|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:10-22 If they would have a king to rule them, as the eastern kings ruled their subjects, they would find the yoke exceedingly heavy. Those that submit to the government of the world and the flesh, are told plainly, what hard masters they are, and what tyranny the dominion of sin is. The law of God and the manner of men widely differ from each other; the former should be our rule in the several relations of life; the latter should be the measure of our expectations from others. These would be their grievances, and, when they complained to God, he would not hear them. When we bring ourselves into distress by our own wrong desires and projects, we justly forfeit the comfort of prayer, and the benefit of Divine aid. The people were obstinate and urgent in their demand. Sudden resolves and hasty desires make work for long and leisurely repentance. Our wisdom is, to be thankful for the advantages, and patient under the disadvantages of the government we may live under; and to pray continually for our rulers, that they may govern us in the fear of God, and that we may live under them in all godliness and honesty. And it is a hopeful symptom when our desires of worldly objects can brook delay; and when we can refer the time and manner of their being granted to God's providence.
Verse 11. - This will be the manner of the king. On the meaning of this word see 1 Samuel 2:13. Here also it signifies not so much the legal right itself, as the way in which that right was exercised. His chariots. The word is singular, both here and at the end of the verse, and though it may be taken, as in the A.V., for a collective noun, "his chariotry," yet the singular is better, because this verse does not refer to war, but to the personal magnificence and grandeur of the king. Instead of the old simplicity in which the judges had lived, he would have a state chariot (see 2 Kings 9:21), and go forth escorted by horsemen and runners on foot. To be his horsemen. Rather, "upon his homes." The whole clause should be translated, "And he will set them for him (i.e. for his service) upon his chariot and on his horses; and they will run before his chariot."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he said, this will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you,.... Not in which he ought to proceed, but what he will do: and this not the manner of one king, or of the first only, but of all of them, more or less; of kings in general, who are commonly inclined to arbitrary power. So Aristotle (a) in opposition to theocracy, describes a full and absolute kingdom, as he calls it, when a king does all things according to his will: and observes, that he that would have the mind or reason preside, would have God and the laws rule; but he that would have a man to reign, adds also a lust, or one led by his own lust: so it follows:
he will take your sons, and appoint them for himself; for his own use and service, to wait upon him, to be his pages, or grooms, or guards:
for his chariots; to take care of them, and drive them, though not without paying them for it; yet this being but a mean and servile employment, and what they should be obliged to, whether they would or no, is observed to show the tyranny and bondage to which they would be subject, when their sons otherwise might be free men, and possessed of estates and carriages of their own:
and to be his horsemen; or rather "for his horses", to take care of them, and go out along with him, and attend his person, whether when going to war, or on pleasure:
and some shall run before his chariots; be his running footmen, being swift of foot, and trained up for that service; some are naturally swift, as Asahel was 2 Samuel 2:18. Pliny (b) speaks of some swifter than horses; and of the swiftness of some he elsewhere gives (c) many surprising instances. It seems as if it was usual to have fifty such men to run before them, see 2 Samuel 15:1.
(a) In Politicis, l. 3. c. 16. (b) Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 2.((c) Ibid. c. 20.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. This will be the manner of the king—The following is a very just and graphic picture of the despotic governments which anciently and still are found in the East, and into conformity with which the Hebrew monarchy, notwithstanding the restrictions prescribed by the law, gradually slid.
He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself—Oriental sovereigns claim a right to the services of any of their subjects at pleasure.
some shall run before his chariots—The royal equipages were, generally throughout the East (as in Persia they still are), preceded and accompanied by a number of attendants who ran on foot.
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