For centuries, countries have debated on what kind of government is best. Many have chosen a single or couple of rulers. Others have chosen to let many rule. But which is better?
Let’s start with the former; the major forms of a “few rule” are monarchies and oligarchies. A monarchy is where there is one ruler or dictator of the country who often has dictatorship over political and religious activities. Examples of monarchies include ancient Egypt (ruled by pharaoh), ancient Rome (ruled by Caesar), the Catholic Church (ruled by the pope), and many other governments including modern day Saudi Arabia. Oligarchy is another “rule by few”. This type of government is structured around a small number of people who are very powerful. Oligarchies are less common than monarchies. A few past oligarchies include the Soviet Union (ruled by the communist leaders), Sparta (where the military ruled), the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (in which only the nobility could vote), and others including a resent example of South Africa (certain races ruled). Now let’s look at the opposite side of the coin, in which many rule or even the people rule.
The term democracy came from a Greek word meaning “rule of the people”. A democracy is a form of government where the majority rules or elects an official to rule. Ancient Athens and modern Canada (partially) are examples of such governments. A republic is often confused to be a democracy, however they are similar. In a republic the power rests in the body of citizens, entitled to vote, and is exercised by the representatives chosen by them. Ancient Israel (during the judges era), and ancient Nigeria (the Igbo) are considered republics along with modern day USA and India. So what is better? Rule by few or rule by many?
In Jeremiah 23:10, it says that power can be used unjustly, that judges accept bribes; the powerful dictate what they desire (Micah 7:3). Man is sinful, he is evil (Rom 7:18). So if power corrupts, and man is evil, then maybe having one or three people rule isn’t good. Maybe they will become greedy. Maybe they will be harsh on their subjects. This is evident in history. Just look at Hitler or Stalin, look at the Jewish Pharisees; look at yourself. Only a perfect, good man can rule without the power corrupting him. And in the end times Jesus will come back and rule for a thousand years with a righteous and just hand (Revelation 20:4,6; Daniel 12:1).
Because of man’s sinfulness, a single or few leader/s men should not rule, because they are corrupted. A rule of many will counter balance, somewhat, each individual’s errors. However, no government or ruler will be perfect. Except for Christ.