Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 8

The request for a king

1 Samuel 8:1-6

Many of the prophets felt a sense of fear that they had wasted their lives.

The prophets were Israelís holy men. As holy men, they had given their lives completely to God. They did not want to waste even one second of the time; they chose to use their whole lives for God. So the idea that their lives could have failed to achieve Godís purposes genuinely worried them.

It was the greatest desire of the prophets that their nation would be completely loyal to God. They worked for their whole lives to achieve that. It disappointed them deeply to see how little they could achieve by their own efforts. God often had to remind them that it was his work, not theirs, to bring people into a right relationship with him. Their work was simply to serve him in a loyal manner. For example, see Moses in Numbers 11:10-17 and Elijah in 1 Kings 19:3-18.

It seems that Samuel had that problem too. He could not bring his nation into a right relationship with God; even his own family was not loyal to God. The behaviour of his two sons must have reminded Samuel of how Eliís two sons had behaved (2:12-17).

The important people in Israel urged Samuel to appoint a king who would rule their nation. That request upset Samuel. They wanted their nation to have a powerful ruler like all the other nations. Samuel believed that Israel should not be like other nations. He wanted the people in Israel to respect God as their king. For his whole life, he had worked to achieve that.

So Samuel asked God what he should do about this important matter.

Next part: Godís reaction to a foolish decision (1 Samuel 8:7-9)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.