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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 8

Verses 1-22

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8:1-12:25 ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MONARCHY

The people ask for a king (8:1-22)

Israel’s history continued to follow the pattern set out in the book of Judges. Once the God-appointed judge (in this case, Samuel) was no longer able to exercise control over the nation (for Samuel was old and his sons who succeeded him as judges were worthless), the people turned from God and drifted into wrongdoing (8:1-3).
In search for stability within the nation, the people asked Samuel to bring the old system to an end and to give them a king as other nations had. This was more than merely a rejection of the system of rule by judges; it was a rejection of God. The people’s troubles came from their sins, not from the system of government. The remedy, therefore, was to turn to God in a new attitude of faith, love and practical holiness. Instead they turned to a new political system (4-9).
As well as rejecting God, the people of Israel were inviting social and economic hardship. Samuel reminded them of the examples they could see in the nations round about, where kings oppressed their people with harsh rule, forced labour and heavy taxes (10-18). But the Israelites were unmoved; they wanted a king. In particular, they wanted one who would be an impressive military leader (19-22).


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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 8". "Brideway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/1-samuel-8.html. 2005.