Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:19:2:Kingship: Choosing the king

Nephite Kingship: Choosing the King

Nephite Kingship: Choosing the King

The Book of Mormon presents a pattern for choosing kings that matches customs in ancient Israel. It was considered necessary that God choose the man to be king. Thus, Solomon, not his older brother Adonijah, succeeded his father David as king, since, as Adonijah himself said, "it [the kingship] was [Solomon's] from the Lord" (1 Kings 2:15). The Nephite King Benjamin believed that God had called Mosiah, his son: "On the morrow I shall proclaim . . . that thou art a king and a ruler over this people, whom the Lord our God hath given us" (Mosiah 1:10).

In Israel, the eldest son of the king usually became the next ruler, although the king was not obligated to choose him if he believed God desired otherwise. Jehoshaphat gave the kingdom to Jehoram "because he was the firstborn" (2 Chronicles 21:3). However, as noted above, Solomon succeeded David even though Solomon was not the eldest son. The Book of Mormon does not say whether Mosiah was Benjamin's firstborn son, although this probably was the case since his name is given first in the list of names of Benjamin's sons (see Mosiah 1:2).

In Israel, both Solomon and Jotham became king while their fathers were still alive because their fathers were old or ill (see 1 Kings 1:32–40; 2:1–10; 2 Kings 15:5). This is also why Benjamin installed Mosiah when he did: "[Benjamin] waxed old, and he saw that he must very soon go the way of all the earth; therefore, he thought it expedient that he should confer the kingdom upon one of his sons" (Mosiah 1:9). Then, after he "had consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his people, . . . king Benjamin lived three years and he died" (Mosiah 6:3, 5).[1]


  1. Stephen D. Ricks, "King, Coronation, and Covenant in Mosiah 1–6," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, edited by John L. Sorenson and Melvin J. Thorne (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Co.; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1991), Chapter 19.