God’s Standards For The Kings Of Judah -- By: Larry R. Thornton

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 11:3 (Fall 1968)
Article: God’s Standards For The Kings Of Judah
Author: Larry R. Thornton

God’s Standards For The Kings Of Judah

First Of A Series

Larry R. Thornton

With great manifestations of God’s power, the children of Israel were led from Egyptian bondage to freedom by Moses. Israel jouneyed to Mt. Horeb on the Sinai Peninsula where God established a theocratic government over the people in which the legislative, executive and judicial powers of the state were united. As legislator, Jehovah announced the fundamental law of the state, the Ten Commandments. The remaining laws, which with the Ten Commandments amount to 613, were applications and interpretations of the Ten Commandments as God gave them through Moses. Thus, His legislative function God exercised through Moses and the prophets. This revealed body of laws was a satisfactory rule and seldom needed enlargement. As the King, Jehovah delegated His judicial power to judges. Difficult cases were frequently answered by God through the Urim and Thummim.

God’s executive function was carried out by leaders, called judges, and later by kings. After making this covenant with God and receiving their manner of life from Him, Israel wandered for years in the wilderness until the first generation had died in the wilderness because of their unbelief at Kadesh-Barnea. After Moses died, Joshua led the people in conquering the promised land of Palestine. Once settling in the land, Israel had leaders, called judges, to direct them. In the time of Samuel, Israel asked for a king because of a need of a strong national bond, of the failure of Samuel’s sons, and of a desire to be like heathen nations. It was not a wrong thing to ask for a king, for God foresaw the need of a king and gave instruction for the selection and rule of one in the law (Deut. 17:14–20). However, in the way that they asked, it was a rejection of God’s administration over them, for they asked for a king like the heathen nations. God gave them Saul, the son of Kish, to be their first

king. He failed miserably because of his disobedience to God. Then God was gracious to give them David as king.

The establishment of a monarchy need not be antithetical to the principle of theocratic government; it all depended on the kind of monarchy that should emerge. If the king conformed to the spirit of the law, he would actually enrich the Old Testament’s symbolic prefiguration of the Messianic reign. David was such a king who showed Israel that an earthly king can be a proper expression, a willing instrument to reveal the power of their divine King, God. Because of David’s sincere devotion to Jehovah, God used him as a pattern by which He measured the devotion of the subsequent ki...

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