“Nephi Anointed a Man to Be a King”

Alan C. Miner

If Nephi had been the only king of the Nephites, then who are the "kings" that Jacob refers to when he says, "he [Nephi] anointed a man to be a king and a ruler over his people. . . . according to the reigns of the kings" (Jacob 1:9)? And who was the man that Nephi anointed to be king? According to Stephen Ricks, 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. [See the commentary on Mosiah 1:2] [Stephen D. Ricks, "King, Coronation, and Covenant in Mosiah 1-6," in Rediscovering the Book of Mormon, F.A.R.M.S., p. 210]

Note* Thus, we might suppose not only that the Nephite kingship fell to one of the sons of Nephi, but that this son was chosen by the Lord, "according to the reigns of the kings" (of Israel).. [See the commentary on Mosiah 9:1]

[Jacob 1:9-11], And Whoso Should Reign, Were Called by the People Second Nephi, Third Nephi, . . . Let Them Be of Whatever Name They Would:

The kings after Nephi were named Nephi II, Nephi III, etc. (Jacob 1:9-11). If we assume that the average age of the king was 38-40 when his heir was born, that the heir began to reign at the age of 30, and that the kings turned over their kingdom between the ages of 68 and 70, then:

Year (Years Since Lehi Left Jerusalem)

031 Nephi is made king of the land of Nephi at age 46.

056 Nephi anoints another king (Nephi II) (Jacob 1:9-11)

(Nephi is 71 and Nephi II is 30).

094 Nephi II (68) anoints Nephi III (30).

132 Nephi III (68) anoints Nephi IV (30).

170 Nephi IV (68) anoints Nephi V (30).

208 Nephi V (68) anoints Nephi VI (30).

246 Nephi VI (68) anoints Nephi VII (30).

283 Nephi VII (68) anoints Nephi VIII (30).

322 Nephi VIII (68) anoints Nephi IX (30).

361 Nephi IX (69) anoints Nephi X (30).

367 Mosiah1 is born.

401 Nephi X (70) anoints Nephi XI (30).

401 Mosiah1 becomes of age (30) to become king.

Thus: Mosiah1 would seem to correspond to Nephi XI.

Although this is hypothetical, it serves to remind the reader of just how much time the Nephites lived in the land of Nephi. [See the commentary on Omni 1:12]

Step by Step Through the Book of Mormon: A Cultural Commentary