This Theocracy or Kingdom was identified with the Davidic Kingdom.
PROPOSITION 31. This Theocracy or Kingdom was identified with the Davidic Kingdom.
Passing by the Davidic covenant (to be adduced hereafter), which distinctly exhibits this, it is sufficient, for the present, to remark that after the Theocratic Ruler deposed Saul, owing to disobedience, he chose David, and having made for wise reasons (e.g., in view of the prospective seed of David, Jesus, “the Christ”) the Kingdom hereditary in David’s family, he received that throne and Kingdom and adopted the same as His own throne and Kingdom. The Theocracy and Davidic kingdom, in virtue of a special and peculiar covenant relationship between the two, were regarded as one, and in the future so identical in destiny that they are inseparably linked together.[*]
Note. Comp. Props. 27 and 28. This union, and the subordination of the kings, as well as the divine right running only in the line of God’s own choosing, shows how we are to estimate the unfounded assertions of those who make this Kingship a despotic or unlimited monarchy, with the notion of thereby enforcing “the divine right of kings” and “the passive obedience of subjects.” What terrible outrages on humanity have been committed, under the false claim that they were sanctioned by the governmental institutions of God! How tyrants have ruled and crushed their subjects, under the pretence of being a legitimate outgrowth of Theocratic ordering; and how crimes of the deepest dye have been condoned under the plea that “the anointing oil” of priestcraft made them per se “the Anointed of the Lord!” (Comp. Props. 164 and 163.)
Obs. 1. This is also evidenced by three things—(1) The Davidic throne and Kingdom is called the Lord’s. Thus, e.g. in 1 Chron. 28:5, it is “the throne of the Kingdom of the Lord over Israel”; in 2 Chron. 13:8, “the Kingdom of the Lord”; and in 2 Chron. 9:8, the King is placed by God “on His throne to be King for the Lord thy God.” (2) The King was expressly designated “the Lord’s Anointed” (1 Sam. 24:6, 2 Sam. 19:21, etc.). (3) The Prophets, after the establishment of the Davidic throne and kingdom, invariably identify the glorious Kingdom of God, the blessed Theocratic rule, as manifested through the same, as e.g. Jer., chs. 33 and 36, Amos 9, etc. The reason for this lies in the firm and perpetual union.[*]
Note. Wines (Com. on the Laws, p. 506–7), to carry out his theory of an election by the people, in order to make out a parallel with American Republicanism, makes David to have been “elected by the voice of the people to that high dignity” (2 Sam., chs. 3, 4, 5, and 12), and that the anointing of Samuel was a sort of “prophetic anointing,” which did not inaugurate him as king, or confer any authority upon him.” “It was rather a prophecy in action, foreshadowing his future elevation to the throne.” We contend from the historical account given, and the particular narrative of the choosing of David, that it was more than this: the anointing gave him a right, from the Chief Ruler, to the Kingdom and over the Kingdom, although the realization of the same was delayed for a time. God had thus designated His choice, and it was, in the nature of the case, infallible. The consent of the tribes, one after the other, was not merely a matter of prudence and policy to bind them cordially to David, but resulted, as the history shows, in view of God having given him this right, evidenced by his anointing. The anointing constituted him the King, however delayed, and this kingship, in the divine line, continued the recognized one, although afterward the majority of the tribes revolted from the Davidic house. The majority did not change God’s plan, etc.
Obs. 2. The King was under God’s special care, and treason against the King was treason against God; it was only when engaged in sin that God’s care was removed and the people were exhorted to resist wickedness even in the chief. The diminishing of the Kingdom (as in the days of Jeroboam, which was not to be forever, seeing that no promises of perpetuity were given as to David), and the final overthrow of the Kingdom—indeed all the great, leading, vital affairs pertaining to it, are always represented as occurring under the direction and control of the mighty Theocratic Ruler,—He being fully and legitimately identified with its successes and reverses, exaltation and debasement, union and divisions, etc.[*]
Note. One reason why greater favor was shown to the tribes adhering to the kingly line chosen by God than to those tribes that revolted and sought out their own line, springs from the fact that the one party, with all their faults, kept closer to the Theocratic ordering than the other. Some works (as Baldwin’s Armageddon), in their opposition to all monarchy, and desire to make out the Theocracy a Republic (which it is not, excepting in a few details), speak of the Davidic monarchy as if it were “sinful,” and God hated it, etc. This is simply to ignore the historical statements, the covenant, the thousand promises, connected with it. God was only displeased with it, and punished it, whenever it forgot its Theocratical position and subordination. Any other view is a perversion of fact.
Obs. 3. This Theocratic union is shown also in the fact that not only all the Theocratic laws and arrangements, previously made, remained in full force, and the King obligated himself to see them enforced, but in important matters pertaining to the nation the King was to consult with, and obey the imparted instructions of, the Chief Ruler. The numbering of the people (2 Sam. 24 and 1 Chron. 21) by David without divine permission, being an infringement of Theocratic order, an act of insubordination to his Superior, was correspondingly severely punished.[*]
Note. Celsus, Voltaire, and a host of unbelievers, with assumed righteous indignation, insist that David having alone sinned in numbering the people, it was unjust that the innocent people should have suffered the punishment due to him. So also it is said, that taking Uriah’s wife, the innocent husband perished, and David enjoyed his spoil. But let it be noticed: 1. The end is not yet: the future destiny of those innocent ones will, in the coming Kingdom, make ample amends for their misfortune. 2. How largely the future station, rank, kingship, and priesthood of David may be affected by it, we know not—a just balance will be struck. 3. David’s sins are specifically denounced, and he heartily repented of them. 4. He suffered severely in person because of them. 5. One of the sins—the former—was an insult to his Sovereign Ruler, and the punishment was designed to exhibit its magnitude. 6. David was preserved, notwithstanding his sins, because of his relation as Theocratic King and the destined forerunner of a future glorious Theocratic King in his line. 7. That the reasons for Theocratic clemency and severity are not given in detail, and that it ill becomes us to sit in judgment upon them. 8. The non-concealment of David’s guilt (so different from human biography) and its result, stamps the record with truthfulness, and gives hope and comfort to repenting sinners.
Obs. 4. The identity of the Theocratic Kingdom with the Davidic is taken for granted in the New Test. as an indisputable fact. This will appear, as our argument progresses; for some preliminaries must first be considered in their historical connection. The announcing angel states the fact (Luke 1:32, 33), and Zacharias intimates it (v. 68–74).[*]
Note. The reader will observe two features connected with this subject. The Theocracy did not remain in Saul’s line, and it was not in the line of the kings over the revolted tribes, for the special union and the promises connected with it are found only in the Davidic line. This is a sufficient reply to Newman (His. of Heb. Monarchy, p. 50), who accuses Samuel of treason in deposing Saul and choosing David, totally overlooking the Theocratic form of government, and that Samuel was acting under the special orders of the Supreme Ruler of the nation. The question is sometimes asked, why was Saul thus chosen, when God foreknew his speedy fall and the selection of David in his place? The question is not answered by saying that “Saul’s self-will caused him to forget his Theocratic position” when he presumed to sacrifice himself and disobey divine commands, the significance of which (The Anc. His. of the East, vol. 1, p. 132) was that “it aimed at establishing the monarchy of Israel on the same basis as heathen kingdoms,” making the Theocratic ordering subservient to the caprice of the subordinate ruler. All this is true, but God foreknew all this, and still selected Saul. Kurtz (Sac. His., p. 177) says: “Since they demand a king without a divine intimation, God gives them a king, even as they wish, not after His own heart (1 Sam. 13:14), but after the heart of the people, not one that belonged to the tribe of Judah, but one who was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward (10:23).” But God did directly choose him, and not the people, and the proof is found in 1 Sam. 9:15–27 and 10:1–26; for Samuel expressly says: “See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen.” Newman (His. Heb. Monarchy) says: “It is highly doubtful whether Saul was chosen either by God or by Samuel,” for he thinks the Israelites chose him for his stature and beauty, and then Samuel reconciled himself to a necessity, and declared—a pious fraud—that God also chose him; thus perverting the history, and that Saul was not seen by the people until after the lot. Historical statements, however, must always bend before destructive criticism, which has the happy talent of knowing precisely how things ought to have been done. The reason, as given by various writers (e.g. Farbairn’s Typology, p. 96), seems to be this: the Kingship was of a derived and vicegerent nature to be perpetuated, “and to render the Divine Purpose in this respect manifest to all who had eyes to see and ears to hear, the Lord allowed the choice first to fall on one who—as the representative of the people’s earthly wisdom and prowess—was little disposed to rule in humble subordination to the will and authority of heaven, and was therefore supplanted by another, who should act as God’s representative, and bear distinctively the name of ‘His servant.’ ” In other words, God designed to show in this first king, and impress it by a signal experience that He alone was the Supreme King, and the government, under the kings, should continue a Theocracy. The lesson was purposely chosen before the Davidic line was introduced, but practically it was too soon forgotten. It was illustrated, too, in the case of one whom men admired (owing to stature and beauty).