“Ye Shall Be Called the Children of Christ”
In Mosiah 4-6 we get a continuation of Mormon quoting directly the primary source of King Benjamin’s speech. We must ask why he does so.
4:4 “My friends and my brethren, my kindred and my people” This is an interesting sentence structure. It goes from non-familial to familial, then back to familial followed by non-familial.
4:5,6 Mosiah compares us to God to set us up for the need for an atonement.
4:6-8 “…this is the man who receiveth salvation,” There is no mention of baptism.
4:9-10 “Beleive….” This moves from purely propositional knowledge to knowledge of acquaintance to procedural knowledge.
4:11-14 “have tasted of his love…greatness of God…[remembrance] of your own nothingness…filled with the love of God….not have a mind to injure…” Benjamin seems to be making a case for the chronological and logical priority of Grace followed by works. It appears that it is God’s grace that allows us to do good works. This is opposed to how Nephi sees it (2 Nephi 25:23). “for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”
4:17 “hath no interest…” What kind of interest? The interest that engages one’s attention or a right, claim, or share in a business or property?
4:19-21 This starts with temporal “gold, and for silver”, moves onto the spiritual “begging for a remission of your sins”, and ends at temporal “impart of your substance”.
Not once does King Benjamin mention not drinking tea, beer, coffee, nor smoking tobacco. Nor does he mention that a man must have no facial hair, or that he must wear a white shirt to church. I long for the day when Mormons will be known for their philanthropy as what distinguishes them from other Christian sects.
5:2, 7; Alma 5:7, 12, 13, 14, 25; 19:33; Helaman 15:7 “change of heart” It is in Benjamin’s speech that we see this idiom introduced, not as a summary of his speech, but as a direct quote as a primary source. We see the influence of this speech on later Nephite culture.
Mosiah 5:2 This also introduces the idea that knowledge comes through revelation in response to faith. “wrought a change” This idiom is later repeated in Moroni’s appraisal of the brothers Nephi and Lehi as he is giving his great discourse on faith (Ether 12:14). It possibly shows that Moroni was somewhat familiar with his father’s writings prior to taking charge of the plates. Or, it shows a common idiom a thousand years later. When listening to General Conference, I like to speculate about what idioms will enter into the lexicon of the average members of our wards. “Tender mercies” (1 Nephi 1:20) was almost never said until Elder Bednar used it in a General Conference address. Now it is a favorite to use – particularly in Utah.
5:7, 8 The concept of taking upon oneself the name of another person is interesting. When my wife married me, she took my last name. When someone adopts a child, that child takes the last name of the parents. Here it appears that it is through spiritual re-birth that one takes the name of Jesus. What does it mean “[to know] the name by which he shall call you” (vs 12)? Obviously we arent’ going to run around calling each other “Jesus”.
5:11; Alma 5:57 “blotted out” Here we see some of the importance of Benjamin’s speech as influencing the idioms used in later Nephite history.
5:14 “ass…flocks” What is going on here? A group of asses is called either a herd or a pace of asses. Does Joseph Smith really mean asses? Does he really mean flocks? Or is it some other words/animals that did not exist in Joseph Smith’s lexicon?
Benjamin consecrates (vs 3) Mosiah2 as king. Is there a difference between anointing and consecrating?
World English Dictionary
1. to smear or rub over with oil or an oily liquid
2. to apply oil to as a sign of consecration or sanctification in a sacred rite
1. to make or declare sacred or holy; sanctify
2. to dedicate (one’s life, time, etc) to a specific purpose
3. to ordain (a bishop)
4. Christianity to sanctify (bread and wine) for the Eucharist to be received as the body and blood of Christ
5. to cause to be respected or revered; venerate: time has consecrated this custom