King (Heb. and Chald. מֶלֶך, me'lek, ruler; βασιγεύς), the most general term for an absolute, independent, and life-long sovereign.
1. Scriptural Applications of the Title. — In the Bible the name does not always imply the same degree of power or importance, neither does it indicate the magnitude of the dominion or territory of the national ruler thus designated (Ge 36:31). Many persons are called " kings" in Scripture whom we should rather denominate chiefs or leaders; and many single towns, or towns with their adjacent villages, are said to have kings. Hence we need not be surprised at seeing that so small a country as Canaan contained thirty-one kings who were conquered (Jos 12:9,24), besides many who no doubt escaped the arms of Joshua. Adonibezek himself, no very powerful king, mentions seventy kings whom he had subdued and mutilated (Jg 1:7; 1Ki 4:21; 1Ki 20:1,16). Even at the present day the heads of Arab tribes are often called " king," which in this case also means no more than sheik or chief. In like manner, in the New Test., owing to the peculiar political relations of the Jews, the title "king" has very different significations:
(1.) The Roman emperor (1Pe 2:13,17); and so the " seven kings" (Re 17:10) are perhaps the first seven Casars (comp. Thilo, Apocr. 579).
(2.) Herod Antipas (Mt 14:9; Mr 6:22), although only tetrarch (compare Lu 3:19).
(3.) So also the ten provincial representatives of the Roman government (Re 17:12), as being supreme within their respective jurisdictions. SEE GOVERNOR, etc.
"King," in symbolical language, signifies the possessor of supreme power, whether lodged in one or more persons (Pr 8:15-16). It is applied in the Scriptures to God, as the sole proper sovereign and ruler of the universe (1Ti 1:17), and to Christ, the Son of God, the sole head and Governor of his Church (1Ti 6:15-16; Mt 27:11; Lu 19:38; Joh 1:49; Joh 18:33-34); also to men, as invested with regal authority by their fellows (Lu 22:25; 1Ti 2:1-2; 1Pe 2:13-17); so also the people of God are called kings and priests (Ps 49:14; Da 7:22,27; Mt 19:28; Lu 22:29-30; 1Co 6:2-3; 2Ti 2:12; Re 1:6; Re 2:26-27; Re 3:21; Re 5:10; Re 22:5). In Job 18:14 it is applied to Death, who is there called the " king of terrors." In Job 41:34, leviathan, or the crocodile, is thus designated: "he is a king over all the children of pride." (See Wemyss's Symbol. Dict.)
The application, however, of the term "king," with which we are here particularly concerned, is that of the name of the national ruler of the Hebrews during a period of about 500 years previous to the destruction of Jerusalem, B.C. 588. It was borne first by the ruler of the Twelve Tribes united, and then by the rulers of Judah and Israel separately. SEE KINGS, BOOK OF.
2. Origin of the Hebrew Monarchy. — Regal authority was altogether alien to the institutions of Moses in their original and unadulterated form. Their fundamental idea was that Jehovah was the sole king of the nation (1Sa 8:7); to use the emphatic words in Isa 33:22, "the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king." Although Moses ventured, with his half-civilized hordes, on the bold experiment of founding a society without a king, and in doing so evinced a rare patriotism and self- denial, for without doubt the man who rescued the Jews from bondage and conducted them to the land of Canaan might, had he chosen, have kept the dominion in his own hands, and transmitted a crown to his posterity, yet he well knew what were the elements with which he had to deal in framing institutions for the rescued Israelites. Slaves they had been, and the spirit of slavery was not yet wholly eradicated from their souls. They had witnessed in Egypt the more than ordinary pomp and splendor which environ a throne. Not improbably the prosperity and abundance which they had seen in Egypt, and in which they had been, in a measure, allowed to partake, might have been ascribed by them to the regal form of the Egyptian government. Moses may well, therefore. have apprehended a not very remote departure from the fundamental type of his institutions. Accordingly he makes a special provision for this contingency (De 17:14), and labors, by anticipation, to guard against the abuses of royal power. Should a king be demanded by the people, then he was to be a native Israelite; he was not to be drawn away by the love of show, especially by a desire for that regal display in which horses have always borne so large a part, to send down to Egypt, still less to cause the people to return to that land; he was to avoid the corrupting influence of a large harem, so common among Eastern monarchs; he was to abstain from amassing silver and gold; he was to have a copy of the law made expressly for his own study — a study which he was never to intermit till the end of his days, so that his heart might not be lifted up above his brethren, that he might not be turned aside from the living God, but, observing the divine statute?, and thus acknowledging himself to be no more than the vicegerent of heaven, he might enjoy happiness, and transmit his authority to his descendants.
The removal of Moses and Joshua- by death soon left the people to the natural results of their own condition and character. Anarchy ensued. Noble minds, indeed, and stout hearts appeared in those who were termed judges; but the state of the country was not so satisfactory as to prevent an unenlightened people, having low and gross affections, from preferring the glare of a crown and the apparent protection of a sceptre to the invisible and, therefore, mostly unrecognised arm of Omnipotence. A king accordingly is requested (1 Samuel 8). The misconduct of Samuel's sons, who had been made judges, was the immediate cause of the demand being put forth. The request came with authority, for it emanated from all the elders of Israel, who, after holding a formal conference, proceeded to Samuel, in order to make him acquainted with their wish. Samuel was displeased; but, having sought in prayer to learn the divine will, he was instructed to yield to the demand; yet at the same time he was directed to "protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them." Faithfully did the prophet depict the evils which a monarchy would inflict on the people. In vain; they said, "Nay, but we will have a king over us." Accordingly, Saul, the son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, was, by divine direction, selected, and privately anointed by Samuel " to be captain over God's inheritance;" thus he was to hold only a delegated and subordinate authority (1Sa 9; 1Sa 10:1-16). Under the guidance of Samuel, Saul was subsequently chosen by lot from among the assembled tribes; and though his personal appearance had no influence inl the choice, yet, when he was plainly pointed out to be the individual designed for the sceptre, Samuel called attention to those personal qualities which in less civilized nations have a preponderating influence, and are never without effect, at least, in supporting the physical dignity of a reign (1Sa 10:17-27). (For a fuller discussion of this change in the Hebrew constitution, see Kitto's Daily Bible Illustrations under the portion of history in question.) SEE SAMUEL.
The special occasion of the substitution of a regal form of government for that of the judges seems to have been the siege of Jabesh-Gilead by Nahash, king of the Ammonites (1Sa 11:1; 1Sa 12:12), and the refusal to allow the inhabitants of that city to capitulate except on humiliating and cruel conditions (1Sa 11:2,4-6). 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. Concurrently with this conviction, disgust had been excited by the corrupt administration of justice under the sons of Samuel, and a radical change was desired by them in this respect also (1Sa 8:3-5). Accordingly, the original idea of a Hebrew king was twofold: 1st, that he should lead the people to battle in time of war; and, 2dly, that he should execute judgment and justice to them in war and in peace (1Sa 8:20). In both respects the desired end was attained. The righteous wrath and military capacity of Saul were immediately triumphant over the Ammonites; and though ultimately he was defeated and slain in battle with the Philistines, he put even them to flight on more than one occasion (1Sa 14:23; 1Sa 17:52), and generally waged successful war against the surrounding nations (1Sa 14:47). SEE SAUL. His successor, David, entered on a series of brilliant conquests over the Philistines, Moabites, Syrians, Edomites, and Ammonites; and the Israelites, no longer confined within the narrow bounds of Palestine, had an empire extending from the River Euphrates to Gaza, and from the entering in of Hamath to the river of Egypt (1Ki 4:21). In the meanwhile complaints ceased of the corruption of justice; and Solomon not only consolidated and maintained in peace the empire of his father David, but left an enduring reputation for his wisdom as a judge. Under this expression, however, we must regard him, not merely as pronouncing decisions, primarily or in the last resort, in civil and criminal cases, but likewise as holding public levees and transacting public business "at the gate," when he would receive petitions, hear complaints, and give summary decisions on various points, which in a modern European kingdom would come under the cognizance of numerous distinct public departments. SEE DAVID; SEE SOLOMON.
3. Functions and Prerogatives. — Emanating as the royal power did from the demand of the people and the permission of a prophet, it was not likely to be unlimited in its extent or arbitrary in its exercise. The government of God, indeed, remained, being rather concealed and complicated than disowned, much less superseded. The king ruled not in his own right nor in virtue of the choice of the people, but by concession from on high, and partly as the servant and partly as the representative of the theocracy. How insecure, indeed, was the tenure of the kingly power. how restricted it was in its authority, appears clear from the comparative facility with which the crown was transferred from Saul to David; and the part which the prophet Samuel took il effecting that transference points out the quarter where lay the power which limited, if it did not primarily, at least, control the royal authority. It must, however, be added that, if religion narrowed this authority, it also invested it with a sacredness which could emanate from no other source. Liable as the Israelitish kings were to interference on the part of priest and prophet, they were, by the same divine power, shielded from the unholy hands of the profane vulgar, and it was at once impiety and rebellion to do injury to "the Lord's anointed" (Ps 2:6-7 sq.). Instances are not wanting to corroborate and extend these general observations. When Saul was in extremity before the Philistines (1 Samuel 28), he resorted to the usual methods of obtaining counsel: "Saul inquired of the Lord; the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by the prophets." So David, when in need of advice in war (1Sa 30:7), resorted to Abiathar the priest, who, by means of the ephod, inquired of the Lord, and thereupon urged the king to take a certain course, which proved successful (see also 2Sa 2:1). Sometimes, indeed, as appears from 1 Samuel 28, it was a prophet who acted the part of prime minister, or chief counsellor, to the king, and who, as bearing that sacred character, must have possessed very weighty influence in the royal divan (1Ki 22:7 sq.). We must not, however, expect to find any definite and permanent distribution of power, any legal determination of the royal prerogatives as discriminated from the divine authority; circumstances, as they prompted certain deeds, restricted or enlarged the sphere of the monarch's action. Thus, in 1Sa 11:4 sq., we find Saul, in an emergency, assuming, without consultation or deliberation, the power of demanding something like a levy en masse, and of proclaiming instant war. With the king lay the administration of justice in the last resort (2Sa 15:2; 1Ki 3:16 sq.). He also possessed the power of life and death (2 Samuel 14). To provide for and superintend the public worship was at once his duty and his highest honor (1Ki 8; 2Ki 12:4; 2Ki 18:4; 2Ki 23:1). One reason why the people requested a king was that they might have a recognised leader in war (1Sa 8:20). The Mosaic law offered a powerful hindrance to royal despotism (1Sa 10:25). The people also, by means of their elders, formed an express compact, by which they stipulated for their rights (1Ki 12:4), and were from time to time appealed to, generally in cases of " great pith and moment" (1Ch 29:1; 2Ki 11:17; Josephus, War, ii, 1, 2). Nor did the people fail to interpose their will, where they thought it necessary, in opposition to that of the monarch (1Sa 14:45). The part which Nathan took against David shows how effective, as well as bold, was the check exerted by the prophets; indeed, most of the prophetic history is the history of the noblest opposition ever made to the vices alike of royalty, priesthood, and people. If needful, the prophet hesitated not to demand an audience with the king, nor was he dazzled or deterred by royal power and pomp (1Ki 20:22,38; 2Ki 1:15). As, however, the monarch held the sword, the instrument of death was sometimes made to prevail over every restraining influence (1Sa 22:17). SEE PROPHET.
To form a correct idea of a Hebrew king, we must abstract ourselves from the notions of modern Europe, and realize the position of Oriental sovereigns. It would be a mistake to regard the Hebrew government as a limited monarchy, in the English sense of the expression. It is stated in 1Sa 10:25, that Samuel " told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in the book and laid it before the Lord," and it is barely possible that this may refer to some statement respecting the boundaries of the kingly power. (The word מַשׁפָּט, literally judgment, translated "manner" in the A. V., is translated in the Sept. ehncaiwa, i.e. statute or ordinance [comp. Ecclus. 4:17; Bar. ii, 12; 4:13]. But Josephus seems to have regarded the document as a prophetical statement, read before the king, of the calamities which were to arise from the kingly power, as a kind of protest recorded for succeeding ages [Ant. 6:4, 6]). But no such document has come down to us; and if it ever existed, and contained restrictions of any moment on the kingly power, it was probably disregarded in practice. The following passage of sir John Malcolm respecting the shahs. of Persia may, with some slight modifications, be regarded as fairly applicable to the Hebrew monarchy under David and Solomon: " The monarch of Persia has been pronounced to be one of the most absolute in the world. His word has ever been deemed a law; and he has probably never had any further restraint upon the free exercise of his vast authority than has arisen from his regard for religion, his respect for established usages, his desire for reputation, and his fear of exciting an opposition that might be dangerous to his power or to his life" (Malcolm's Persia, ii, 303; comp. Elphinstone's India, bk. 8, ch. 3). It must not, however, be supposed to have been either the understanding or the practice that the sovereign might seize at his discretion the private property of individuals. Ahab did not venture to seize the vineyard of Naboth till, through the testimony of false witnesses, Naboth had been convicted of blasphemy; and possibly his vineyard may have been seized as a confiscation, without flagrantly outraging public sentiment in those who did not know the truth (1Ki 11:6). But no monarchy perhaps ever existed in which it would not be regarded as an outrage that the monarch should from covetousness seize the private property of an innocent subject in no ways dangerous to the state. And generally, when sir John Malcolm proceeds as follows in reference to "one of the most absolute" monarchs in the world, it will be understood that the Hebrew king, whose power might be described in the same way, is not, on account of certain restraints which exist in the nature of things, to be regarded as " a limited monarch" in the European use of the words. " We may assume that the power of the king of Persia is by usage absolute over the property and lives of his conquered enemies, his rebellious subjects, his own family, his ministers, over public officers civil and military, and all the numerous train of domestics, and that he may punish any person of these classes without examination or
normal procedure of any kind; in all other cases that are capital, the forms prescribed by law and custom are observed; the monarch only commands, when the evidence has been examined and the law declared, that the sentence shall be put in execution or that the condemned culprit shall be pardoned" (ii, 306). In accordance with such usages, David ordered Uriah to be treacherously exposed to death in the forefront of the hottest battle (2Sa 11:15); he caused Rechab and Baanah to be slain instantly, when they brought him the head of Ishbosheth (2Sa 4:12); and he is represented as having on his death-bed recommended Solomon to put Joab and Shimei to death (1Ki 2:5-9). In like manner, Solomon caused to be killed, without trial, not only his elder brother Adonijah and Joab, whose execution might be regarded as the exceptional acts of a dismal state-policy in the beginning of' his reign, but likewise Shimei, after having been seated on the throne three years. And king Saul, in resentment at their connivance with David's escape, put to death 85 priests, and caused a massacre of the inhabitants of Nob, including women, children, and sucklings (1Sa 22:18-19).
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. Both these points seem clear from the account given (1Sa 8:11-17) of the evils which would arise from the kingly power, and are confirmed in various ways. Whatever mention may be made of consulting " old men," or " elders of Israel," we never read of their deciding such points as these. When Pul, the king of Assyria, imposed a tribute on the kingdom of Israel, " Menahem, the king," exacted the money of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man 50 shekels of silver (2Ki 15:19). When Jehoiakim, king of Judah, gave his tribute of silver and gold to Pharaoh, he taxed the land to give the money; he exacted the silver and gold of the people, of every one according to his taxation (2Ki 23:35). The degree to which the exaction of personal labor might be carried on a special occasion is illustrated by king Solomon's requirements for building the Temple. He raised a levy of 30,000 men, and sent them to Lebanon by courses of 10,000 a month; and he had 70,000 that bare burdens, and 80,000 hewers in the mountains (1Ki 5:13-15). Judged by the Oriental standard, there is nothing improbable in these numbers. In our own days, for the purpose of constructing the Mahmudeyeh Canal in Egypt, Mehemet Ali, by orders given to the various sheiks of the provinces of Sakarah, Ghizeh, Mensfirah, Sharkieh, Menuf, Bahyreh, and some others, caused 300,000 men, women, and children to be assembled along the site of the intended canal (see Mrs. Poole's Englishwoman in Egypt, ii, 219). This was 120,000 more than the levy of Solomon.
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 (1Sa 10:1; 1Sa 16:13), and, as it were, His son, if just and holy (2Sa 7:14; Ps 89:26-27; Ps 2:6-7). He had been set apart as a consecrated ruler. Upon his head had been poured the holy anointing oil, composed of olive-oil, myrrh, cinnamon, sweet calamus, and cassia, which had hitherto been reserved exclusively for the priests of Jehovah, especially the high- priest, or had been solely used to anoint the Tabernacle of the Congregation, the Ark of the Testimony, and the vessels of the Tabernacle (Ex 30:23-33; Ex 40:9; Le 21:10; 1Ki 1:39). He had become, in fact, emphatically " the Lord's anointed." At the coronation of sovereigns in modern Europe, holy oil has frequently been used as a symbol of divine right; but this has been mainly regarded as a mere form, and the use of it was undoubtedly introduced in imitation of the Hebrew custom. But, from the beginning to the end of the Hebrew monarchy, a living real significance was attached to consecration by this holy anointing oil. From well-known anecdotes related of David-and, perhaps, from words in his lamentation over Saul and Jonathan (2Sa 1:21)-it results that a certain sacredness invested the person of Saul, the first king, as the Lord's anointed; and that, on this account, it was deemed sacrilegious to kill him, even at his own request (1Sa 24:6,10; 1Sa 26:9,16; 2 Samuel i, 14). After the destruction of the first Temple, in the Book of Lamentations over the calamities of the Hebrew people, it is by the name of " the Lord's Anointed" that Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, is bewailed (Lamentaions 4:20). Again, more than 600 years after the capture of Zedekiah, the name of the Anointed, though never so used in thee Old Testament-yet suggested, probably, by Ps 2:2; Da 9:26-had become appropriated to the expected king, who was to restore the kingdom of David, and inaugurate a period when Edom, Moab, the Ammonites, and the Philistines would again be incorporated with the Hebrew monarchy, which would extend from the Euphrates to the Mediterranean Sea and to the ends of the earth (Ac 1:6; Joh 1:41; Joh 4:25; Isa 11:12-14; Ps 72:8). Thus the identical Hebrew word which signifies anointed, through its Aramaic form adopted into Greek and Latin, is still preserved to us in the English word Messiah. (See Gesenius's Thesaurus, p. 825.) See § 4, below.
4. Appointment and Inauguration. — The law of succession to the throne is somewhat obscure, but it seems most probable that the king during his lifetime named his successor. This was certainly the case with David, who passed over his elder son Adonijah, the son of Haggith, in favor of Solomon, the son of Bathsheba (1Ki 1:30; 1Ki 2:22); and with Rehoboam, of whom it is said that he loved Maachah, the daughter of Absalom, above all his wives and concubines, and that he made Abijah her son to be ruler among his brethren, to make him king (2Ch 11:21-22). The succession of the firstborn has been inferred from a passage in 2Ch 21:3-4, in which Jehoshaphat is said to have given the kingdom to Jehoram "because he was the first-born." But this very passage tends to show that Jehoshaphat had the power of naming his successor; and it is worthy of note that Jehoram, on his coming to the throne, put to death all his brothers, which he would scarcely, perhaps, have done if the succession of the first-born had been the law of the land. From the conciseness of the narratives in the books of Kings no inference either way can be drawn from the ordinary formula in which the death of the father and succession of his son is recorded (1Ki 15:8). 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. There appears to have been some prominence given to the mother of the king (2Ki 24:12,15; 1 Kings ii, 19), and it is possible that the mother may have been regent during the minority of a son. Indeed, some such custom best explains the possibility of the audacious usurpation of Athaliah on the death of her son Ahaziah: a usurpation which lasted six years after the destruction of all the seed-royal except the young Jehoash (2Ki 11:1-3). The people, too, and even foreign powers, at a later period interrupted the regular transmission of royal authority (2Ki 21:24; 2Ki 23:24,30; 2Ki 24:17). SEE HEIR.
It is supposed both by Jahn (Bib. Archceol. § 222) and Bauer (in his Heb. Alterthiimer, § 20) that a king was only anointed when a new family came to the throne, or when the right to the crown was disputed. It is usually on such occasions only that the anointing is specified, as in 1Sa 10:1; 2Sa 2:4; 1Ki 1:39; 2Ki 9:3; 2Ki 11:12; but this is not invariably the case (see 2Ki 23:30), and there does not appear sufficient reason to doubt that each individual king was anointed. There can be little doubt, likewise, that the kings of Israel were anointed, though this is not specified by the writers of Kings and Chronicles, who would deem such anointing invalid. The ceremony of anointing, which was observed at least in the case of Saul, David, and Solomon (1Sa 9:14; 1Sa 10:1; 1Sa 15:1; 1Sa 16:12; 2Sa 2:4; 2Sa 5:1; 1 Kings 1:34; 39:5), and in which the prophet or high-priest who performed the rite acted as the representative of the theocracy and the expounder of the will of heaven, must have given to the spiritual power very considerable influence; and both this particular and the very nature of the observance direct the mind to Egypt, where the same custom prevailed, and where the power of the priestly caste was immense (Wilkinson's Anc. Egypt. 5:279). Indeed, the ceremony seems to have been essential to constitute a legitimate monarch (2Ki 11:12; 2Ki 23:30); and thus the authorities of the Jewish Church held in their hands, and had subject to their will, a most important power, which they could use either for their own purposes or the common good. In consequence of the general observance of this ceremony, the term " anointed," " the Lord's anointed" (1Sa 2:10; 1Sa 16:6; 1Sa 24:6; 2Sa 19:21; Ps 2:2; La 4:20), came to be employed in rhetorical and poetical diction as equivalent in meaning to the designation "king." SEE ANOINTING.
We have seen in the case of Saul that personal and even external qualities had their influence in procuring ready obedience to a sovereign; and further evidence to the same effect may be found in Ps 45:3; Eze 28:12: such qualities would naturally excite the enthusiasm of the people, who appear to have manifested their approval by acclamations (1Sa 10:24; 1Ki 1:25; 2Ki 9:13; 2Ki 11:13; 2Ch 23:11; see also Josephus, War, i, 33, 9).
5. Court and Revenues.-The following is a list of some of the officers of the king:
1. The recorder or chronicler, who was perhaps analogous to the historiographer whom sir John Malcolm mentions as an officer of the Persian court, whose duty it is to write the annals of the king's reign (Hist. of Persia, c. 23). Certain it is that there is no regular series of minute dates in Hebrew history until we read of this recorder, or remembrancer, as the word mazkir is translated in a marginal note of the English version. It signifies one who keeps the memory of events alive, in accordance with a motive assigned by Herodotus for writing his history, viz. that the acts of men might not become extinct by time (Herod. i, 1; 2Sa 8:16; 1Ki 4:3; 2Ki 18:18; Isa 36:3,22). SEE RECORDER.
2. The scribe or secretary, whose duty would be to answer letters or petitions in the name of the king, to write dispatches, and to draw up edicts (2Sa 8:17; 2Sa 20:25; 2Ki 12:10; 2Ki 19:2; 2Ki 22:8). SEE SCRIBE.
3. The officer who was over the house (Isa 32:15; Isa 36:3). His duties would be those of chief steward of the household, and would embrace all the internal economical arrangements of the palace, the superintendence of the king's servants, and the custody of his costly vessels of gold and silver. He seems to have worn a distinctive robe of office and girdle. It was against Shebna, who held this office, that Isaiah uttered his personal prophecy (xxii, 15-25), the only instance of the kind in his writings (see Gesen. Jesa. i, 694). SEE STEWARD.
4. The king's friend (1Ki 4:5), called likewise the king's companion. It is evident from the name that this officer must have stood in confidential relation to the king, but his duties are nowhere specified.
5. The keeper of the vestry or wardrobe (2Ki 10:22).
6. The captain of the body-guard (2Sa 20:23). The importance of this officer requires no comment. It was he who obeyed Solomon in putting to death Adonijah, Joab, and Shimei (1Ki 2:25,34,46).
7. Distinct officers over the king's treasures-his storehouses, laborers, vineyards, olive-trees, and sycamore-trees, herds, camels, and flocks (1Ch 27:25-31).
8. The officer over all the host or army of Israel, the commander-in- chief of the army, who commanded it in person during the king's absence (2Sa 20:23; 1Ch 27:34; 2Sa 11:1). As an instance of the formidable power which a general might acquire in this office, see the narrative in 2Sa 3:30-37, when David deemed himself obliged to tolerate the murder of Abner by Joab and Abishai.
9. The royal counsellor (1Ch 27:32; Isa 3:3; Isa 19:11,13). Ahithophel is a specimen of how much such an officer might effect for evil or for good; but whether there existed under Hebrew kings any body corresponding, even distantly, to the English Privy Council in former times, does not appear (2Sa 16:20-23; 2Sa 17:1-14).
The following is a statement of the sources of the royal income:
1. The royal demesnes, corn-fields, vineyards, and olive-gardens. Some at least of these seem to have been taken from private individuals, but whether as the punishment of rebellion, or on any other plausible pretext, is not specified (1Sa 8:14; 1Ch 27:26-28).
2. The produce of the royal flocks (1Sa 21:7; 2Sa 13:23; 2Ch 26:10; 1Ch 27:25).
3. A nominal tenth of the produce of corn-land and vineyards, and of sheep (1Sa 8:15,17).
4. A tribute from merchants who passed through the Hebrew territory (11 Kings 10:14). 5. Presents made by his subjects (1Sa 10:27; 1Sa 16:20; 1Ki 10:25; Ps 72:10). There is, perhaps, no greater distinction in the usages of Eastern and Western nations than in what relates to the giving and receiving of presents. When made regularly, they do, in fact, amount to a regular tax. Thus, in the passage last referred to in the book of Kings, it is stated that they brought to Solomon ' every man his present, vessels of silver and vessels of gold, and garments, and armor, and spices, horses and mules, a rate year by year."
6. In the time of Solomon, the king had trading vessels of his own at sea, which, starting from Eziongeber, brought back once in three years gold and silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks (1Ki 10:22). It is probable that Solomon and some other kings may have derived some revenue from commercial ventures (1Ki 9:28).
7. The spoils of war taken from conquered nations and the tribute paid by them (2Sa 8:2,7-8,10; 1Ki 4:21; 2Ch 27:5). 8. Lastly, an undefined power of exacting compulsory labor, to which reference has already been made (1Sa 8:12-13,16). As far as this power was exercised it was equivalent to so much income.
There is nothing in 1Sa 10:25, or in 2Sa 5:3, to justify the statement that the Hebrews defined in express terms, or in any terms, by a particular agreement or covenant for that purpose, what services should be rendered to the king, or what he could legally require. SEE SOLOMON.
6. Usages. — A ruler in whom so much authority, human and divine, was embodied, was naturally distinguished by outward honors and luxuries. He had a court of Oriental magnificence. When the power of the kingdom was at its height, he sat on a throne of ivory, covered with pure gold, at the feet of which were two figures of lions, with others on the steps approaching the throne. The king was dressed in royal robes (1Ki 22:10; 2Ch 18:9); his insignia were a crown or diadem of pure gold, or perhaps radiant with precious stones (2Sa 1:10; 2Sa 12:30; 2Ki 11:12; Ps 21:3), and a royal sceptre (Eze 19:11; Isa 14:5; Ps 45:6; Am 1:5,8). Those who approached him did him obeisance, bowing down and touching the ground with their foreheads (1Sa 24:8; 2Sa 19:24); and this was done even by a king's wife, the mother of Solomon (1Ki 1:16). His officers and subjects called themselves his servants or slaves, though they do not seem habitually to have given way to such extravagant salutations as in the Chaldaean and Persian courts (1Sa 17:32,34,36; 1Sa 20:8; 2Sa 6:20; Da 2:4). As in the East at present, a kiss was a sign of respect and homage (1Sa 10:1; perhaps Ps 2:12). He lived in a splendid palace, with porches and columns (1Ki 7:2-7). All his drinking- vessels were of gold (1Ki 10:21).
At his accession, in addition to the anointing mentioned above, jubilant music formed a part of the popular rejoicings (1Ki 1:40); thank- offerings were made (1Ki 1:25); the new sovereign rode in solemn procession on the royal mule of his predecessor (1Ki 1:38), and took possession of the royal harem-an act which seems to have been scarcely less essential than other observances which appear to us to wear a higher character (1Ki 2:13,22; 2Sa 16:22). A numerous harem, indeed, was among the most highly estimated of the royal luxuries (2Sa 5:13; 1Ki 11:1; 1Ki 20:3). It was under the supervision and control of eunuchs, and passed from one monarch to another as a part of the crown property (2Sa 12:8). The law (De 17:17), foreseeing evils such as that by which Solomon, in his later years, was turned away from his fidelity to God, had strictly forbidden many wives; but Eastern passions and usages were too strong for a mere written prohibition, and a corrupted religion became a pander to royal lust, interpreting the divine command as sanctioning eighteen as the minimum of wives and concubines.
Deriving their power originally from the wishes of the people, and being one of the same race, the Hebrew kings were naturally less despotic than other Oriental sovereigns, mingled more with their subjects, and were by no means difficult of access (2Sa 19:8; 1Ki 20:39; Jer 38:7; 1Ki 3:16; 2Ki 6:26; 2Ki 8:3). After death the monarchs were interred in the royal cemetery in Jerusalem: " So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David" (1Ki 2:10; 1Ki 11:43; 1Ki 14:31). But bad kings were excluded "from the sepulchres of the kings of Israel" (2Ch 28:27).
See Schickard, Jus Regium Hebrceor. (Tilbing. 1621); Carpzov, Apopar. Crit. p. 52; Michaelis, Mos. Recht. i, 298; Otho, Lex. Rabbin. p. 575; Hess, Gesch. d. K. Juda uud Israels (Ziir. 1787); Houtuyn, Monarchia Hebrceorum (Leyd. 1685); Newman, Hebrew Monarchy (Lond. 1847, 1853); Pastoret, Legislation des lebreux (Paris, 1817); Salvador, Hist. des Institutiones de Moise (Paris, 1828); Hullmann, Staatsverfassung der Israeliten (Lpz. 1834); Maurice, Kings and Prophets of the O.T. (Lond. 1852, Bost. 1858); Brit. and For. Evang. Review, April, 1801. SEE MONARCHY.