A Note on Benjamin and Lehi
Mosiah 1:2-6, which describes how King Benjamin taught his sons, seems to be patterned after Lehi's teaching of his son Nephi. The italicized words in the extracts below highlight the parallels in the two accounts.
Both passages describe teaching and mention "fathers" or "parents" (the Hebrew uses one word for both), the name(s) of the son(s), "Jerusalem," the "language of the Egyptians," and the "mysteries of God" and declare that the record is "true." This is one of many other examples of how Nephite writers relied on earlier records as they recorded their history. Finding such direct correspondence in widely separated passages of the Book of Mormon is particularly significant when we realize that evidence suggests that Joseph Smith translated the book of Mosiah and all that follows it before turning to translate the small plates containing the record of Nephi.1
Mormon discovered the small plates as he was recording events from the life of King Benjamin (Words of Mormon 1:3). Perhaps it was Benjamin's use of the opening verses of 1 Nephi that prompted Mormon to search among the Nephite records to find the earlier account. While the kings kept the large plates of Nephi, the small plates were passed along in the family of Nephi's brother Jacob until Amaleki turned them over to King Benjamin (Omni 1:25). It is significant that Benjamin's use of Nephi's opening words are found at the point in the record where the king would have recently received the small plates.2Notes