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This verse implies a long period, probably not less than 20 years, of which we have no account except what is contained in the brief notice in 1 Samuel 7:13-17. The general idea conveyed is of a time of peace and prosperity, analogous to that under other Judges.
The mention of Beer-sheba, on the extreme southern frontier of Judah, as the place where Samuel’s sons judged Israel is remarkable. It was probably due to the recovery of territory from the usurpation of the Philistines 1 Samuel 7:14.
See the margin which implies that the thing spoken of caused anger, indignation, or some revulsion of feeling (see Genesis 21:11-12). The answer of the Lord 1 Samuel 8:7 shows that Samuel’s personal feelings had been hurt. They were soothed by being reminded of the continued ingratitude of the people to God Himself, upon whom, in fact, a greater slight was put by this very request for a king “like all the nations,” than upon Samuel (compare Matthew 10:24; John 15:18, John 15:20). For a comment on this transaction, see Hosea 13:9-11; Acts 13:21-22.
This organization was as old as the time of Moses Numbers 31:14; Deuteronomy 1:15, and prevailed among the Philistines also 1 Samuel 29:2. The civil and military divisions were identical, and the civil officers were the same as the captains of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, in time of war.
To ear his ground - literally, “to plow his plowing.” “To ear” is an old English word, now obsolete, for to plow.
See illustrations in marginal references; 1 Kings 5:13-18; 1 Kings 12:4.
Fight our battles - It appears from 1 Samuel 12:12, that the warlike movements of Nahash had already begun to excite alarm.
A repetition for the third time 1 Samuel 8:7, 1 Samuel 8:9 of the expression of God’s will in the matter, marks Samuel’s great unwillingness to comply with the people’s request. Besides the natural aversion which he felt to being thrust aside after so many years of faithful and laborious service, and the natural prejudice which he would feel at his age against a new form of government, he doubtless saw how much of the evil heart of unbelief there was in the desire to have a visible king for their leader, instead of trusting to the invisible Lord who had hitherto led them. But God had His own purpose in setting up the kingdom which was to be typical of the kingdom of His only begotten Son.
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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Fourth Week after Epiphany