I Samuel Chapter 8
Memory verses for this week:
Psa 90:14 O satisfy us early with thy
mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.
We continue our study on Samuel this week. In last weekís
lesson, we studied about the ark being brought to the house of
Abinadab. It remained there almost 100 years before David saw it
brought back to Jerusalem. Under the leadership of Samuel, Israel
defeats the Philistines by the help of the mighty hand of God.
Israel Demands a Human King
1 Sam 8:1 And
it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges
1 Sam 8:2 Now
the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second,
Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
Samuel was an old man at this time and perhaps could no longer bear
all the burden of judging Israel. In verse 1, it says that Samuel
made his sons judges over Israel. It says the oldest sonís name
was Joel, and the second was name Abiah. These were the sons that
judged in Beersheba. These sons were somewhat similar to Eliís sons
as we read in verse 3.
1 Sam 8:3 And
his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and
took bribes, and perverted judgment.
The bible says that Samuelís sons did walk in the ways of Samuel,
but rather turned to chase after money. Money was more important
to them than justice, so they turned after it and took bribes and
perverted judgment. There is nothing more discouraging than to
have someone in power who will turn from right for a dollar. These
men were more concerned about the money that doing what was right.
This gave the people something to complain about, and the make a
request that they be ruled by a king like the other nations.
1 Sam 8:4 Then
all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to
Samuel unto Ramah,
1 Sam 8:5 And
said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy
ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
1 Sam 8:6 But
the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge
us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
The sons of Samuel lived so differently from the way Samuel lived
that the people noticed it. Never doubt that others are watching
your life and how you live. Are we setting the right example like
Samuel, living a life consecrated for God. Or do we worry
constantly about the things of this world and chase after the ever
fleeting dollar. God help us to love for Him. To be a Christian
and fail to live like a Christian is noticed by the unsaved. They
may very well use your example as an excuse and say ďI live better
than that person and Iím not even a Christian.Ē We should look
different from the world, talk differently, and walk differently.
Deu 14:2 For
thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath
chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the
nations that are upon the earth.
You might read that verse in Deuteronomy and think that the peculiar
people was in regards only to Israel. We are Godís people today,
and we have a verse relating to that in the New Testament in Titus.
Titus 2:14 Who
gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and
purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
In verse 5, the people say that they want a king to be like the
other nations of the world. God help us when we want to be like
the world. We are not to desire the things of the world, but are
to be a spiritual people.
1 John 2:15
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any
man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of
the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the
1 John 2:17
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth
the will of God abideth for ever.
Samuel was not pleased with the people it says in verse 6. He
turns to God in prayer to get guidance and strength. This pleases
the Lord when we do this. We need to look to God first in every
problem we face. Unfortunately, many times we will show our lack
of faith by trying everything we can think of before going to God in
Looking over in Deuteronomy, we see that God had made provisions in
the law to give Israel a King. But they were impatient and could
not wait on the Lord.
Deu 17:14 When
thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and
shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set
a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me;
Deu 17:15 Thou
shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God
shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over
thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy
Deu 17:16 But
he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to
return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses:
forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return
no more that way.
Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not
away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold.
Deu 17:18 And
it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he
shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is
before the priests the Levites:
Deu 17:19 And
it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his
life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the
words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
Deu 17:20 That
his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not
aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to
the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his
children, in the midst of Israel.
Israel should have waited on God to give them a King in Godís due
time. The Lord did not want Israel to be like all the other
nations. Their longing to be like the other nations was worldly
and displeasing to God. The same is true today in our walk of
life. If we are living for every new fad or fashion, we will be
greatly disappointed in life.
1 Cor 7:30 And
they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as
though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they
1 Cor 7:31 And
they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this
world passeth away.
Matthew Henry said this about the desire to have a worldly king.
Make us a king to judge us like all the nations. Thus far it
was well, that they did not rise up in rebellion against Samuel and
set up a king for themselves, vi et armisóby force; but they applied
to Samuel, Godís prophet, and humbly begged of him to do it. But it
appears by what follows that it was an evil proposal and ill made,
and was displeasing to God. God designed them a king, a man after
his own heart, when Samuel was dead; but they would anticipate Godís
counsel, and would have one now that Samuel was old. They had a
prophet to judge them, that had immediate correspondence with
heaven, and therein they were great and happy above any nation, none
having God so nigh unto them as they had, Deu. 4:7. But this would
not serve; they must have a king to judge them with external pomp
and power, like all the nations. A poor prophet in a mantle, though
conversant in the visions of the Almighty, looked mean in the eyes
of those who judged by outward appearance; but a king in a purple
robe, with his guards and officers of state, would look great: and
such a one they must have. They knew it was in vain to court Samuel
to take upon him the title and dignity of a king, but he must
appoint them one. They do not say, "Give us a king that is wise and
good, and will judge better than thy sons do,íí but, "Give us a
king,íí any body that will but make a figure. Thus foolishly did
they forsake their own mercies, and, under pretence of advancing the
dignity of their nation to that of their neighbours, did really
thrust themselves down from their own Excellency, and profane their
crown by casting it to the ground .[i]
II. Theocracy is Rejected
1 Sam 8:7 And
the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in
all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but
they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
1 Sam 8:8
According to all the works which they have done since the day that I
brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have
forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
Samuel set us a good example of going to the Lord in prayer
concerning the request of the people. Most likely, he was
surprised by Godís answer. God tells Samuel that the people have
not rejected him, but they had rejected the Lord. He tells him to
hearken to the people and give them the king they demanded. They
no longer desired that the Lord reign over them. Things didnít
change much in Jesusí day either. The Jews told Christ that they
would not have him reign over them.
Luke 19:14 But
his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We
will not have this man to reign over us.
In verse 8, God charges them with forsaking the Lord since they came
out of Egypt, even to that very day in which they lived.
1 Sam 8:9 Now
therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly
unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign
1 Sam 8:10 And
Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of
him a king.
Samuel is given instructions to listen to the people and tell them
the manner of the king that would rule over them. Samuel was
faithful to do what God told him to do. He told the people the
very words that God have given him to speak unto them. We as
Christians sure need to learn obedience, and those that preach need
to declare the whole counsel of God.
John 14:15 If
ye love me, keep my commandments.
Paul was careful to preach the entire counsel of God.
Acts 20:25 And
now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching
the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.
Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the
blood of all men.
Acts 20:27 For
I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
1 Sam 8:11 And
he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over
you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his
chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his
1 Sam 8:12 And
he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over
fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his
harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his
1 Sam 8:13 And
he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks,
and to be bakers.
1 Sam 8:14 And
he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards,
even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
1 Sam 8:15 And
he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give
to his officers, and to his servants.
1 Sam 8:16 And
he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your
goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
1 Sam 8:17 He
will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
God gives Samuel instructions to tell the people what will happen
when the king begins to reign over them. Their sons would be taken
from them and trained for the kingís service. They would become
servants and soldiers.
The king would also take their daughters to manufacture ointments
and perfumes, and to be the kingís cooks and bakers. The king
would also take unto himself their best fields, vineyards, and olive
yards. These would be taken to give to the kingís friends or for
use by the king. And lastly, the king would tax the produce of
their fields, vineyards, cattle and servants. Some of them would
be put to the kingís service, while taking the money for his
treasury. Sounds a little like our government today, doesnít it?
Not many people enjoy paying taxes, but we appreciate the good
things that come from it.
1 Sam 8:18 And
ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall
have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
God warns that in the end, they would become dissatisfied with the
oppression they were under, and would cry unto the Lord for the king
to be taken away. However, they receive warning that God would not
hear them in that day. Sometimes God goes ahead and gives us the
desires of our hearts, but we lose that close fellowship in our walk
Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires
of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring
it to pass.
They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel:
Psa 106:14 But
lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert.
Psa 106:15 And
he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
III. Israel Refuses to Listen to Samuel and Demand a King
1 Sam 8:19
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and
they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
1 Sam 8:20
That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may
judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.
1 Sam 8:21 And
Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in
the ears of the LORD.
1 Sam 8:22 And
the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a
king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto
Perhaps the people thought Samuel was exaggerating when he told them
what to expect of a king. They revealed their real motives in
desiring a different kind of rule. They wanted to be like the
other nations it says in verse 20. God had warned them about that
Exo 19:5 Now
therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant,
then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for
all the earth is mine:
Exo 19:6 And
ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These
are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
To be that peculiar treasure unto God, they had to obey Godís voice
and follow in his ways. What they wanted was a king to be their
judge. They wanted an earthly king to go out and fight their
battles for them.
Deu 1:16 And I
charged your judges at that time, saying, Hear the causes between
your brethren, and judge righteously between every man and his
brother, and the stranger that is with him.
Deu 1:17 Ye
shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small
as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for
the judgment is God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring
it unto me, and I will hear it.
Deu 1:18 And I
commanded you at that time all the things which ye should do.
The people were supposed to look to God who would be the one to
fight their battles. Samuel goes back to God again with his
burden, and God told him to go ahead and give the people what they
wanted. As we read earlier, sometimes we get what we ask for,
but there is a steep price that we pay.
Psa 106:15 And
he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.
J. Vernon McGee also saw this the same way.
The children of Israel are gong to have their way. God is
going to give them a king. What was true of Israel in the days of
Moses is still true. ďAnd he gave them their request; but sent
leanness into their soulĒ (Ps. 106:15). God will grant Israelís
desire for a king, but it will not be to their advantage. Godís
guidance of the nation will be indirectly through the prophet. As we
shall see, God will not speak directly to the king, but still
through the prophet who will convey Godís word to the king. The king
will accept it or reject it as he chooses.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will
Matthew Henryís Commentary
on the Bible,
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
[ii]J. Vernon McGee,
Thru the Bible commentary
[computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System,
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.