Though the practice was common in ancient times, the first scriptural mention of the anointing of a King is in 1 Sam 10:1 where Saul is anointed by Samuel, as God’s representative, to be the King. The next anointing we see is the one of David as a teenager to be the successor and future king, again by Samuel as God’s representative (1 Sam.16:13). David then is anointed by the men of Judah recognising his kingship over Judah (2 Sam 2:4), and seven years later anointed by the Elders of Israel recognising his kingship over Israel (2 Sam 5:3). This anointing ritual is repeated again and again in scripture over time with other Kings. The anointing was done by a man of God as instructed by God, though often by the representatives of the people (the elders). A good example of being anointed wrongly and without Godly authority by men only is the anointing of Absalom (2 Sam 19:10). When we consider the kings of the New Testament, especially the Herods, it should be noted that these were not God’s chosen kings for Israel, but were usurpers, not even Jews. Even today, those nations still having a monarchy, will often have a new monarch ‘anointed’ as part of their coronation. The problem is that these monarchs are selected by hereditary, not necessarily by God, and thus, like the lists of kings in the Old Testament, we have good and bad kings. Thus the practice of ‘anointing’ for kingship is a secular sign of the person being ‘set apart’ for the role, and does not reflect (or inflict) a spiritual dimension to the rite.
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