1 Samuel 8:17
He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
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(17) And ye shall be his servants.—This statement generally includes all that has gone before. In other words, “Ye elders and chiefs of the people must make up your minds, in the event of electing a king, to the loss of all political and social freedom.” How bitterly the nation, even in the successful and glorious reign of King Solomon, felt the pressure of the royal yoke, so truly foretold by their last judge, is shown in the history of the times which followed the death of Solomon, when the public discontent at the brilliant but despotic rule of the great king led to the revolution which split up the people into two nations. (See 1Kings 12:4.) “This whole passage bears internal evidence of having been written before the establishment of the monarchy.”—Speaker’s 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.See illustrations in marginal references; 1 Kings 5:13-18; 1 Kings 12:4. 14-18. he will take your fields, &c.—The circumstances mentioned here might be illustrated by exact analogies in the conduct of many Oriental monarchs in the present day. i.e. He shall use you like slaves, and deprive you of that liberty which you now enjoy.

He will take the tenth of your sheep,.... As well as of their seed and vineyards; and not the tithe of their flocks only, but of their herds also, which are here included, as Kimchi observes:

and ye shall be his servants: made slaves of by him, even as the Canaanitish servants were, according to Abarbinel; though others interpret it more mildly of their being obliged to pay tribute and taxes, for the support of his government.

He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
17. and ye shall be his servants] To sum up all briefly, ye will be slaves to the king ye have chosen.

Verse 17. - His servants. Literally, "his slaves." Under an absolute monarchy no one is flee. 1 Samuel 8:17All their possessions he would also take to himself: the good (i.e., the best) fields, vineyards, and olive-gardens, he would take away, and give to his servants; he would tithe the sowings and vineyards (i.e., the produce which they yielded), and give them to his courtiers and servants. סריס, lit. the eunuch; here it is used in a wider sense for the royal chamberlains. Even their slaves (men-servants and maid-servants) and their beasts of draught and burden he would take and use for his own work, and raise the tithe of the flock. The word בּחוּריכם, between the slaves (men-servants and maid-servants) and the asses, is very striking and altogether unsuitable; and in all probability it is only an ancient copyist's error for בּקריכם, your oxen, as we may see from the lxx rendering, τὰ βουκόλια. The servants and maids, oxen and asses, answer in that case to one another; whilst the young men are included among the sons in 1 Samuel 8:11, 1 Samuel 8:12. In this way the king would make all the people into his servants or slaves. This is the meaning of the second clause of 1 Samuel 8:17; for the whole are evidently summed up in conclusion in the expression, "and ye shall be his servants."
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