Samuel is growing old and his sons do not follow in his footsteps. The elders of Israel therefore demand that a king be named as his successor. Neither Samuel nor God are pleased by this request. as it is another expression of the nation’s long-standing distrust in God. Nevertheless, God instructs Samuel to fulfill the will of the people and anoint a king. However, he must first warn them of the dire consequences of a monarchy. Samuel lays out before Israel the dangers of a monarchy, warning them that a king may oppress men and women alike and usurp his subjects’ lands, slaves, and animals. When this happens, the people themselves will become slaves and cry out to God, but their prayers will not be answered. Unpersuaded by these bleak warnings, the people insist on anointing a king to lead their wars and rule over them. God accepts their plea and the Israelites go on their way. Samuel shares his experience and wisdom with his people. Even though he knows the terrible consequences of their request, he nonetheless allows them to choose. Free will is an option for every single human being. Though we sometimes make mistakes, we will always be given a chance to correct them.
“Now make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1 Samuel 8:5)
“Howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:9)
“Nevertheless the people refused to obey… and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;… and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles” (1 Samuel 8:19—20)
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