Chapter

Israel and Empire

Christopher Bryan

in Render to Caesar

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195183344
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835584 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195183347.003.0002
                   Israel and Empire

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According to biblical and prophetic tradition, God wills that there shall be empires and superpowers: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia are all, at different times, said to rule by God’s mandate, but also within the limits of God’s sovereignty. That sovereignty is concerned for the well-being of Israel, but also for justice and courtesy among all the nations. Empires that flout God’s sovereignty bring destruction upon themselves, for not even a superpower can long defy God. Where, however, there is acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty, there may (as in the case of Persia) be cooperation between Israel and Empire. Israel itself, as an imperial power (as it was under David and Solomon), is subject to the same conditions: the Israelite king may no more absolutize himself or his power than may a pagan emperor.

Keywords: Assyria; Babylon; Co-operation; David; Egypt; God; Israel; Persia; Solomon; Sovereignty; Superpower

Chapter.  5933 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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