|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 15. - The tenth. i.e. the king will cost you as much as all the ordinances of religion. Still national security would be cheaply purchased at this, or even a greater cost, if the money were well spent; but Samuel says that the king would lavish it not on his officers, but on his eunuchs, those miserable creatures, so cruelly wronged, and generally so hateful, who ministered to the pleasures of Oriental kings.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he will take the tenth of your seed,.... When grown up and ripe, as their wheat and barley:
and of your vineyards; the tenth of the grapes they should produce:
and give to his officers, and to his servants; for the support and maintenance of them; and to pay this, besides the tithes of the priests and Levites, would make it very burdensome to them; and this was no other than what kings of other nations usually had, the like to whom they were desirous of having, and therefore must expect that they would insist upon the privileges and revenues that others had. In Babylon, as Aristotle (g) relates, there was an ancient law which required the tenth of whatever was imported for the public revenue, which was revived in the times of Alexander by Antimenes the Rhodian. In Arabia Felix was an island abounding with frankincense and myrrh, and various spices, the tenth of the fruits of which the king always had, as Diodorus Siculus (h) reports, as in the Apocrypha:"And as for other things that belong unto us, of the tithes and customs pertaining unto us, as also the saltpits, and the crown taxes, which are due unto us, we discharge them of them all for their relief.'' (1 Maccabees 11:35)
(g) Oeconomic. l. 2. p. 283. (h) Bibliothec. l. 5. p. 317.
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