Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 8

How a powerful ruler behaves

1 Samuel 8:10-18

The people in Israel wanted to have a powerful king who would defeat all their enemies. Then their nation would have peace and security and they would all become rich. That was what they thought.

However, that is not reality. Samuel carefully explained to them what it means for a country to have a very powerful ruler.

That ruler uses his authority for his own benefit. Such rulers are often cruel men. However, even a ruler who is not cruel must still establish a strong government. He forces people to work for him. They may work in his army or they may produce food for him. They may make the equipment that his army needs.

Samuel explained how both men and women would have to work for the king. The men must fight for him; the women must work in his palace. The king would also demand the best land in the country. He would not merely take land for his own use; he would give it to his officials.

In addition, the king would demand the payment of taxes. Samuel described a king who took a tenth (10%) of everything.

The people in Israel wanted their king to give them liberty and wealth. In reality, the king would take their wealth and he would order them to serve him, like slaves. God had freed Israel from many enemies in the past, but he would expect people to obey their king. They had a duty in front of God to be loyal to their ruler (Ecclesiastes 8:2; Romans 13:1-7).

Until that time, Israel had never appointed any person to be its king. Israel was different from all other nations because God was its king (8:7). Samuel had taught the people to give their lives to God alone, and he (God) would save them from their enemies (7:3). However, the people in Israel were not willing to follow Samuel’s advice.

Next part: When people refuse good advice (1 Samuel 8:19-22)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.