King

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is in Scripture very generally used to denote one invested with authority, whether extensive or limited. There were thirty-one kings in Canaan (Josh 12:9, 24), whom Joshua subdued. Adonibezek subdued seventy kings (Jdg 1:7). In the New Testament the Roman emperor is spoken of as a king (1 Pet 2:13, 17); and Herod Antipas, who was only a tetrarch, is also called a king (Mt 14:9; Mk 6:22).

This title is applied to God (1 Tim 1:17), and to Christ, the Son of God (1 Tim 6:15, 16; Mt 27:11). The people of God are also called "kings" (Dan 7:22, 27; Mt 19:28; Rev 1:6, etc.). Death is called the "king of terrors" (Job 18:14).

Jehovah was the sole King of the Jewish nation (1Sam 8:7; Isa 33:22). But there came a time in the history of that people when a king was demanded, that they might be like other nations (1Sam 8:5). The prophet Samuel remonstrated with them, but the people cried out, "Nay, but we will have a king over us." The misconduct of Samuel's sons was the immediate cause of this demand.

The Hebrew kings did not rule in their own right, nor in name of the people who had chosen them, but partly as servants and partly as representatives of Jehovah, the true King of Israel (1Sam 10:1). The limits of the king's power were prescribed (1Sam 10:25). The officers of his court were, (1) the recorder or remembrancer (2 Sam 8:16; 1 Kg 4:3); (2) the scribe (2 Sam 8:17; 20:25); (3) the officer over the house, the chief steward (Isa 22:15); (4) the "king's friend," a confidential companion (1 Kg 4:5); (5) the keeper of the wardrobe (2Kg 22:14); (6) captain of the bodyguard (2 Sam 20:23); (7) officers over the king's treasures, etc. (1Chr 27:25-31); (8) commander-in-chief of the army (1Chr 27:34); (9) the royal counsellor (1Chr 27:32; 2 Sam 16:20-23).

(For catalogue of kings of Israel and Judah see chronological table in Appendix.)


This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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