Roles of Prophets, Kings And Priests

Rolesof Prophets, Kings And Priests

Concerningthe Old Testament, Israel yearned for human political leadership todivinely-empowered people, prophets, kings and judges. The variousleaders were raised up at different stages to fulfill definite rolesat particular times. The Bible outlines various leaders who werecalled by God to fulfill specific roles, for instance, Moses, Samuel,Elijah, Aaron amongst others. These individuals called by God areviewed and perceived as the leaders of the ancient Israel. Theseleaders are categorized into priests, judges, kings and prophets.This paper explores what the scripture passages imply on the roles ofpriests, prophets, and kings respectively.


Throughoutthe Bible both the old and new testament, a priest, has been definedas an official who was set apart from other individuals in thesociety to carry out roles and responsibilities that are aboutsacrifice and worship. As Lord’s ministers (Joel 1:9, 2: 17)priests acted as mediators of God and were responsible for the dailyoffering of sacrifices in local shrines, temple or tabernacle inJerusalem. Priests also performed various rituals such as thesprinkling of blood before sacrificial cult (Joel 1:13).

Besidessacrificial roles, priests were responsible for communicating the lawto the worshippers and adjudication of legal matters (Lev 10:10-11,Ezekiel 44:24).Additionally, priests played the role of pronouncingblessings to people (Num 6:22-27). Priests also performedadministrative roles including maintenance of the temple, acollection of tithe and blowing trumpets on festive events[ CITATION Ric10 l 1033 ].


Prophetswere usually called by God, and they were commissioned for particularpeople at a specific time. Prophets differ from priests and kings asevery prophet is called by God for instance call of prophet Isaiah(Is 8:1). The most crucial role of prophets is prayer because it wasbelieved they knew the mind of God hence could pray effectively (Is62:6). The prophet is also a mediator Moses stood between theIsraelites and God. Additionally, prophets received the word of Godand conveyed it to people. Prophets played a great role in worship byspeaking of glory and wonder of God (1st Chronicles 24). Similarly,they foretold the future since they are believed to have access tothe future (2nd Kings 20:1-2). Other roles include providingdirection and guidance for example prophet Gad (1st Sam 22:5),interpreting dreams and visions (Deut 13:1), correction andadmonition, announcing judgments, interpreting signs of times amongstothers.


Inthe Bible, a King is defined as one with authority. Kings wereanointed by priests. Kings protected their people and granted themsafety by leading the armies. The kings followed the law and executedthe law as given by God, for instance, the Ten Commandments. Also theKing was the supreme judge, for instance, the story of Solomon andthe two women who had an argument over babies.

Comparisonand contrast between the roles of priests, prophets and kings




Performing certain rituals

Leading people in worship

Leading the armies

Overseeing the sacrificial cult

Interpreting dreams and visions

Acting as the supreme judge

Discerning God’s will as outlined in the Torah

Mediators between people and God

Follow law as defined in Torah

Communicating the law

Foretelling the future

Execute the law

Adjudicating legal matters

Direction and guidance

Giving stability to the land by upholding justice ( prov 29:4)

Pronouncing blessings over people.

Correction and admonition

Giving people a sense of national unity(1st Sam 8)

Overseeing matters related to ritual purification

Announcing judgments

Performing administrative roles like collection of tithes.

Interpreting signs of times

Initiating God’s action

Pass on biblical insights to people

Appointing and anointing leaders e.g Samuel anointed king Saul and King David (1st Kings 19:16)


Richard, G. (2010). On prophets, kings, priests and counsellors. Christian Perspective on Science and Technology.

NewInternational Bible Version.