[b-hebrew] The 'need' for a king?

K Randolph kwrandolph at gmail.com
Wed Aug 15 01:08:58 EDT 2007

John and Shoshanna:

I disagree that YHWH intended that Israel have a king. It is certain
that the people did not attain greater maturity when they had a king.
Rather, by the time of Jeremiah, with a king, the people reached
levels of apostasy far worse than anything listed under the judges.
Rather, YHWH allowed the people to have a king should they demand it,
but should they choose to have one, he and the people should follow
certain rules concerning kingship.

Reading Deuteronomy 17:14, I understand the verse to be more in the
optative sense, like Genesis 4:12, 24, Leviticus 25:25 and many other
verses with a similar construction, it certainly is not a command. The
sentence structure is wrong for it to be a command. What follows is
that if the people choose to have a king, these are the rules you and
he should follow. But the history, even starting with the first king,
is that neither the king nor the people followed those rules to the

Karl W. Randolph.

On 8/14/07, JBarach at aol.com <JBarach at aol.com> wrote:
> In a message dated 8/14/2007 9:03:38 P.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
> rosewalk at concentric.net writes:
> Then  think a little harder, because the "need" for a king was because
> G-d (and  not any human representatives/ 'authors' of the Torah)
> COMMANDED - once we  possessed and settled our Land - that we appoint
> a G-d chosen (ie; with  the concurrence of both a prophet and the
> Sanhedrin) king with certain  qualifications, which are described.
> Ie; it was not only permitted, but  it was COMMANDED that at some
> future point, when we were established in  our land that we request a
> king.
> Devarim 17: 14,  15
> I'd agree with Shoshanna.  Israel was intended to mature through three
> stages: priest - king - prophet.  Israel starts out as a nation of  priests.  As
> Peter Leithart has shown in his doctoral dissertation, The  Priesthood of the
> Plebs, a COHEN is a palace servant.  The "priests" in the  Bible are servants in
> the palace of the Great King, YHWH.  They are his  chefs and cook his food.
> They take care of the house (including the  broader house, the people of
> Israel) and make sure things are clean (= make sure  the people are clean).  They
> make sure the lights are lit and the place  smells good (incense) and there's
> food on the table, and so forth.
> The priest's calling is to hear and obey.  Their life is simple,  involving
> little discernment.  They simply have to follow the rules God  established for
> them.  And so it was for Israel during the period leading  up to the time of
> Samuel.
> God always intended Israel to have a king, as Deut. 17 makes clear.   But the
> people of Israel grab for it, like Adam grabbing for the Tree of the
> Knowledge of Good and Evil (which knowledge, by the way, is associated in  Scripture
> with kingship and judgment, as Solomon's request for it makes  clear).  So
> their desire for a king is judged by God to be sinful, while He  also goes ahead
> and gives them a king.
> The transition, incidentally, involves the tearing asunder of the Mosaic
> tabernacle, so that the ark ends up eventually in the tabernacle of David while
> the rest of the Mosaic tabernacle is elsewhere.  The Mosaic tabernacle is
> never put back together again, though the elements of it are glorified and
> "reunited" in the Solomonic temple.
> Israel then moves into a period of greater maturity, a period not just of
> hearing and obeying, but of discerning and responding.  This is the time,  not
> of law, but of lyric.  It's the time when the psalms are written, the  time of
> poetry and song, and also the time of wisdom.
> But then God moves Israel further along, from a time where the emphasis is
> on kings (and not so much on priests) to a time when the emphasis is on
> prophets.  Eventually, after the exile, there is no king, and there's a  heavy
> emphasis on prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi).
> John
> %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
> John Barach   (541) 531-2906
> Pastor, Reformation Covenant Church (CREC)
> 706 Beekman Avenue
> Medford, OR   97501
> _http://barach.us_ (http://barach.us/)
> _http://rccso.com_ (http://rccso.com/)

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