On February 3, 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

Maimonides (Laws of Kings 4:4-6) rules that a king has the right to levy a tax upon the nation for his needs, or for a war, and the king alone can set the rate of the tax. The king can also establish a punishment for non-compliance, which may even include execution.

While the king has the power to tax, there is a debate if the Jews are required to appoint a king, or if a king is merely permitted to serve with conditions. When the Jews entered the Land of Israel, they were led by Joshua, the Judges and then the prophet Samuel. When Samuel grew old and it became clear that his sons were not going to follow in his footsteps, the nation approached Samuel with the request for a king. Although Samuel was distressed by the request, God instructed Samuel to listen to the people (Samuel I 8:6-7) and comforted him that the nation’s desire was a rejection not of Samuel, but rather, of God Himself. Samuel even warns the nation of the unbridled and capricious power their requested king would have. He warns the people about the future king commandeering their sons and taking their fields, yet the nation doubled down and insisted on a king.

Although there is currently no king of Israel, for thousands of years Jews have prayed for the Messiah (anointed one – i.e. king) to reign over the nation of Israel.

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