New York University Public Law and Legal Theory Working Papers

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This article continues the analysis of political theory in the Hebrew Bible. The books of Samuel and Kings recount the history of the monarchy in ancient Israel. This setup allows the author to conclude his analysis of confederacy and also to examine two other forms of government: theocracy and monarchy. The author argues that confederacy is too weak to provide reliable protections to the people. He endorses the ideal of theocratic rule but views theocracy as unsuitable for practical governance. He identifies weaknesses in monarchy but endorses it as the best form of government provided that the king is constrained by appropriate checks and balances. Contrary to the view of many biblical scholars, no text from Genesis to Second Kings fundamentally disapproves of monarchy as a form of government.

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