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KnoWhy #128 - What Did it Mean to be “King Over All the Land”? (Alma 20:8)

TitleKnoWhy #128 - What Did it Mean to be “King Over All the Land”? (Alma 20:8)
Publication TypeKnoWhy
Year of Publication2016
Corporate AuthorsBook of Mormon Central Staff
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
Place PublishedSpringville, UT
KeywordsAmmon (Son of King Mosiah); Ancient America; King; King Lamoni; King Lamoni's Father; Kingship; Lamanite; Mesoamerica; Missionary Work; Politics

In the Lamanite political system, there was a “king over all the land” who “appointed kings over all . . . lands” under his rule—a very different system of government than that of the Nephites. Interestingly, both Mesoamerica and the ancient Near East had patterns of rule similar to that described among the Lamanites. In these systems, political ties binding overkings with subordinate kings were simultaneously very personal and highly tenuous. Vassal rulers were expected to make tribute payments to their overlords. This context illuminates the account of the confrontation between Lamoni and his father. Although typically understood as just a familial quarrel, the ancient reality is that this was a political dispute.

Citation Key1956

Scripture Reference

Alma 20:8