Kings (of Israel)

<<sovereign rulers>>

From about the time of Abraham the different races (and even many of the walled cities) had their own kings, who were often revered as gods (Gen 14:1,2, 20:2; Josh 12:7-24). God, initially gave His specific directions to the emerging Jewish nation through the prophets and godly authority figures such as

Is Jesus King of my life?

Moses and Joshua then through other deliverers (termed Judges of Israel).  This was a divine government or theocracy, with the people obeying and following Him rather than looking to human leaders. There followed a period of decline when “everyone did what seemed right in their own eyes” and there was a rollercoaster ride of sin, judgment, repentance and turning to God, with deliverance orchestrated through this succession of judges over a period of 325 years (Jdg 17:6). However, God knew the Israelites would progressively desire to be like the other nations around them and have a king so He gave guidelines for the choosing of such a person and their ideal lifestyle (Gen 17:6; Deut 17:14-20; 1 Sam 8:5-22).

Saul became the first king of Israel in 1050 BC, with David following him 40 years later.  Various kings, some good but the majority evil, reigned over the people until the Northern kingdom was conquered in 722 BC by the Assyrians and the Southern Kingdom in 586 BC by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.  The King set the standard or example and the people generally followed, into either righteousness or reverting to sinful practices. The influence of those in positions of prominence and authority is enormous with the Bible stating it is an abomination for a king to do evil (1 Kgs 13:33; 2 Kgs 21:9; Prov 16:12; Isa 9:16; Act 20:28).

David was described as being a man after God's own heart, with Ahab the most evil (1 Sam 13:14; 1 Kgs 16:30; Act 13:22).

The Jews expected the coming Messiah (Jesus) to be a military or political leader to free them of the occupying Roman control (Act 1:6). The wise men came looking for the newborn “king of the Jews” (Mt 2:2). At His trial Jesus was asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied His Kingdom was not of this world (Jn 18:33-37).  However, with foresight, a sign nailed to the cross, proclaimed this

Am I a loyal subject of my master and King?

statement “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (Mt 27:37). In time to come Jesus will be exalted as “King of kings, and Lord of lords” – supreme over all, and before whom all people will bow the knee and acknowledge Him (Isa 45:23; Rom 14:11; Rev 17:14, 19:16). An earthly king has no superior but God, by hidden influences and providential arrangements, turns or guides, for even “The king’s heart is in the hand of God” (Prov 21:1).

See also: authority, Judges of Israel, kingdoms and empires, leaders/leadership, Roman empire, ruler, theocracy.