What biblical character most resembles our President? Putting aside the answers of Mike Pence and the evangelicals, what biblical figure most closely matches Donald Trump? I confess that there does not seem to be a perfect match so any response would be subject to question.
To begin with, there aren’t many children characters in the Bible. There are infant stories, most famously the birth stories of Moses and Jesus, but those figures are too young to be considered.
There are some “laddie” stories, young males on the cups of adulthood. For example the young son Joseph was 17 years old when he went he went to shepherd with his older brothers. Think of him as a high school senior first venturing into adulthood. Similarly the young son David was disdained for being a mere “youth” by the Philistines after he leaves home with provisions for his older brothers who are in Saul’s army. The coming of age ceremony for that mere youth proves quite successful as he defeats not simply a lion or a bear in a ritual but the foremost Philistine warrior. By contrast our multi-deferment President can fake it in a scripted professional wrestling arena but lacks the right stuff to go into the arena in the real world. The profile of no courage fires people via tweets and through intermediaries and not manno-à-manno.
Finding a figure in-between the examples of the infants Moses and Jesus and about-to-be adults Joseph and David isn’t easy. Perhaps the best example is Samuel. After his birth story and he is weaned, the child is brought to the priest Eli at Shiloh where the Ark of the Lord was kept. Samuel then served as, yes, an apprentice, being groomed to takeover when the elder priest retired or died. Eli had two sons of his own. They were described as worthless men who had no regard for the Lord and who cheated the people and Lord when the people brought sacrifices to Shiloh. These nothingburgers were con artists and were held accountable for their actions. Both died in battle on the same day, the day the Ark of the Lord was captured by the Philistines. When Eli heard the news, the shock killed him and then Samuel stepped up to be the priest.
Despite the age similarities, the match between Samuel and The Donald is not a good fit. Samuel is not a thin-skinned narcissist. Samuel is not lacking in sympathy and empathy. Samuel is not lacking in core values, the law actually is important to him. Samuel is not a coward. Samuel even becomes a warrior in his own right. And he certainly is not immature.
This leads me to Rehoboam, the would-be king of all Israel who ends up the king of Judah alone. Rehoboam is the son of Solomon, a builder of the temple and other structures. Rehoboam is to the manor born who would have failed on his own just as THE DONALD was a four-time loser who needed to be bailed out by mob money. Rehoboam was a person of no empathy or sympathy but there is no indication that he was immature…just a spoiled princeling hanging out with his fellow spoiled sons of Solomon’s cronies.
After Solomon died, the tensions in the kingdom came to a head fairly quickly. The people of all Israel asked Rehoboam, who needed their consent to become king, if he would lighten their load. Rehoboam then turned to people who had advised his father as king:
Then King Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he was yet alive, saying, “How do you advise me to answer this people?” (1 Kings 12:6)
The adults in his administration, drawing on their experience that the newcomer lacked, counseled wisely:
And they said to him, “If you will be a servant to this people today and serve them, and speak good words to them when you answer them, then they will be your servants forever.” (1 Kings 12:7)
Rehoboam never claimed to be a very stable genius or to be the smartest person in the room but he certainly did not want to appear to be the loser who succumbed to the demands of the people. Effectively he cleaned house of the adults so he could act on the basis of his self-centered wishes. He turned to people just like himself.
But he forsook the counsel which the old men gave him, and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him and stood before him. And he said to them, “What do you advise that we answer this people who have said to me, `Lighten the yoke that your father put upon us’?” And the young men who had grown up with him said to him, “Thus shall you speak to this people who said to you, `Your father made our yoke heavy, but do you lighten it for us’; thus shall you say to them, `My little finger is thicker than my father’s loins. And now, whereas my father laid upon you a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke. My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.'” (I Kings 12:8-11)
“Finger” in biblical terms serves as a euphemism just as “hands” did during the last Republican presidential primary. Rehoboam boasts about his penis size, rejects the advice of the adults, and follows the advice of the other young men who share his way of life and urge him to play king without having the wisdom to recognize the consequences in the real world.
There were consequences to following the advice of his fellow princelings. The people Israel responded by telling Rehoboam where to go: back to Jerusalem where the rich people lived. They withdrew from the kingdom Rehoboam’s grandfather David had created and created a new kingdom of Israel. When Rehoboam sent his taskmaster to Israel to assert control over the people Israel, they stoned him to death. Rehoboam remained king of a shrunken kingdom. According to Steven Spielberg among others, Rehoboam was king in Jerusalem when Pharaoh Sheshonq invaded and captured the Ark of Lord. I think it is safe to say that Rehoboam was a loser.
The situation today is not quite as stark or clearcut as in ancient Israel. There is no doubt that our immature child president will clean house of the adults who sought to keep in check. There is no doubt that he will not comply with the law if subpoenaed to testify or with a court-order to if it comes to that. Instead he will dismiss the people who challenge him and ignore them if he can’t. Cheered on by Sean Hannity, Jeanine Pirro, and Lou Dobbs, he will shut down the investigation of his ties to the Russians. The Weeny party is thoroughly emasculated except for some female Senators and retiring losers. It is not the party of Abraham Lincoln. It is not the party of Teddy Roosevelt. It is not the party of Dwight Eisenhower. It is not the party of Ronald Reagan. Do you really think THE DONALD has anything to fear from crossing an imaginary red line no matter what Lindsay Graham says? While he will not go as far as Putin has in England to dispatch his foes, he will defy any attempt to hold him accountable under the law. The witch hunt is bogus and he has no obligation to obey the people of the deep state who were out get him from day one even lifelong Republicans like Mueller.
His actions will lead to the division of the country but not in the way of ancient Israel or the United States did into the Union and the Confederacy during our last Civil War. The irony is that just as Yale has succeeded in removing the name of John C. Calhoun from a building, California has embraced nullification. After the Friday night firing, the battlelines have been drawn. The boundaries will not be as geographically clear as in the Civil War. But even then there were Unionists in the Confederacy as exemplified by the creation of the state of West Virginia. And there were plenty of pro-slave advocates in the north, Lincoln didn’t win in a landslide.
The resistance in this war is likely to be less violent where the courts are the first field of battle and civil disobedience is the second. People will simply just refuse to comply with the dictates of the President who is a law unto himself. At first the defiance may be nullification at the state, city, and municipal level. But at some point it may extend to the federal bureaucracy itself particularly as it becomes clearer that Putin’s Poodle’s mantra is “We’re number two.” The battle between Make America Great Again and Make America Grown-up Again is engaged. Exactly how will it be fought? Who will win? What will our Rehoboam do?