MORE PERSPECTIVES ON BENJAMIN'S SPEECH
Two more interesting insights into the complex nature of King Benjamin's speech have been noticed. First, in the June 1985 issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature, an article by William Kurz analyzes the twenty elements found in typical classical Greek, Roman and Biblical "farewell addresses." In such speeches, the person who is about to die summons successors, points to his own mission as an example, proclaims his innocence, discusses his impending death, gives exhortations, appoints a successor, etc. While many of these elements taken alone are unremarkable, the full pattern Kurz displays is interesting. It is apparent that King Benjamin's speech fits the pattern as well as or better than most of the examples Kurz analyzes.
Second, Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel I:100-15, discusses the probable elements of standard Israelite coronations. Coronations occured at the temple (cf. Mosiah 1:18), following an investiture with royal insignia such as a scepter or sword (cf. 1:16). The king was anointed (cf. 6:3), then acclaimed by the people in a proclamation of willingness to keep the king's or God's commandments (cf. 5:5). After the coronation the officers of the kingdom were reordained to reestablish the political order under the new king (cf. 6:3). It was also common (unlike the practice in Europe) for a co-regency to exist, with the new king serving concurrently with the old monarch until the latter's death (cf. 6:4-5). These and other factors indicate that King Benjamin's coronation of his son Mosiah II followed identifiable ancient Israelite customary procedures.