Lusting for a King

Teena Myers

The United Monarchy Rejected Part 1/9

By Teena Myers

God foresaw the day his petulant children would demand a king, so they could be like the surrounding nations, and he made provision for appointing one in the law he gave to Moses. The law stipulated they must appoint a man who God chooses. God placed five requirements on the king. Their king cannot be a foreigner. He cannot own a lot of horses, and he must not get them from Egypt, because God said they shall never return that way again. The king must limit the number of women who become his wives, lest they turn his heart away from God. He cannot be excessively wealthy. And he must write a copy of the law in the presence of the Levitical priests to read all the days of his life, so he will learn to fear God, and not become haughty toward his countrymen. The last item on the list carried the blessing of a long life for him and his sons.[i]

Israel’s desire for a king flickered less than two-hundred years later. The people did evil in God’s sight, so he allowed Midian to oppress them for seven years, bringing the nation to poverty. Israel cried to God for help. He rebuked them for fearing gods of other nations who could not stand before him, but he did not abandon them. God raised up Gideon to deliver them from Midian.[ii]

God used Gideon to break the power of Midian, and they stopped invading Israel, giving the country rest for forty years. Israel, pleased with the peace and prosperity that followed, tried to make Gideon’s family a dynasty to rule over them. If they remembered the provision for a king in their law, they did not follow God’s instructions. There is no indication in scripture they asked God to give them a king. Gideon rebuked them. “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”[iii]

After Gideon’s death, his son, Abimelech, tried to capitalize on their desire for a king. He convinced the people of Shechem, his hometown, to appoint him as king. Killing seventy of his brothers, lest they challenge him for the right to the throne, became Abimelech’s first act as king. His reign, founded on bloodshed, ended three years later with bloodshed. The city of Shechem rebelled. Abimelech’s quest to subjugate them ended when a woman thew a stone from the tower in Thebez. The stone crushed Abimelech’s skull, ending his reign. Israel returned to a government of priests and judges for a century. Unfortunately, the bloody reign of their last king did not quench their desire for a human king.

Log on for Part 2 next Friday April 22, 2022

[i] Deuteronomy 17:14-20

[ii] Judges 6-8

[iii] Judges 8:23

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