The Biblical Case for Monarchism

Samuel Anoints David as King (Victors Jan)

Erroneous Views of 1 Samuel 8

First, let’s look a 1 Samuel 8, when the monarchy is first established in Israel.  Samuel’s sons were corrupt.  The elders, knowing Samuel’s corrupt sons would not rule as fair judges, asked Samuel for a king over Israel.  Samuel was upset by this and God said:

Grant the people’s every request.  It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king.  As they have treated me constantly from the day I brought them up from Egypt to this day, deserting me and worshiping strange gods, so do they treat you too.  Now grant their request; but at the same time, warn them solemnly and inform them of the rights of the king who will rule them.

Samuel then explains all the bad things the king will do, including:

He will tithe your crops and your vineyards, and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves.  He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best oxen and your asses, and use them to do his work.  He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves.  When this takes place, you will complain against the king whom you have chosen, but on that day the Lord will not answer you.

At first glance, this appears to be an anti-monarchical statement.  This, however, is not the case.  The real problem here is actually the timing.  Deuteronomy 17 tells the people of Israel when to establish a kingdom:

When you have come into the land which the Lord, your God, is giving you, and you have occupied it and settled in it, should you then decide to have a king over you like all the surrounding nations, you shall set the man over you as your king whom the Lord, your God, chooses.  He whom you set over you must be your kinsman; a foreigner, who is no kin of yours, you may not set over you.

The problem with 1 Samuel 8 is that the Israelites had yet to conquer the land which God was giving them.  So the problem was not the Israelites demanding a king, but that they were doing so at the wrong time.

Judges 2 confirms this:

It was I who brought you up from Egypt and led you into the land which I promised on oath to your fathers.  I said that I would never break my covenant with you, but that you were not to make a pact with the inhabitants of this land, and you were to pull down their altars.  Yet you have not obeyed me.

So again, the problem is not with kingship, but that the Israelites failed to conquer the land in question before establishing a kingdom.

Kings are Chosen by God

This is indicated not only some of the quotes above, but in many other places as well.

We see it in Proverbs 8:15-16:

By me kings reign and lawgivers establish justice; By me princes govern, and nobles; all the rulers of the earth.

Daniel 2:21:

He [God] causes the changes of the times and the seasons, makes kings and unmakes them.

In 1 Chronicles 28, David says:

However, the Lord, the God of Israel, chose me from all my father’s family to be king over Israel forever.  For he chose Judah as leader, then one family of Judah, that of my father; and finally, among all my sons — for the Lord has given me many sons — he has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the Lord’s royal throne over Israel.

Respecting Lawful Authority

Romans 13, much like the above, states that authority is God’s, and that the lawful government of the earth are ordained by God:

Let every person be subordinate to the higher authority, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God.  Therefore, whoever resists authority opposes what God has appointed, and those who oppose it will bring judgment upon themselves.

This shows the inherent problem with Social Contract Theory and consent of the governed.  Both of these views are not just wrong, but patently absurd.  It is common sense that authority comes from above, not below, for their is no greater authority than God.

“The people,” of course, have no authority to give.  It is plainly obvious that a random member of the mob has no authority whatsoever, so why, then, does the mod itself have any authority? It is clear that they have none.

1 Peter 2: 17 also says to honour authority, particularly the king:

Give honour to all, love the community, fear God, honour the king.

Christ as King

The title of Christ itself is a royal one, meaning “anointed one.”  It was, after all, the practise of anointing kings.  This is why Pontius Pilate asked if he was King of the Jews in John 18:

Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?”

Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.  If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.  But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

Pilate then asked the people to choose between Christ and Barabbas, a revolutionary.  The people chose to spare Barabbas.

And then, of course, we see the most famous of Christ’s titles in 1 Timothy 6:14, which refers to Christ as “King of Kings.”


We see that the Bible does not oppose kingship, as some erroneously suggest, but even supports it.  The Bible says kings are ordained by God, and that the king’s subjects should respect and honour the authority which God has given to the king.  Then there is the imagery of Christ as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.


The Bible quotes used are from second edition of the New American Bible (Catholic Study Bible). 2006.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Apologia Pro Ortho Doxa, whose article was most helpful.