The imperial model that was Rome was well suited for the sort of world-wide expansion the Roman empire achieved. The model of the European nation-state was ill suited for such expansion. The nation-state has a natural limit: the extent of the people who would naturally give their consent to be governed by the particular nation-state.
Imperialism under the rule of nation-states models the Greek example, where Athens colonized its subjects not subject to their own law but for the sake of expropriating their resources.
The biblical regime is a model of imperial rule rather than the rule of a nation-state. The biblical regime is a model of imperial rule that does not presume subjugation of other peoples. In the case of Israel, the imperial rule is not for the sake of territorial expansion but rather for the sake of creative depth under the covenantal rule of God.
The covenantal model is closer to the imperial model than it is to the model of the nation-state. The federation of tribes under a vassalage to YHWH is the minor form of imperial rule to which the Children of Israel subject themselves.
As a model of imperium Israel's sons are able to relate to their imperial neighbors more directly than if Israel modeled itself as a nation-state.
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