Tag: Civil Rights

All Will Share Alike—David Proclaims Civil Rights Principle

Equality of Access to Facilities of Society

David proclaims basic civil rights principle by recognizing battle proceeds as an example of “what the Lord has given us” and guided us to actualize through combined effort of all. He declared that “all will share alike” irrespective of their roles or contributions. His ruling establishes the principle of equality of access to facilities of society as a fundamental human right. The principle follows from equality under the law, which Saul violated through discriminatory execution of judgment against Amalekites. God terminated Saul as king of Israel for the violation. These events establish civil rights as God’s mandate and any civil rights violation as a departure from Godliness.

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Declaration of rights of man and citizen 1789
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David proclaimed a basic principle of civil rights to diffuse a developing dispute among his followers regarding the sharing of battle proceeds. He had led his followers in a successful battle against Amalekites that raided his base in Ziklag: burned and plundered the base and took his and followers’ families captive. David pursued and caught up with the raiders, defeated them in a fierce battle, recovered all they had taken including the human captives, and took additional plunder.

When they returned to their base, some of the followers that joined in the battle claimed those that did not join were not entitled to share in the plunder. David rebuked them and explained the battle proceeds were an example of “what the Lord has given us” and must be shared by all irrespective of their roles or contributions [1 Samuel 30:24]: “The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.”

David’s ruling of all will share alike defines a basic principle of civil rights that has far-reaching applications in understanding relationships between individuals and society. To understand the applications, we discuss the expanded meaning of battles and battle proceeds in modern-day societies and the roles and contributions of individuals in such battles. Further, recognizing that the principle of all will share alike derives from the more general principle of equality under the law, we recall a previous study to understand that both principles describe God’s civil rights mandate for governing relationships between individuals and society.

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Equality Under the Law—Saul Terminated as King

Saul Violates Basic Civil Rights Principle

Saul was terminated as king of Israel for discriminatory execution of God’s judgment against the Amalekites. He was commanded to destroy all. Instead, he spared the “good” for special treatment while selecting the “despised and worthless” for total destruction. Thus, he applied personal criteria to modify the judgment. Based on the termination of his kingship for the violation, we understand that equality under the law is important to God as a fundamental principle of people versus government relationships.

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We discuss interactions between Prophet Samuel and King Saul regarding God’s judgment of the Amalekites for total destruction. Saul was commanded to execute the judgment. However, instead of applying the judgment equally to all as commanded, he introduced personal criteria to distinguish between the “good” and the “despised and worthless.” He spared the first but utterly destroyed the other [1 Samuel 15:9]: “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them. But everything despised and worthless, that they utterly destroyed.”

Samuel rebukes Saul [1 Sam 15:23]
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Equal execution of the judgment, i.e., equality under the law, required destruction of all Amalekites and their livestock irrespective of any differences or similarities among them. Saul violated the principle by discriminating between the “good” and “despised and worthless.” God terminated his kingship over Israel for the violation: “I greatly regret that I have set up Saul as king, for he has turned back from following Me, and has not performed My commandments” [1 Samuel 15:11].

Recall that Saul’s kingdom was terminated earlier for violating the principle of separation of state and worship. But he was allowed to remain king. Termination of his kingdom meant his offspring will not succeed him as king. But he would have continued to be king and served out his tenure if not for his violation of the principle of equality under the law. God intended his kingdom to last forever, as we discuss in Punishment of Saul Conveys God’s Promise. However, both the kingdom and his tenure as king ended much sooner because he violated fundamental principles of people versus government relationships.

For the execution of the judgment against Amalekites, equality under the law implied equal application of punishment. However, the principle has broader implications: such as equal protection under the law, which Apostle Paul used in his defense during trials in Jerusalem and Caesarea (Civil Rights and Responsibilities); and equal access to facilities of society, which David enunciated to settle a developing dispute among his followers regarding sharing of battle proceeds (David Proclaims Civil Rights Principle). In this study, we discuss interactions between Samuel and Saul regarding Saul’s execution of judgment against the Amalekites and his termination as king of Israel.

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