Monday, September 24, 2007

Ether 4

The Benjamin-Mosiah Name Change

In original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon, Mosiah 21:28 and Ether 4:1 both refer to King Benjamin. In subsequent editions, Benjamin was changed to Mosiah.

The Maxwell Institute at BYU has the following under its FAQ section:

“King Benjamin's death is recorded in Mosiah 6:5, so why does the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon have him living at a later time (see Mosiah 21:28 and Ether 4:1), while subsequent editions changed the name to Mosiah in the later references?

“King Benjamin lived for three years after his son Mosiah2 was made king. It was at the end of these three years that the expedition was sent to the Land of Nephi, where the plates of Ether were found. After relinquishing his kingship, Benjamin may have continued to act as a seer for the three-year interval. The chronology in this part of the book is not all that clear. We do not know how long Ammon and his brethren were in the Land of Nephi. It could have been only a matter of weeks or months. It is not inconceivable then, that Benjamin passed away shortly after their return, which still would have been "after three years" (Mosiah 6:5). It is certainly possible that the keeper of the record of Zeniff or Mormon and Moroni (Ether 4:1) may have erred in compiling the records. After all they were mortals, capable of making mistakes (which both Mormon and Moroni admitted). The issue of whether the individual was Mosiah or Benjamin is not that important as far as salvation is concerned (the Bible displays similar apparent anomalies). It is also possible that this was an example of a scribal error, later corrected by Joseph Smith the translator.

“It is interesting that the Bible has a situation similar to that found in the Book of Mormon. We read in 1 Kings 14:29-15:5 that Abijam (also called Abijah, as in the parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 12:16) became king of Judah after the death of his father Rehoboam and that, despite his sins, the Lord preserved his kingship for the sake of his ancestor David. Then, in the verses that follow (1 Kings 15:6-7), we read, "And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life. Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam." The name Rehoboam is anachronistic, since he was dead and the passage was intended to describe events in the days of his son Abijam. The error is actually corrected in a few Hebrew manuscripts and in the Peshitta (Christian Syriac) version to read, "And there was war between Abijah the son of Rehoboam." The parallel passage in 2 Chronicles 13:2 reads, "And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam." (

Never Were Greater Things Shown to Man

In Ether 4, Moroni continues his narration with some commentary of his own. He tells us that there were never greater things shown to man than to the Brother of Jared. (Ether 4:4) He tells us that he has sealed his writings concerning the things which the Brother of Jared has seen. (Ether 4:5)

The Power of God

In Ether 4:9, we are reminded of the great power that God has over his domain of which the Earth is a part. He can make the heavens open and shut. He can cause earthquakes and he can cause the Earth to burn. This knowledge is important to have since it reminds us that God is all-powerful; and that if we do not keep his commandments, he can destroy us. In this age of independence, we could do well to remember that God is still our Maker and that if we choose not to obey His law, then we will suffer the consequences.

Whatsoever Thing Persuadeth Men to do Good is of God

The Lord persuades men to do good. This is one of the ways we can tell if something is of God or of the devil. If it persuades us to be good and to do good, then it is of God. If it persuades us to do evil, then it is of the devil. (Ether 4:11-12 see also Moroni 7:17)

Found Faithful

“Blessed is he that is found faithful unto my name at the last day.” (Ether 4:19) Just as the parable of the workers, there are those who are called to labor in the fields all day and there are those who are called to labor in the field in the final hour. (see Matthew 20:1-16) What is important is that we are found laboring in the field when the Lord comes. Our eternal destination does not depend on how far you’ve walked on the path, but that you are on the path and that you are moving forward.

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