Another Parallel to King Benjamin’s Tower
John A. Tvedtnes
For the two-volume Festschrift published in honor of Hugh Nibley for his 80th birthday, I noted that the “tower” upon which the Nephite king Benjamin stood while addressing his people assembled around the temple was actually the platform (from the Hebrew term usually rendered “tower”) from which Israelite kings addressed the people during the feast of Tabernacles. I also noted other parallels between Benjamin’s assembly and the annual celebration in ancient Israel.[i] Since then, I have noted an Arabic text that attributes similar actions to Adam, first king of mankind.
“Then God commanded Gabriel to call the angelic hosts together before Adam so that he might address them. Gabriel, therefore, called out; and the hosts of the heavens assembled in twenty-thousand rows, each row more splendid than the last. But Adam’s voice was low and did not reach them, so they placed him on the Pulpit of Honor, which had seven stairs.
“This day Adam was wearing a robe of silk brocade . . . On his head was a bejeweled crown of gold with four points, on each of which was a great pearl so radiant that the light of the sun and the moon was extinguished . . . about his waist was the Girdle of Favor. He radiated a brilliant light, which shone in every corner of Paradise.
“Adam stood on the pulpit in that radiance, and God taught him all names and gave him a staff of light . . .
“Adam mounted the pulpit and saluted the angels, saying, ‘Peace be with you, O angels of my Lord, and the mercy of God and His blessings!’”[ii] “Then Adam descended from the pulpit, and God increased his beauty and radiance.”[iii]
[i] John A. Tvedtnes, “King Benjamin and the Feast of Tabernacles,” in John M. Lundquist & Stephen D. Ricks (eds.), By Study and Also by Faith, Essays in Honor of Hugh Nibley, Vol. 2 (Salt Lake City: Deseret and FARMS, 1990).
[ii] W. M. Thackston, Jr., transl., The Tales of the Prophets of al-Kisa’i (Boston: Twayne, 1978), 29 (2.12).
[iii] Ibid., 30.