Does the Torah require a Jewish Monarchy?

When the people asked Nevi Samuel to appoint a King he strenuously objected to the appointment of a King! (1 Samuel 8:6, 11-18)

Maimonides (Hilchos Melachim 1:1) states that it is an OBLIGATION to appoint a King when we enter the Land of Israel, based on the passage in Devarim 17:14-20. What do other authorities state, in light of Samuel's displeasure?

It seems to me that this passage in Devarim 17 must be read in light of the passage (Shemos 19.6) in which Israel is called "a kingdom of Priests and a holy nation!"

Additionally, why does the Torah say in Devarim 17:15, "one whom HaShem shall choose?"

  • 3
    You seem to have answered your own question?
    – robev
    Aug 20, 2018 at 18:14
  • 3
    What exactly is your question? You quote Maimonides that it is an obligation. Are you asking if Maimonides was mistaken? If some other authority disagrees? Something else?
    – Alex
    Aug 20, 2018 at 18:15
  • 1
    How about what Maimonides states, in light of Samuel's displeasure? "Since it is a mitzvah to appoint a king, why was God displeased with the people's request of a king from Samuel? Because they made their request in a spirit of complaint. Rather than seeking to fulfill the mitzvah of appointing a king, they were simply intent on rejecting the Prophet Samuel as implied by God's reply to him (I Samuel 8:7): 'It is not you, but Me they have rejected'" (Hilkhot Melakhim u-MilChamot 1:2).
    – Tamir Evan
    Sep 18, 2018 at 14:37
  • Related issues have been discussed here Oct 22, 2018 at 15:48

2 Answers 2


Deuteronomy 17:14-15

(14) "When you come to the land the L-rd, your G-d, is giving you, and you possess it and live therein, and you say, "I will set a king over myself, like all the nations around me,"

(15) "You shall set a king over you, one whom the L-rd, your G-d, chooses; from among your brothers, you shall set a king over yourself; you shall not appoint a foreigner over yourself, one who is not your brother."

As you see the Torah requires a Jewish monarchy.

  • 2
    Actually if anything this should be a proof that monarchy is not required because it says when you say your want a king. The question really is now that we've already asked for a king but have kind of lost it over the years do we have to reinstall a king again or do we decide once more if we want a king.
    – Orion
    Aug 20, 2018 at 19:52
  • 1
    Netziv explains that the mitzva is to install a monarchy when you are ready to have one.
    – Shalom
    Aug 22, 2018 at 12:07

Rabbi Yeshayahu Hollander, a member of the Sanhedrin said,

“The Jews are commanded to be a nation of priests,” Rabbi Hollander [told Breaking Israel News,] citing a verse in Exodus.

But you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Yisrael.” Exodus 19:6

Clearly, the Torah is stating that Yisrael is to be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."

Electing a king is qualified by the statement in the passuk, "one whom the L-rd, your G-d, chooses;" which is further qualified by the passage in 2 Samuel 6.21 [And David said unto Michal: 'Before the L-RD, who chose me above thy father, and above all his house, to appoint me prince over the people of the L-RD, over Israel, before the L-RD will I make merry.] and also qualified by ["Howbeit the L-RD, the G-D of Israel, chose me out of all the house of my father to be king over Israel for ever; for He hath chosen Judah to be prince, and in the house of Judah, the house of my father, and among the sons of my father He took pleasure in me to make me king over all Israel;"] OBVIOUSLY, HaShem chose David to be King over all Yisrael, the prophesied "kingdom of priests and a holy nation!"

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .