Israel Demands a King
Text: I Samuel 7:15-8:22
Samuel’s Life - I Samuel 7:15-17
Samuel traveled an annual circuit in the center of Israel in order to provide judgment for Israel. His circuit always ended in Ramah, which is where he had his home. It is also where he built an altar to God.
Samuel’s Sons - I Samuel 8:1-3
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons Joel and Abijah to be judges in the south in Beersheba. This did not turn out well as Joel and Abijah did not have the integrity of their father. They were greedy, took bribes, and perverted justice (Exodus 23:6-8; Deuteronomy 16:18-20).
Israel Demands a King - I Samuel 8:4-9
Eventually, the elders of Israel gathered and approached Samuel. They pointed out that he was getting old and that his sons were not following his ways. They asked him to appoint a king over Israel like the nations around them.
Samuel was very unhappy about the demand. When he prayed to the Lord about the issue, God told him that the people were rejecting Him as their king. This was just a continuation of their rebellion against God since the days when God brought them out of Egypt. God instructed Samuel to do as the people demanded, but to first warn them what a king would be like.
Warning Regarding Kings - I Samuel 8:10-18
The warning was not Samuel’s opinion. These were words of God.
A king will conscript young men for his footmen for his chariots, farmers for his land, and blacksmiths for his army. He will conscript their young women to make perfumes, cook, and bake for him. He will take land for his servants. He will take their servants to be his servants and their donkeys for his use. He will impose a 10% tax and you will end up being his servants.
One day they will cry out in complaint against the king they chose and God will not respond because it was their own choice.
Israel Wants a King Anyway - I Samuel 8:19-22
Despite the warning, the people wanted a king anyway. They wanted to be like the other nations – having a king to judge them and fight battles on their behalf. Notice that they saw a king as easing burdens instead of creating burdens.
Samuel brought their reply back to God and God told him to give the people what they wanted. Thus, Samuel sent them away until a king was selected.
- What is wrong with wanting a form of government like the nations around?