Bible reflections on 1 Samuel, chapter 8: 9-20: You sure you want a king?

This post is the second part of my 1 Samuel studies that’ll focus on Chapter 8: 10-21. If you’re interested in the first part, you can read it here.

Here’s a brief recap: Since Samuel, last judge of Israel, was getting old and the people didn’t like his morally questionable sons to replace him, they ask for an earthly king.  God already knew their rebellious and idolatrous ways, and He tells Samuel “to do everything they say to you” (v. 7). However, Samuel was told to warn the people of how a king will reign over their lives. 

Picture from Pexel

Start of study: In verses 9-17, Samuel forewarns with specifics of what the king will demand:

  1. draft sons
  2. assign them to his chariots & charioteers
  3. making them run before his chariots
  4. some will be (as chosen by the king) generals and captains
  5. some will be forced to plow and harvest
  6. some will make his weapons and chariot equipment
  7. king will take your daughters and force them to cook, bake, and make perfumes for him
  8. king will take away the best of the people’s fields and give it to his officials
  9. king will take a tenth of your grain and give it to his officials and attendants
  10. king will take your male and female slaves
  11. King will demand the best of the people’s livestock for his use
  12. This last one summarizes how the king will view his people: “you will be his slaves”

Under this kingship, the people will “beg for relief,” however God “will not help [them].” (v. 18)

The people had already made up their minds and ignored the dangers God forewarned them about getting what they want. No taking a day or two to consider, they respond almost immediately: “Even so, we still want a king…We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will judge us and lead us into battle.” (verses 19-20). These verses reveal their naivete of only considering the benefits while minimizing the cost it would have on their lives.

What if they get stuck with a cruel, self-centered, and idolatrous king?

If I were in their position, I would feel conflicted, confused, and scared with the sleuth of God’s warnings, yet my desire may blind me to their reality. Isn’t this a common issue people wrestle with even now? When you want something badly and believe that only obtaining it will make your life whole, common sense and sound judgment become nonexistent.

In the end, God tells Samuel, “Do as they say, and give them a king.” (v. 21).

The verses 9-21 teach me the importance of being careful in what I ask from the Lord and to consider why He may say “no” to what I think my life needs. Instead of getting angry, antsy, or taking matters into my own hands, I should trust that I am in the safeest hands. I don’t understand all He does, but I do know that He is good, faithful, merciful, and forgiving.


Thank you everyone for reading my Bible reflections! I hope you found it interesting or helpful to your understanding of these verses. Have a wonderful rest of the week and happy second week of June. 🙂

Bible reflections on 1 Samuel, chapter 8: 1-9; Israel wants a king

Preface:

I’ve finally decided to challenge myself to creating a new category on my blog, which is something I’ve wanted to do for over a year. It’s a Bible journal category: I plan to write about my insights, questions, or understandings of what I glean from my Bible readings.

Even though I frequently write about God and my faith journey I haven’t done any posts that directly focuses on a Bible character or verses. My insecurity and feeling like an imposter held me back.

But time’s passing and I haven’t done anything about this yet; for goodness sake it’s mid May already! So here I go with my limited knowledge of Bible history; if you see something off about historical facts or context, please let me know.

I hope we can learn together through this quest and be encouraged that God is bigger than our problems and has good plans for each of us!

Picture source

Along the long line of judges like Gideon, Samuel, Deborah, among others, Samuel was Israel’s last judge. When he got old, he appointed his two sons to replace him but the elders of Israel disapproved. The sons did not have the same morals and integrity like their father Samuel.

Instead, they wanted Samuel to ask God to give them a king “judge us like all the other nations have.” (v. 4). Samuel thought it was a horrible and disloyal request, but he still brought the issue to God for “guidance” (v. 6).

God prefaces his response to Samuel’s request saying the Israelites have continually abandoned Him even though God powerfully rescued them from Egyptian slavery and have turned to worshipping idols. God replies “Do everything they say to you…for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer.” (I Samuel 8:7).

In verse 9, God says to Samuel, “Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about the way a king will reign over them.”

God’s temperament is not what you would expect from a humanly perspective. He first tells Samuel that this is about the people’s relationship with Him and not about Samuel’s leadership. God clears up any misunderstanding that Samuel may have had that the people were rejecting him as their current judge.

From a humanly perspective, this kind of request the current king, but God doesn’t get enraged or go into a long diatribe of self pity. He tells Samuel to give the people what they want but first they should be warned of how their lives would change with an earthly king and what the king will demand from his subjects.



I hope you found this post enjoyable and helpful in your Bible readings. I’ll continue to build upon this study of 1 Samuel 8 and beyond into the kingship of Saul. I’m using the New Living Translation version (NLT).

Thanks everyone for stopping by and if you have any ideas on how I could improve future posts, please let me know. Have a great start to Tuesday!

God is personal each time, though I forget almost each time

This morning I woke up to my cell phone ringing with a “Scam Likely” ID. Dismiss.

I rolled back into bed wondering how I would manage today, feed the kids, teach, etc. God, will I be a mess like I was yesterday? I had a bout of stomach spasm that feels like the effects of food poisoning that comes in a flash and diminishes in an hour or so. Whew, I had to call off everything and just lounge on the couch.

This sudden stomach issues happen every few months. It’s my body’s way of telling me to stop the restlessness, doing, and striving. Once I get close to checking off the list of things I needed to do this semester for the kids, my body reacts this way. I did not want a repeat of yesterday.

I started the day by cracking open my Bible and hoped God had something for me. Even though it’s a positive experience getting started is the hard part. I decided to read some Psalms and picked today’s date as the chapter to read, which I realized now is the 20th and not 21st. My goodness.

I kept reading and through Psalm 23, which is familiar to many. I’ve memorized this Psalm written by King David in my late 20s at a time when I had sporadic panic attacks in NYC subways. It felt like a death trap on rails. Because of this I preferred to walk than public transportation or when I had to go somewhere, I’d whisper this Psalm to myself and try to look normal as possible.

But today the 2nd verse stood out in blinking lights.

"He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength..." Psalm 23:2-3

God is very personal. I need just that, a renewing of strength that only God can provide. As though He wanted to make a point that my concerns are heard, I soon scrolled through my email and found that a friend had shared a Bible verse with me from her YouVersion Bible app.

It was a moment of simultaneous belief and nonbelief that here was the first verse of Psalm 23.

No trumpets sounded or the ground beneath rumbled, but God gently affirmed that He knows and hears me. It is okay to rest (whether mental, emotional, physical). Thanks J. for sharing part of Psalm 23 with me!! It was more than a coincidence.

Image sent from friend

Strength is not something even the strongest have in unlimited abundance; it’s not humanly possible although my skewed perception tells me it is for some people. Some days you need rest to renew; also, I don’t need to have Hulk-like strength to feel productive and enough.

Thanks for reading my God-meeting-me-where-I-am story today! I hope everyone has a wonderful evening and you find some moments to rest and renew yourself.