David, God, and the Law for Kings
In my Bible reading a few days ago, I read with much interest about the law God proclaimed to govern Israelite kings.
One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
– Deuteronomy 17:15-17
My first reaction was to be impressed that God gave laws that even kings had to obey, a concept that modern America still holds. Richard Nixon and Rod Blagojevich discovered the hard way.
I also noticed one of the clauses requires that the king “shall not acquire many wives for himself.”
I Chronicles 3:1-3
lists six wives of David, and II Samuel 3:13-16
recounts another (Mical). This is not counting Bathsheba. If seven wives can be considered many, then David broke the law, which is no surprise given the adultery and murder his is famous for committing. What surprises and confuses me is part of the condemnation Nathan relayed from God regarding David’s sins, “I gave you
your master’s house and your master’s wives
into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more” (II Samuel 12:7-9
). This raises several questions that I do not know how to answer. Is God saying that he gave David at least some of his many wives? If so, does that mean God was abetting David in breaking his own law? I would welcome any suggestions you have.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized
. Bookmark the permalink