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Bible Commentaries

Smith's Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 8

Verses 1-15

Chapter 8

Now it came to pass, when Samuel was old, he made his sons the judges over Israel. And the name of his firstborn was Joel; the second was Abiah: and they were judges in Beersheba. [Which is in the south.] But his sons did not walk in his ways, but they turned aside after lucre, they took bribes, and perverted judgment ( 1 Samuel 8:1-3 ).

So here's an unfortunate thing. A godly man Samuel, and yet his sons were crooked. These guys were taking bribes, they had coveted after money, they would pervert judgment for bribes.

So all the elders of Israel came to Samuel there at Ramah, And they said, Behold, you are old, but your sons are not walking in your ways: so make us a king to judge us like all the nations. [So now the demand of all of the elders of Israel in order that they might have a king like the rest of the nations.] The thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people: for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me, from being king over them ( 1 Samuel 8:4-7 ).

Now a nation that is governed by God is a theocracy. These people were rejecting now a theocratic form of government and they were demanding now a monarchy. "We want a king like the other nations." It is a sad step down in their history when they rejected God from being king. However it was because God was not being faithfully represented to them by their rulers, that they were demanding a king like the other nations. The Lord said, "You tell them what a monarchy is going to entail."

So Samuel told the people all the words of the Lord. When you have a king that reign over you: He's gonna take your sons, he's gonna draft them, and appoint them for himself, and for his chariots, that they might be his horsemen; some shall run before his chariots. He's gonna appoint captains over the thousands, and over the fifties; and he will set them to ear his ground, or to till his soil, to reap his harvest, to make him instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters that they might be his bakers, and cooks, and confectionaries. And he will take your fields, your vineyards, your oliveyards, and the best of them, and he will give them to his servants. You'll have to start paying taxes of ten percent. [They had it pretty good.] And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your finest young men, your donkeys, and put them to his work. And he'll take a tenth of your sheep: you'll be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen; and the Lord will not hear you in that day. Nevertheless the people said, Fine we want a king that we might be like all the nations; that our king might judge us, go out before us, and fight our battles. So Samuel heard the people, he went back and he said, Lord they still want a king. So the Lord said, Hearken to their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said to the men of Israel, Go your way every man to his own city ( 1 Samuel 8:10-22 ). "

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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 8". "Smith's Bible Commentary". 2014.