1 Samuel 8:3
And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Took bribes, and perverted judgment.—This sin, at all times a fatally common one in the East, was especially denounced in the Law. (See Exodus 23:6-8; Deuteronomy 16:19.) It is strange that the same ills that ruined Eli’s house, owing to the evil conduct of his children, now threatened Samuel. The prophet-judge, however, acted differently to the high priestly judge. The sons of Samuel were evidently, through their father’s action in procuring the election of Saul, quickly deposed from their authority. The punishment seems to have been successful in correcting the corrupt tendencies of these men, for we hear in after days of the high position occupied at the court of David by the distinguished descendants of the noble and disinterested prophet. (See the notices in 1Chronicles 6:33; 1Chronicles 25:4-5, respecting Heman, the grandson of Samuel, the king’s seer, who was chief of the choir of the Psalmist-king in the house of God.)

1 Samuel 8:3. Took bribes — Opportunity and temptation discovered that corruption in them which, till now, was hid from their father, and, it may be, from themselves. It has often been the grief of holy men, that their children did not tread in their steps. So far from it, that the sons of eminently good men have been often eminently wicked.8:1-3 It does not appear that Samuel's sons were so profane and vicious as Eli's sons; but they were corrupt judges, they turned aside after lucre. Samuel took no bribes, but his sons did, and then they perverted judgment. What added to the grievance of the people was, that they were threatened by an invasion from Nahash, king of the Ammonites.The mention of Beer-sheba, on the extreme southern frontier of Judah, as the place where Samuel's sons judged Israel is remarkable. It was probably due to the recovery of territory from the usurpation of the Philistines 1 Samuel 7:14. CHAPTER 8

1Sa 8:1-18. Occasioned by the Ill- Government of Samuel's Sons, the Israelites Ask a King.

1-5. when Samuel was old—He was now about fifty-four years of age, having discharged the office of sole judge for twelve years. Unable, from growing infirmities, to prosecute his circuit journeys through the country, he at length confined his magisterial duties to Ramah and its neighborhood (1Sa 7:15), delegating to his sons as his deputies the administration of justice in the southern districts of Palestine, their provincial court being held at Beer-sheba. The young men, however, did not inherit the high qualities of their father. Having corrupted the fountains of justice for their own private aggrandizement, a deputation of the leading men in the country lodged a complaint against them in headquarters, accompanied with a formal demand for a change in the government. The limited and occasional authority of the judges, the disunion and jealousy of the tribes under the administration of those rulers, had been creating a desire for a united and permanent form of government; while the advanced age of Samuel, together with the risk of his death happening in the then unsettled state of the people, was the occasion of calling forth an expression of this desire now.

Opportunity and temptation drew forth and discovered the corruption in them, which till now was hid from their father, and, it may be, from themselves. And his sons walked not in his ways,.... The meaning of which is not that they did not go the circuit he did, which is too low a sense of the words some Jewish writers give; but they did not walk in the fear of God, in the paths of religion and righteousness, truth and holiness; they neither served God, nor did justice to men, as Samuel had done:

but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment; indulged to covetousness, sought to get riches at any rate, took bribes, which blind the eyes of judges; and so passed wrong judgment, and gave the cause to those that gave the largest gifts, right or wrong.

And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. turned aside after Lucre] From the straight-forward path of their father’s example. Lucre (from Lat. lucrum) is only used in the E. V. in a bad sense of ill-gotten gain.

took bribes and perverted judgment] The same phrases are coupled together in Deuteronomy 16:19, though differently translated in the E. V. “Thou shalt not wrest judgment … nor take a gift.” Cp. Exodus 23:6; Exodus 23:8.Verse 3. - His sons...took bribes. This sin was expressly forbidden in Exodus 23:6, 8; Deuteronomy 16:19, and it marks the high spirit of the nation that it was so indignant at justice being thus perverted. They walked not in his way (singular - so the written text); for Samuel's own administration of justice had been most upright (1 Samuel 12:4), nor is it laid to his charge that he connived at the misconduct of his sons. On the contrary, after remonstrance indeed, not for his sons' sake, but for the honour of the theocracy, and that the people might be on their guard against a despotic exercise of the power with which they were about to intrust a single man, he superseded not them only, but also himself. His conduct in this trying conjuncture was most admirable, and few commentators have done justice to the man, who, possessed of what was virtually kingly power, yet gave it over for the nation's good into the hands of another. In consequence of the defeat at Ebenezer, the Philistines were obliged to restore to the Israelites the cities which they had taken from them, "from Ekron to Gath." This definition of the limits is probably to be understood as exclusive, i.e., as signifying that the Israelites received back their cities up to the very borders of the Philistines, measuring these borders from Ekron to Gath, and not that the Israelites received Ekron and Gath also. For although these chief cities of the Philistines had been allotted to the tribes of Judah and Dan in the time of Joshua (Joshua 13:3-4; Joshua 15:45-46), yet, notwithstanding the fact that Judah and Simeon conquered Ekron, together with Gaza and Askelon, after the death of Joshua (Judges 1:18), the Israelites did not obtain any permanent possession. "And their territory" (coasts), i.e., the territory of the towns that were given back to Israel, not that of Ekron and Gath, "did Israel deliver out of the hands of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites;" i.e., the Canaanitish tribes also kept peace with Israel after this victory of the Israelites over the Philistines, and during the time of Samuel. The Amorites are mentioned, as in Joshua 10:6, as being the most powerful of the Canaanitish tribes, who had forced the Danites out of the plain into the mountains (Judges 1:34-35).
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