Why did Zeniff give the kingdom to Noah?

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For the longest time, I thought King Zeniff handed off the kingdom to his son Noah because he had no choice. A week or so ago, I came across Mosiah 10:22, in which Zeniff refers to Noah as one of his sons, which raises a question in my mind.

If he had other sons to choose as heir, why choose Noah?

One might argue Zeniff had no idea what Noah really was like. Perhaps Noah hid his debauchery from his father.

Another reason might be that Noah’s brothers didn’t want the throne. Sort of like in Mosiah 29:3, When Mosiah’s sons didn’t want to inherit his throne. That is certainly possible.

Sort of related to that is the idea that Noah may have been the firstborn. In many monarchal societies, inheritance of the kingdom goes according to birth order. That is possible, as well.

Either way, at the end of Mosiah 10:22, Zeniff’s last word were: “I . . . did confer the kingdom upon one of my sons. . . . And may the Lord bless my people.” I wonder if he did know after all. Maybe, for whatever reason, he felt he had no choice, and he desperately hoped the Lord would bless his people despite Noah.

2 thoughts on “Why did Zeniff give the kingdom to Noah?

  1. Any number of reasons. Zeniff never considered himself a religious, righteous guy from the account. The group had even come to blows (and death) over which way to go before finally settling down. His sons may have been all bad. Noah may have been a decent person before he became king. It has been known to happen that power corrupts. :)

    1. Perhaps, but Mosiah 11:1 does say that Noah did not walk in the ways of Zeniff, which at the very least means he was more righteous than Noah. Mosiah 10:11 also implies Zeniff’s people were righteous because they fought the Lamanites with the strength of the Lord. Likewise, Zeniff encourages his people to put their trust in the Lord.

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