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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 7735 leaders, political
7735 leaders, political

7735 leaders, political

Since God is the ultimate ruler of all things, earthly authority derives from him. Although political leadership was exercised in various ways in Israel, there was always some overlap between political and spiritual leadership.

Israel had a variety of political leaders

Judges Jdg 2:16; Jdg 4:4

Kings 1Sa 8:1-21; 1Sa 10:1; 1Sa 16:1-13; 2Sa 7:12; 1Ki 1:28-40

Tribal elders and judges Ex 19:7; Dt 21:1-2; Ru 4:1-2; Job 29:7-12

Foreign powers imposed rulers on Israel Lk 3:1

Examples of those who were both political and spiritual leaders

1Sa 7:15 Samuel was both prophet and judge. Moses: Ex 34:1,27-28
Jdg 6:25-27 Gideon; 2Ki 18:4 pp 2Ch 31:1 Hezekiah; 1Ch 6:31 David

Political leaders, like spiritual ones, were called by God

1Ki 11:31 The prophet Ahijah confers authority on the leader of a revolt. See also Ex 3:10 Moses; Jdg 6:14 Gideon David: 1Sa 16:1,6-12
Isa 45:1-2 Cyrus was a Persian king, yet he is described as God’s “anointed”.

To reject God’s leadership is to reject God

1Sa 8:6-8 See also 1Sa 8:5,19-20 Israel wanted a human ruler so that they might be like the surrounding nations.

Responsibilities of leaders

To protect the weak Ps 72:12-14

To administer justice Ps 72:2; Pr 20:8; Pr 29:4,14; Isa 9:7; Isa 11:3-4

To shepherd the people Ps 78:70-72; Eze 34:2-6

Attributes required in leaders

Isa 11:1-2 Being anointed by the Spirit of God. Reverence: Dt 17:18-20; Isa 11:3
Isa 11:5 trustworthiness; Pr 8:15-16 wisdom

The failure of leaders

Through exploiting their subjects Mt 20:25 See also Dt 17:16-17; 1Sa 8:11-17; 1Ki 12:4; Jer 22:13

Through usurping religious authority 1Sa 13:8-13; 2Ch 26:16-18

Through apostasy 1Ki 11:7-8; 2Ki 21:1-6

Through trusting in alliances with heathen powers Isa 31:1 See also 2Ki 20:12,17-18; Isa 30:1-2; Hos 7:11

Godless leadership is evil

Lk 13:32 See also Da 7:1-7; Rev 13:1-3

People must have a right attitude to political leaders

They are to be obeyed Ro 13:1 See also Ro 13:5; 1Pe 2:13-17

But obedience to God must come first Ac 5:29 See also Da 3:18; Da 6:13

Prayers are to be made for them 1Ti 2:1-2

See also

1130God, sovereignty
3272Holy Spirit in OT
5219authority, human institutions
7719elders as leaders
8337reverence & behaviour

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