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The Law of the King

David Bokovoy

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Just a couple of comments for you David.

First, I think that while Nephi portrays his reluctance to become "king", it all seems just a little bit like posturing to me (which of course makes it more likely that he is referring to the Old Testament text). He doesn't mind telling us early, and often, that he was chosen to be a "ruler" over his brothers, and (if you accept my arguments about Nephi and Laban) he demonstrates his right to be king, and to offer a dynastic change from a Davidic king in his text. This is particularly interesting when they encounter other Israelites in the form of the Mulekites, yet do not accept the rule of the Davidic King (Zarahemla) but instead the king of the Nephites (Mosiah IIRC) - even though the Nephites are a minority, becomes king of the larger group.

I'll do some more reading on the 1 Sam. 8 stuff when I get a few minutes, and tell you what I think.

It occured to me a while ago that 1 Nephi 19:6 might be read a little differently than I had in the past:

Nevertheless, I do not write anything upon plates save it be that I think it be sacred. And now, if I do err, even did they err of old; not that I would excuse myself because of other men, but because of the weakness which is in me, according to the flesh, I would excuse myself.

What if Nephi is suggesting here that he has patterned his text on Biblical texts - and because of this, if he has made an error in what he wrote (that he thought was sacred) it was the same as (or because of) what they "of old" (the authors of his Brass Plates) had considered sacred enough to include in their record ...


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First, I think that while Nephi portrays his reluctance to become "king", it all seems just a little bit like posturing to me (which of course makes it more likely that he is referring to the Old Testament text).

I agree. The Book of Mormon immediately introduces readers to Nephi as king in both the superscription which refers to Nephi

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David -

It is certainly an interesting context in which to put the curse language of 2 Nephi 5.

I wonder if there isn't a connection also with Deuteronomy 30:

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;

18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and acursing: therefore bchoose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

I think it interesting that there is, amongst this curse language, the insistence that the Lamanites (who are cursed) are being kept to serve as a reminder for the Nephites, instead of being destroyed ...

I also think that there are some strong connections between 1 Samuel 8 and a couple of texts in Mosiah dealing with kingship issues.

The first one that clearly jumped out at me, as I was reading 1 Samuel 8 over the weekend was Mosiah 19ff. The passage of real interest in this case in 1 Samuel 8 is verses 10-18 (NIV):

10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
Despite the fact that Noah was a wicked king, it was the abandonment of the "heavenly king" represented by Abinadi that causes them to experience even worse than merely having a wicked king.

So, from the BoM text, we get this:

... deliver up their property, even one half of all they possessed, one half of their gold, and their silver, and all their precious things, and thus they should pay tribute to the king of the Lamanites from year to year. ... And the king of the Lamanites set guards round about the land, that he might keep the people of Limhi in the land, that they might not depart into the wilderness; and he did support his guards out of the tribute which he did receive from the Nephites. ... but they [the Lamanites] would smite them on their cheeks, and exercise authority over them; and began to put heavy burdens upon their backs, and drive them as they would a dumb ***
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A stray thought, gents:

The parallels between this "preservation" of the Lamanites and the situation the Nephites' ancestors faced after Joshua's death are striking. This from Judges 2:

1 AND an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.  2 And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not bobeyed my voice: why have ye done this?  3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

4 And it came to pass, when the angel of the LORD spake these words unto all the children of Israel, that the people lifted up their voice, and wept.  5 And they called the name of that place Bochim: and they sacrificed there unto the LORD.

reminds me thematically, if not linguistically, of the Nephites' political situation.

I cannot imagine it is accidental.

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