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The King’s Rights in 1 Samuel 8: 11-17 - An Article That Tells the King’s Legitimate Rights -

  • Korean Journal of Old Testament Studies
  • Abbr : KJOTS
  • 2017, 23(4), pp.14-41
  • DOI : 10.24333/jkots.2017.23.4.14
  • Publisher : Korean Society of Old Testament Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology
  • Received : October 1, 2017
  • Accepted : October 30, 2017

Lee Keung Jae 1

1목원대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The text of the ‘king’s rights’ in 1 Samuel 8: 11-17 along with the ‘Jotham fable’ has been usually considered a representative criticism of the monarchy. Because its content is mentioned by such negative words as “exploitation” or “servant.” However, this study attempts to raise a question as to whether the text really speaks to the king's negative ruling principle. To answer this question, I would like to argue that the Sitz im Leben of the king’s rights in 1 Samuel 8: 11-17 was the king’s covenant, which a king made with his people during the enthronement ceremony. For this study, I used a textual-critical method for Samuel 8: 11-17 as well as a religio-historical method for the comparison and analysis of the ancient Near East. Although the ‘king’s covenant’ is mentioned only twice at the coronation ceremony of David (2 Sam 5: 3) and of Joash (2 Kgs 11: 4) in the Old Testament, but the king's covenant was a ceremonial event which was celebrated at every coronation ceremony in the history of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The fact that the king’s covenant was a ceremonial event in the enthronement ceremony is also proven through several examples of the Hittite and Assyrian empires. The ‘king’s covenant’ includes mutual duties and rights between the two parties (a king and his people), just like a ‘covenant’ in the secular world. One of the ‘king’s rights’ is to use human and material resources and to receive taxes, as partially introduced in 1 Samuel 8: 11-17. The king's duty, on the other hand, is to defend his nation and people from the enemy, to observe the religious ceremonies and feasts, to enrich the people, and to develop national infrastructure. Thus, if we think of the ‘king’s rights’ in connection with the covenant between a king and his people at the enthronement ceremony, it can be seen that the text of the ‘king’s rights’ in 1 Samuel 8: 11-17 is not a criticism of the monarchy.

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