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. 🙂