September 25, 2007


OT Israel: Constitutional Monarchy? (Jordan J. Ballor , September 21. 2007, Acton: PowerBlog)

[How should we] characterize the rule of the kings in Old Testament Israel. Clearly it’s a monarchy, but what sort?

We see the protection of private property, and a king who is subject to the rule of law and is specifically held accountable to Torah, when necessary by its public expositors the prophets. Calvin noted the intimate relationship between the prophets and Torah. Speaking about understanding the prophetic books, he writes, “the shortest way of treating this subject is to trace the Prophets to the Law, from which they derived their doctrine, like streams from a fountain; for they placed it before them as their rule, so that they may be justly held and declared to be its interpreters, who utter nothing but what is connected with the Law.”

While the prophets lacked the direct relationship with the executive power such that they could enforce Torah adherence, they certainly represented the divine perspective on Torah violation and its consequences (no doubt they were strict constructionists). In that sense they functioned as a sort of judicial check on the monarch’s power, similar to the way our Supreme Court is supposed to function.

If we view Torah as a sort of constitution, then in OT Israel we have an ancient kind of constitutional, and therefore limited, monarchy.

Separation extremists/secularists fail to recognize that America is likewise derived from the same sort of holy constitution that precedes the U.S. Constitution:
Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

John Adams: "You have Rights antecedent to all Earthly Governments; Rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by Human Laws; Right derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe."

Thomas Jefferson: "The God that gave us Life, gave us Liberty at the same time; the hand of Force may Destroy, but it cannot Disjoin them."

This Foundation is important not just to our understanding of our own government, but in its universality to what sort of regimes we can tolerate abroad. We accept the possibility that various forms may vindicate men's God-given rights and provide them with liberty, but any form which fails to do so and/or is non-consensual is, by definition, illegitimate.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 25, 2007 12:00 AM

Which is why statists wish to minimize, or destroy outright, religion.

The fact is that private property, as established by O.T. Law, is the foundation of all good government, be it monarchy or democracy.

Le 25:10 And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.

Posted by: Randall Voth at September 26, 2007 3:09 AM