Electing a King

Does the Torah require a Jewish Monarchy?

When the people asked Nevi Samuel to appoint a King he strenuously objected to the appointment of a King! 1 Samuel 8.6, 11-18.

Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have asked for; and, behold, the L-RD hath set a king over you. 1 Samuel 12.13

We find two types of kings in the TANAK (Jewish Bible):

Shaul (Rebellious [1 Samuel] 13.12-14 presumptuous, 15.11, 23, fearing the people [24] and persecuting the righteous [1 Samuel 19.1])

1 Samuel 15.9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, even the young of the second birth, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; but every thing that was of no account and feeble, that they destroyed utterly.

12 And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning; and it was told Samuel, saying: ‘Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he is setting him up a monument, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.’

24 And Saul said unto Samuel: ‘I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the L-RD, and thy words; because I feared the people, and hearkened to their voice.

1Samuel 13.12 therefore said I: Now will the Philistines come down upon me to Gilgal, and I have not entreated the favour of the L-RD; I forced myself therefore, and offered the burnt-offering.’ 13 “And Samuel said to Saul: ‘Thou hast done foolishly; thou hast not kept the commandment of the L-RD thy G-D, which He commanded thee; for now would the L-RD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. 14 But now thy kingdom shall not continue; the L-RD hath sought him a man after His own heart, and the L-RD hath appointed him to be prince over His people, because thou hast not kept that which the L-RD commanded thee.’ ” ; and,

David (Praiseworthy, Tehillim 1.1, 84.5, 144.15 and Dedicated to HaShem with all his heart – Tehillim 30, together with 34; and Repentant, Tehillim [Psalms] 51). The penitent King whom HaShem chose to be and appointed him as a Prince forever – a “man after G-D’s own heart!”

2 Samuel 6.14 And David danced before the L-RD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

Maimonides states that it is an OBLIGATION to appoint a King when we enter the Land of Israel, based on the passage in Devarim [Deuteronomy] 17:14-20. What do other authorities state, in light of Samuel’s displeasure at the type of King they have chosen?

It seems to me that this passage in Devarim 17 must be read in light of the passage (Shmoth [Exodus] 19.6) in which Israel is called “a kingdom of Priests and a holy nation!”

Additionally, why does the Torah say in Devarim 17:15, “one whom HaShem shall choose?” Is this in reference to 1 Samuel 16.12?

(“And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of beautiful eyes, and goodly to look upon. And the L-RD said: ‘Arise, anoint him; for this is he.’ “)


There is only One king in the TANAK (Jewish Bible) whom HaShem chose to be a Shepherd over Bnai Yisrael and that is “Roi” David; because HaShem took David from the sheepfold! (Tehillim 78.70-71 “He chose David also His servant, And took him from the sheepfolds; From following the ewes that give suck He brought him, To be shepherd over Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.)

2 Samuel 7.8 Now therefore thus shalt thou say unto My servant David: Thus saith the L-RD of hosts: I took thee from the sheepcote, from following the sheep, that thou shouldest be prince over My people, over Israel. (1 Chronicles 17.7 same)

The other King, Shaul – the people, (rather than trust in HaShem and Samuel to deliver them from Nahash [1 Samuel 12.10-11]) in rebellion chose and asked for [Shaul] to be their king: 10 “And they cried unto the L-RD, and said: We have sinned, because we have forsaken the L-RD, and have served the Baalim and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve Thee. 11 And the L-RD sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelt in safety.”

1 Samuel 12.12, 13- 12 “And when ye saw that Nahash _1/ the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me: Nay, but a king shall reign over us; when the L-RD your G-D was your king. 13 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have asked for; and, behold, the L-RD hath set a king over you.”

“And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even My servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.” Ezekiel 34.23-24

24 And I the L-RD will be their G-D, and My servant David prince (Nasi) among them; I the L-RD have spoken.

“and My servant David prince among them” –

this (prophesy establishing “My servant David prince [“Nasi” rather than as king “melech“]  among them”) is the restoration of the Kingdom, that is, the Throne to HaShem! (For we find in 1 Samuel 8.7, “They have not rejected you [as king over them, see: 1 Samuel 12.10 end of passuk – “… and we will serve Thee.”] but they have rejected Me as king over them.” [in electing Shaul as King “like all other nations”])

“afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the L-RD their G-D, and David their king; and shall come trembling unto the L-RD and to His goodness in the end of days.” (Hoshea 3.5)

“But they shall serve the L-RD their G-D, And David their king, Whom I will raise up unto them.” (Jeremiah 30.9)

David, a prince (Nasi, a subordinate one, recognizing his place amongst rulers) is the man after HaShem’s heart! 1 Samuel 13.14



1. King of the Ammonites. At the beginning of Saul’s reign Nahash attacked Jabesh-gilead, and when the people of that place asked for terms of surrender he gave them the alternatives of having their right eyes thrust out or of being put to the sword. The inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead then obtained a respite of seven days and sent messengers to Saul, who assembled an army and routed the Ammonites (I Sam. xi. 1-4, 11). It appears, however, from I Sam. xii. 12, that Nahash had threatened the Israelites before Saul was made king, and that it was for this reason the Israelites insisted upon having a king.

(Source:  1906 Jewish Encyclopedia)

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