Ep 41: 1 Samuel 8: A Biblical Critique of Monarchy

Summary – 1 Samuel 8: A Biblical Critique of Monarchy

In this episode, we explore how the writer of 1 Samuel 8 expressed concerns about Israel’s monarchy in particular and human government in general. We set 1 Samuel in the context of the Old Testament’s narrative of Israel’s covenant with God and the consequences of failing to remain faithful. We will compare this with Murray Rothbard’s observation in Anatomy of the State that the state has a monopoly on violence and generates revenue through coercion. We then look at some of the Biblical and practical conclusions that our reading of 1 Samuel 8 generates. This is a great preliminary dive into the Bible’s political theology!

Episode Outline:

I. A Review of Rothbard’s Anatomy of the State
II. The Dangers of Importing Modern Ideas into Ancient Texts
III. Context: The Covenantal Narrative of the Old Testament
IV. 1 Samuel 8
V. The Bible’s Problem with Monarchy
VI. Concluding Thoughts


Media Referenced:

  • John Walton. The Lost World of Genesis 1
  • David Beldman, Deserting the King
  • Tzvi Novick, An Introduction to the History of Israel

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