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Book: Leadership, Social Memory and Judean Discourse in the Fifth - Second Centuries BCE

Chapter: Israel’s King as Primus Inter Pares: The “Democratic” Re-conceptualization of Monarchy in Deut 17:14–20

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.26806


The article analyzes the law on kingship in Deut 17:14-20 in relation to the redaction history of Deuteronomy and the Former Prophets. Particular attention is paid to the relationship between Deuteronomy 17 and Israel's request for a king in 1 Samuel 8. Deuteronomy 17, which is part of Deuteronomy's constitutional proposal, programmatically transforms the traditional royal ideology with respect to Deuteronomy's idea of Israel as YHWH's chosen people and to the failure of the Israelite monarchy that is described in Samuel and Kings. Deuteronomy 17, in marked contrast with 1 Samuel 8, strictly delimits the power of the king and, by depicting him as primus inter pares, creates a concept of a royal institution that is in accordance with Israel's singular identity among the peoples.

Chapter Contributors

  • Reinhard Müller ( - rmuller) 'University of Munich'