1 Samuel 8

Before Reading.

  • Centering prayer— Pray for illumination, “Lord, open my heart and mind by the power of the Holy Spirit,” and remain in silence.

Reading.

  • Read slowly, keeping any words or phrase that come to your mind, and mark on them.
  • Close eyes and meditate on what you read.
  • Take a note if you have question, inspiration.   

Read 1 Samuel 8

Overview.

Israel asks for a king.

There appears a change of governing structure of Israel from tribal, theocratic to kingship, monarchy. The first two verses introduce the background of its change, “Samuel grew old, his two sons succeed him to judge Israel, but they turned to dishonest gaining, bribing and perverse justice. So elders of Israel demand Samuel to appoint a king so that the king lead them, go out, and fight for them.

Kingship was given to Israel as Deuteronomal covenant (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), which describes process and provision of kingship so that the king should always be in the way of God, with promise, “then he and his descendants will reign a long time over his kingdom in Israel.” (v.20)

However, Samuel dislikes the request, but after seeking God’s will, he finds that he must yield, even though God feels offended. At God’s behest Samuel delivers a serious lecture on the evils of kingship before yielding —- conscript men and women by force to take advantage of  them, charge heavy taxes on his people, take forced labor by slavery.  But the most severe warning is that their relationship with God would be distant, and God would not relieve them.  Samuel’s warning is anti-monarchical.

Samuel yielded to their request after he inquired of God and God answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

A new history of monarchy has begun when Samuel anointed the first king Saul. The warnings of Samuel have happened in real through the history of Israel’s kingship, along with God’s intervention from prophets with compassion and justice.

1. What does this passage tell you about God?

2. What does this passage tell you about people.?

3. What does this passage tell you about yourself and God’s will for you?  

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