King Benjamin’s Speech

"That Ye May Learn Wisdom"

Stephen D. Ricks

For readers of the Book of Mormon, King Benjamin’s speech is a treasure trove of inspiration, wisdom, eloquence, and spiritual insight. King Benjamin’s Speech: “That Ye May Learn Wisdom” is the most substantial collection of studies ever to focus exclusively on this landmark address.

The contributors examine this speech in the multifaceted contexts in which it was delivered: as a classic speech of a departing leader near the time of his death, as the focus of an annual festival season mandated anciently under the law of Moses, as part of a covenant renewal ceremony delivered within the sacred precinct of the Nephite temple in Zarahemla, and as preparation for the coronation of a new king.

Historical and linguistic tools and information are employed in these essays to help the reader to better grasp the speech’s historical setting, its doctrinal implications, its literary qualities, its influence then and now, and its overall brilliance. This book contains the complete text of the speech along with detailed notes, cross-references, textual commentary, and a select bibliography.

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About the Editor

Stephen D. Ricks

Stephen D. Ricks (Ph.D. in Near Eastern Religions, University of California, Berkeley, and Graduate Theological Union) is Professor of Hebrew and Cognate Learning in the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University. He served as president of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies and as chairman of the board, as the founding editor of the Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, and as Associate Dean of General Education and Honors at Brigham Young University.

Table of Contents

  • King Benjamin's Sermon: A Manual for Discipleship
  • Introduction
  • Abbreviations
  • Benjamin, the Man: His Place in Nephite History
  • Benjamin's Speech: A Masterful Oration
  • Benjamin's Sermon as a Traditional Ancient Farewell Address
  • Assembly and Atonement
  • King Benjamin's Speech in the Context of Ancient Israelite Festivals
  • Benjamin's Speech as a Prophetic Lawsuit
  • Kingship. Coronation, and Covenant in Mosiah 1–6
  • Benjamin and the Mysteries of God
  • Benjamin's Covenant as a Precursor of the Sacrament Prayers
  • Parallelism and Chiasmus in Benjamin's Speech
  • The Use of King Benjamin's Address by Latter-day Saints
  • Appendix: Complete Text of Benjamin's Speech with Notes and Comments
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Publication Information

  • Publication Date: 1998
  • ISBN 13: 978-0934893305
  • Page Count: 679
  • Format: hardcover
  • Price: $ 24.95
  • Imprint: FARMS

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The views expressed here and in Maxwell Institute publications are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Maxwell Institute, Brigham Young University, or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“Seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” (D&C 88:118)