Beowulf Essay | The Reigns of Kings in Beowulf | GradeSaver

At the same time, there is one sense in which the Hebrew Scriptures present the divine kingship as a model for human kingship. It is not in Yahweh’s despotic power over creation, or his rule over the nations, as arbiter of war and peace, but precisely in those kingly functions that Hannah and Mary identify: doing justice for the oppressed. Psalm 72 is one that makes the equation explicit:

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Later, it became necessary to have military leaders and some of these became kings.'

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Thus, far from legitimating the rule and power of an earthly hierarchy that enriches itself at the expense of its subjects and then demands their sycophantic adoration, the kingship of Yahweh serves to upend any such unjust order, establishing the poor, the neglected, the hungry, the barren, the scorned among society as the focal point of his loving rule. Indeed, in this context we can see that the very transcendent terms within which the divine rule is described, which seemed at first to underwrite an image of arbitrary despotism, serve rather to deny the possibility of any creaturely imitation. The divine kingship is not the model for human kingship, nor are his awesome displays of power the legitimation for human displays of power; rather, they are that which affirms the utter uniqueness of Yahweh’s kingship. Because Yahweh is king, there can be no other.

Shakespeare - His View On Kingship Essays

Our second set of readings suggests otherwise. Consider Psalm 113, which likewise opens with an exhortation to Yahweh’s servants to praise him, and speaks of him, in terms reminiscent of both of the previous passages, as “seated on high, who looks far down on the heavens and the earth.” But what are his mighty deeds that merit praise in this psalm? He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people. He gives the barren woman a home, making her the joyous mother of children.” Far from the divine kingship legitimating the rule of earthly oppressors, it inverts it; Yahweh is the king of the poor, the needy, and the barren, who raises them up to be as princes.

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