Reflections: The Weight of Leadership

[Edited for formatting.  It would seem that Blogger does strange things with all 3 column templates.]

 2And David took the crown of their king from off his head, and found it to weigh a talent of gold, and there were precious stones in it; and it was set upon David’s head: and he brought also exceeding much spoil out of the city. (1 Chronicles 20:2, King James Version)

Sometimes, it is easy to skip right over verses like that without any further thought.  However, a more modern translation like God’s Word Translation can sometimes bring out things you would otherwise miss:

2He took the gold crown from the head of Rabbah’s king and put it on David’s head. (The crown was found to weigh 75 pounds, and in it was a precious stone.) David also took a lot of goods from the city.

~ 1Ch 20:2 (GWT)

I love hats.  I don’t know about you, but even I would be reluctant to wear a 75 lb hat!  Could you imagine wearing that even just for special occasions?  My neck would be so sore in about ten minutes that I would be fighting to get it off!

According to several sources, the exact weight of a talent varied from location to location and time to time.  The lightest estimate according to Wikipedia is 57 lbs!  75 lbs seems to be about the average over time.

Did they wear things like that every day?  I hope not.  Can you imagine the weight of that, day after day, pressing down on the top of one’s skull?  If the pain did not affect one’s judgment, then I have to believe that the sheer pressure on the brain did.

Maybe that’s why the Ammonite king was so willing to listen to bad advice and act stupidly (1Ch 19).  His actions caused a war that did not need to be in the first place.

Or, does stupid come first?  How bright can you be if you’re willing to wear a 75 lb crown just for appearances sake?  I mean, it isn’t like our politicians have the excuse of carting around heavy objects on their heads to make bad decisions.  And, those bad decisions are also for appearances sake more times than not.

As we have advanced in so many areas of knowledge and technology, we humans really haven’t advanced very much in the areas that matter.  King Saul was “a handsome young man” who was “taller than any of the people” (1Sa 9:2, ESV).  It was his appearance as much as anything that inspired the people to follow him.  Yet, what do we find in this day and age?  How many politicians get votes based upon appearances?

We humans can be deceived by looks very easily.  If you don’t believe that, then go to a grocery store checkout.  What is on all the magazines?  Ugly people?  Ordinary looking people?  Or good looking people with the right make-up, lighting and looks (and digital enhancements)?  Do they do that because common sense sells?  No, it is the attractive packaging that entices you to buy.

God, however, looks upon the heart while we look upon the outward appearance (1Sa 16:7).  It is inside that is the real you.

7For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. …

~ Pr 23:7a (Amp)

This is just part of the reason we are to follow God instead of men.  We need to hold ourselves to His standard.  We need to ensure any leaders we appoint (and in actuality, they should be servants, “ministers”, and not leaders) are serving, obeying, giving their lives, to God.

The weight of leadership can make one begin to put on appearances.  The pursuit of appearances can lead to stupid decisions that cost those leaders and those who them in peril.


  1. When it comes to such things as physical endurance and strength, it could be said that most people living in the advanced world are rather soft. There are sulfur miners in Indonesia that haul up to 200 lbs. on their backs several miles and some of that up a mountain.

    But that is sorta beside the real point. Anyhow here's a video of what some people have to do to earn their daily bread.