1 Samuel 8:9
Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
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8:4-9 Samuel was displeased; he could patiently bear what reflected on himself, and his own family; but it displeased him when they said, Give us a king to judge us, because that reflected upon God. It drove him to his knees. When any thing disturbs us, it is our interest, as well as our duty, to show our trouble before God. Samuel is to tell them that they shall have a king. Not that God was pleased with their request, but as sometimes he opposes us from loving-kindness, so at other times he gratifies us in wrath; he did so here. God knows how to bring glory to himself, and serves his own wise purposes, even by men's foolish counsels.See the margin which implies that the thing spoken of caused anger, indignation, or some revulsion of feeling (see Genesis 21:11-12). The answer of the Lord 1 Samuel 8:7 shows that Samuel's personal feelings had been hurt. They were soothed by being reminded of the continued ingratitude of the people to God Himself, upon whom, in fact, a greater slight was put by this very request for a king "like all the nations," than upon Samuel (compare Matthew 10:24; John 15:18, John 15:20). For a comment on this transaction, see Hosea 13:9-11; Acts 13:21-22. 6-10. the thing displeased Samuel when they said, Give us a king to judge us—Personal and family feelings might affect his views of this public movement. But his dissatisfaction arose principally from the proposed change being revolutionary in its character. Though it would not entirely subvert their theocratic government, the appointment of a visible monarch would necessarily tend to throw out of view their unseen King and Head. God intimated, through Samuel, that their request would, in anger, be granted, while at the same time he apprised them of some of the evils that would result from their choice. Protest solemnly unto them; that, if it be possible, thou mayst yet prevent their sin and misery.

The manner of the king, i.e. of the kings which they desire, like the kings of other nations. He speaks not of the just authority, or the right of their kings, but of their practice, as is evident from divers of the following particulars, which are expressly forbidden and condemned in Scripture, as we shall see.

Now therefore hearken unto their voice,.... And appoint them a king as they desire:

howbeit, yet protest solemnly unto them; not against the thing itself, which was permitted, but against the evil of their request, as to the unseasonable time, ill manner, and unjustifiable reason, in and for which it was made; the Lord would have Samuel lay before them their evil in requesting it, and the evils that would follow upon it to them, and faithfully represent them to them, that they might be left without excuse, and have none to blame but themselves when they, should come upon them:

and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them: or the right or judgment (z); not a legal right or form of government, but an assumed, arbitrary, and despotic power, such as the kings of the east exercised over their subjects, a king like whom the Israelites desired to have; namely, what unbounded liberties he would take with them, what slaves he would make of them, and what of their property he would take to himself at pleasure, as is after related. The word signifies, not a divine law, according to which the king should govern, but a custom, or a custom he would introduce, as the word is rendered, 1 Samuel 2:13 and is different from that in 1 Samuel 10:25.

(z) "jus regis", V. L. Tigurine version, Munster; "judicium regis", Vatablus, Drusius.

Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet {e} protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

(e) To prove if they will forsake their wicked purpose.

9. Now therefore hearken] Or, And now. There is no inference ‘because they reject me and thee, therefore, &c.,’ but the command of 1 Samuel 8:7 is repeated. For the reasons why the request was granted, see Introduction, ch. iv. § 4.

1 Samuel 8:9In order to show them wherein they were wrong, Samuel was instructed to bear witness against them, by proclaiming the right of the king who would rule over them. בּהם תּעיד העד neither means "warn them earnestly" (De Wette), nor "explain and solemnly expound to them" (Thenius). בּ העיד means to bear witness, or give testimony against a person, i.e., to point out to him his wrong. The following words, והגּדתּוגו, are to be understood as explanatory, in the sense of "by proclaiming to them." "The manner (mishpat) of the king" is the right or prerogative which the king would claim, namely, such a king as was possessed by all the other nations, and such an one as Israel desired in the place of its own God-king, i.e., a king who would rule over his people with arbitrary and absolute power.
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