Also see definition of "King" in Word Study
Study Dictionary
Index A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Table of Contents
NAVE: King Kingdom
EBD: King
Kinah | Kindness | Kindred | Kinds, Mixing Of | Kine | King | King Of The Jews | King's Dale | King'S Garden | King'S Mother | King'S Pool


King [EBD]

is in Scripture very generally used to denote one invested with authority, whether extensive or limited. There were thirty-one kings in Canaan (Josh. 12:9, 24), whom Joshua subdued. Adonibezek subdued seventy kings (Judg. 1:7). In the New Testament the Roman emperor is spoken of as a king (1 Pet. 2:13, 17); and Herod Antipas, who was only a tetrarch, is also called a king (Matt. 14:9; Mark 6:22).

This title is applied to God (1 Tim. 1:17), and to Christ, the Son of God (1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Matt. 27:11). The people of God are also called "kings" (Dan. 7:22, 27; Matt. 19:28; Rev. 1:6, etc.). Death is called the "king of terrors" (Job 18:14).

Jehovah was the sole King of the Jewish nation (1 Sam. 8:7; Isa. 33:22). But there came a time in the history of that people when a king was demanded, that they might be like other nations (1 Sam. 8:5). The prophet Samuel remonstrated with them, but the people cried out, "Nay, but we will have a king over us." The misconduct of Samuel's sons was the immediate cause of this demand.

The Hebrew kings did not rule in their own right, nor in name of the people who had chosen them, but partly as servants and partly as representatives of Jehovah, the true King of Israel (1 Sam. 10:1). The limits of the king's power were prescribed (1 Sam. 10:25). The officers of his court were, (1) the recorder or remembrancer (2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Kings 4:3); (2) the scribe (2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25); (3) the officer over the house, the chief steward (Isa. 22:15); (4) the "king's friend," a confidential companion (1 Kings 4:5); (5) the keeper of the wardrobe (2 Kings 22:14); (6) captain of the bodyguard (2 Sam. 20:23); (7) officers over the king's treasures, etc. (1 Chr. 27:25-31); (8) commander-in-chief of the army (1 Chr. 27:34); (9) the royal counsellor (1 Chr. 27:32; 2 Sam. 16:20-23).

(For catalogue of kings of Israel and Judah see chronological table in Appendix.)

King [NAVE]

Called King of kings, Ezra 7:12; Ezek. 26:7; Dan. 2:37.
Divinely authorized, Deut. 17:15; 1 Sam. 9:16, 17; 16:12; 1 Chr. 22:10; 2 Chr. 2:11, 12; Prov. 8:15; Dan. 2:21, 37; 4:17; 5:20; Hos. 8:4; 13:11.
How chosen: By divine appointment, Saul, 1 Sam. 10:1; David and the Davidic dynasty, 1 Sam. 16:1-13.
Hereditary succession, 2 Sam. 7:12-16; 1 Kin. 1:28-30; 2 Chr. 21:3, 4; Psa. 89:35-37.
See: Israel; Kings of Judah.
Not hereditary, 1 Chr. 1:43-51.
See: Israel; Kings of Israel, after the revolt. By lot, 1 Sam. 10:20, 21.
Modes of induction into office: By anointing. See: Anointing.
By proclamation, 2 Sam. 15:10; 1 Kin. 1:33, 34; 2 Kin. 9:13; 11:12; by an oath, 2 Kin. 11:4.
Ceremonial recognition of: Prostration, 1 Sam. 25:41; 2 Sam. 9:6, 8; 1 Kin. 1:23, 31, 47; obeisance, 1 Kin. 1:16; kneeling before, Matt. 27:29; salutation to: ``O king, live forever,'' Dan. 2:4; 6:6, 21.
Acts as Judge, 2 Sam. 8:15; 15:2; 1 Kin. 10:9; 2 Kin. 8:1-6; Psa. 72:1-4; 122:5; Acts 25:11, 12, 20.
Precepts concerning, Deut. 17:14-19; Prov. 31:4, 5; Ezek. 46:16-18.
Obedience to, enjoined, Eccl. 8:2-5.
Rights and duties of, Prov. 25:2, 5, 6, 15; 29:4, 12, 14; Jer. 21:12.
Exercise executive clemency, 1 Sam. 11:13.
Constitutional restrictions of, Deut. 17:18-20; 1 Sam. 10:24, 25; 2 Sam. 5:3; 2 Kin. 11:12, 17; 2 Chr. 23:11; Jer. 34:8-11; Dan. 6:12-15.
Influenced by popular opinion: Saul, 1 Sam. 14:45; 15:24; David, 2 Chr. 20:21; Hezekiah, 2 Chr. 30:2; Zedekiah, Jer. 38:19, 24-27; Herod, Matt. 14:5; Acts 12:2, 3; Pilate, John 19:6-13.
Religious duties of, Ezek. 45:9-25; 46:2, 4-8.
Deification of, Ezek. 28:2, 9.
Loyalty to, enjoined, Prov. 16:14, 15; Eccl. 10:20.
Influence of queens over: Bath-sheba, 1 Kin. 1:28-34; Jezebel, 1 Kin. 18:4, 13; 19:1-3; 21:5-16; Esther, Esth. 5:1-8.
Respect due to, Job 34:18; Isa. 8:21; Matt. 22:21; Mark 12:17.
Emoluments of: Confiscations of property, 2 Sam. 16:4; 1 Kin. 21:1-16.
Spoils, 2 Sam. 12:30; 1 Chr. 26:27; 2 Chr. 24:23.
Tariff on imports, and internal revenue on merchandise, 1 Kin. 10:15-29.
Tribute, 2 Sam. 20:24; 1 Kin. 12:18; 2 Chr. 17:11.
Poll tax, Matt. 17:24-27.
Presents, 1 Sam. 10:27; 16:20; 2 Sam. 8:2; 1 Kin. 10:2, 10, 25; 2 Chr. 9:24; Psa. 72:10.
Commissary of, 1 Kin. 4:7-19, 27, 28; 1 Chr. 27:25-31; 2 Chr. 26:10; 32:28, 29.
Many horses and donkeys of, Judg. 12:14; 1 Kin. 1:33; 4:26; 10:25; 2 Chr. 9:24, 25; Esth. 6:8.
Chief officers of: Captain of the host, 2 Sam. 8:16; 1 Kin. 4:4; recorder, 2 Sam. 8:16; 20:24; 1 Kin. 4:3; scribe, 2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25; 1 Kin. 4:3; chief priests, 2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25; 1 Kin. 4:2; chief of the bodyguard, 2 Sam. 8:18; 15:18; 20:23; 1 Chr. 11:25; collector of tribute, 2 Sam. 20:24; chief ruler, 2 Sam. 20:26; 1 Kin. 4:5; Esth. 3:1, 2; 8:1, 2, 15; 10:3; counselor, 1 Kin. 4:5; provincial governors, Dan. 6:1-3.
Subordinate officers of: Governor of the household, 1 Kin. 4:6; 2 Chr. 28:7; keeper of the wardrobe, 2 Kin. 22:14; 2 Chr. 34:22.
Drunkeess of, forbidden, Prov. 31:4, 5.
Drunken, instances of, Hos. 7:5; Baasha, 1 Kin. 16:9; Ben-hadad, 1 Kin. 20:16; Belshazzar, Dan. 5:1-4, 23; Ahasuerus, Esth. 1:7, 10; 5:6; 7:2.
Prayer for, Ezra 6:10.
Prayer for, enjoined, 1 Tim. 2:1, 2.
Decrees of, irrevocable, Esth. 8:8; Dan. 6:8, 9, 12-15.
Chronicles of, kept, 1 Kin. 11:41; 14:19; 2 Kin. 21:25; 1 Chr. 9:1; 27:24; 29:29; 2 Chr. 9:29; 12:15; 20:34; 26:22; 32:32; Ezra 5:17; Esth. 6:1.
See: Government; Rulers.
For the kings of Israel, before and after the revolt of the ten tribes, See: Israel.

Kingdom [NAVE]

Likened to one who sowed good seed, Matt. 13:24-30, 38-43; Mark 4:26-29; to a grain of mustard seed, Matt. 13:31, 32; Mark 4:30, 31; Luke 13:18, 19; to leaven, Matt. 13:33; Luke 13:21; to a treasure, Matt. 13:44; to a pearl, Matt. 13:45; to a net, Matt. 13:47-50; to a king who called his servants to a reckoning, Matt. 18:23-35; to a householder, Matt. 20:1-16; to a king who made a marriage feast for his son, Matt. 22:2-14; Luke 14:16-24; to ten virgins, Matt. 25:1-13; to one traveling into a far country, who called his servants, and delivered to them his goods, Matt. 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27.
``My kingdom is not of this world,'' John 18:36.
Children of the, Matt. 18:3; 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16.
Rich caot enter, Matt. 19:23, 24; Mark 10:23-25; Luke 18:24, 25, 29, 30.
Keys of, Matt. 16:19.
Good news of, Luke 8:1.
Mysteries of, Luke 8:10.
Is not meat and drink, Rom. 14:17.
See: Church; Jesus, the Christ, Kingdom of.


"a chief ruler, one invested with supreme authority over a nation, tribe or country." --Webster. In the Bible the word does not necessarily imply great power or great extent of country. Many persons are called kings whom we should rather call chiefs or leaders. The word is applied in the Bible to God as the sovereign and ruler of the universe, and to Christ the Son of God as the head and governor of the Church. The Hebrews were ruled by a king during a period of about 500 years previous to the destruction of Jerusalem, B.C. 586. The immediate occasion of the substitution of a regal form of government for that of judges seems to have been the siege of Jabesh-gilead by Nahash king of the Ammonites. (1 Samuel 11:1; 12:12) The conviction seems to have forced itself on the Israelites that they could not resist their formidable neighbor unless they placed themselves under the sway of a king, like surrounding nations. The original idea of a Hebrew King was twofold: first, that he should lead the people to battle in time of war; and, a second, that he should execute judgment and justice to them in war and in peace. (1 Samuel 8:20) In both respects the desired end was attained. Besides being commander-in-chief of the army, supreme judge, and absolute master, as it were, of the lives of his subjects, the king exercised the power of imposing taxes on them, and of exacting from them personal service and labor. In addition to these earthly powers, the king of Israel had a more awful claim to respect and obedience. He was the vicegerent of Jehovah, (1 Samuel 10:1; 16:13) and as it were his son, if just and holy. (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 2:6,7; 89:26,27) he had been set apart as a consecrated ruler. Upon his dead had been poured the holy anointing oil, which had hitherto been reserved exclusively for the priests of Jehovah. He had become, in fact, emphatically "the Lord?s anointed." He had a court of Oriental magnificence. The king was dressed in royal robes, (1 Kings 22:10; 2 Chronicles 18:9) his insignia were, a crown or diadem of pure gold, or perhaps radiant with precious gems, (2 Samuel 1:10; 12:30; 2 Kings 11:12; Psalms 21:3) and a royal sceptre. Those who approached him did him obeisance, bowing down and touching the ground with their foreheads, (1 Samuel 24:8; 2 Samuel 19:24) and this was done even by a king?s wife, the mother of Solomon. (1 Kings 1:16) His officers and subjects called themselves his servants or slaves. He had a large harem, which was guarded by eunuchs. The law of succession to the throne is somewhat obscure, but it seems most probable that the king during his lifetime named his successor. At the same time, if no partiality for a favorite wife or son intervened, there would always be a natural bias of affection in favor of the eldest son.


KING; KINGDOM - king'-dum:


1. Etymology and Definition

2. Earliest Kings

3. Biblical Signification of the Title


1. Israel's Theocracy

2. Period of Judges

3. Establishment of the Monarchy

4. Appointment of King

5. Authority of the King

6. Duties of the King

7. The Symbols of Royal Dignity

8. Maintenance and Establishment

(1) Income

(2) The Royal Court

9. Short Character Sketch of Israel's Kingdom


I. King.

1. Etymology and Definition:

The Hebrew word for king is melekh; its denominative malakh, "to reign" "to be king." The word is apparently derived from the mlkh which denotes: (1) in the Arabic (the verb and the noun) it means "to possess," "to reign," inasmuch as the possessor is also "lord" and "ruler"; (2) in the Aramaic melekh), and Assyrian "counsel," and in the Syrian "to consult"; compare Latin, consul.

If, as has been suggested, the root idea of "king" is "counsellor" and not "ruler," then the rise of the kingly office and power would be due to intellectual superiority rather than to physical prowess. And since the first form of monarchy known was that of a "city-state," the office of king may have evolved from that of the chief "elder" or intellectual head of the clan.

2. Earliest Kings:

The first king of whom we read in the Bible was Nimrod (Gen 10:8-10), who was supposedly the founder of the Babylonian empire. Historical research regarding the kings of Babylonia and Egypt corroborates this Biblical statement in so far as the ancestry of these kings is traced back to the earliest times of antiquity. According to Isa 19:11, it was the pride of the Egyptian princes that they could trace their lineage to most ancient kings. The Canaanites and Philistines had kings as early as the times of Abraham (Gen 14:2; 20:2). Thus also the Edomites, who were related to Israel (Gen 36:31), the Moabites, and the Midianites had kings (Nu 22:4; 31:8) earlier than the Israelites.

In Gen 14:18 we read of Melchizedek, who was a priest, and king of Salem. At first the extent of the dominion of kings was often very limited, as appears from 70 of them being conquered by Adonibezek (Jdg 1:7), 31 by Joshua (Josh 12:7 ff), and 32 being subject to Ben-hadad (1 Ki 20:1).

3. Biblical Signification of the Title:

The earliest Biblical usage of this title "king," in consonance with the general oriental practice, denotes an absolute monarch who exercises unchecked control over his subjects. In this sense the title is applied to Yahweh, and to human rulers. No constitutional obligations were laid upon the ruler nor were any restrictions put upon his arbitrary authority. His good or bad conduct depended upon his own free will.

The title "king" was applied also to dependent kings. In the New Testament it is used even for the head of a province (Rev 17:12). To distinguish him from the smaller and dependent kings, the king of Assyria bore the title "king of kings."

II. Kingdom.

The notable fact that Israel attained to the degree of a kingdom rather late, as compared with the other Semitic nations, does not imply that Israel, before the establishment of the monarchy, had not arrived at the stage of constitutional government, or that the idea of a kingdom had no room in the original plan of the founder of the Hebrew nation. For a satisfactory explanation we must take cognizance of the unique place that Israel held among the Semitic peoples.

1. Israel's Theocracy:

It is universally recognized that Israel was a singular community. From the beginning of its existence as a nation it bore the character of a religious and moral community, a theocratic commonwealth, having Yahweh Himself as the Head and Ruler. The theocracy is not to be mistaken for a hierarchy, nor can it strictly be identified with any existent form of political organization. It was rather something over and above, and therefore independent of the political organization. It did not supersede the tribal organization of Israel, but it supplied the centralizing power, constituting Israel a nation. In lieu of a strong political center, the unifying bond of a common allegiance to Yahweh, i.e. the common faith in Him, the God of Israel, kept the tribes together. The consciousness that Yahweh was Israel's king was deeply rooted, was a national feeling, and the inspiration of a true patriotism (Ex 15:18; 19:6; Jdg 5). Yahweh's kingship is evinced by the laws He gave to Israel, by the fact that justice was administered in His name (Ex 22:28), and by His leading and siding Israel in its wars (Ex 14:14; 15:3; Nu 21:14; 1 Sam 18:17; 25:28). This decentralized system which characterized the early government of Israel politically, in spite of some great disadvantages, proved advantageous for Israel on the whole and served a great providential purpose. It safeguarded the individual liberties and rights of the Israelites. When later the monarchy was established, they enjoyed a degree of local freedom and self-control that was unknown in the rest of the Semitic world; there was home rule for every community, which admitted the untrammeled cultivation of their inherited religious and social institutions.

From the political point of view Israel, through the absence of a strong central government, was at a great disadvantage, making almost impossible its development into a world-empire. But this barrier to a policy of self-aggrandizement was a decided blessing from the viewpoint of Israel's providential mission to the world. It made possible the transmission of the pure religion entrusted to it, to later generations of men without destructive contamination from the ungodly forces with which Israel would inevitably have come into closer contact, had it not been for its self-contained character, resulting from the fashion of a state it was providentially molded into. Only as the small and insignificant nation that it was, could Israel perform its mission as "the depository and perpetuating agency of truths vital to the welfare of humanity." Thus its religion was the central authority of this nation, supplying the lack of a centralized government. Herein lay Israel's uniqueness and greatness, and also the secret of its strength as a nation, as long as the loyalty and devotion to Yahweh lasted. Under the leadership of Moses and Joshua who, though they exercised a royal authority, acted merely as representatives of Yahweh, the influence of religion of which these leaders were a personal embodiment was still so strong as to keep the tribes united for common action. But when, after the removal of these strong leaders, Israel no longer had a standing representative of Yahweh, those changes took place which eventually necessitated the establishment of the monarchy.

2. Period of Judges:

In the absence of a special representative of Yahweh, His will as Israel's King was divined by the use of the holy lot in the hand of the highest priest. But the lot would not supply the place of a strong personal leader. Besides, many of the Israelites came under the deteriorating influence of the Canaanite worship and began to adopt heathenish customs. The sense of religious unity weakened, the tribes became disunited and ceased to act in common, and as a result they were conquered by their foes. Yahweh came to their assistance by sending them leaders, who released the regions where they lived from foreign attacks. But these leaders were not the strong religious personalities that Moses and Joshua had been; besides, they had no official authority, and their rule was only temporary and local. It was now that the need of a centralized political government was felt, and the only type of permanent organization of which the age was cognizant was the kingship. The crown was offered to Gideon, but he declined it, saying: "Yahweh shall rule over you" (Jdg 8:22,23). The attempt of his son, Abimelech, to establish a kingship over Shechem and the adjacent country, after the Canaanitic fashion, was abortive.

The general political condition of this period is briefly and pertinently described by the oft-recurring statement in Judges: "In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes."

3. Establishment of the Monarchy:

Not until the time of Samuel was a formal kingdom established over Israel. An attempt to ameliorate conditions by a union of civil and religious functions in the hands of Eli, the priest, had failed through the degeneracy of his sons. Similarly the hopes of Israel in a hereditary judgeship had been disappointed through the corruption of the sons of Samuel. The Philistines were threatening the independence and hope of Israel. Its very existence as a distinct race, and consequently the future of Yahweh's religion, imperatively demanded a king. Considering that it was the moral decline of the nation that had created the necessity for a monarchy, and moreover that the people's desire for a king originated from a purely national and not from a religious motive, the unwillingness of Samuel, at first, to comply with the demand for a king is not surprising. Even Yahweh declared: "They have not rejected thee but they have rejected me," etc. Instead of recognizing that they themselves were responsible for the failures of the past, they blamed the form of government they had, and put all their hopes upon a king. That it was not the monarchy as such that was objectionable to Yahweh and His prophet is evidenced by the fact that to the patriarchs the promise had been given: "Kings shall come out of thy loins" (Gen 17:6; 35:11). In view of this Moses had made provision for a kingship (Dt 17:14-20). According to the Mosaic charter for the kingship, the monarchy when established must be brought into consonance with the fact that Yahweh was Israel's king. Of this fact Israel had lost sight when it requested a kingship like that of the neighboring peoples. Samuel's gloomy prognostications were perfectly justified in view of such a kingship as they desired, which would inevitably tend to selfish despotism (1 Sam 8:11 f). therefore God directs Samuel to give them a king--since the introduction of a kingship typifying the kingship of Christ lay within the plan of His economy--not according to their desire, but in accordance with the instructions of the law concerning kings (Dt 17:14-20), in order to safeguard their liberties and prevent the forfeiture of their mission.

4. Appointment of King:

According to the Law of Moses Yahweh was to choose the king of israel, who was to be His representative. The choice of Yahweh in the case of Saul is implied by the anointing of Saul by Samuel and through the confirmation of this choice by the holy lot (1 Sam 10:1-20). This method of choosing the king did not exclude the people altogether, since Saul was publicly presented to them, and acknowledged as king (1 Sam 10:24). The participation of the people in the choice of their king is more pronounced in the case of David, who, having been designated as Yahweh's choice by being anointed by Samuel, was anointed again by the elders of Israel before he actually became king (2 Sam 2:4).

The anointing itself signified the consecration to an office in theocracy. The custom of anointing kings was an old one, and by no means peculiar to Israel (Jdg 9:8,15). The hereditary kingship began with David. Usually the firstborn succeeded to the throne, but not necessarily. The king might choose as his successor from among his sons the one whom he thought best qualified.

5. Authority of the King:

The king of Israel was not a constitutional monarch in the modern sense, nor was he an autocrat in the oriental sense. He was responsible to Yahweh, who had chosen him and whose vicegerent and servant he was. Furthermore, his authority was more or less limited on the religious side by the prophets, the representatives of Yahweh, and in the political sphere by the "elders," the representatives of the people, though as king he stood above all. Rightly conceived, his kingship in relation to Yahweh, who was Israel's true king, implied that he was Yahweh's servant and His earthly substitute. In relation to his subjects his kingship demanded of him, according to the Law, "that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren" (Dt 17:20).

6. Duties of the King:

In a summary way the king was held responsible for all Israel as the Lord's people. His main duty was to defend it against its enemies, and for this reason it devolved upon him to raise and maintain a standing army; and it was expected of him that he be its leader in case of war (1 Sam 8:20). In respect to the judiciary the king was a kind of supreme court, or court of final appeal, and as such, as in the days of Solomon, might be approached by his most humble subjects (2 Sam 15:2; 1 Ki 3:16 ff). Legislative functions he had none and was himself under the law (1 Ki 21:4; Dt 17:19). The king was also in a way the summus episcopus in Israel. His very kingship was of an entirely religious character and implied a unity of the heavenly and earthly rule over Israel through him who as Yahweh's substitute sat "upon the throne of the kingdom of Yahweh over Israel" (1 Ch 17:14; 28:5; 29:23), who was "Yahweh's anointed" (1 Sam 24:10; 26:9; 2 Sam 1:14), and also bore the title of "son of Yahweh" and "the first-born," the same as Israel did (Ex 4:22; Hos 11:1; 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 89:27; 2:7). Thus a place of honor was assigned to the king in the temple (2 Ki 11:4; 23:3; Ezek 46:1,2); besides, he officiated at the national sacrifices (especially mentioned of David and Solomon). He prayed for his people and blessed them in the name of Yahweh (2 Sam 6:18; 24:25; 1 Ki 3:4,8; 8:14,55,62; 9:25). Apparently it was the king's right to appoint and dismiss the chief priests at the sanctuaries, though in his choice he was doubtless restricted to the Aaronites (1 Ch 16:37,39; 2 Sam 8:17; 1 Ki 2:27,35). The priesthood was under the king's supervision to such an extent that he might concern himself about its organization and duties (1 Ch 15:16,23,24; 16:4-6), and that he was responsible for the purity of the cult and the maintenance of the order of worship. In general he was to watch over the religious life and conduct of his people, to eradicate the high places and every form of idolatry in the land (2 Ki 18:4). Ezek 45:22 demands of the prince that he shall provide at the Passover a bullock for a sin offering for all the people.

7. The Symbols of Royal Dignity:

The marks of royal dignity, besides the beautiful robes in which the king was attired (1 Ki 22:10), were: (1) the diadem nezer) and the crown (aTarah, 2 Sam 1:10; 2 Ki 11:12; 2 Sam 12:30), the headtire; (2) the scepter (shebheT), originally a long, straight staff, the primitive sign of dominion and authority (Gen 49:10; Nu 24:17; Isa 14:5; Jer 48:17; Ps 2:9; 45:7). Saul had a spear (1 Sam 18:10; 22:6); (3) the throne (kicce', 1 Ki 10:18-20), the symbol of majesty. Israel's kings also had a palace (1 Ki 7:1-12; 22:39; Jer 22:14), a royal harem (2 Sam 16:21), and a bodyguard (2 Sam 8:18; 15:18).

8. Maintenance and Establishment:

(1) Income.

(a) According to the custom of the times presents were expected of the subjects (1 Sam 10:27; 16:20) and of foreigners (2 Sam 8:2; 1 Ki 5:1 ff; 10:25; 2 Ch 32:23), and these often took the form of an annual tribute. (b) In time of war the king would lay claim to his share of the booty (2 Sam 8:11; 12:30; 1 Ch 26:27). (c) Various forms of taxes were in vogue, as a part of the produce of the land (1 Ki 9:11; 1 Sam 17:25), forced labor of the Canaanites (1 Ki 9:20; 2 Ch 2:16) and also of the Israelites (1 Ki 5:13; 11:28; 12:4), the first growth of the pasture lands (Am 7:1), toll collected from caravans (1 Ki 10:15). (d) Subdued nations had to pay a heavy tribute (2 Ki 3:4). (e) The royal domain often comprised extensive possessions (1 Ch 27:25-31).

(2) The Royal Court.

The highest office was that of the princes (1 Ki 4:2), who were the king's advisers or counselors. In 2 Ki 25:19 and Jer 52:25 they are called "they that saw the king's face" (compare also 1 Ki 12:6, "stood before Solomon"). The following officers of King David are mentioned: the captain of the host (commander-in-chief), the captain of the Cherethites and the Pelethites (bodyguard), the recorder (chronicler and reminder), the scribe (secretary of state), the overseer of the forced labor, the chief ministers or priests (confidants of the king, usually selected from the royal family) (2 Sam 8:16-18; 20:23-26).

During the reign of Solomon other officers were added as follows: the overseer over the twelve men "who provided victuals for the king and his household" (1 Ki 4:5,7), the officer over the household (1 Ki 4:6; 18:3) (steward, the head of the palace who had "the key" in his possession, Isa 22:22); the king's friend (1 Ki 4:5; 1 Ch 27:33) is probably the same as the king's servant mentioned among the high officials in 2 Ki 22:12. It is not stated what his duties were. Minor officials are servants, cupbearer (1 Ki 10:5), keeper of the wardrobe (2 Ki 22:14; 10:22), eunuchs (chamberlains, not mentioned before the division of the kingdom) (1 Ki 22:9; 2 Ki 8:6).

9. Short Character Sketch of Israel's Kingdom:

No higher conceptions of a good king have ever been given to the world than those which are presented in the representations of kingship in the Old Testament, both actual and ideal. Though Samuel's characterization of the kingship was borne out in the example of a great number of kings of Israel, the Divine ideal of a true king came as near to its realization in the case of one king of Israel, at least, as possibly nowhere else, namely, in the case of David. Therefore King David appears as the type of that king in whom the Divine ideal of a Yahweh-king was to find its perfect realization; toward whose reign the kingship in Israel tended. The history of the kingship in Israel after David is, indeed, characterized by that desire for political aggrandizement which had prompted the establishment of the monarchy, which was contrary to Israel's Divine mission as the peculiar people of the Yahweh-king. When Israel's kingdom terminated in the Bah exile, it became evident that the continued existence of the nation was possible even without a monarchical form of government. Though a kingdom was established again under the Maccabees, as a result of the attempt of Antiochus to extinguish Israel's religion, this kingdom was neither as perfectly national nor as truly religious in its character as the Davidic. It soon became dependent on Rome. The kingship of Herod was entirely alien to the true Israelite conception.

It remains to be said only that the final attempt of Israel in its revolt against the Roman Empire, to establish the old monarchy, resulted in its downfall as a nation, because it would not learn the lesson that the future of a nation does not depend upon political greatness, but upon the fulfillment of its Divine mission.


J.P. McCurdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments; Riehm, Handwiirterbuch des bibl. Alterrums; Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes); Kinzler, Bibl. Altes Testament.

S. D. Press

Also see definition of "King" in Word Study

TIP #06: On Bible View and Passage View, drag the yellow bar to adjust your screen. [ALL]
created in 0.29 seconds
powered by