1 Samuel 10:25
Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.
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(25) Wrote it in a book.—The “Law of the Kingdom,” which Samuel rehearsed before the people, and which he wrote in a roll, and laid solemnly up and preserved among the State archives, related to the divinely established right and duties of the God-appointed king, and also clearly set forth the limitations of his power. The vice-gerent on earth of the invisible King could be no arbitrary despot, unless he transgressed plainly and openly the “manner of the kingdom” written in a book, and laid up before the Lord by Samuel.

This sacred document, we may assume, contained, too, the exact details of the singular story of the choice of the first king of Israel. It was well, no doubt, thought Samuel, that coming ages should know exactly how it came to pass that he, the seer, anointed the Benjamite of Gibeah as king over the Lord’s inheritance. We may, therefore, fairly conclude that from the record laid up among the sacred archives in the sanctuary, the compiler or redactor of this “Book of Samuel” derived his intimate knowledge of every little fact connected with the Divine choice of Saul.

The legal portion of this writing respecting the kingdom was, of course, strictly based upon what Moses had already written on this subject in Deuteronomy (see 1Samuel 17:14-20).

We find here, in this writing of Samuel, the first trace of literary composition among the Israelites since the days of Moses. The great revival in letters which began shortly after the days of Saul was due, most probably, to the influence of Samuel and those great schools of the prophets which he had established in the land.

And laid it up before the Lord.—We are not told where this was done, but the words seem to imply that the document, or roll, was placed by the side of the Ark, then in the “city of woods,” Kiriath-yearim. Josephus says this writing was preserved in the Tabernacle of the Holy of Holies, where the Book of the Law had been laid up (Deuteronomy 31:26).

And Samuel sent all the people away.—It is noteworthy that even after the formal popular ratification of Saul’s election as king, it is Samuel who dismisses the assembly. Indeed, throughout the remainder of the great seer’s life, whenever he appears on the scene, he is evidently the principal person, occupying a position above king or priest. On the other hand, after this period Samuel made but comparatively few public appearances; of his own free will he seems to have retired into privacy, and only in emergencies to have left his retirement.

1 Samuel 10:25. Samuel said, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen? — Though the people were resolutely bent on having a king, yet they were sensible only God could make one. And therefore they came in the beginning of this business, to ask one of his prophet. But Samuel could not constitute one without divine direction and appointment, as appears by the first verse of this chapter, where he says to Saul, The Lord hath anointed thee; and the lot whereby he was publicly chosen was cast before the Lord, 1 Samuel 10:19; 1 Samuel 10:23. Accordingly he here tells them, The Lord hath chosen him. Thus afterward the Lord commanded David to be anointed, 1 Samuel 19:1; 1 Samuel 19:3; and of all his sons, Solomon was particularly appointed by God to succeed him, 1 Chronicles 29:5. There is none like him among all the people — As to his aspect and the height of his bodily stature, which was in itself desirable in a king, and some kind of indication of great endowments of mind. God save the king — Hebrew, Let the king live; that is, long and prosperously. The same form was used in after ages when they made kings, 1 Kings 1:34; 1 Kings 1:39; 2 Kings 11:12; 2 Chronicles 23:11. Hereby they accepted him for their king, and, in effect, promised subjection to him. None will be losers in the end by their humility and modesty. Honour, like the shadows, follows them that flee from it, but flees from them that pursue it.

÷1Sa 10:25 1 Samuel 10:25. The manner of the kingdom — The laws and rules by which the kingly government was to be managed; agreeably to those mentioned Deuteronomy 17:16, &c. Before the Lord — Before the ark, where it was kept safe from depravation.10:17-27 Samuel tells the people, Ye have this day rejected your God. So little fond was Saul now of that power, which soon after, when he possessed it, he could not think of parting with, that he hid himself. It is good to be conscious of our unworthiness and insufficiency for the services to which we are called; but men should not go into the contrary extreme, by refusing the employments to which the Lord and the church call them. The greater part of the people treated the matter with indifference. Saul modestly went home to his own house, but was attended by a band of men whose hearts God disposed to support his authority. If the heart bend at any time the right way, it is because He has touched it. One touch is enough when it is Divine. Others despised him. Thus differently are men affected to our exalted Redeemer. There is a remnant who submit to him, and follow him wherever he goes; they are those whose hearts God has touched, whom he has made willing. But there are others who despise him, who ask, How shall this man save us? They are offended in him, and they will be punished.The manner of the kingdom - i. e., the just prerogative of the kingdom, the law, or bill of rights, by which the king's power was limited as well as secured. It is not improbable that what Samuel wrote was simply a transcript of Deuteronomy 17:14-20, which he "laid up before the Lord," i. e., placed by the side of the ark of the covenant with the copy of the Law (see Deuteronomy 31:26). It would be ready for reference if either king or people violated the "law of the kingdom." 17-25. Samuel called the people together … at Mizpeh—a shaft-like hill near Hebron, five hundred feet in height. The national assemblies of the Israelites were held there. A day having been appointed for the election of a king, Samuel, after having charged the people with a rejection of God's institution and a superseding of it by one of their own, proceeded to the nomination of the new monarch. As it was of the utmost importance that the appointment should be under the divine direction and control, the determination was made by the miraculous lot, tribes, families, and individuals being successively passed until Saul was found. His concealment of himself must have been the result either of innate modesty, or a sudden nervous excitement under the circumstances. When dragged into view, he was seen to possess all those corporeal advantages which a rude people desiderate in their sovereigns; and the exhibition of which gained for the prince the favorable opinion of Samuel also. In the midst of the national enthusiasm, however, the prophet's deep piety and genuine patriotism took care to explain "the manner of the kingdom," that is, the royal rights and privileges, together with the limitations to which they were to be subjected; and in order that the constitution might be ratified with all due solemnity, the charter of this constitutional monarchy was recorded and laid up "before the Lord," that is, deposited in the custody of the priests, along with the most sacred archives of the nation. The manner of the kingdom; not the manner of the king, of which he had spoken before, 1 Samuel 8:11, &c., but of the kingdom: to wit, the laws and rules by which the kingly government was to be managed, agreeable to those mentioned Deu 17:16, &c, which peradventure Samuel did expound and apply to their particular case.

Before the Lord; before the ark, or in the sanctuary, where it was kept safe from depravation. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, According to Ben Gersom, he laid before them the power a king had over his people, and the punishment he might inflict upon them, if they rebelled against him; and some think this is the same he delivered in 1 Samuel 8:10 concerning the arbitrary power of their kings, and how they would be used by them; and which he here repeated, and then wrote it, that it might be a testimony against them hereafter; with which what Josephus (m) says pretty much agrees, that in the hearing of the king he foretold what would befall them, and then wrote it, and laid it up, that it might be a witness of his predictions; but that in

1 Samuel 8:10-17. Samuel said, was the manner of their king, or how he would use them, but this the manner of the kingdom, and how the government of it was to be managed and submitted to, what was the office of a king, and what the duties of the subject; and yet was different from, at least not the same with that in Deuteronomy 17:15, for that had been written and laid up already:

and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord; in the ark of the Lord; as Kimchi; or rather by the ark of the Lord, on one side of it, as Ben Gersom; or best of all, as Josephus (n), in the tabernacle of the Lord, where recourse might be had to it, at any time, at least by a priest, and where it would be safe, and be preserved to future times:

and Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house; for though Saul was chosen king, he did not take upon him the exercise of government directly, but left it to Samuel to dismiss the people, who had been for many years their chief magistrate.

(m) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 4. sect. 6. (n) Ibid.

Then Samuel told the people {k} the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.

(k) As it is written in De 17:15.

25. the manner of the kingdom] A charter establishing and defining the position of the king in relation to Jehovah, and to the people. It must be distinguished from the “manner of the king” in 1 Samuel 8:11 ff., which describes the arbitrary exactions of an oriental despot; but it can scarcely be said to be “the first example of a limited constitutional monarchy.” In substance at any rate, it probably resembled the law of the king in Deuteronomy 17:14-20.

wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord] Lit. in the book. Possibly this important charter was added to “the book of the law” kept by the side of the ark “before the Lord” (Deuteronomy 31:26). This book contained not only the record of the Mosaic legislation (Exodus 24:7; Deuteronomy 28:61), but historical narratives (Exodus 17:14), and other records of importance, such as the solemn renewal of the covenant at Shechem under Joshua (Joshua 24:26). See Smith’s Dict. of the Bible, Art. Canon, Vol. 1. p. 251.Verse 25. - The manner. The difficult word already discussed in 1 Samuel 2:13; 1 Samuel 8:11. Here, however, it is not used for rights so exercised as to become wrongs, but in a good sense, for what we should call a constitution. The heathen kings were despots, subject to no higher law, and Samuel, in 1 Samuel 8:11-18, speaks with merited abhorrence of their violation of the natural rights of their subjects; but under the theocracy the king's power was limited by laws which protected, in the enjoyment of their privileges, the people, the priests, and the prophets. The latter class especially, as being the mouthpiece of Jehovah, formed a powerful check upon the development of despotic tendencies. In sketching Saul's kingly rights Samuel would be guided by Deuteronomy 17:14-20, and would give the king his true position as the representative of Jehovah both in all matters of internal administration and of war. And laid it up before Jehovah. Probably by the side of the ark. We are not to suppose that Samuel wrote this at Mizpah. He would fully explain to Saul and the people there what a theocratic king ought to be, and would afterwards draw up a formal document both as a memorial of what had been done, and for the use of future sovereigns, and place it within the sanctuary. It is noteworthy that this is the first notice of writing since the days of the illustrious scribe Eleazar. "But before proceeding to the election itself, Samuel once more charged the people with their sin in rejecting God, who had brought them out of Egypt, and delivered them out of the hand of all their oppressors, by their demand for a king, that he might show them how dangerous was the way which they were taking now, and how bitterly they would perhaps repent of what they had now desired" (O. v. Gerlach; see the commentary on 1 Samuel 8). The masculine הלּחצים is construed ad sensum with המּמלכות. In לו ותּאמרוּ the early translators have taken לו for לא, which is the actual reading in some of the Codices. But although this reading is decidedly favoured by the parallel passages, 1 Samuel 8:19; 1 Samuel 12:12, it is not necessary; since כּי is used to introduce a direct statement, even in a declaration of the opposite, in the sense of our "no but" (e.g., in Ruth 1:10, where להּ precedes). There is, therefore, no reason for exchanging לו for לא.
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