Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:19:4:Kingship: King as covenant guardian

Nephite Kingship: The King as Guardian of the Covenant of the Lord

Nephite Kingship: The King as Guardian of the Covenant of the Lord

The king in the Near East was obliged to maintain justice generally and to protect the rights of the weakest members of society. Benjamin does not discuss this responsibility directly, but several points in his sermon imply that he understood and abided by the principle of protecting the rights of the weak (for example, see Mosiah 2:17–18; 4:13–16, 24).

The king in Israel had an added responsibility of acting as guardian of the covenant between the Lord and his people—a concept that seems to have no parallel among neighboring peoples. He was expected to be an obedient follower of God and to lead his people to obey the covenant.

Kingship and covenant are also closely connected in Mosiah 1-6. Benjamin's command to his son to prepare for this grand occasion had two parts to it, to proclaim the son the new king, and to "give this people a name" (Mosiah 1:10–11). The name was "the name of Christ." This was to be accepted by all "that have entered into the covenant with God that [they] should be obedient unto the end of [their] lives" (Mosiah 5:8).

The association of the two concepts in the agenda indicates that they were linked in Nephite thinking. Kingship and the covenant of the people with God are again combined in Mosiah 6:3. After Mosiah had been consecrated king, he appointed priests "to teach the people, that thereby they might hear and know the commandments of God, and to stir them up in remembrance of the oath [or covenant] which they had made." The record notes that following Benjamin's death, Mosiah very strictly observed the covenant and the commandments that his father had passed on to him (see Mosiah 6:6).[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.