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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: 1 Samuel

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

CONTEXT

Part 3: Ch.8-11: The Establishing of a King (Saul)

Ch.8: Israel Asks for a King

Ch.9: Samuel meets Saul

Ch.10: Saul is Chosen as King

Ch.11: Saul Rescues Jabesh & is confirmed as King

  

FRAMEWORKS: 1 Samuel 8: The People ask for a King   

 

v.1,2 Samuel's Sons fail as Leaders

v.4-9 The Elders complain and ask for a King

v.10-18 Samuel warns of the hardships accompanying a King

v.19-22 The People Insist and the Lord agrees

 

 

v.1,2 Samuel's Sons fail as Leaders

 

v.1  When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel's leaders.

v.2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.

v.3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

 

[Notes: Even great leaders have vulnerable points and appointing his sons as leaders seems to have been Samuel's weak area. Rather like Eli's sons previously, his two sons turn out to be dishonest.]

 

 

v.4-9 The Elders complain and ask for a King

 

v.4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.

v.5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

v.6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord .

v.7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

v.8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.

v.9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

 

[Notes: The response to the presence of these two sons is that the elders of Israel reject their leadership and demand that Samuel appoints them a king. Thus starts a rather complex series of events that bring about the change from rule by judge and recently by prophet, now to a king. The Lord clarifies the situation for Samuel, it's not so much him they are rejecting but God. The right course would have been to demand that Samuel sorts out or removes his sons, but the leaders want to be like other nations. Considering Moses' prophetic words [Deut 17:14] about them asking for a king, it is as if the Lord clearly knew that this would come about. Now He simply tells Samuel to warn them about the downside of having a king. The Law [Deut 17:15-20] already laid down the requirements for such a king.]

 

 

v.10-18 Samuel warns of the hardships accompanying a King

 

v.10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king.

v.11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.

v.12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

v.13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.

v.14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.

v.15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.

v.16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.

v.17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

v.18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

 

[Notes: Samuel therefore warns the people of the downside of having a king.]

 

 

v.19-22 The People Insist and the Lord agrees

 

v.19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us.

v.20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

v.21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord .

v.22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”

 

[Notes: Nevertheless the people insist on having a king. The Lord tells Samuel to let them have one and what follows will be a combination of human administration and divine providence. For the moment Samuel simply sends everyone home.]

 

    

CONTINUE TO CHAPTER 9