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Answering The Atheist
March 7, 2004 / Volume 4, Issue 10

THE ATHEIST'S COMPLAINT:
God prophesied that Israel would have a king (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), and that their Messiah would come from the lineage of the king (Genesis 49:8-10). Why then was God opposed to Israel's desire to have a king (1 Samuel 8:7; 12:17-19)? Is there a contradiction?

RESPONSE:
The wording of Deuteronomy 17 does not indicate that it was God's desire for Israel to have a king. The prophecy foretells Israel's desire for a king (v 14) and presents God's "solution" to their impulse; namely, that if they were to have a king, it would be one of His choosing (v 15). In Deuteronomy 28:15-68, God foretold various curses and plagues which would befall the nation Israel. Shall we conclude that God delighted in bring such curses on Israel, simply because He foretold them?

Does the prophecy of Genesis 49:8-10 necessitate a monarchy in Israel of the descendents of Judah? No. The prophecy reveals that the Messiah (Shiloh) would come through Judah, and that Judah would exercise authority over his brethren in some fashion, but it did not require a monarchy to be fulfilled. Recall, Joseph received dreams wherein his brothers bowed before him (Genesis 37:6-11). These were fulfilled without Joseph reigning over them as a king. In like manner, Genesis 49:8-10 could have been fulfilled without Judah's descendants being kings. In fact, had it not been for Saul's sin, God would have established the monarchy in Benjamin (1 Sam 13:13) forever, requiring a fulfillment of Genesis 49:8-10 by some other means.

God elected to fulfill Genesis 49:8-10 through giving the monarchy foretold in Deuteronomy to Judah, following the sins of Saul. He could have fulfilled it in another way, but chose to create a monarchy through Judah. That does not justify Israel in their call for a king. It was still sinful. God used what they intended for evil to fulfill His own purpose. Remember, Joseph declared of his brother's actions against him, "...you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good..." (Genesis 50:20). God used their wicked deed to fulfill His own purpose. Though God worked through their deeds to accomplish good, their actions were still sinful. Again, God used the evil deeds of those who tried and crucified the Lord to accomplish His own will (Ac 2:23). Were they justified in killing Jesus? Certainly not! Their actions were sinful.

There is no contradiction.

This article is a response to Skeptic's Annotated Bible, but original article is no longer listed