Nehemiah 2:19—Why is Nehemiah’s adversary named Geshem here and Gashmu in Nehemiah 6:6? (kjv)

Problem: As soon as Nehemiah set about to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, the surrounding enemy mounted an opposition. One of those who opposed the work was identified as Geshem the Arab. However, in Nehemiah 6:6 this same person is identified as Gashmu. Which is the correct spelling?

Solution: Both spellings are correct. The difference lies in the way the Hebrew and Arab languages treat the spelling of proper names. The Arabic pronunciation is preserved in Nehemiah 6:6 with the customary “u” ending. The Hebrew pronunciation is preserved in Nehemiah 2:19 with the elimination of the “u” along with the appropriate short vowels to produce the name “Geshem.”

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.