I noticed that nations and governments aren't really meantioned until after the flood and the Tower of Babel; before the Tower of Babel, it seems like people just existed (probably in communities).
- Abraham comes into contact with kings, but it doesn't seem like he is under the rule of any of these kings
- Israel goes into Egypt and becomes subject to the Egyptian government, but God gives Moses information to create a new government for Israel
What Did God Create?
One question to be asked is "what kind of government did God create for Israel?" We can get a pretty good glimpse of that in the Old Testament. The books of law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) are essentially Israel's constitution...
- Moses establishes judges to govern Israel
- There were judges over 10s, 100s, and 1000s; culminating in Moses as the highest judge
- This method is similar to the way our court systems work in the US
- County/City courts
- State courts
- The Supreme Court
- There are 3 explicit characteristics given for these leaders + 1 implicit characteristic
- Fear God
- Honest/loves truth
- Hates covetousness
- Familiar with the ordinances (constitution/laws)
The Lesser of Two Evils?
Israel doesn't stick with the government set up in the wilderness. Eventually they get frustrated with corrupt judges and ask for a king (1 Samuel 8). At this time, God warns the Israelites about the rights of the king they're requesting—these rights parallel some of our government's rights
- Use men for chariots
- Use men for the army (like the draft)
- Use women as cooks, bakers, or perfumers
- Take land for himself or his servants (see Eminent Domain)
- Take 1/10 of the harvest (like taxes)
- Take 1/10 of the livestock (like taxes)
- Make the people his servants
And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not hear you in that day.”
In Israel's mind, this may have been a lesser of two evils situation.
- Saul was appointed king, but went crazy. (1 Samuel 16)
- David was appointed king, and while generally he was a good king, he did send men off to war (use the men for his army), commit adultery (take someone's woman), and subsequently cause him to be killed in battle. (2 Samuel 11)
- Solomon became king and used the people to build the Temple. After his reign, the people rebelled and the nation ended up splitting in half, marking the decline of Israel as a whole.
Verses of hope
References and Footnotes
- In the podcast I mistakenly said that women born after a certain date were required to register for the draft. I definitely remember that being in the news, however now I only find articles where the supreme court ruled only requiring men to register is unconstitutional. Apparently the Senate started to vote on this in 2016 and then it went into limbo.