Reflections for 9-23: Leadership in the form of Judges and Kings

a) Deuteronomy 31 seems to best portray both Moses and Joshua as kings. The role of succession and the naming of an “heir” to Moses’ leadership role certainly resembles royalty.  Moreover, Moses acts as a leader of the whole people and addresses them and their leaders in a grand speech to the whole nation which itself seems kingly.  Perhaps the most important evidence is that Moses is the first to write “this law” (i.e. the book of Deuteronomy – Deuteronomy 31:24) which is the duty of a king (Deuteronomy 17:18).  Moreover, Joshua is picked by God (Deuteronomy 31:14-15) just as a king is supposed to be picked from among the people (Deuteronomy 17:15).  In contrast Deuteronomy 34:10 directly calls Moses a prophet and Deuteronomy 34:9 seems to imply that Joshua is granted wisdom which sounds more he is being made a prophet than a king.

c)  Eli and his sons specific disobedience causes disaster for Israel in the same way that the general disobedience of the people causes disaster for Israel.  At the same time the death of these leaders coincides with bad things in the same way the deaths of the judges leads to chaos, but this time is different since the death doesn’t cause the calamities but instead is part of them.  Hannah is very similar to Abraham and Sarah.  She is similar to Sarah since she is the preferred wife but is tormented by her “rival” wife for being unable to conceive.  She is similar to Abraham in that she offers her son to God like Abraham does in the binding of Isaac.  And she is similar to both of them in that she has children when it is unexpected.  Samuel is selected directly by God which marks him as separate from others.  He also never makes false predictions which marks him as a true prophet rather than a false one condemned to death by Deuteronomy 18:20.  Samuel is clearly not a judge since he does not prevent the calamity of Israel’s loss to the Philistines.  He is also not a priest because he wears a linen ephod as the footnote on 1 Samuel 2:18 notes.

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