“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every one did that which seemed right to himself.” (Judges 17:6)
Literal Sense: The people of Israel continually fell into idolatry when they entered the promised land. Time after time the people would worship false gods, God would raise up an enemy to judge them for their disobedience, the people would cry out to God in repentance and God would deliver them from their enemies. During this phase in history, God’s people did not have a king, like David, to rule over Israel justly and without a leader each did what was right in their own eyes.
Allegorical Sense: Christ Jesus is the greatly needed king God’s people needed, both during the days of Israel and today. Christ is the king, who with His teachings, gives guidance to the Church and prevents each one in his fold from going their own separate way. The Pope is also the fulfillment of this great need which is ultimately fulfilled by Christ. Without the Pope as the ultimate authority and source of unity, each Bishop would do what is right in their own eyes and there would be many schisms without a way of knowing which Bishop is in continuity with the Catholic Church and which Bishop is in schism.
Moral Sense: Whereas the people of Israel did not have a king and as a result did what was right in their own eyes, the New Covenant people of God have a King, Jesus, who reigns in the hearts of His people and gives them guidance that they might not go astray and do what is right in their own eyes.
Anagogical Sense: God’s people did not have a king to guide them on many occasions in their history. When they did have a righteous king they often served the LORD, but when the king died they quickly fell into idolatry. The future of God’s people will not have a king whose reign ends and whose good influence over his people ends, but in heaven God’s people will have a righteous King “[a]nd of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:33).