Demanding One’s Own Way

KEY VERSE: “The LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.” —I Samuel 8:22

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: I Samuel 7:15 to 8:9,19-22

SAMUEL, THE LAST judge of Israel, was a deliverer and protector. As it is written, “The Philistines were subdued, and they came no more into the coast of Israel: and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.” (I Sam. 7:13) When Samuel was old he appointed his seemingly capable sons judges over Israel.

His sons, however, were not like their father. Although they had conducted themselves well while under their parent’s eyes, they were now accepting bribes to give unfair decisions and perverting justice. They loved money, and as the Apostle Paul says, in I Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

As a result of this improper behavior on the part of Samuel’s sons, “all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, … and said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.”—I Sam. 8:4,5

But their request for a king cut Samuel to the heart, and being a man of prayer he sought counsel of the Lord. The Lord responded that “they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.”—I Sam. 8:7,8

The Lord told Samuel to listen to the people and to give them a strict warning that if they would have a king to rule over them they would find the burden exceedingly heavy. The people were only looking at the magnificence of a king, thinking that he would make their nation great among their neighbors and strike terror into their foes.

Samuel told the words of the Lord to all the people who were asking for a king, listing many of the abuses a king would impose upon them. He warned the people that their king would exploit them and require their sons to build equipment for war, then send them into battle.

At other times, the king would take away the best of their lands. Some of this property he would take for himself; but other parcels would be given out to his courtiers. In any case, the people’s sons would be required to work in these fields. The king also would require their daughters to serve in his household; he would take away their slaves and the best livestock, and levy a tithe of what remained as a tribute.

Samuel said, ‘When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day’. (I Sam. 8:18, NIV) But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said, “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”—vss. 19,20, NIV

When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord and the Lord yielding to their desire answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.” (I Sam. 8:18-22, NIV) In offering our prayers, we should not tell God our will, as the Israelites did, but should pray, “Thy will be done,” as our Lord Jesus taught us to do.—Matt. 6:10

Dawn Bible Students Association
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