrifice (Vayiqra (Lev.) 18:20, Amos 5:26).

The “Branch”, “Netser” or “Tsemah” is a messianic symbol (i.e. Yesha'Yahu (Is.) 11:1, YirmehYahu (Jer.) 33:15, ZekharYah (Zech.) 3:8). The “Branch” is a title of the anointed son of the Davidic line. This son of Avraham is also considered by God to be his son. (Tehelim (Ps.) 2:7, Mishle (Prov.) 30:4)

Thus, the Ah-meh-strah-ans could have perceived in sample (22): “The cruel sacrifice of the Branch [Anointed Son] of the God behind the blood stained veil”. The distinction in this case is, that with this God, the child lives and becomes one with his  divine parent, who raises the dead. (Yesha'Yahu (Is.) 26:19; 9:6-7; 53:1-12)

(23) H23 S23

Note: Some of the manuscript  characters filling in the missing portion of the papyrus, are similar to (19). Note the “sieve” symbol sieve at the end of the previous sample (22), and at the beginning of sample (19).


For I am the Lord thy God, I dwell in heaven, the earth is my footstool. I stretch my hand over the sea, and it obeys my voice I cause the wind and the fire to be my chariot, I say to the m ountains depart hence and behold they are taken away by a whirl wind in an instant suddenly, my name is Jehovah, and I kn ow the beginning the end from the beginning, therefore my hand shall be over thee, and I will make of thee, a great nation and I will bless thee, above measure, and make thy name great among all nations.

Possible Ah-meh-strah-an interpretation: The “arm arm - "a" (sounds like “a”, as in “Avram”) by Avram coil (i.e. sample (2)) is the powerful (“grasping”, clasped) hand clasped hand of him whose great name is not spelled out here  (a name that begins with duel =  y” =  י = Yod = “yod” = the “hand” extended).

The implication is that Adonai (the Eternal) would place upon Avram his own great name; and indeed,Yod  +  coil = “y” + “w”, does in fact approximate the first three letters of the sacred Tetragrammaton:   vav, nail Hey Yod


(24) H24 S24


And thou shalt be a blessing, unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and pr iesthood unto all nations, and I will bless them, through thy name, for as many as receive this gospel, in Shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as unto their father, and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee, and in thee and in (that is in thy priesthood.) and in thy seed, (that is thy pristhood) for I give unto the[e] a prom ise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee, (that is to say thy literal seed, or the seed

[Pg. 8]

of thy body,) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal. [blank line]

The Hebrew word “z’roa” (זְרׂעַ), meaning “armarm - "a" (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 51:5), is quite similar to the word “zera” (זֶרַע), meaning “seed” (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 61:9). Here we may see the “arms” of Avraham’s “seed” bearing the “nes” (the “sign”, the vertical “pole” vertical stroke sign, or “ensign”) of the venomous serpent to the nations (Bemidbar (Num.) 21:6-9, Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 5:26, 14:29) – to all “fleshflesh that will rise up and call him “fatherhorned serpent– they who will but “face (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 51:2), and pledge by “mouthmouth (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 45:23).


(25) H25 S25


Now after the Lord had withdrew from speaking to me, and withdrew his face from me, I said in my hea rt thy servant has sought thee, earn nestly, now I have found thee, thou didst send thine angel to delivr me, from the gods of Elkkener [Elkenah], and I will do well to hearken, unto thy voice, ther efore let thy servant arise up and depart in peace so I Abram departed, as the Lord had said unto me, and Lot with me, and I Abram was sixty and two years old, when I departed out of Ha ran.

After he (Avram) sought with all his “hearthearthe who appeared before har’El (“mount of God”, “altar of God” (YehezqEl (Ezek.) 43:15-16), wordplay with “lion of God”, Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 29:1, Divre Hayamim (1 Chr.) 11:22), he took up nesvertical stroke sign(stave, pole) and departed Haran (pastoral highland, symbolized by the bread bun bread bun that resembles a  “har”, or hill hill, see sample (20).

Note: Hebrew Haran is distinct from the Akkadian Haran spelled with a “het” ח). Joseph Smith’s Inspired Version of the Bible notes that “Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran [meaning Haran].” (JST Gen. 12:3; see also 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, Lectures on Faith, Q&A, pg. 31)


(26) H26 S26


And I took Sarai, whom I took to wife in Ur of Chaldeea wife when I was in Ur, in Chaldeea [Chaldea], and Lot my brothers Son, and all our substance, that we had gathered, and the souls that we had won in Haran, and came forth in the way to the land of Canaan, and dwelt in tents, as we came on our way, there fore eternity was our covering, and our rock, and our salvation, as we journ eyed, from Haran, by the way of jersh Jurshon [Jershon], to come to the land of can aan.

[Pg. 9]

The “fleshflesh(“limb” or “neck”, Bereshit (Gen.) 2:24) of “fatherhorned serpent(Avram), and his sister/spouse (represented by the goddess whose name begins with “as”flesh); were joined in “Qanah” reed (land of “reeds”, a.k.a. land of the Kasdim - possible wordplay with “qin’ah” (קִנְאָה) = “ardent love”. There is also here a possible play on words between “arah” (עָרָה) meaning “reed, make naked, lay bare” (Yesha’Yahu (Is.) 19:7) and “orah = moonlight”, “Ur”. The sound of “arah”, of course, occurs in “Sarah”.)

The “flesh”, “limb”, “neck” symbol has phonetic value “as”, as in “Asset” (throne goddess Isis); analogues here to Sarah. “Asset” (Isis) is married to her brother “Asir” (Osiris). Similarly “Sarah” (Princess) is married to her brother “Avraham” (Father of multitudes). (Bereshit (Gen.) 20:12)

Note the venomous horned serpenthorned serpent, capable of coiling coil. This Egyptian symbol for father, is far from intrinsically evil. Note the reproductive symbolism. (Bemidbar (Num.) 21:6-9)

The last symbols in sample (26) seem to better relate to remaining parts of the previous section: coil = Avram. owl, mulak = messenger, “angel”; see sample (22). hillside = hillside (i.e. Har-Potiphera, “Potiphar’s Hill” by which the idolatrous altar of Elqanah stood; See Abraham 1:10; 20). mouth = mouth (i.e. voice of the Eternal).


(27) H27 S27


Now I Abram, built an altar unto the Lord, in the land of Jurshon and made an offiring unto the Lord and prayed that the famine, mig ht be turned away from my fathers house, that they might not perish; and then we passed from jurshon [Jershon] thr ough the land unto the place of Sich em [Sechem, “Sichem” in Gen. 12:6, KJV, “Shechem” in Gen. 33:18, KJV], it was situated in the plains of Moreh, and we had already, come into the land <borders> of the <land of the> Canaanites, and I offered sacrifice there, in the plains of Moreh, and called on the Lord devo utly because we <[we]> had already come into the land of this Idolitrous nation.

[Pg. 10]

“Qanah” (land of “reeds”), “arah” (“reed”, “naked, bare land”), “Ur”,reed at his “backseat-backing, they gathered all their substance, “packingto pack all their belongings, “tying the recordstie scrolls, and taking “Lot” (לּוׂט = wrap closely, tightly; like a scroll)papyrus scroll - tied - so they departed. And Av-raham (אַב־רָחָם = father of compassion, affection, “gier eagle” = bread bun + ) prayed that “compassion (רָחָם, Vayiqra (Lev.) 11:18) would be shown his father’s housebread bun, that they should not perish for want of “breadbread bun .

Like a quadratic, or higher order equation having more than one solution; or like a Bach fugue weaving more than one tune harmoniously together, so the Ahmehstrahans placed more than one meaning on various symbols, and could see two or more things at once in the same set of characters.



Academic Interpretation

The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley, Vol 16, 2nd Ed.

pg. 34 footnotes

Hugh Nibley cont.

pg. 35 footnotes


Back to Abraham in Egypt and the Papyrus Solar Ferry

On to Joseph Smith’s Book of the Dead Hypocephalus


Hebrew sense is preserved when read on Internet Explorer - e.g. below, my name in Hebrew should read right!


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