Mosiah 6

Mosiah 6:1-2 take the names of all those who had entered into a covenant

If Benjamin hadn't taken the names of those who had entered into a covenant, he would never have known how well-accepted his words were. In fact, there was not a single adult, teenager, or older child who did not believe in his words and make the covenant. For those of us who have given talks or lessons while sizable portions of the audience were disinterested or sleeping, Benjamin's universal appeal is remarkable. Because they all cried with one voice (Mosiah 5;2), we should not assume that they were all alike. This group was a combination of different peoples, the Nephites and the Mulekites. The Mulekites even spoke another language, although they had learned the reformed Hebrew of the Nephites (Omni 1:18). Given the diversity of the audience, the universal appeal of Benjamin's oratory is that much more amazing.

Mosiah 6:3 consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king

The beginning of the reign of Mosiah is the beginning of the end of royal government among the Nephites. Mosiah explains that such a form of government is healthy if the king is righteous like his father:

   'Therefore, if it were possible that you could have just men to be your kings, who would establish the laws of God, and judge this people according to his commandments, yea, if ye could have men for your kings who would do even as my father Benjamin did for this people--I say unto you, if this could always be the case then it would be expedient that ye should always have kings to rule over you. (Mosiah 29:13)

However, Mosiah acknowledges that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king (Mosiah 29:16). Therefore, the practice ends. With the exception of a secret combination that referred to their leader as a king (3 Ne 7), there are no more Nephite kings. Accordingly, Amulek refers to Mosiah as our last king (Alma 10:19)

In spite of the fact that Mosiah is the last Nephite king, we are about to read of three other kings, Zeniff, Noah, and Limhi. However, this record, as contained in Mosiah 9-22, is a flashback to a previous time and a different group of people.

Mosiah 6:3 appointed priests to stir them up in remembrance of the oath

Notice how quickly Benjamin sets up teachers to keep the people in remembrance of their covenant. As part of the covenant, the people had promised to be obedient for the rest of their lives (Mosiah 5:5). Benjamin didn't want to give them any time to forget what they had promised to remember. This demonstrates Benjamin's understanding of human nature-that we are quick to promise the Lord big things, but that we are quicker to forget what we promised.

The use of the word, "oath" is interesting because it demonstrates that Benjamin's people had entered into an oath and a covenant. An oath is half of a covenant. It represents the promise of one party instead of the contract between two parties. In this case, Benjamin's people promise of to be obedient to the Lord for the rest of their lives. This is the oath that they are to remember.

Mosiah 6:4 four hundred and seventy-six years from the time that Lehi left Jerusalem

The exact timing of events in the Book of Mormon is not always given. This statement places the beginning of Mosiah's reign in 124 BC. We have not had an exact chronological reference since 155 years earlier, in 279 BC (Omni 1:5).

Mosiah 6:5 king Benjamin lived three years and he died

"Everything known about King Benjamin gives the distinct impression that he was a very Christlike man, whose life was characterized dominantly by humility, love, and service. His many sterling traits of character were amplified as he used them to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was a true father to his people-the father of one of the most flourishing periods in Nephite civilization." (John W. Welch, King Benjamin's Speech: Made Simple, p. 48)

Neal A. Maxwell

"We can be sure that King Benjamin endured well and meekly in the remaining three years of his life after his great sermon (as he taught us to do; see Mosiah 4:30).

"One wonders if he still worked in his garden, at least a little bit. If so, did passersby stop to greet him? Did they perhaps notice, near the end, that he was not in his garden anymore?

"Revered as Benjamin was, what an engaging experience it must have been to hear him preach personally-especially while sitting in one's family circle in a tent facing the temple.

"But we can hear him now. If we read him reverently, the intervening centuries soon melt away. His earnestness emerges, and his personableness almost caresses us, giving King Benjamin such immediacy and high relevancy as his example combines with such powerful words about discipleship. I wonder if, like meek President Spencer W. Kimball, meek Benjamin also did not realize how unique he was in the eyes of the Lord. How blessed we are to have such models." (John W. Welch, and Stephen D. Ricks, King Benjamin's Speech: Made Simple, pp. 19-20)

Mosiah 6:7 Mosiah...himself, did till the earth, that thereby he might not become burdensome to his people

Like father, like son. Benjamin was not just a great politician, statesman, and general, he was a great father. He had successfully transferred to his sons the principle of self-reliance, even as king. Search the annals of history for any other kings who were so benevolent and so concerned that they might not become burdensome to their people. Plan for a long and unfruitful search!