A Reading for a Covenant New Year
“King Benjamin’s Speech in the context of Ancient Israelite Festivals,” by Terrence L. Szink and John W. Welch, from King Benjamin’s Speech
King Benjamin’s speech (Mosiah 2-5) can be viewed as a new year ritual. It was a ceremony for commitment, covenant, sacrifice, judgment, and a recognition of the king’s authority. “During the first two weeks of each fall season, all the people living under the law of Moses kept certain days holy, marking the celebration of the turn of a new year, the continuation of God’s reign, and the abundance of God’s goodness. Although it is impossible to reconstruct with precision what transpired in antiquity on those days, it appears that such Israelite celebrations probably included religious convocations, rituals, and festivals that served to renew the allegiance of the people to their heavenly and earthly kings, to purify the group from all unholiness, and to strengthen their commitment to revealed principles of personal and community righteousness.” King Benjamin’s speech is an example for all of us to recommit at the new year.