Sunday, April 12, 2009

"God Is An Anarcho-Capitalist"

Be sure to check this out at my new friend's blog. John also recounts God's warning that Samuel delivered to the Israelites, who wanted a king.

Like the American republic, old Israel didn't waste any time in degenerating into a different form of slavery. They weren't satisfied with a legal system based on judges -- who weren't perfect, e.g. Samson, but their job was about going around to right wrongs rather than trying to rule). They clamored for a monarch, and they got it. Solomon was the third thing and already had already turned the role into one of economic parasitism. His wealth was in clear contravention of the command given to the future king in Deuteronomy 17:17: not to multiply his wives, horses, and gold. It is written in 1 Kings 4:

And Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.

And Solomon's provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal,

Ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.


For he had dominion over all the region on this side the river, from Tiphsah even to Azzah, over all the kings on this side the river: and he had peace on all sides round about him.

And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

And Solomon had forty thousand stalls of horses for his chariots, and twelve thousand horsemen.

And those officers provided victual for king Solomon, and for all that came unto king Solomon's table, every man in his month: they lacked nothing.


Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge.

And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.


Wisdom and understanding are clearly no guarantee of righteousness. What was the source of Solomon's wealth? Did he tame horses, or plow fields, or trade goods with caravans? Not at all: he lived off the fat of the land, using government as the means to force others (Israelites as well as non-Israelites) to give him "tribute." And of course, he made sure to pay his military well, so that they'd unhesitatingly support him if anyone refused to hand over their wealth.

The only reason the kingdom withstood the taxation and slavery for a while was because of God's blessings. It still didn't last long. Rehoboam, Solomon's son, was even worse:

And Rehoboam went to Shechem: for to Shechem were all Israel come to make him king.

And it came to pass, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who was in Egypt, whither he fled from the presence of Solomon the king, heard it, that Jeroboam returned out of Egypt.

And they sent and called him. So Jeroboam and all Israel came and spake to Rehoboam, saying,

Thy father made our yoke grievous: now therefore ease thou somewhat the grievous servitude of thy father, and his heavy yoke that he put upon us, and we will serve thee.

And he said unto them, Come again unto me after three days. And the people departed.

And king Rehoboam took counsel with the old men that had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived, saying, What counsel give ye me to return answer to this people?

And they spake unto him, saying, If thou be kind to this people, and please them, and speak good words to them, they will be thy servants for ever.

But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men that were brought up with him, that stood before him.

And he said unto them, What advice give ye that we may return answer to this people, which have spoken to me, saying, Ease somewhat the yoke that thy father did put upon us?

And the young men that were brought up with him spake unto him, saying, Thus shalt thou answer the people that spake unto thee, saying, Thy father made our yoke heavy, but make thou it somewhat lighter for us; thus shalt thou say unto them, My little finger shall be thicker than my father's loins.

For whereas my father put a heavy yoke upon you, I will put more to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam on the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come again to me on the third day.

And the king answered them roughly; and king Rehoboam forsook the counsel of the old men,

And answered them after the advice of the young men, saying, My father made your yoke heavy, but I will add thereto: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.


So the king hearkened not unto the people: for the cause was of God, that the LORD might perform his word, which he spake by the hand of Ahijah the Shilonite to Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

And when all Israel saw that the king would not hearken unto them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? and we have none inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to your tents, O Israel: and now, David, see to thine own house. So all Israel went to their tents.

But as for the children of Israel that dwelt in the cities of Judah, Rehoboam reigned over them.

Then king Rehoboam sent Hadoram that was over the tribute; and the children of Israel stoned him with stones, that he died. But king Rehoboam made speed to get him up to his chariot, to flee to Jerusalem.

And Israel rebelled against the house of David unto this day.


Flashback: my own post from late 2005, "Is limited government in accordance with the Bible?"

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