1 Samuel 8

• Request for a King — 1 Samuel 8:1-9
• Warnings about a King — 1 Samuel 8:10-22
• God’s Choice of a King — 1 Samuel 9:1-10:16
• Public Identification of a King — 1 Samuel 10:17-27

1 Samuel 8:1-9
8:1 When Samuel [had led Israel both politically and spiritually] grew old, he appointed [judges usually appointed by God and empowered by His Spirit] his sons [Samuel felt they had potential to give leadership to Israel] as judges for Israel.

8:2 The name [names of Samuel’s sons indicate his desire that his sons be rightly related to God] of his firstborn was Joel [name means the Lord is God] and the name of his second was Abijah [name means the Lord is my Father], and they served at Beersheba [southernmost town of Israel].

8:3 But his sons did not walk in his ways [even as Eli’s sons had not walked in their father’s ways (cf. 1 Sam. 2:12-17)]. They turned aside [personal decision] after dishonest gain and accepted bribes [cf. Ex. 23:8] and perverted justice [abused their authority as judges by selling justice to the highest bidder].

8:4 So all the elders [older man, bearded man, perhaps leaders of the tribes or clans] of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah [the birthplace (1:19), home (7:17), and burial place (25:1) of Samuel].

8:5 They said [no mention that the elders had prayed before making their request] to him, “You are old [by implication, not able to lead much longer], and [to make matters worse] your sons do not walk in your ways [therefore unfit to judge; others noticed the godless behavior of Samuel’s sons]; now [because of a crisis in leadership] appoint a king [not another judge; people unwilling to wait for God’s timing on appointment of a king (cf. Deut. 17:14-20)] to lead us, such as [the kind of leader other nations have; Israelites made an error in timing and motivation] all the other nations have [people looked to the example of other nations for guidance instead of to God].”

8:6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased [perhaps because he felt the people had rejected him (cf. v. 7) or because of the burdens a king would inflict on the people] Samuel; so [Samuel did not dispute, deny, or rationalize the behavior of his sons] he prayed [sought divine direction] to the LORD.

8:7 And the LORD told him: “Listen [obey; God authorized Samuel to appoint a king] to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected [to spurn, to despise; basis of rejection lies in distrust and contempt] me [God’s system of ruling Israel through the mediation of judges; cf. 1 Sam. 12:12] as their king [although God used many different kinds of human leaders to guide His people, He was still their real Ruler].

8:8 As they have done [indicates that their rejection of God was nothing new] from the day I brought them up out of Egypt [past behavior] until this day [present behavior], forsaking me [must take this step before serving other gods] and serving other gods [idolatry], so they are doing to you.

8:9 Now listen [obey the people’s wish] to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know [good and bad aspects concerning kingship] what the king who will reign over them will do.”

8:10-18 Samuel warned of disadvantages of having a king.

8:19-22 People insisted that Samuel appoint a king.

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