Why aren’t Samuel’s sons counted among the judges?


Concerning your post recently about whether Abimelech was a judge or not: I remember a passage concerning the people wanting a king because of the evil of Samuel's sons, whom he appointed to be judges over the people in I Samuel 8:1-5. I'm not sure if this would help your answer, but I remembered them being called judges, but they were never appointed by God.


In Israel's government, from the days of Moses, there were men who were appointed legal judges (Exodus 18:13-26). "So they judged the people at all times; the hard cases they brought to Moses, but they judged every small case themselves" (Exodus 18:26). It is assumed that Samuel did this because of his age (I Samuel 8:1). Samuel tended to do a circuit in the center of Israel, just north of Jerusalem. "And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. He went from year to year on a circuit to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah, and judged Israel in all those places. But he always returned to Ramah, for his home was there. There he judged Israel, and there he built an altar to the LORD" (I Samuel 7:15-17). He had his sons judging in southern Israel at the city of Beersheba, but he continued as the last God-appointed judge of Israel for his entire life. Thus, Samuel's sons would not be counted as judges in the mean of "judge" found in the book of Judges.

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