This was a session that we didn’t have time to do this year (it is so long as to be split into two parts) so we have no answers to the questions here but as the Kings are an essential part of the biblical story it still makes an interesting exercise.
Of the following texts we asked the questions:
What are the benefits of monarchy?
What should monarchy look like?
Did it give the impression that monarchy is essential?
Did it give you any other thoughts about monarchy, governance and exercise of power?
1 Samuel 10:1 – Samuel took a phial of oil and poured it on Saul’s head; he then kissed him and said, ‘Has not Yahweh anointed you as leader of his people Israel? You are the man who is to govern Yahweh’s people and save them from the power of the enemies surrounding them.
2 Samuel 5:1-3 – All the tribes of Israel then came to David at Hebron and said, ‘Look, we are your own flesh and bone. In days past when Saul was our king, it was you who led Israel on its campaigns, and to you it was that Yahweh promised, “You are to shepherd my people Israel and be leader of Israel.” So all the elders of Israel came to the king at Hebron, and King David made a pact with them in Yahweh’s presence at Hebron, and they anointed David as king of Israel.
2 Samuel 7:4-16 – [The] word of Yahweh came to Nathan: … This is what you must say to my servant David, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you wherever you went; I have got rid of all your enemies for you. I am going to make your fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I am going to provide a place for my people Israel; I shall plant them there, and there they will live and never be disturbed again; nor will they be oppressed by the wicked any more, as they were in former times 11ever since the time when I instituted judges to govern my people Israel; and I shall grant you rest from all your enemies. Yahweh furthermore tells you that he will make you a dynasty. And when your days are over and you fall asleep with your ancestors, I shall appoint your heir, your own son to succeed you (and I shall make his sovereignty secure. He will build a temple for my name) and I shall make his royal throne secure for ever. I shall be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does wrong, I shall punish him with a rod such as men use, with blows such as mankind gives. But my faithful love will never be withdrawn from him as I withdrew it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. Your dynasty and your sovereignty will ever stand firm before me and your throne be for ever secure.”
Psalm 2:7-12 –
I will proclaim the decree of Yahweh:
He said to me, ‘You are my son,
today have I fathered you.
Ask of me, and I shall give you the nations
as your birthright,
the whole wide world as your possession.
With an iron sceptre you will break them,
shatter them like so many pots.’
So now, you kings, come to your senses,
you earthly rulers, learn your lesson!
In fear be submissive to Yahweh;
with trembling kiss his feet,
lest he be angry and your way come to nothing,
for his fury flares up in a moment.
How blessed are all who take refuge in him!
Psalm 21:7-9 –
For the king puts his trust in Yahweh;
the faithful love of the Most High
will keep him from falling.
Your hand will reach all your enemies,
your right hand all who hate you.
You will hurl them into a blazing furnace
on the day when you appear;
Yahweh will engulf them in his anger,
and fire will devour them.
Finally, we read Psalm 72.
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