Mosiah 21:28; Ether 4:1. Benjamin or Mosiah?
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 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 party 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 before or after their return, which still would have been “after three years” (Mosiah 6:5). Though this is the most likely explanation (in view of the occurrence of the name Benjamin in both places), it is also possible that the keeper of the record or the abridgers, 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 ofl whether the individual was Mosiah or Benjamin is not that important as far as salvation is concerned. It is also klp;;ossible, though less likely, 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 15:29-15:5 that Abijam (called Abijah 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, probably prepared in postexilic times, reads, “And there was war between Abijah and Jeroboam.” Such mistakes are not uncommon in historical records.