…by the house of their fathers… God’s people are organized by families headed by patriarchs, and when left to their own devices, families in agrarian societies will almost always organize themselves into patriarchal clans with or without ever having heard of the God of Abraham. The modern secular state is incompatible with God’s intended form of civil government. Lawrence Stone wrote,
The modern state is a natural enemy to the values of kinship, especially among the upper classes, for kinship is a direct threat to the state’s own claim to prior loyalty. Kinship leads to aristocratic faction and rebellion, such as the War of the Roses or the Fronde, to the independence of entrenched local potentates using kin loyalties to create powerful local connections, and to making the working of the jury system of justice impossible by the subordination of objective judgment to ties of blood. In the sixteenth century, the State in England increasingly assumed monopoly powers of justice and punishment, military protection, welfare, and the regulation of property. This takeover was accompanied by a massive propaganda campaign for loyalty, inculcating the view that the first duty of every citizen is obedience to the sovereign, that man’s highest obligation is to his country, involving the subordination of all other considerations and loyalties, even life itself.1
I don’t believe Stone is necessarily correct concerning the jury system, but his observations on the need of the god-state to subvert kinship ties for its own security are spot on. The Assyrian emperors understood this principle thousands of years ago and regularly deported and scrambled entire nations in order to uproot them from their ancestral homes and break the alliances of blood. The same phenomenon was observed in the relocation programs of the Soviets in the twentieth century and of the Americans in the nineteenth.
On the other hand, God’s intended system of government employs a balance between family and national allegiances. For example, God allows only one religion, one priesthood, and one Temple for the entire nation, but military and political structures are based on clans. Tying such things as military commands to patriarchal clans tends to discourage the military adventurism of conquest and world policing and the centralization of power into the hands of a small political elite, while a central religion with pilgrimages to the capital city helps to maintain the sense of kinship between potentially widely scattered clans.
1 Lawrence Stone. “The Rise of the Nuclear Family in Early Modern England: The Patriarchal Stage”, The Family in History, Ed. Charles E. Rosenberg. Philadelphia: 1975. 24