Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 8

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

Verses 1-22

1 Samuel 8. Demand for a King.— Opening section, continued 1 Samuel 10:17, of later account of Saul’ s appointment as king: either Deuteronomic or late stratum of E. Probably 1 Samuel 10:17-19 a (to “ over us” ) in the Deuteronomic document stood in the place of 1 Samuel 8:10, giving the following sequence of events: appeal of the elders, convocation of assembly (as in 1 Samuel 7:5), Saul’ s election, etc. Also, in 1 Samuel 8:22; “ Go ye every man unto his city,” is, like 1 Samuel 8:10, an editorial insertion, necessitated by the combination of different documents. In the Deuteronomic document 1 Samuel 10:19, “ Now therefore present yourselves, etc.” immediately followed “ And Samuel said unto the men of Israel” in 1 Samuel 8:22. Note the hostile attitude to the Monarchy, as in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

1 Samuel 8:1-10 . In Samuel’ s old age, his sons act as his representatives at Beersheba, in the extreme S. of Judah (p. 32): they take bribes. The elders (p. 112, Exodus 3:16 *) ask Samuel for a king. Samuel is reluctant and lays the matter before Yahweh, who tells him that the request is a rejection of Himself; He should be their only king. Samuel is to bring home their iniquity to the people, but is to grant their request, explaining, however, that the request is granted as a punishment. (Here followed in the original arrangement, in the Deuteronomic document, the calling of an assembly at Mizpah; see above.)

1 Samuel 8:11-22 . Samuel explains that the advantages of Monarchy would be dearly bought. The king would be a selfish tyrant of the usual Oriental type: he would confiscate the best land for himself and his favourites, institute conscription and forced labour, and levy taxes. The primitive state of things, which knew little of either the authority or the burden of an organised, central government, would pass away. In spite of this warning, the people pressed their demand; by the direction of Yahweh, Samuel granted it.

1 Samuel 8:13 . confectionaries: rather, as RVm “ perfumers.”

1 Samuel 8:16 . menservants . . . maidservants: male and female slaves.— young men: better “ cattle,” with LXX.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 8". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.