ICING (Icing), (Heb. and Chald. meh'lek, ruler; Gr. BcurtNeOs, bas-il-yooce'), a chief ruler, a sovereign, one invested with supreme authority over a tribe, country or nation.
(1) General Use of the Word. In the Scrip tures it is used with great latitude of meaning. The kings were local rulers over but one city or large village. Benhadad had thirty-twokings subject to him (1 Kings xx:t, 16). In Canaan, Adoni bezek conquered seventy kings, and made them eat bread under his table. Joshua conquered thirty-one (Judg. i:y; Josh. xii). Nimrod of Babylon was the first king we read of ; but soon after, we find kings in Egypt, Persia, Canaan, Edom, etc. (Gen. x :to; xiii, xiv, xx, xxxvi).
(2) Relation to Hebrews. Regal authority was altogether alien to the institutions of Moses in their original and unadulterated form. Their fundamental idea was that Jehovah was the sole king of the nation (t Sam. viii :7) : to use the emphatic words in Is. xxxiii:22, 'The Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king.' (3) Moses. We consider if as a sign of that self-confidence and moral enterprise which are produced in great men by a consciousness of be ing what they profess, that Moses ventured, with his half-civilized hordes, on the bold experiment of founding a society without a king, and that' in the solicitude which he must have felt for the success of his great undertaking, he forewent the advantages which a regal government' would have afforded. Such an attempt was singular and novel at a period and in a part of the world in which royalty was not only general, but held in the greatest respect, and sometimes rose to the very height of pure despotism. Its novelty is an evidence of the Divine original to which Moses referred all his polity.
(a) Patriotism. Equally honorable is the con duct of Moses in denying to his lower nature the gratifications which a crown would have imparted —we say denying himself, because it is beyond a question that the man who rescued the Jews from bondage and conducted them to the land of Ca naan, might, had he chosen, have kept the do minion in his own hands, and transmitted a crown to his posterity.
Washington, at this late period of human his tory, after the accumulating experience of above three thousand years, is held deserving of high honor for having preferred to found a re public rather than attempt to build up a throne, and the Hebrew patriot with supreme power in his hands was content to die within sight of the land of promise, a simple, unrewarded, unhon ored individual, content t'o do God's work regard less of self.
It is equally obvious that this self-denial on the part of Moses, this omission to create any human kingship, is in entire accordance with the import, aim, and spirit of the Mosaic institutions, as being Divine in their origin, and designed to accomplish a special work of Providence for man; and, therefore, affords, by its consist'ency with the very essence of the system of which it forms a part, a very forcible argument in fa vor of the Divine legation of Moses.
(b) Difficulties to be Met. That great man, however, well knew what were the elements with which he had to deal in framing institutions for the rescued Israelites. Slaves they had been, and the spirit of slavery was not yet' wholly eradi cated from their souls. They had, too, witnessed in Egypt the more than ordinary pomp and splen dor which environ a throne, dazzling the eyes and captivating the heart of the uncultured. Not im probably the prosperity and abundance which they had seen in Egypt, might have been ascribed by them to the regal form of the Egyptian govern ment. Moses may well, therefore, have appre hended a not' very remote departure from the fun damental type of his institutions.
Accordingly he makes a special provision for this contingency (Deut. xvii:t4), and labors, by anticipation, to guard against the abuses of royal power. Should a king be demanded by the peo ple, then he was to be a native Israelite ; he was not to be drawn away by the love of show, es pecially by a desire for that regal display in which horses have always borne so large a part, to send down to Egypt, still less to cause the people to return to that land. He was to avoid the corrupting influence of a large harem, so common among Eastern monarchs; he was to ab stain from amassing silver and gold. He was to have a copy of the law made expressly for his own study—a study which he was never to intermit till the end of his days; so that his heart might not be lifted up above his brethren, that he might not be turned aside from the living God, but observing the Divine statutes, and thus ac knowledging himself to be no more than the vice gerent of heaven, he might enjoy happiness, and transmit his authority to his descendants.