Until the modern era, monarchs were understood to be supported by the power of God; they were, in fact, in some cases thought to be gods themselves. The Bible has often been misinterpreted to encourage such oppressive values. Robert Gnuse, however, argues that the Bible is not a tyrannical text. Rather than displaying the lofty, divine status of kings, the Bible portrays them as human and thus serves as a powerful text for liberation from tyranny and equality for all people. By considering the passages about kings and kingship, Gnuse highlights the liberating message of the Bible and applies that message to today’s world. If we attend to these stories of freedom, we will work toward ending political abuses and foster liberation and equality.
Robert Gnuse, PhD, is the James C. Carter, SJ/Chase Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in the Religious Studies Department at Loyola University New Orleans. He is the author of numerous books and articles in the field of biblical studies.