Good King Benjamin

1

February 27, 2015 by FHElessons

This post is part of my Book of Mormon story series.  To see all the stories in this series, click on the “Scripture Stories” tab at the top of the page.  To see a timeline of how all the stories fit together, go HERE.

For a flow chart showing the different groups of people in the Book of Mormon and where they lived, go HERE.

King Benjamin preaches from his tower

from lds.org media library

You may have seen the above picture of King Benjamin preaching from his tower before.  And you may have noticed in some of my other posts of scripture stories from the Book of Mormon that my daughter has drawn pictures for me to illustrate the stories.

If any of you have artistic talent and would like to help share the gospel by illustrating Book of Mormon stories, I would love to publish your work on my blog!  I am looking for artwork illustrating any Book of Mormon story, well-known or obscure, and on any level, beginner to expert.  If you would be willing to share your artwork with me and with my readers, please e-mail me at FHElessons {at} aol {dot} com.  Thank you!  Here’s our story for today:

 

Good King Benjamin

(found in Omni 1, Words of Mormon, and Mosiah 1-5)

When you think of a king, what kind of man do you envision? Do you envision one who lives in a palace, with a life of luxury? Do you think of one who gives commands and whose word must be obeyed? Well, let me tell you about King Benjamin:

Here are some things that King Benjamin did during his reign:

  • Fought with “the strength of his own arm” and “with the sword of Laban” (Words of Mormon 1:13) to defend his people when they were attacked by the Lamanites, gaining advantage over the Lamanites and driving them out of his land. (Omni and Words of Mormon)
  • Kept a record of his people that would become scripture to us. (Omni and Words of Mormon)
  • Punished false Christs and false prophets and false preachers who came among his people.
  • “Was a holy man and reigned over his people in righteousness.” (Words of Mormon 1:17)
  • Spoke the word of God with power and authority. (W of M 1:17)
  • Labored with “all the might of his body and the faculty of his whole soul” to teach his people and establish peace in the land. (W of M 1:18)
  • Spent his days in the service of his people. (Mosiah 2:14-19)
  • Labored with his own hands so that his people might not be laden with taxes. (Mosiah 2:14)
  • Admitted to being a man, subject to all manner of infirmities in body and mind, just like anyone else. (Mosiah 2:11)
  • Did not seek for wealth. (Mosiah 2:12)
  • Taught his people to follow God and to avoid wickedness. (Mosiah 2:13)
  • Did not allow slavery. (Mosiah 2:13)
  • Taught his children to be “men of understanding” and men of God. (Mosiah 1:2-8)

 

Can you imagine a king such as this? Can you imagine having the President or leader of your country being a man like this, a man who would put the well-being of his people above his own, a man who would labor with all his might and strength to help his people to follow God and to be happy?

If you had a leader like that, would you follow him? Would you be willing and eager to listen to his words? I know I would!

King Benjamin confers the kingdom on Mosiah

from lds.org media library

When King Benjamin was getting old, after a lifetime of serving his people, he decided to confer the kingdom on his son, Mosiah. In order to do this, he asked that all his people be gathered together so that he could,

1. Let them know that Mosiah would be their new king.

2. Give his people a name to distinguish them.

3. Teach them one last time – give them his last words.

All the people of Zarahemla gathered at the temple so that they could hear the words of their king. They brought the firstlings of their flocks in order to offer sacrifices at the temple, according to the law of Moses and to give thanks to God for protecting them from their enemies and for giving them a righteous king. They pitched their tents all around the temple, each family having a tent, with the door towards the temple. Because there were too many people for King Benjamin to be heard if he taught from the temple, he had a tower built from which he could preach. He also caused that his words be written down and sent around to the people for those who would not be able to hear him.

tall watchtower like King Noah's may have been

(Above is a photo of a tower that my sister saw in Central America. I wonder if King Benjamin’s tower could have been anything like this?)

The sermon that he taught his people is my very favorite part of the whole Book of Mormon. I love to read it over and over again. Not only are the doctrines he taught true, but he says it in such beautiful and poetic language that it is wonderful to hear and to read. I would love to have his whole speech memorized someday.

Obviously I cannot give you all of King Benjamin’s speech here as it takes up 4 chapters in the Book of Mormon. So I advise you to read it yourself and read it often. You will find it in Mosiah 2, beginning in verse 9 and going on through chapter 5. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“And behold also, if I, whom ye call your king, who has spent his days in your service, and yet has been in the service of god, do merit any thinks from you, O how you ought to thank your heavenly King!” (Mosiah 2:19)

He goes on to say how you could spend your whole life praising and serving and trying to pay God back for all that He has done for you, and “yet ye would be unprofitable servants”. But, God does not require you to do this. All he requires of you is to keep His commandments! And if you do keep His commandments, he blesses and prospers you. (Mosiah 2:19-22)

*****

“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” (Mosiah 3:19)

*****

“Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.” (Mosiah 4:19)

*****

“For behold, are we not all beggars? Do we not all depend upon the same Being, even God…And now, if god, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.” (Mosiah 3:19-21)

*****

What was the people’s reaction to King Benjamin’s speech? First, “they all cried aloud with one voice” asking the Lord to have mercy on them and apply the atoning blood of Christ to forgive them of their sins. They professed their belief in Jesus Christ, and the Spirit of the Lord came upon them and filled them with joy, forgiving their sins because of their exceeding faith in Christ. (Mosiah 4:2-3)

Next, they cried with one voice again, stating that the Spirit of the Lord had wrought a mighty change in their hearts, so that they had no more disposition to do evil but to do good continually. (Mosiah 5:2) Because of this, they all chose to enter into a covenant with God to do His will and be obedient to His commandments.

Here is the part where King Benjamin gives them a name. Because they had entered into this covenant, he told them that they will be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters. (Mosiah 5:7) He promised them that taking Christ’s name upon them would make them free and would also cause that they will be found at the right hand of God. King Benjamin counseled his people to retain this name written in their hearts (vs. 12), that they would hear and know God’s voice when He calls them.

King Benjamin took down all the names of the people who chose to enter into this covenant, which included the name of every single person there. He consecrated his son, Mosiah, to be the new king (see the picture above) and gave him charge over the brass plates, the sword of Laban, the liahona, the plates that were the record of Nephi, and the larger plates that were the record kept by the kings. He also appointed more priests and teachers for the people and then lived for three more years before he died. King Benjamin was an amazing man and a wonderful leader!

Points to Ponder:

King Benjamin was a righteous leader who cared more for the well being of his people than for a life of luxury. What would it be like to have a leader like that today? Will there ever be a time when we will have such a leader?

Why was it important for King Benjamin to give his people a new name at this time? How did that benefit them as a people?

Why was the temple the gathering place for the people to hear the king’s words? What does this show about their society and about their king?

The people of Zarahemla offered sacrifices when they came to the temple. Today we no longer follow the law of Moses. What do we give instead? How does what we give show worship to God? How do both these kinds of sacrifices remind us of Christ’s sacrifice for us?

Does the people gathering to hear the words of their leader remind you of something? Today we gather to hear the words of our prophets and apostles twice a year for general conference. We don’t need to pitch our tents and actually try to be within hearing distance to hear them. How have modern inventions such as radio, television, and the internet helped God’s work to go forward to all nations?

Pick out your favorite part of King Benjamin’s speech and discuss it in depth:

  • How are we all beggars?
  • How can we thank our Heavenly King for all He has done for us?
  • How can we overcome the natural man? What is it and why is it an enemy to God?

 

King Benjamin’s people entered into a covenant to obey God’s commandments and take Christ’s name upon them. When do we do the same thing? What blessings are we promised when we renew these covenants each week?

One thought on “Good King Benjamin

  1. Jess Bottles says:

    Oh this is a great FHE! Awesome to see “Good King Benjamin” more and more! Here is a nice song to go with the theme. https://youtu.be/PosC2bcArSs

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Hi! I'm Laura. I started this blog to continue to teach FHE lessons to my children who are grown and living away from home. I also hope to serve my six sisters by preparing FHE lessons that they can use with their younger children, and I hope the lessons will be helpful to you as well! If you would like to contact me, please e-mail me at FHElessons@aol.com.

What is FHE?

FHE stands for Family Home Evening and is a night set aside each week (usually Monday) by families who belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. FHE is a chance for parents to teach lessons to their children about the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as other important topics. The lesson is frequently accompanied by a fun activity together as a family and a yummy treat.
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