Herbert Palmer on David’s resistance to Saul’s tyranny

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Having set the understanding of the main Text [Romans 13] right, I come now to those examples that are alleged to prove, That it is lawful to resist in some cases.

1. The example of the peoples resisting Saul’s illegal and tyrannical attempt to have put Jonathan to death without cause.

If this were lawful in them in a particular man’s case (against whom also there was some seeming cause) How much more to resist one that is bent to subvert Religion, Laws and Liberties, and so to take away the life of many at his own pleasure.

To this is answered, not, that it was unlawful in the people to make this resistance (which yet if he deny not, he plainly yields his cause in his first Proposition, and Rom. 13.2. forbids not all Resistance) but only that the people drew not into Arms themselves, but being there at Saul’s command did by a loving violence and importunity hinder the execution of a particular and passionate unlawful command.

To this I reply.

1. If it were lawful now; what hinders but they might have come together to prevent such a mischief as Jonathan’s unjust Death? Sure Saul called them not together to resist himself in any thing. Neither did his calling them together to fight against the Philistines authorize them to fight against him, if it were not lawful of it self.

Our King called the Parliament together, yet he allows not them to resist upon that pretence, though they are undeniably, not the great Council only, but the great Court of Judicature in the Kingdom.

This peace then of his Answer is nothing but words and pretence. ...

For more, see Herbert Palmer on David’s resistance to Saul’s tyranny.
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