The will of God as declared by Gideon expressly disapproves of government by Kings. Nearly three thousand years passed, from the Mosaic account of the creation, till the Jews under a national delusion requested a king. Till then their form of government (except in extraordinary cases where God interposed) was a kind of Republic, administered by a judge and the elders of the tribes. Kings they had none, and it was held sinful to acknowledge any being under that title but God.
The children of Israel being oppressed by the Midianites, Gideon marched against them with a small army, and was victorious through God’s favor. The Jews, elate with success, and attributing it to the generalship of Gideon, proposed making him a king, saying, "Rule thou over us, thou and thy son, and thy son's son." Here was temptation in its fullest extent; not a kingdom only, but an hereditary one; but Gideon in the piety of his soul replied, "I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you. THE LORD SHALL RULE OVER YOU." [Judges 8:22-23] Words need not be more explicit: Gideon does not decline the honor, but denies their right to give it; neither does he compliment them with invented declarations of his thanks, but in the positive style of a prophet charges them with disaffection to their proper Sovereign, the King of Heaven.
- Thomas Paine, Common Sense pars. 6-8 (1776) at http://www.bartleby.com/133/2.html