“King Benjamin Teach His Sons”

Brant Gardner

Redaction: Mormon indicates that he has reached the end of his quotation from the source material. He also indicates that he had selected this material from a larger quantity of Benjamin’s teachings to his sons. Since the next event of importance is the conferral of the kingdom, perhaps Benjamin continued by giving a formal discourse on governance to these princes of the kingdom. Arguably, Benjamin gave this discourse rather late in life; thus, the embedded quotation about the records may be an explanation of the learning they have already received, rather than an explanation of why they will learn this language.

We may also presume that Benjamin’s teachings to his sons have contained moral lessons that Mormon must have weighed for their value to the reader, comparable to Lehi’s discourses to his sons or those of Alma2 to his sons. Nevertheless, Mormon selected only this one section from Benjamin’s discourse. His reason was to quote an ancestral prophet’s emphasis on the significance of the record, a point with which he would particularly resonate as he was charged with abridging and preserving them, a holy task.

Vocabulary: According to Alison V. P. Coutts and her colleagues: “Benjamin uses the word ‘expedient’ here and in Mosiah 4:27; 5:3; 6:1. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines ‘expedient’ as ‘tending to promote the object proposed; fit or suitable for the purpose; proper under the circumstances.’ Benjamin’s usage does not convey the sense of a practical shortcut, as in the modern meaning of the word, but more of being suitably necessary for reconciliation.”

Second Witness: Analytical & Contextual Commentary on the Book of Mormon, Vol. 3