Source:Rediscovering the Book of Mormon:Ch:19:6:Coronation: Annointing

Nephite Coronation: Anointing

Nephite Coronation: Anointing

To anoint the king with oil was a significant part of the coronation ceremonies in ancient Israel and in the ancient Near East generally. The Bible records the anointing of six of the kings: Saul, David, Solomon, Jehu, Joash, and Jehoahaz. Indeed, the name Messiah, which was used to refer to several of the kings of Israel, means anointed, no doubt referring to the rite of anointing the king during his installation.

The Hittites, a northern neighbor of the Israelites, also had a ceremony that included anointing the king with oil. Although there is no clear evidence that the Egyptian king was anointed when he became king, he apparently was anointed every morning before entering the temple to perform daily chants.

Following Benjamin's address and the people's renewal of the covenant, Benjamin "consecrated his son Mosiah to be a ruler and a king over his people" (Mosiah 6:3). The context does not indicate whether this "consecration" included anointing. However, some ritual act was evidently involved, and back almost at the beginning of Nephite history, Jacob indicates that the coronation included anointing. He reported that his brother Nephi, the first king, "began to be old, and he saw that he must soon die; wherefore, he anointed a man to be a king and a ruler over his people now, according to the reigns of the kings" (Jacob 1:9). "According to the reigns of the kings" clearly refers to the pattern of kingship in Judah, with which Nephi was personally familiar.[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.