In the Old Testament there are two words used for a king. The first is Melek while the second is Nagid.
Nagid is a Hebrew word for ruler that refers to a tribal chief or some lesser ruler accountable to a king. This word was deliberately chosen by the author to denote that the kings (nagid) were under their Lord (Melek). This was vastly different than the other kingdoms surrounding Isreal, where rulers were often considered deities to be worshipped. This also means that what we perceive as a monarchy was actually a theocracy ruled by God Himself and oversaw by the king at the time. Psalm 78:70-71 says God chose David to Shepherd Jacob His people. This fits the theocracy model and also puts the king in a more paternalistic role because shepherds guard and feed sheep, and sheep do not take care of the shepherd.
2 Samuel 5:2 illustrates the difference between a king and a ruler by showing how Saul was a king, but God was calling David to be a shepherd and ruler of the people. It is interesting to note that Saul was king over Israel only after the people had rejected their true King which was God (1 Sam 10:19). God was restored as King when David became ruler over Israel.
The word melek occurs over 2,000 times in the Hebrew Old Testament and is obscure in its origin. It is common to all Semitic languages and is possibly connected with the Arab root word meaning “to possess.” This term (melek) refers to God and His authority over everything (Psalm 95:3). As mentioned above, Yahweh was king (melek) over King David (nagid) and others. The prophet Samuel recalled that the people rejected God as their King (melek) and wanted another king (nagid) that they could see. The first use of the word melek in the bible is after Moses and the people cross the Red Sea and the people sang a song celebrating and declaring Yahweh as King and Lord forever and ever (Ex 15:18). As stated above the use of the term melek denotes a theocratic government rather than a monarchial one.
From the above information it is clear that David saw himself as subservient to God; David’s job was to rule the way Yahweh wanted him to. There is however another example of a king in the OT that seemed to have everything backwards. In Ezekiel 28, the prophet mentions a king of Tyre. Most scholars agree this is king Ethbaal III who ruled Tyre during the writing of Ezekiel 28. In the first verse God tells Ezekiel to speak to the prince or ruler of Tyre (nagid) depending on your translation. This depicts the actual ruler as subservient to his king. But just who was Tyre’s king? It certainly wasn’t God; they did not worship Yahweh.
WHO IS THE KING OF TYRE
Verses 1-10 of Ezek 28 clearly describe this ruler/prince (nagid) of Tyre as a man who would be overcome by aliens, but beginning in verse 11 the word for king changes to melee. So just who was the king over the prince of Tyre? Here are some details we can take from the text:
1. Seal of perfection (Ezek 28:12)
2. He was in the Garden of Eden (Ezek 28:13)
3. Covered in precious stones (Ezek 28:13)
4. His timbrels and pipes were prepared for him on the day he was created (Ezek 28:13)
5. He is called the annointed Cherub (Ezek 28:14)
6. He was on the Holy Mountain of God (Ezek 28:14)
7. He was perfect until iniquity was found in Him (Ezek 28:15)
8. He was cast from the Mountain of God (Ezek 28:16)
Clearly this king was not a human being. Notice how Ezekiel states that this king was an anointed cherub and was present in the Garden of Eden. This king was considered the seal of perfection until iniquity was found in him (Ezek 28:15). This king over Tyre has to be no other than Satan himself. Satan fell into sin by his pride (2 Timothy 3:6). This anointed cherub fell into sin by being prideful just as the prince of Tyre had been. Ezekiel was drawing a parallel between the two and also making a statement regarding who the true king of Tyre was.
WHO IS YOUR KING
I said all of the above to ask this simple question; who is your King? Most of us will not pause to say, Jesus! I’m asking you to be honest for a second; Just who is your King? If one says Jesus is their King or Lord, then it follows that this person should do as Jesus says; He is King after all, isn’t He? How much time do you spend each day serving the King? Do you read His word everyday? Do you pray everyday? Do you spread the Gospel every chance you get? If your answer to these is no, then there is a chance that Jesus is not your King after all. You see, a lot of us like to do lip service in Christianity; we act holy and give great advice to others seeking godly council, but when it comes to our private relationship with God we fall very short sometimes. To be clear no amount of praying, reading or spreading the Gospel is going to get you into Heaven; It takes faith in Him, not works. So just think about it for a second; are you really serving Him? Do you really know Him? If not I invite you to read the Gospels and get to know Jesus and let Him reveal himself to you through the pages of His Holy Word. Let Him be King (Melek) over your life!