Were the Ancient Israelites Required to Appoint a King, or Simply Given the Option?

The monarchy begins twice.

From Solomon Receives the Queen of Sheba, Tintoretto, 1555. Wikimedia.

From Solomon Receives the Queen of Sheba, Tintoretto, 1555. Wikimedia.

Observation
Aug. 25 2017
About the author

Sarah Rindner teaches English literature at Lander College in New York and blogs at Book of Books.


This week’s Torah reading of Shoftim (Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9) concerns itself, more than any other, with political matters. It begins with the commandment to appoint “judges and officers in all your gates,” and ends with the laws of war. As is true throughout Deuteronomy, many of the precepts found in Shoftim are repetitions or elaborations of injunctions from previous books of the Torah. But one passage stands out both for its significance and for its novelty:

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More about: Hebrew Bible, Religion & Holidays, Solomon