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The King and the Maiden By Søren Kierkegaard

I have often enjoyed Søren Kierkegaard’s Parable of “The King and the Maiden”. I think it is very analogous and helps give a foundation reasoning/explanation to the meaning of the Incarnation, the coming of God in the man Jesus. His birth, life, giving his life to the point of death, and resurrection. It displays for me what I call the “nature” of the Kingdom of God/Heaven.

Read the story below and consider the nature of the life and message of Jesus. In what manner does God reveal the nature of his Love through the birth, life, death, and resurrection of the man Jesus?

The King and the Maiden

Søren Kierkegaard

Suppose there was a king who loved a humble maiden. The king was like no other king. Every statesman trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents.

And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden who lived in a poor village in his kingdom. How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist-no one dared resist him. But would she love him?

She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind? Would she be happy at his side? How could he know for sure? If he rode to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross the gulf between them. For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal.

The king, convinced he could not elevate the maiden without crushing her freedom, resolved to descend to her. Clothed as a beggar, he approached her cottage with a worn cloak fluttering loose about him. This was not just a disguise – the king took on a totally new identity – He had renounced his throne to declare his love and to win hers.


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  1. Read Philosophical Fragments but couldn’t remember the details of this story. Beautiful picture of the nature of God. It makes the birth and resurrection no coincidence- that God’s servant nature was not just an example of how to live, but the only way He could live to display his love. Thanks for posting.

  2. Winfred says:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto
    a colleague who was conducting a little homework on this.
    And he in fact bought me lunch because I found it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this matter
    here on your site.

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