1Samuel 8

 

1Samuel 8:1–22

The Elders of Israel Demand a King


Outline of Chapter 8:

 

       vv.    1–3        Samuel’s Miscreant Sons

       vv.    4–5        The People of Israel Ask Samuel for a King

       vv.    6–9        Samuel Goes to God About This Request

       vv.   10–18      Samuel Warns the People About the Consequences of Their Petition

       vv.   19–22      The People Still Want a King and God Grants Them This Request


Charts and Maps:

 

       v.      2           Just Who the Hell is Vashni?

       v.      7           The Three Wills of God

       v.      8           Covenant Theology vs. Dispensations

       v.      8           Keil and Delitzsch Explain Why the Request of the Elders was Displeasing

       v.     11           What a King would Do in Israel

       v.     18           Why is it Illogical that Someone Added Long Passages to the Scriptures?

       v.     18           Samuel’s List of the Ill Effects of Having a King

       v.     19           The Petitions of Prayer

       v.     20           Modern Renderings of 1Sam. 8:19–20

       v.     22           Dealing with the False Theories of Authorship and Time of Writing


I ntroduction: You may know a family where their last child was born 10 years after the previous child. Generally, this is the unplanned for child. What we have here is the unplanned for chapter. When Samuel was reaching the end of his life (in his opinion), he completed 1Sam. 7. He discussed a revival in Israel, the battle against the Philistines (which appeared to be their final battle at that point); and Samuel even added somewhat of an epilogue to chapter 7 (vv. 15–18). At that time, Samuel figured that his ministry was pretty much over. He was even training his sons to take over for him. Then, suddenly in chapter 8, it is like a family has given birth to a son long after their family was completed. Samuel thought that he had completed his divine assignment, and, suddenly, in 1Sam. 8, there’s more. I mention this, because it helps us to put a time frame to this. In 1Sam. 7:15–17, we have Samuel summing up what he thinks are his final days ministering to Israel. He had developed a circuit which he completed every year; he built his final home in Ramah; and he was living out the final years of his life. At the beginning of 1Sam. 8, Samuel has reached a point in his life when he feels that he should retire. He begins to groom his sons to take over his ministry (1Sam. 8:1).


During this time period, we must have enough time for Israel to fall off the wagon, so to speak. So, from the writing of 1Sam. 7, where everything is hunky dory at the end (see 1Sam. 7:13–14), to 1Sam. 8, where we have the implied degeneration of Israel (compare 1Sam. 8:5–6 12:12, 19 Footnote ). So, after 1Sam. 7:11, we may assume that we have, say, 10–40 years of peace and prosperity, which takes us up to the end of 1Sam. 7, when all of these things were recorded. Then we need time for Israel’s volition to go negative and for Israel to go into idolatry (and I am merely assuming this is what happened; degeneracy can take many forms). This time of negative volution will certainly start during the time of peace and prosperity. So, figure 10–20 years of that peace and prosperity time where Israel began her downhill slide. This takes us to 1Sam. 8. The point of all this is that between the writing of 1Sam. 7 (which Samuel assumed would be the last stuff that he would write) to the events of 1Sam. 8, there were a minimum of 10 years; and that the events of 1Sam. 8 could have occurred as much as 10–40 years after the events of 1Sam. 7:3–12). Returning to the analogy which I began with, 1Sam. 8 and following is the unexpected and unplanned for son which Samuel had very late in life. Footnote


Application: It was clear that, at the end of 1Sam. 7, Samuel figured that his ministry had been completed; it was over. However, listen carefully: Samuel was not dead, he was spiritually mature, and he was in fellowship most of the time. Therefore, Samuel still had a ministry before God. In fact, Samuel's ministry will continue probably for decades. My point? It does not matter how old you are. Your final years as a believer could be the most productive of your life. In fact, given that you will probably have more free time and that, ideally speaking, you will be more spiritually mature and less after to get out of fellowship, it would make sense that your final years on this earth could be very productive.


It has been interesting to follow the life of Samuel. We got a lot of information about him prior to his birth (1Sam. 1–2a); we examined his growth under Eli (1Sam. 2b–3); we then jumped to the pivotal point in his life when Israel recognized his authority (the previous chapter). Now, already, we are looking for his replacement. Samuel, by the time of this chapter, has grown old. He cannot do all that he did before and has gotten help from his two sons. However, they lack personal integrity and are willing to subvert justice for money. The people of Israel complain about that, but what they are after is a king. The major nations around them are all ruled by kings and they believe that they should be too. For hundreds of years, Israel has been a theocracy. God has ruled over Israel with a variety of intercessors, some with more authority than others. The Israeli people now call for a man with absolute power over them. This is not a sudden desire. Back as far as the days of the judges, the people called upon Gideon to rule over them. “Rule over us, both you and your son; and your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” (Judges 8:22b). Gideon responded with, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you; Jehovah will rule over you.” (Judges 8:23b). Gideon understood enough to realize that he was not the man to rule over Israel; and that it was not yet time for a man to rule as king over Israel.


Israel began as a nation under God, a theocracy. “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you will be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine. And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Ex. 19:5–6a). It is imprecise to conclude that Israel will no longer be a theocracy because, in this chapter, the elders request Samuel to install a king over them. God will allow this choice, although it is not His perfect will for Israel. Israel will still remain a theocracy and Israel will remain, as Thieme coined the phrase, a client nation to God. Footnote


You may recall that I mentioned one of the theories floating around that portions of 1Sam. 7 (specifically vv. 3–4 and vv. 13–14) were added after the rest of the chapter had been written. Footnote I believe that I need to occasionally address the more flaky theories out there in Christiandom. Gnana Robinson also points out that there is a pro and anti-king sentiment shown throughout this portion of 1Samuel (and in the chapters which follow), which he dutifully separates for us (Pro-king: 1Sam. 9:1–10:16 11 12:1–5 13–14. Anti-king: 1Sam. 8 10:17–27 12:6–25 15). Footnote Because both sentiments are found, it appears as though Robinson’s opinion is that these either represent different eras (although it was unclear whether we are speaking of different authors having their works woven together). His only disagreement with the infamous Julius Wellhausen is which tradition is oldest. Footnote Once we exegete this portion of Scripture, along with what is coming up, it will be clear that there are two stances that one could take. This in no way implies that there are two authors whose stories are interwoven, nor does it mean that we are faced with two irreconcilable viewpoints. There are simply pluses and minuses, and Scripture tends to deal with most issues even-handedly. This chapter will cause us to ask, what is the best form of national government? And, what is the best form of church government? Not only will we ask these questions, but we will answer them. The answer to these questions will make the idea of two authors having their stories interwoven a baseless theory.


The breakdown of this chapter is fairly simple. Samuel grows old and his sons begin to take over some of his responsibilities, but they were corrupt and were willing to pervert justice for a bribe (vv. 1–3). In part, because of this, the elders of Israel go to Samuel at his home in Ramah, complaining about his sons, and that they want a king over them (vv. 4–5). Samuel goes to God in prayer over this and God tells him they are just following their own corrupt nature, which has great historical precedent (vv. 7–8). Then God tells Samuel to listen to the people, but to first give them a solemn warning as to what the results of this request would be (v. 9). The lengthiest portion of this chapter is Samuel’s warning to the people of Israel as to what a king would do against them (vv. 10–18). The people answer, “Yeah, but we want a king over us.” (vv. 19–20). Samuel goes back to God in prayer and God tells Samuel to appoint a king over them (v. 21). Samuel returns to the elders and tells them to go home (v. 22).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Samuel’s Miscreant Sons


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so was as which old Samuel and so he made his sons judges to Israel.

1Samuel

8:1

And so when Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel.

When Samuel became old, he appointed his sons as judges over Israel.


Apparently, we have a period of time during which Israel enjoyed some peace and prosperity. There is no narrative in Scripture which covers this period of time, apart from the short description found in 1Sam. 7:13–17: So the Philistines were subdued and they did not continue any more to enter into the territory of Israel; furthermore, the hand of Yehowah was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. And so the towns, which the Philistines had taken from Israel, were restored to Israel—from Ekron even as far as Gath—and Israel had rescued her territory from the hand of the Philistines. And [there] was peace between Israel and the Amorites. So Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went according as year to year and he went around to Beth-el, Gilgal and Mizpah and he governed Israel from all these places. And his returning [was] to Ramah, for his house [was] there; also, there he judged [or governed over] Israel. Furthermore, he built there an altar to Yehowah. Barnes suggests that at least 20 years of peace and prosperity have passed, not unlike similar periods of time of peace and prosperity enjoyed by Israel during the time of the judges. Footnote Although we really have no clue as to the actual time period, it cannot be too long (say, 50 years), or it will exceed the life of Samuel; and it cannot be too short (say, 5 years), as it would not be significant enough to note.


Here is what others have done with this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so was as which old Samuel and so he made his sons judges to Israel.

Septuagint                             And it came to pass when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NAB                                       In his old age Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons judges over Israel.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel.

Young's Updated LT              And it comes to pass, when Samuel is aged, that he makes his sons judges over Israel.


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel becomes old and appoints his sons as judges over Israel.


1Samuel 8:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Notice that the verb to be is the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; and, at times, it is rendered and so it was, and it came to pass. Our only problem here is that when there appears to be a masculine singular subject nearby, this verb is often put in the feminine singular so that there is no confusion. For this reason, I believe this to be the main verb rather than an introductory phrase to this chapter.

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaăsher (ר ש ֲא ַ) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner.

zâkên (ן ֵקָז) [pronounced zaw-KANE]

old, elderly, aged

masculine singular adjective often used as a substantive

Strong’s #2205 BDB #278

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028


Translation: And so when Samuel was old,... The NIV Study Bible suggests that approximately 20 years have passed since the previous chapter and that Samuel is about 65 years old. Footnote With regards to age; we have left that period of time when man lived for a long time before growing old. Around the time of the patriarchs and before, the ages of their fathers decreased as time progressed, where men at one time lived to be 900; and, in Abraham’s day, only into their early 100's. By the time of Samuel, we would expect their lifetimes to be roughly parallel to ours. In the psalm of Moses, who wrote prior to this era, said that man’s days on this earth were 70–80 years (Psalm 90:10). Footnote Therefore, the estimate of 65 years old seems reasonable.


Samuel will continue to play a part in Israel’s history, as Israel’s spiritual conscience; and as a confidant to King Saul, whom Samuel will choose, albeit unwillingly. He will also choose David as Saul’s successor, following God’s guidance. Through this time period, Samuel will function as an old man (1Sam. 8:1 12:2). Some time during Saul’s reign, Samuel will die; and, interestingly enough, his age will not be given (1Sam. 25:1). Footnote


1Samuel 8:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set, to make

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

those judging, the ones judging [governing]; judges, governors

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: ...he made his sons judges over Israel. When I was younger, I recall how difficult that it was for me to sit just in one place and to relax. I worked constantly, as many as four jobs at one time. Now, as age has started to get the best of me, I hold the limit at working two jobs at a time. As I go through and revise this chapter, a few years later, I am now working, essentially, half a job. Samuel was also getting older; traveling was more taxing; the newness of his responsibilities had long since worn out. He enjoyed sitting quietly as much as he did working. His energy level was much lower. Therefore, he appointed his sons as judges in his stead. He apparently retained some authority, but they began to assume his duties.


Interestingly enough, in the Law of God, there was no particular political system devised for the selection of judges. Deut. 16:18 reads: “You will appoint for yourself judges and officers in all your towns which Jehovah your God is giving you, according to your tribes, and they will judge the people with righteous judgment.” Even though Moses was addressing all of Israel (Deut. 5:1), most of what he said, including this verse, was in the 2nd person masculine singular. Whether one would interpret this as Moses speaking to Israel (“You, Israel, will appoint for yourselves judges and officers...”) or if one would interpret this as speaking to each individual (“You, an individual citizen in Israel—you will choose for yourselves judges and officers...”); it is not clear as to what the mechanics would be. You must realize that the concept of the democracy was pretty foreign to the ancient world (at least, until the Greeks came along, and even then it was quite limited). What we have recorded is that Moses chose men under him to judge and dispense justice; Samuel chose his sons to judge. One might allow for this verse to mean that the elders of Israel were to choose their judges (which would make sense). However, what I believe is being said is that, the actual form of the government is not the essential element. These judges could be appointed by spiritually wise men (e.g., Moses and Samuel); they could be elected by a popular vote (we have no instances of this except, perhaps, in Acts 1); or, they could be chosen by the elders of Israel (which would have been a representative form of government).


Application: Listen to this, and read this well: If there were a superior form of government which would guarantee that superior judges would be chosen, God would have given us an unambiguous outline for that form of government. However, it is not the system, but the people in the system. At this point, apart from God coming down a choosing specific new leaders every 30–40 years (which, to a certain extent, He did), there is not one system of government which is superior over another system of government. As Thieme was wont to say: “People get the leaders that they deserve.” They might be chosen by a democracy, by a representative form of government, or they might be appointed. Even God might appoint these leaders (God did appoint Saul as king over Israel). Still, people get the kind of rulers that they deserve.


Application: So we completely understand what is going on here: the elders have come to Samuel thinking that the problem is the system of government. What is the real problem? The elders of Israel—they are the problem; the people of Israel—they are the problem. Haven't you heard over and over again, it is the system that is corrupt. A system does not become corrupt out of thin air. A system becomes corrupt because of the people in the system. During the time of the 1st advent of Jesus Christ, the two greatest systems of jurisprudence at that time were the Roman and Jewish courts; and yet, both courts condemned Jesus Christ, a completely innocent man, innocent of all sin, to death. It was not the system, but those in the system.


Application: Now, let’s apply this. There are a lot of people who get hung up on the form of government found in the local church. Who is in charge? Who can veto who? Who makes the big decisions? How many elders should there be? What power should they have? How many pastors should a church have? Should their be assistant pastors? Not only do we have these questions (which are reasonable questions, by the way), but there are men who are adamant about which form is divinely mandated. You cannot go to the New Testament and clearly find one form of local church government as recommended over another. Who had authority over any pastor and any local church in that day? The Apostles. Where are the Apostles now? Face to face with our Lord Jesus Christ. There are no Apostles walking on this earth today. So who is in charge? God left this open. There are denominations and millions of people belong to these various denominations; and there are thousands of men, if not hundreds of thousands, who are detractors of the denomination. Does God’s Word clearly define a denomination as a form of Church government? Not really. But, does God’s Word clearly prohibit such a form of Church government? Not really. If a denomination recognizes that people are saved by believing in Christ Jesus, as opposed to being, say, Baptists, and if, whenever necessary, there can be reasonable fellowship with other believers of different denominations, there I don’t personally have a problem with them. My own personal choice would be a more autocratic Church government, e.g. what R. B. Thieme has going; but there is nothing in the New Testament which specifically defines that form of local church government. My point is, it is not the system but the people. I believe that J. Vernon McGee was, more or less, a Presbyterian Footnote ; however, in his later years, his ministry was over the radio and his local church became a much different sort of gathering and structure. Personally, the bulk of my spiritual growth occurred outside of a conventional church; it occurred as I sat next to a tape recorder copiously taking notes. Eventually, a local church was established where we sat around the same tape recorder taking notes; but still, my growth occurred elsewhere. My pastor was Bob Thieme and the structure was rather loose compared to the structure of his own local church. Now, I will guarantee that I progressed spiritually much faster than the average person did going to the average church. The important issues are positive volition, personal commitment, dedication, and correct priorities. What is not the issue: the system of church government. Does your congregation vote as a whole? Do your elders make all the decisions (or, your board of deacons)? Does your pastor run the show? Are there rules and regulations imposed from an organization in a different city? This are issues, but not important ones. Let me give you an analogy: you are traveling through an unfamiliar city and you are hungry. Do you stop at Midtown’s Ma and Pa Café or do you stop at a familiar chain where the food tastes the same, no matter what city you are in? Is one better than the other? It depends upon the people who are in charge. Just because a restaurant is a chain, that does not make it better or worse than a restaurant which is absolutely independent. Similarly, just because a local church is part of a denomination, that does not make it any better or worse than a church that is independent. I have been to denominational churches which wasted my time in church; and I have been to independent churches who wasted my time of worship. The problem was not the organization or the structure of church government or the system of election and authority—it was the people in charge. In our context, the problem is not whether or not Israel has a king—the problem is the shoddy justice dispensed by Samuel’s sons. The problem is that there are ordinary people in Israel who have chosen to bribe Samuel’s sons. No longer is there a concern for justice; the concern is money. Footnote Now, if this is a major concern, does the Bible specifically address it? Certainly: “You will not distort justice; you will not be partial; and you will not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.” (Deut. 16:19). So, is the method of selection an issue? No, and therefore, it is not addressed. Is the personal integrity of the judges an issue? Absolutely, and Moses addressed that issue as quoted.


Okay, so now you are thinking...you've either come up with great reasons in favor of denominations or against them. So let's discuss this further. A denomination can have a great doctrinal statement. Although I have never read the doctrinal statement of the Southern Baptist Association (or, whatever it is called), I suspect that it is very well written and quite accurate. Now, if a pastor in that organization studies and teaches the Word of God, then I do not see a big problem with him being a southern Baptist. However, if that pastor is lazy and if his primary focus is simply what he learned in a southern Baptist university, then his ministry is going to be crap. The independent church is very similar: I know that R. B. Thieme Jr. and J. Vernon McGee were independent Footnote and they both had excellent ministries. However, there are thousands of independents who head lousy churches because they do not teach correct doctrine. They themselves are unteachable; and therefore, what they teach is generally, inaccurate. Again, the key is the actual pastor, and not the actual organization.


And so was a name of his son, the firstborn, Joel; and a name of his second, Abijah—judges in Beersheba.

1Samuel

8:2

Now the name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second [was] Abijah—[they were both] judges in Beersheba.

He named his firstborn Joel and the second, Abijah. They governed over Israel and acted as judges in Beersheba.


Let me dispense with a question often raised at this point: Since 1Sam. 7:15 tells us that Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life, doesn’t the appointment of his sons as judges contradict this? No. Moses ruled over Israel, in a manner of speaking, all of his life. He still had an assistant, Joshua, who seamlessly stepped in at his death and led Israel (Joshua also seamlessly stepped in as a recorder of Israel’s history in Scripture). Furthermore, Moses still appointed others to help him judge various matters brought before him (Ex. 18). Similarly, Samuel was the undisputed judge over Israel; his two sons were also appointed judges in a different part of Israel (southern Judah) to take some of the burden off of Samuel as he got older. I recall going from four jobs to two jobs as I got older; and to half a job after that. A man just has so much energy and that diminishes with age. Samuel simply slowed down and passed some of the work along to his sons. This does not contradict 1Sam. 7:15.


First, the other translations:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so was a name of his son, the firstborn, Joel; and a name of his second, Abijah—judges in Beersheba.

Septuagint                             ...and these are the names of his sons: Joel, the first-born, and the name of the second: Abia, judges in Bersabee.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         His firstborn son was named Joel, the name of his second, Abijah. They were assigned duty in Beersheba.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Complete Jewish Bible          His firstborn was named Yo’el, while his second son was named Aviyah; they were judges in Be’er-Sheva.

JPS (Tanakh)                        The name of his first-born son as Joel, and his second son’s name was Abijah; they sat as judges in Beer-sheba.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now the name of his first-born was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba.

Young's Literal Translation    And the name of his first-born son is Joel, and the name of his second, Abiah, judges in beer-Sheba;...


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel had two sons who functioned as judges: Joel and Abijah, his first and second born.


1Samuel 8:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

bekôwr (רכ) [pronounced beKOHR]

firstborn

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1060 BDB #114

Yôwêl (ל̤אי) [pronounced yoh-ĀL]

to whom Jehovah is God or worshiper of Jehovah; and is transliterated Joel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3100 BDB #222


Translation: Now the name of his firstborn son was Joel,... Joel means to whom Jehovah is God or worshiper of Jehovah. At this point, you probably are not the least confused. Your Bible reads pretty much what I have here. However, if you have a Scofield Bible, there is a margin note on Joel which gives the name Vashni and cites 1Chron. 6:28. And, anyone who has a KJV, turns to 1Chron. 6:28 and you see that Joel’s firstborn son is named Vashni. This should prompt you to wonder...


Just Who the Hell is Vashni?

Now, I covered this question back in 1Chron. 6:28, but, since that chapter was just a lot of names, you may not have studied that. Therefore, here is the explanation:

In our passage, 1Sam. 8:2, the name of the firstborn son is Joel; which is what we find in virtually every translation, as that is what is found here. However, in 1Chron. 6:28, the name of Samuel's firstborn son in the Hebrew is Vashni (you probably do not find that in your Bible, if you have a modern translation). In the Greek Septuagint, he is Sani and the second son is Abia. In 1Chron. 6:28, both the Tanakh and Young call the firstborn Vashni and the second son Abijah. The NASB inserts the name Joel, as do most other modern translations.

If you own a NRSV, you might be quite confused at this point. In 1Chron. 6:28, the firstborn son is Joel; and their footnote reads: Greek Syriac Compare verse 33 and I Sam. 8:2; Hebrew lacks Joel.* So, to make this crystal clear: the Greek reads Sani; the Hebrew reads Vashni (to be explained); and the Syriac reads Joel (and, again, we are not speaking of 1Sam. 8:2 but of 1Chron. 6:28). Interesting enough, the NJB does not insert a name for the firstborn in 1Chron. 6:28 (and they follow the verse numbering of the Hebrew rather than of the Greek, which is quite rare for a modern language version—by the way, we will find out that their approach is one of the most sensible approaches).

Here’s the deal: Vashni is the transliteration of the wâw conjunction and the Hebrew numerical adjective shenîy (י.נ∵ש) [pronounced sheh-NEE], which means second, the second, the other [one]. Strong’s #8145 BDB #1041. Together, the wâw conjunction and the word shenîy make Vashni, and is taken, in some circles, to be someone’s name. Therefore, we actually have us two literal options for 1Chron. 6:28: ...the firstborn Vashni and Abijah or ...the firstborn and the second and Abijah. Taking this as a proper noun certainly allows the text to make more sense. However, when we do that, we have this inexplicable name, where we expect the name Joel.

1Sam. 8:2 1Chron. 6:33, Lagarde’s Greek Old Testament and the Syriac codex for this verse, all have Joel as the firstborn of Samuel. What probably happened is, the name Joel probably was dropped out of the Hebrew text due to homœoteleuton. Homœoteleuton [pronounced ho-me-OP-to-ton] means that the copyist would look to a word that he was copying, and then go back to the text that he had copied, see a word which was similar or ended in a similar fashion, and more or less assume that he had just written that word down. The ending of Joel and Samuel are fairly close; this means, when he went to write down the word Joel, his eye traveled back to what he was copying, saw the end of the name Samuel, thought he copied it, and then went back to get the next word or words to copy.** I placed the name Joel in 1Chron. 6:28 where it should reasonably be placed, considering the wâw conjunction which precedes the name of Samuel’s second son, Abijah (The sons of Samuel were Joel, his firstborn, and Abijah, his second—1Chron. 6:28).

You may wonder, just why did you spend all of that time telling us that there was a typo in 1Chron. 6:28? From the earliest times, there are those who assert that there are real and serious contradictions in Scripture, and these pair of verses (1Sam. 8:2 and 1Chron. 6:28) are sometimes quoted in support of this. Whereas, I quite agree that the explanation for this is quite boring to most; it tells us clearly why such an apparent, but not real, contradiction, exists; it is simply the mistake of a copyist. I simply told you in great detail how the mistake was made.

The Complete Parallel Bible; NRSV, REB, NAB, NJB; Oxford University Press; ©1993; p. 850.

**This comes from both The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible; Merrill Tenney, ed., Zondervan Publishing House, ©1976; Vol. 5, p. 862 and Figures of Speech Used in the Bible; E. W. Bullinger; Ⓟoriginally 1898; reprinted 1968 Baker Books; p 1003.


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1Samuel 8:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

misheneh (הנ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-NEH]

double, copy, second

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4932 BDB #1041

Ăbîyyâh (הָ̣ב ֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-YAW]

Yah is [my] father; transliterated Abijah

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #29 BDB #4

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

those judging, the ones judging [governing]; judges, governors

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Beêr Shâba׳ (ע-בָש ר̤א) [pronounced beayr SHAWB-vahģ]

well of the oath and is transliterated Beersheba

proper noun; location

Strong’s #884 BDB #92


Translation: ...and the name of his second [was] Abijah—[they were both] judges in Beersheba. The masculine plural, Qal active participle of the verb should be rendered those judging, judges, governors. This simply means that Samuel had trained both of his sons to take his place. We are told nothing about God's dealings with Samuel at this point. The implication is, God did not tell Samuel, "Hold on there, buddy; we aren't setting up your sons to rule as judges after you." God did not have to guide Samuel's every step with divine guidance from heaven. Samuel did not have to stop at a fork in the path and ask God, should I go to the left or to the right? And clearly, if Samuel lives during a time of the audibly revealed Word of God, and not every step of his is guided by God; then surely we can function in our lives without stopping every minute or two to ask Gods guidance.


Application: Yes, the Bible does say Pray without ceasing. This refers to being in fellowship at all times, which means that you have unbroken fellowship with God. Therefore, you can, at any given time, speak to God. However, do not think that you need to ask God for a sign every time there is a fork in the road. If you do not know what to do 95% of the time without begging God in prayer for guidance, then you are not getting sound Bible teaching where you are. Now, does this mean that you should not have an ongoing conversation with God, which may include elements of guidance? Of course not; there are times when you will function in life and be in prayer at the same time, and some of your prayer will be asking God for guidance. What I am speaking of is, the idea that, you are at a crossroads, and you are immobilized because you cannot figure out what to do. That should not happen several times a week. During a time when you face a lot of important decisions, you might have to momentarily stop and especially pray for guidance once a month. However, do not function in a state of guidance-confusion for most of your life. That simply means, you are in the wrong church; you are not learning enough.


Beersheba was in southern Judah, which is pretty much the southernmost you can get in Israel and still be in a populated area. It is even possible that Beersheba was, at one time, in Philistine territory (when Philistia became more and more aggressive, taking more and more territory from the Israelites). However, even if that were the case, Israel had pushed the Philistines back considerably to the east-west line which ran through the cities Ekron and Gath (1Sam. 7:14). So Samuel trained his sons in sort of an out of the way place; however, given his own responsibilities and the circuit that he traveled, Samuel was apparently unable to properly train his sons in personal integrity (and it is possible that he tried and it didn’t take). I think that it is important to notice that, Samuel did not starts his sons out on the main circuit. He gave them freedom and yet kept them at a distance from the primary court system. This suggests to me that, Samuel also had doubts about his own kids.


As a side note, Josephus tells us that these sons governed in both Beersheba and in Bethel (one son in each city—Antiquities, 6:3,2). However, there is no other support for this notion. Footnote


And have not walked his sons in his ways and so turn aside after the [dishonest] gain and so they take a bribe and so they [cause to] turn aside justice.

1Samuel

8:3

However, his sons did not walk in his ways, but they inclined toward unjust gain; they would take a bribe and so they caused justice to be derailed.

However, his sons did not walk in his ways, but they typically leaned toward unjust gain; they would take bribes and then render biased verdicts.


Let’s see what others have done with this verse first:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And have not walked his sons in his ways and so turn aside after the [dishonest] gain and so they take a bribe and so they [cause to] turn aside justice.

Septuagint                             And his sons did not walk in his way; and they turned aside after gain, and took gifts, and perverted judgments.

 

Significant differences:          Essentially, the same.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NEB                                       His sons did not follow in their father’s footsteps but were intent on their own profit, taking bribes and perverting the course of justice.

NJB                                His sons did not follow his example but, seduced by the love of money, took bribes and gave biased verdicts.

TEV                                       But they did not follow their father’s example; they were interested only in making money, so they accepted bribes and did not decide cases honestly.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         The sons didn’t follow their father’s example but turned to dishonest ways of making money. They took bribes and denied people justice.

JPS (Tanakh)                        But his sons did not follow in his ways; they were bent on gain, they accepted bribes, and they subverted justice.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.

Young's Literal Translation    ...and his sons have not walked in his ways and turn aside after the dishonest gain, and take a bribe, and turn aside judgment.


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel's sons did not have the personal integrity which he did. They were willing to forgo justice if they got money for doing so.


1Samuel 8:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

dereke (ר) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, path; journey, course; direction, towards; manner, habit, way [of life]; of moral character

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1870 BDB #202


Translation: However, his sons did not walk in his ways,... Samuel was an honorable man who pursued after righteousness. It would never occur to him to take a bribe; it would never occur to him to show favoritism

What is unmistakably clear is that no man of God is assured of having children who revere God as well.

in court. However, his sons did not walk in his ways. McGee comments: Samuel made his own sons judges to succeed him although they were unworthy and incompetent for the job. This was a mistake. Samuel was a great judge, a wonderful prophet, and a great man of God—but he was a failure as a father just as Eli had been. Footnote Elsewhere, McGee refers to Samuel as a howling failure as a father. Footnote Those are remarkable and provocative statements that McGee makes. We don’t know a great deal about Eli, and we know only a little more about Samuel’s ministry (so far). What is interesting is that they both appear to be lousy fathers; or, at the very least, they raised sons who had no personal integrity. We might suggest that Samuel learned everything from Eli, including how to be a poor father—however, Eli’s sons were probably middle-aged about the time that Samuel was brought to the Tabernacle. It does tell us at least two things: (1) no one is perfect. Although we know very little about Eli, what we know about Samuel is positive. He is a man of God who communicates with God, who apparently studies the Word of God (and, probably records the Word of God). Yet he has two sons whose lack of integrity brings Samuel’s parenting skills into question. What is unmistakably clear is that no man of God is assured of having children who revere God as well. (2) All men have free will. It is possible that Samuel’s two sons received an outstanding childhood, replete with great training and examples. They probably attended court and observed Samuel’s decisions, the criminals brought before him, and the consequences of poorly chosen actions. However, whatever their background and training was, they chose to commit these criminal acts. Taking a bribe to subvert justice is a conscious, criminal act.


Now, let’s look at this from a slightly different perspective. For all intents and purposes, Eli raised Samuel and Samuel, obviously, came out okay. We don’t know what the difference was. Samuel was not his own son, so perhaps he was less indulgent. However, given their relative ages and given the fact that Eli’s sons were grown when Samuel was little, we might assume that Eli would take more of a hands off approach, as some older parents do. Think about this: Samuel, when he was old enough to recognize what was going on, realized that Eli had himself some loser sons. He may have even quietly judged Eli as being a weak parent because of his sons’ behavior. However, when Samuel himself had children, they grew up to be as corrupt as Eli’s sons. I believe that God saw to it that the souls of Samuel’s sons were similar to the souls of Eli’s sons. In other words, despite their training and exposure to truth, both sets of sons chose self-indulgence instead. When taking an objective view of his own sons, Samuel could not longer think negatively about Eli, as both sets of sons rejected the faith and integrity of their fathers. The key is negative volition. Having taught for years, I can certainly confirm that there are many families with a good son and a bad son; and, in talking to the parents, they gave equal effort to both children, tried the same tricks, and, in one case, appeared to succeed, and in the other, appeared to fail. But the deciding factor was the volition of the individual children. Now, do not misunderstand me to be saying that it does not matter how you parent; nor am I saying that kids are going to do what they are going to do. That is not my point at all. There is a strong correlation between good kids and good parents. My point is, in some cases, it does not matter what you do—the child’s volition will overrule your every attempt to correct and guide them. You have to do that which is right, allow the young adult child to begin making some of their own decisions, and then let the chips fall where they may.


1Samuel 8:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâţâh (ה ָט ָנ) [pronounced naw-TAWH]

to stretch out, to spread out, to bow, to extend, to incline, to turn

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5186 BDB #639

achărêy (י̤רֲח ַא) [pronounced ah-kuh-RAY]

hinder parts; behind, after; following; after that, afterwards

preposition; plural form

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

betsa׳ (עַצ) [pronounced BEH-tsahģ]

greed, materialism lust; unjust gain or profit [taken by bribery, violence, looting]

masculine singular noun with the definite article; pausal form

Strong’s #1215 BDB #130


Translation: ...but they inclined toward unjust gain;... Interestingly enough, the weakness of Samuel's sons was very similar to the weakness of Eli's. Eli's sons ignored their spiritual responsibilities (after all, they were unbelievers), and took whatever they could get as priests. Samuel's sons ignored their civic responsibilities and took whatever they could get a judges. They got greedy. Law at that time, just as now, dealt in part with money and possessions. Samuel's sons recognized immediately that there was a buck to be made where their decisions affected the outcome.


1Samuel 8:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

shôchad (ד-חֹש) [pronounced SHOW-khahd]

a present, a gift; a bribe; bribery

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #7810 BDB #1005


Translation: ...they would take a bribe... The Qal imperfect of to incline to or to turn aside after refers to what they typically would do (v. 3b). It describes a routine; therefore, when it is followed by another Qal imperfect, to take, again, this is descriptive of what they typically did.


The end results here are quite obvious—a criminal would offer one of Samuel's sons money, and it would be decided that there was not enough evidence to convict the criminal. Or, there would be a lawsuit involving money or possessions, and Samuel's sons would take the side of those who paid them. When the judge is willing to take a bribe, there is no justice.


1Samuel 8:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâţâh (ה ָט ָנ) [pronounced naw-TAWH]

to extend, to stretch out, to spread out, to expand; to incline downwards; to turn, to turn away [aside, to one side]; to push away, to repel, to deflect; to decline; to seduce

3rd person masculine plural Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5186 BDB #639

mîshepâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-PAWT]

judgement, justice, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, the judgement of the court

masculine singular noun

Strong's #4941 BDB #1048

 

Translation: ...and so they caused justice to be derailed. The verb here is the 3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect of nâţâh, but in the Hiphil, where it means to cause to turn aside. We might modernize the term somewhat to mean to derail. What their actions cause is the turning aside of or the derailment of the masculine singular noun mishepâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mish-PAWT], which means judgement, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, the judgement of the court; as well as the act of deciding a case, the place where a judgement is rendered. It can also mean manner, custom, fashion. Strong's #4941 BDB #1048. We have already had the verbal cognate of this noun in vv. 1 and 2. Samuel's sons are judges in v. 1 and they are judging in Beersheba in v. 2. The end result is, they pervert justice in this verse. Their actions would be cited by the elders of Israel to support the need for a king to be apointed over Israel.


To look at all of v. 3 so far: ...and they turned aside after the gain [or, profit] and [habitually] take a bribe, so causing to derail justice. Typically, when one was offered, and where things seemed reasonable to them, the sons of Samuel would take bribes. They would turn aside from their paths as judges toward unjust gain and thus, they would cause the derailment of justice. One can’t help but think back to Eli’s worthless sons who treated the sacred animal sacrifices to God as personal barbeques. Samuel’s sons were not concerned with justice or with that which is right or wrong; if it lined their pockets, then that was right. They believed in taking care of #1 first. God’s Word was explicit in this case: “You will not pervert justice of your needy brother in his dispute. Keep far from a false charge, and do not kill the innocent or the righteous, for I will not acquit the guilty. And you will not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of the just.” (Ex. 23:6–8). These were the words of God being spoken directly to Moses.


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The People of Israel Ask Samuel for a King


And so gathered together [themselves] all elders of Israel and so they came unto Samuel the Ramah-ward.

1Samuel

8:4

So all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together and came to Samuel at Ramah.

So the elders of Israel gathered themselves together and came to Samuel at Ramah.


First what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so gathered together [themselves] all elders of Israel and so they came unto Samuel the Ramah-ward.

Septuagint                             And the men of Israel gather themselves together, and come to Armathaim to Samuel,...

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         Fed up, all the elders of Israel got together and confronted Samuel at Ramah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        All the elders of Israel assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah;

Young's Literal Translation    And all the elders of Israel gather themselves together, and come in unto Samuel to Ramath.


What is the gist of this verse? The elders of Israel gathered themselves together and went to speak with Samuel in Ramah.


1Samuel 8:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

qâbats (ץ ַב ָק) [pronounced kaw-BATS]

to gather selves together, to be gathered together, to be collected

3rd person masculine plural, Hithpael perfect

Strong’s #6908 BDB #867

The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel. The Hithpael’s primary use is reflexive—the verb describes action on or for oneself. That is, the subject of the verb is also the object of the verb. The Piel denotes the importance and solemness of this gathering, and the reflexive means that these men gathered themselves together.

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

zâkên (ן ֵקָז) [pronounced zaw-KANE]

old, elderly, aged

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #2205 BDB #278

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: So all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together... The elders of Israel saw a problem and believed that they had a solution, so they gathered themselves together to be heard by Samuel, their spiritual leader. Apparently, elders began to talk, perhaps informally, with one another, maybe on the golf course; and they compared notes with those whom they knew from other cities. The first reports probably originated in Beersheba when it was observed that there was no justice to be had in the courts of Samuel's sons. The situation needed attention, as Samuel was, in their opinion, too old to continue much longer. Samuel had, at that time, clear spiritual authority, and the ability to communicate with God. However, if they waited too much longer, all of this could be lost. Therefore, the elders gathered together, either in Ramah or nearby. They gathered as a group, so that it was clear to Samuel that there was a consensus of opinion. Two or three elders could not show up and expect this idea to fly before Samuel.


1Samuel 8:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

Râmâth (ת ָמָר) [pronounced raw-MATH]

height, high place; transliterated Ramah

feminine noun used primarily as a proper noun; with the definite article and the locale hê

Strong’s #7413 BDB #928

Also spelled Râmâh (הָמָר) [pronounced raw-MAW]. I have no idea if there is any difference between the directional hê and the locale hê; both look the same.


Translation: ...and came to Samuel at Ramah. Samuel had a circuit that he followed; then he would go home to Ramah to his home and, presumably, his wife. His sons were located quite a distance away in Beersheba. Suddenly, there was a knock at his door and he looks outside to see a gathering of the elders or statesmen of Israel.


And so they said unto him, “Behold, you [even] you have become old and your sons have not walked in your ways. Now place for us a king to judge [or, govern] us like all the nations.”

1Samuel

8:5

Then they said to him, “Listen, you yourself have become old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to govern us like all the [other] nations.”

Then they said to him, “Listen, you are growing old and your sons are not following your example. Therefore, set a king over us, so that we will be like the other nations.”


Here is what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they said unto him, “Behold, you [even] you have become old and your sons have not walked in your ways. Now place for us a king to judge [or, govern] us like all the nations.”

The Septuagint                      ...and they said to him, “Behold, you are grown old, and your sons walk not in your way; and now set over us a king to judge us, as also the other nations.”

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NLT                                “Look,” they told him, “you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king like all the other nations have.”

TEV                                       ...and said to him, “Look, you are getting old and your sons don’t follow your example. So then, appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and they said to him, “You have grown old, and your sons have not followed your ways. Therefore appoint a king for us, to govern us like all other nations.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     ...and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.”

Young's Updated LT              ...and say unto him, ‘Lo, you have become aged, and your sons have not walked in your ways; now, appoint to us a king, to judge us, like all the nations.’


What is the gist of this verse? The elders point out to Samuel that he is old and that his sons are not just as he is. They suggest that the solution would be to appoint a king to reign over them.


1Samuel 8:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

attâh (הָ-א) [pronounced aht-TAW]

you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

zâqên (ן ֵק ָז) [pronounced zaw-KANE]

to become old, to become aged

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #2204 BDB #278


Translation: Then they said to him, “Listen, you yourself have become old... The elders begin to reason with Samuel. He is getting older and he cannot deny this. In fact, recognizing that fact, Samuel sets up his sons in Beersheba, probably to train them. That is, they are given a court right near the outskirts of Israel in order to practice justice.


Now, even though the elders make a good point here concerning Samuel's age, do they not grasp that any king that is appointed to rule over Israel would also grow old? Do they not grasp that, if Samuel's own sons are corrupt, what about a king? Could he not become corrupt as well?


1Samuel 8:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

dereke (ר) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, path; journey, course; direction, towards; manner, habit, way [of life]; of moral character

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1870 BDB #202


Translation: ...and your sons do not walk in your ways. This is probably the poorest reason for desiring a king. The elders point out to Samuel that they should have a king, and one of their reasons for this request is that his sons are looser-judges. They’re corrupt. Money buys their judgment. Now, is Samuel a good judge? Certainly. Nowhere in Scripture is his personal function as a judge ever questioned. Is Samuel a great man of God? Definitely. Here he is, old and needing to be replaced, and yet the elders go to him specifically to appoint a king. They trust Samuel’s judgement and his relationship with God enough to take this request to him. The people aren’t saying that they have a king candidate in their pocket and they are running this by Samuel as a matter of respect. They are ready for Samuel to choose this king. This indicates great trust in Samuel as a judge and man of God. Now think about this for a moment. Let’s say that Samuel finds a great man to be king over Israel, what can we expect? (1) The king will grow old, just as Samuel grew old. However, instead of appointing someone to take his place, kings tend to rule until they die. This often makes their final years, unless they are assassinated, unproductive and chaotic. (2) Who typically succeeds the king in office? One of his sons, often his eldest. So, had Samuel become king 40 years ago, he would now be too old to rule over Israel, but, as kings do, he would continue to rule over Israel and no group of elders who valued their own lives would come to him and ask for a new king. Secondly, one of his corrupt sons, whom they are complaining about, would succeed him in office. Therefore, the arguments of the elders in favor of a king are even better arguments against appointing a king over Israel. Their solution is a solution which might be good for the next 20–40 years; however, this solution is fraught with problems—the very same problems which they see as reasons for needing a king. Generally speaking, man’s solutions rarely solve man’s problems.


Let me give you a down-to-earth example. One of the great changes in society over the past 40 years is the use of the court system. There are court cases of people against other people nowadays that would not go before a judge 40 years ago. Lawyers then wouldn’t take the cases that lawyers take now. Today, if you have any possessions, then you can expect to be sued. You don’t have to break the law; you don’t have to intentionally do harm to anyone else. You don’t even have to behave immorally to be taken to court. All you need to have is a little money, and someone will figure out a way to sue you. Celebrities face this all the time. They often face nuisance suits and they often settle these suits because otherwise, they, and everyone they know, will be subpoenaed, they will be required to face a lengthy deposition, they will be asked to produce a myriad of documents which have little or no relation to the case at hand, and then hauled into court. Even if they are 100% right and the one filing suit is 100% wrong, it may cost them $50,000 or more to defend themselves. So often, you see these suits being filed against celebrities, some with cause and most without; and they are often settled out of court. It is cheaper and quicker. Is justice done? Of course not! Now, how did these changes come about? There are lawyers in public service who have decided if there is some matter which need resolving, then it should go to court. However, for every real case that the doors of court are opened for, there are an additional dozen cases without merit being taken to court and then settled.


Why do you think your insurance and your doctor’s care are so expensive? In part, the court system. Do doctors make mistakes and do people die because of it? Of course. Doctors are human. They simply happen to be in the position of dealing with life and death situations. Doctors can do everything right and everything possible to save a person’s life and yet their patient can still die—and the doctor may find himself being sued, despite doing nothing wrong. And what about the doctor who decides to go this route of treatment rather than that route? If there are various options, and the option that the doctor chooses is not successful, then the doctor may find himself being sued simply because he chose one option over the other.


When the United States was the victim of attacks by terrorists on 9/11/2001, what happened? Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against airlines, against owners of the Twin Towers, against various Arab interests. What could be more appalling or opportunistic than that? This was an unprecedented type of attack. I’ve traveled all over on planes, and, although I guess that I realized in the back of my mind that I could run into the pilot’s cabin, it never occurred to me to do so; nor did it every occur to me that someone else would do so. There have certainly been some hijackings, but probably fewer hijackings than plane crashes. Personally, I thought more about planes crashing than I ever did about hijackers. So the thought of a group of hijackers taking over a plane on a suicide mission never occurred to me and doubtfully to anyone else in government. Now certainly, in retrospect, we could have prevented those attacks and made the planes more secure. In fact, it would have taken very little to have done so. However, this does not mean that someone is liable. It simply means that pretty much any accident can be theoretically prevented after the fact. It is easy to come up with an inexpensive scenario which would have prevented this or that accident. When you take a sympathetic victim into court and a more successful defendant; add to this that the accident could have been theoretically avoided had the successful defendant done this or that; the defendant risks losing the suit. And once again, he may have broken no laws and meant no harm. What happened could have been completely unforseen—and yet, not only can he be sued, but he can expect to lose money on the deal even if he wins. There are people who intentionally hurt themselves in order to sue; there are those who intentionally rent a home or apartment with the intention of suing the own prior to anything occurring. There are those who get into car accidents with the intention of suing the other person, even though, for all intents and purposes, the other person is the actual victim.


Now, I want to emphasize that these changes in the court system, which have essentially allowed for more and more lawsuits, were not necessarily incorporated with the intention of the court system being misused. There was probably some self-interest involved (a lawyer making law with the idea that another lawyer would solve the problem) but it is highly unlikely there was any thought of malice. No doubt, the idea was to fix a problem or two. In fact, this seems to be the all-purpose solution—wherever there is a disagreement, then allow the case to be taken to court. It is simply one lawyer providing a solution by means of a few other lawyers. My point is, people, when they attempt to solve problems, often create more problems than they solve.


1Samuel 8:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set; to make; to appoint

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative; with the Voluntative hê

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: Now appoint for us a king... What the elders have done is that they have stated the problem, as they see it (and it was a legitimate concern); and they have come up with a solution—at least one in their own minds. Their solution is, Samuel should appoint a king over Israel. All of the problems of Israel as they stand could be prevented by simply appointing a king. This is, of course, in the thinking of the elders.


1Samuel 8:5d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

to judge, to condemn, to punish; to defend [especially the poor and oppressed], to defend [one’s cause] and deliver him from his enemies; to rule, to govern

Qal infinitive construct with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Ke kôl (לֹ ׃) appear to mean according to all, just as all, exactly as all. The idea is that they said to Nabal exactly that which David had instructed them.

gôwyîm (ם̣י) [pronounced goh-YEEM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nation, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156


Translation: ...to govern us like all the [other] nations.” It is clear that Samuel has a great deal of power in Israel. He appointed his sons to judge and they are still judging, despite the fact that it is well known that they take bribes. These elders do not want to bypass Samuel or his spiritual integrity. If he appoints a king, the population in general will probably go for it. If these elders appoint a king, there would be civil unrest. Samuel, because of his communication with God, would be able to appoint a worthy king—or at least that is one of their assumptions. Realize that there is a lack of logic in their reasoning. Samuel has already appointed his sons as judges, and that was a bad appointment.


It is important to point out that this demand of the people did not come out of nowhere. They did not decide one day that the judicial system in Israel was poorly run, and therefore they needed a king. There was another and more urgent influence on this demand. At this time, eastern Israel had been viciously invaded by Nahash the king-general of Ammon. This will not be mentioned until 1Sam. 11 and we actually will not be told of the relationship between this demand for a king and Nahash’s invasion until 1Sam. 12:12. My point is to indicate that there is more here than meets the eye. You may wonder why is that not mentioned here. We have several themes intertwined here. We tend to organize our thoughts chronologically in the western world; in the eastern world, their thinking is thematic instead. Therefore, we pursue various themes in these chapters. Right now, we are discussing Israel’s demand for a king. This will lead us, logically, to Saul being chosen as king over Israel. Now, despite the fact that God will choose Saul as king over Israel publically, this is not enough to confirm him as king. He will have to prove himself a leader, which he will do against Nahash. At that point, Nahash the Ammonite will be introduced, even though he is playing a significant part in all of this at this point in time. So much for coming attractions.


Recall that this was not the first time that Israel had asked God for a king to rule over them. When Gideon had delivered them, the Israelites asked him to be king over them (Judges 8:22). His response was “Hell, no!” (Judges 8:23).


Now, I want you to recognize how faithless these men are. They live in a theocracy, the only theocracy which has ever been established. That means that God ruled over them. Roughly a century ago, the Israelites were in the same spot. Their judge, Eli, had grown old and his sons did not walk in his ways. God still provided. God saw to it that Israel was given a great leader, a man of great spiritual character, even though He had to go outside the family of Levi to find such a one. God provided Samuel, who essentially came out of nowhere. Now Israel is faced with the exact same dilemma and these elders, who respect Samuel greatly, are faithless. They do not believe that God can provide them with a spiritual leader/judge.


What should the elders have done? They should have approached Samuel with evidence that his sons were taking bribes and subverting justice, and they should have been executed and replaced. Samuel possibly would not have seen to their execution, but it would have be reasonable to expect him to replace them. I had another thought: they could have gone to Samuel and requested a king over Israel and then say that Israel under judges has not worked out. After all, the period of the judges is one of the dark periods of Israel’s history. However, the reason that there were so many problems under the judges is Israel’s unexemplary behavior. It wasn’t a problem with their judges/deliverers. When Israel needed deliverance, God sent them a deliverer. However, the reason Israel needed deliverance was that they would fall into idolatry and then God would allow outside nations to punish them. A more reasonable approach might have been, “Talk to God and see if He will appoint a king of His choosing over us.” Samuel couldn’t really argue with that.


Moses knew long before this that the people of Israel would ask God for a king. “When you enter the land which Jehovah your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, then you will say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me.’ ” (Deut. 17:14). Therefore, this request is not a surprise to God; He had planned for it in eternity past.


Then the elders add this reason for requesting a king: so that Israel can be “...like all the [other] nations.” That’s the kicker. These elders think that the solution to their problems is to be like all the other nations. This shows a complete misunderstanding of their place in history. What sets Israel apart as a nation is the fact that it is not like all the other nations. Israel is a theocracy—God rules over Israel. God chose their temporal judge, who was subservient to Him. The elders, in speaking to Samuel, cite his old age and the unscrupulous behavior of his sons as reasons for requesting a king, but in this last phrase, we start getting the real reason for their request: so that Israel could be like other nations. One of the worst reasons for doing anything is so that you can be like everyone else. God did not make all mankind identical; and the nation Israel, God chose and developed from the loins of one man. God’s nation, if anything, should stand out as different from the other nations; God’s man, if anything, should stand out as different from other men. Now, as Scofield points out, Footnote Israel will remain a theocracy. Even though there will be a king over Israel, God is sovereign over their king (and this sovereignty is often illustrated by the king bowing to the authority of a prophet).


Now, many times when conversation in Scripture is recorded, not every word is quoted from the conversation. That should be obvious. We do not have a gathering of all the elders of Israel who meet with Samuel, say one sentence and split. We do not know the length of the meeting or what arguments were advanced or how they were countered, or whether they were countered. I mention this because, in the next verse, the verbiage is slightly different. It is possible that this is a direct quote of one thing which was said or whether it is simply the gist of the elders request (as was v. 5). In any case, this is not the entirety of what the elders said to Samuel.

 

Robinson: The king, instead of becoming the servant or shepherd of the community, could easily arrogate power to himself and become the ruler/oppressor of the community

From some of the comments which I have made, you realize that there are certain commentaries which make me grimace, and I often quote from them as examples of how people have screwed up what should be easy to understand. Gnana Robinson is one of those commentators. However, once and awhile, Robinson says something which makes sense and is quotable. Concerning the desire of these elders, Robinson writes: Monarchy was felt to be a historical necessity in Israel. To defend the people from enemies and to deal with their neighbors on economic and political matters, the Israelites needed a proper administrative structure on a permanent basis. The rule of judges, the charismatic leaders who rose from time to time, proved to be inadequate. While looking for an alternative model, the Israelites were attracted by the kingship model of their neighbors, but they could not foresee the pitfalls in that model. In that Canaanite model of kingship, the king, instead of becoming the servant or shepherd of the community, could easily arrogate power to himself and become the ruler/oppressor of the community, as among Israel’s neighbors. This was what the prophetic tradition feared and what later proved to be true in Israel. Footnote


Let’s approach this in a different way. You understand what a rationalization is, right? A person has already determined their course of action or their opinion, but then they have to back it up. So then they spend time thinking of things that would back up their position. Understand that they have already made up their minds. Their viewpoint, their opinion, their course of action is not the issue to them—how can they support this position is the issue. If you are in an argument or a debate with someone, while you are presenting your most cogent argument, look them in the eye. They are not listening carefully to your argument and considering it with an open mind; at best, they are listening to your argument in order to think of a counter argument; and, at worst, they are taking this time to put together another argument to support their own position. Surely you have had the experience when someone presented an argument and you ask yourself now where the hell did that come from? It had nothing to do with the point you were making. It is because, while you were talking, they devised another argument to present, and as soon as you stopped speaking, they offered up their argument, apropos of nothing which you said. Now, turn this around—the next time you are in a debate, look at what is going on in your own mind when someone is presenting their position. Are you listening and considering their argument, or are you using that time to formulate your own argument? Why did I bring this up? The people of Israel had wanted a king for a long time. If you went through the book of the Judges with me, you saw that Gideon and Jephthah had both been approached to become kings over Israel (Judges 8:22 11:6, 11—Jephthah was approached more to become a local ruler). So, these elders who approached Samuel had wanted a king for a long time. They had thought about it and they had made up their minds. They mention to Samuel that his sons are taking bribes and that they do not follow in his way, but that is a rationalization, and one that could (as I have shown you) be used as a good reason not to appoint a king over Israel. However, the elders have made up their minds and they are willing to offer any argument which might tip the scale in their favor.


Now, that Israel would at some time ask for a king was anticipated by Moses, as inspired by God the Holy Spirit: “When you enter the land which Jehovah your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, ‘I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me.’ Then you will certainly set a king over you whom Jehovah your God chooses, one from among your countrymen.” (Deut. 17:14–15a).


According to Canaanite beliefs, the king is a representative of Baal on earth. That is, Baal chose him to rule over their nation. Those who view fascism from the political ideological stance, see the ruler of a country as the man which God has placed there. Like all philosophies, there is some truth and some falsehood to this belief. A country gets the ruler it deserves; God places men in power and removes others. However, rarely do we ever have a man in power who represents God to man (there are exceptions like Moses, Samuel and David). Israel will have a series of monarchs, some good and many who are awful—but only a handful actually represent God to the people. Only a handful will record Scripture.


Return to Chapter Outline

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Samuel Goes to God about this Request


And so displeasing the word in [the two] eyes of Samuel in which they said, “Give to us a king to judge us.” And so pray Samuel unto Yehowah.

1Samuel

8:6

So this thing was displeasing in the eyes of Samuel, when they said, “Give to us a king to govern us.” Therefore, Samuel prayed to Yehowah.

And this opinion was displeasing in the sight of Samuel, that is, when they said, “Give us a king to rule us.” Therefore, Samuel prayed to Jehovah.


Here is what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so displeasing the word in [the two] eyes of Samuel in which they said, “Give to us a king to judge us.” And so pray Samuel unto Yehowah.

Septuagint                             And the thing [was] evil in the eyes of Samuel, when they said, “Give us a king to judge us;’” and Samuel prayed to the Lord.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NLT                                Samuel was very upset with their request and went to the Lord for advice.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         But Samuel considered it wrong for them to request a king to judge them. So Samuel prayed to the Lord.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Samuel was displeased that they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     But the thing was displeasing [or, evil] in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord.

Young's Updated LT              And the thing is evil in the eyes of Samuel, when they have said, ‘Give to us a king to judge us;’ and Samuel prayed unto Jehovah.


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel is upset by this request for a king, and goes to God in prayer about it.


1Samuel 8:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

râ׳a׳ (ע ַע ָר) [pronounced raw-ĢAHĢ]

to make a loud noise; to be evil [from the idea of raging or being tumultuous]; to be bad, to displease; possibly to be unpleasant and embittering; to break, to shatter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7489 BDB #949

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳ayin (ן̣יַע) [pronounced ĢAH-yin]

 spring, fountain; eye, spiritual eyes

feminine dual construct

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028


Translation: So this thing was displeasing in the eyes of Samuel,... Or, (and I am taking some liberties here): And this opinion was displeasing in the eyes of Samuel; i.e., when they said,... Realize that Samuel was the authority here. He was the one who, for all intents and purposes, ruled over Israel (under the guidance of God, of course). He had devoted his entire life to serving God and serving Israel, and now this group of elders comes to him and says, it’s not good enough. So Samuel has two problems here: (1) the people are requesting a king which God had not expressly mandated from His directive will; and (2) the people are rejecting Samuel’s authority and dedication, which he no doubt took personally (we will see that in the next verse). Samuel devoted his entire life to public service, with very little by way of remuneration. Some people retire from public office as multi-millionaires or become multi-millionaires soon thereafter. This was not Samuel. His personal dedication and integrity were irreproachable. Sure, maybe his sons did not walk in his ways, but that is not necessarily Samuel’s fault, nor is it a problem which cannot be fixed apart from radical surgery (i.e., removing the sons from office).


1Samuel 8:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaăsher (ר ש ֲא ַ) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner.

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative; with the Voluntative hê

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

to judge, to condemn, to punish; to defend [especially the poor and oppressed], to defend [one’s cause] and deliver him from his enemies; to rule, to govern

Qal infinitive construct with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047


Translation: ...when they said, “Give to us a king to govern us.” In the previous verse, it read, “Place for us a king to judge [or, govern] us like all the nations.” In this verse, it reads: “Give to us a king to judge us.” And, as I said, the entire text of what they had to say was not covered in the previous verse, nor was it covered here. What we are getting is the gist of what the elders had to say to Samuel.


Notice the verse to this point: So this opinion displeased Samuel, when they said, “Give to us a king to govern us.” Note that Samuel is not upset that his sons have been accused of subverting the law—he does not take that personally. As mentioned before, Samuel may have put them in an out of the way place with that idea in mind. What bothers him is, these people are requesting that he put a king over them, and that is clearly outside of the plan of God—or, at least, clearly outside the directive will of God.


1Samuel 8:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

pâlal (ל ַל ָ) [pronounced paw-LAHL]

to pray, to intercede, to make intercession for, to ask for a favorable determination

3rd person masculine singular, Hithpael imperfect

Strong’s #6419 BDB #813

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: Therefore, Samuel prayed to Yehowah. Samuel is somewhat frustrated over this. He understands the problems and no doubt sympathizes with the sentiment of the elders—he is old and his sons are worthless pieces of crap. However, Samuel also understands that God rules over Israel, and he knows that a king is not necessarily a good thing.


Application: Now, for a little application. It is easy to recognize a problem and to expound on this problem. We live in the devil's world. There is something wrong with just about everything. It is also easy to propose a solution. This does not mean, however, that every solution suggested to a problem will solve the problem. Often, solutions make the problem much worse. The best illustration of that is Congress. For the past century, Congress has seen it their job to pass law after law after law to solve problems. Many people would agree absolutely with this. However, in most cases, even when a new law solves or begins to solve a problem, two more (or ten more) problems crop up in place of the first problem. Where Israel is at this moment is a problem. Even Samuel would fully agree that he is getting old and that his sons are not his successors. However, that does not mean that the elders have the solution in proposing a king be appointed over them. You may recall from the first chapter of Acts that the disciples counted their number, realized that they were one short, and they elected a twelfth Apostle. That was foolish. Sure, they were one Apostle short. However, God did not give them authorization or leading to elect another Apostle. God chose the twelfth Apostle and possibly even a couple more. The man that they chose, Matthias, went nowhere. Matthias, who was probably very spiritual and a heck of a nice guy, was elected as the twelfth apostle, and after the election, we never hear from him again. Why? Because he was not God’s choice. He was not to solution to their problems. What am I saying to you? You do not always solve a problem by attempting to solve the problem. I know for some, that is a completely foreign concept. But this is a case in point (these elders coming to Samuel and proposing a king rule over Israel) and the election of the twelfth Apostle was a case in point. By the way, the twelfth Apostle was Paul, who persecuted Christians at the very early part of the Apostles’ ministry. Would the Apostles of Jesus elected Paul? Not in a million years. Most Christians did not even want to be in the same city as Paul, let alone elect him as an Apostle. That’s because we do not know what God knows. God could see the positive volition on the inside of Paul and God used Paul like He used no other Apostle. That is because God alone solved the problem of the lack of one Apostle.


Application: Let’s take this to a political level. I recall hearing one woman on public radio who supported a particular piece of legislation and it had been rejected because it was not written well enough. Everyone knew the intention of the law, but it had not been stated as well as it should be. Therefore, the bill was rejected. She was upset and said that some minor problems with the language should have not prevented the bill from passing, and that everyone knew the intention of the bill. Listen, our high courts are legendary in their ability to take a law and the language of a law and to twist it in such a way as to further their own agenda. They pass laws and make policies without ever having to pass a law through the normal channels. They just take a law already in existence and interpret it as per their own agenda. Our court system today is in virtual chaos because of that very power which the courts have they themselves misappropriated. So, when a law is passed, no matter how noble the cause; if the language is not just so, it allows the courts to come in and use that law for ways that the original authors could have never expected. One problem partially solved and ten problems created.


And so says Yehowah unto Samuel, “Listen in a voice of the people to all which they say unto you for not you have they rejected, for Me they have rejected from ruling over them.

1Samuel

8:7

So Yehowah said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people, to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from ruling over them.

And Jehovah said to Samuel, “Listen to the people and all that they say to you, for they are not rejecting you, but they have rejected Me from ruling over them.


In the few verses, the literary style, so to speak, will change. There will be more adverbs, more prepositions and more verb forms. Throughout most of Samuel, the sentence structure is fairly simple and straightforward. Although the Hebrew which follows is not difficult, it is more complex than what has come before.


First, what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Yehowah unto Samuel, “Listen in a voice of the people to all which they say unto you for not you have they rejected, for Me they have rejected from ruling over them.

Septuagint                             And the Lord said to Samuel, “Hear the voice of the people, in whatever they will say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from reigning over them.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

REB                                       ...and the Lord told him, ‘Listen to the people and all that they are saying; they have not rejected you, it is I whom they have rejected, I whom they will not have to be their king.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         The Lord told Samuel, “Listen to everything the people are saying to you. They haven’t reject you; they’ve rejected me.

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...and the Lord replied to Samuel, “Heed the demand of the people in everything they say to you. For it is not you that they have rejected; it is Me they have rejected as their king.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

Young's Updated LT              And Jehovah says to Samuel, ‘Hearken to the voice of the people, to all that they say to you, for you they have not rejected, but Me they have rejected, from reigning over them.


What is the gist of this verse? God tells Samuel to listen to the voice of the people (which means, to go along with what they desire); and to bear in mind, they have not rejected Samuel, but they have rejected Jesus Christ.


1Samuel 8:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen [intently], to hear, to listen and obey, [or, and act upon, give heed to, take note of], to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and be cognizant of

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: So Yehowah said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people,... It is not clear how God spoke to Samuel, whether it was through inspired writing or whether there was an actual audible voice as you and I would use to communicate. Samuel is spiritually mature—he understands the issues in the choice of the elders, and recognizes that they come from a spiritually bereft position. He goes to God in prayer, as he is old and the elders could easily override his veto.


The verb in this portion of v. 7 is the 2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative of to hear, to listen, to hearken. One of the great words from the King James’ era is hearken, which is an outstanding one-word rendering of this word. The implication is that God expects Samuel to listen and to obey the voice of the people. So, God does not expect Samuel to simply go back and lend a sympathetic ear to these elders; and then offer up a better solution. Samuel is to listen to them and go along with their request.


By the way, you see the word people here? But recall, it is the elders who have come to speak to Samuel. This indicates to us that the will of the elders is the will of the people. That is, they did not simply come up with this notion of a king out of their heads; this is a mandate from the people.


1Samuel 8:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

every, each, all of, all; any of, any

masculine singular construct not followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Literally, they mean to [for, towards, in regard to] all which [that, who]... However, together, various literal translations give the following renderings: to all that, in all that, to everything, and everything. These are taken from over a half-dozen literal translations for 1Sam. 8:7. Neither BDB nor Gesenius give us a rendering fo this combination.

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied) with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39


Translation: ...to all that they say to you,... This gives us: So Yehowah said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people and all that they said to you...” This is a surprise to Samuel. What the people are proposing to him is absolutely wrong, yet God tells him to listen to what the people have to say. And it will be clear that this is not simply to placate the people—that is, Samuel isn’t simply to just listen to the people and say some nice things and then ignore what they have to say. Samuel is to listen to and obey their voice.


1Samuel 8:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mâaç (ס ַא ָמ) [pronounced maw-AHS]

to reject, to despise, to lightly esteem, to refuse

3rd person plural, Qal perfect; pausal form

Strong’s #3988 BDB #549


Translation: ...for they have not rejected you,... The verb is the 3rd person plural, Qal perfect of reject, despise, lightly esteem, refuse. The verb is accompanied by a negative. Samuel is taking this situation personally, and God is telling him not to. God has the full perspective, and Samuel can only see what is going on at that time.


1Samuel 8:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

The two kîy’s in close proximity mean for...for... However, here, we have the negative preceding the first kîy, which gives us for not...but...

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mâaç (ס ַא ָמ) [pronounced maw-AHS]

to reject, to despise, to lightly esteem, to refuse

3rd person plural, Qal perfect; pausal form

Strong’s #3988 BDB #549

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...but they have rejected Me from ruling over them. Or, more completely, “...for they have not rejected you but they have rejected Me from ruling over them.” What God says here indicates that Samuel himself took all of this a bit personally. God had put him in charge, the people were now unhappy with some of the results (specifically, the lack of integrity on the part of his sons), and Samuel takes it personally. God tells him not to. He simply tells Samuel that there is no personal rejection involved regarding Samuel. The people are expressing a faithlessness in God, Who provided them with Samuel in the first place. God is telling Samuel to objectively focus on the issue and upon what God would allow.


God has three will’s with respect to our volition. There is God’s directive will: He has a perfect decision for our life, and we choose that decision. We also have God’s permissive will. When given a choice between right and wrong, we choose wrong. God allows us to choose wrong, which allowance is His permissive will. There are also occasions where we want to choose wrong over right, but God intervenes in some way with this decision. For instance, when I moved here to Texas, I had two different jobs that, had I a choice, I would have taken the worst of the two (not really knowing which would be the better place for me to work at the time). God overruled my decision and did not give me a choice. That third will of God is known as His overruling will.


To summarize in table form...

The Three Wills of God

Type

Explanation

Directive Will

God tells us what to do and we do it. This would be His directive will. In this situation, God will direct Samuel to listen to the elder delegation who have come to him, and to obey them.

Permissive Will

This is when God wants us to do one thing, but we want to do something else. God allows us to do that something else. God does not want these elders to request a king and it is outside of God's directive will to give them a king. However, God will give the people of Israel a king via His permissive will.

Overruling Will

We want A; God wants for us to have B; God gives us B. For instance, it is apparent that some people wanted a king over Israel for some time. This goes back to the middle of the book of Judges. However, God did not give Israel a king until this point in time. So, prior to this, those in Israel who desired a king experienced God's overruling will.

You will note, most importantly, that God does not change the actual volition of man in any of these cases.


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to Charts, Maps and Short Doctrines


God has known from the very beginning that there would eventually be a king over Israel. In fact, God promised Abraham “I will make you exceedingly prolific and I will make nations of you and kings will come forth from you.” (Gen. 17:6). Jacob summoned his sons and predicted that the scepter (a symbol of rulership) would not depart from Judah until Shiloh comes (Gen. 49:10). David and Solomon were both from the tribe of Judah. The ruling family over the southern kingdom was Judah. In fact, given this passage, a good argument could be made that God would have instituted a monarchy over Israel beginning with David. Saul was a result of the demands of the people; but David was wholly God’s choice—Saul was given to Israel by God's permissive will. A king of Israel is mentioned in the prophecy of Balaam in Num. 24:7, 17. Moses warns that Israel will desire a king over them back in Deut. 17:14–15 and he includes guidelines for the behavior of a king over Israel (Deut. 17:16–20), which includes being certain to have a copy of the Law transcribed for himself to study. So, from circa 1440 b.c. until this time (roughly 1000 b.c.), Israel has no king over her, yet has survived as a nation (although, not always admirably so). At this point, the elders have requested a king and God will grant this request. This will be God’s permissive will. However, Israel’s having a king in general did not have to be a result of God’s permissive will. Given some time, God would have directed Samuel (or some later representative in the choosing of a king).


You may wonder, if God has already given guidelines for a king and now the people are requesting a king, what exactly is the foul? How is this God’s permissive will when a king is clearly a part of Israel’s future? The people had the wrong motivation for their desire of a king. They wanted to be like the other nations. Furthermore, they did not ask Samuel’s guidance or, for that matter, God’s will in this matter. They simply presented their demand to Samuel. Even after Samuel clearly explains what a king would do to them (vv. 11–18), they pretty much ignore everything that he says as unimportant and further demand a king (v. 19). Given that Samuel represents divine viewpoint to them, ignoring his arguments and demanding what he clearly presents as a poor choice is indicative of their negative volition toward God’s directive will. Therefore, the allowing of Israel to have a king is God’s permissive will. Now, God was going to place a king over Israel, because such a king would point toward the Eternal King to come; however, Israel chose to have this occur at the time that the elders desired as opposed to the time table of God. The difference? I suspect that God would have, 40 years or so hence, placed David as the first king over Israel. Saul could have still led Israel in battle, yet we would not have had 10+ years of crazy Saul on the throne over Israel. Samuel would have still been in charge and, prior to his death, he would have anointed David king over all Israel.

 

Archer explains: ...the reason why their request displeased the Lord was that it was based on the assumption that they should follow their pagan neighbors in their form of government. Their motive was to conform to the world about them rather than to abide by the holy and perfect constitution that God had given them under Moses in the form of the Pentateuchal code. There was a definite sense in which they were setting aside the laws of God as inadequate for their needs and falling in step with the idolatrous heathen. They expressed their desire to Samuel thus: “Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations” (nasb). They had forgotten that God had called them out of the world, not to conform to the world, but to walk in covenant fellowship with Yahweh as testimony of godliness before all the pagan world. Footnote


“As all of the deeds which they have done from a day my bringing them out from Egypt and to the day the this and so they are forsaking Me and so they are serving gods others so they [even they] are doing also to you.

1Samuel

8:8

“As all of the deeds which they have done since the day I brought them out of Egypt even to this day, they [continue to] forsake Me and serve other gods. Thus they also keep doing to you.

“It has been typical of them to forsake Me and to serve other gods—even from the day that I brought them out of Egypt and to this day. Just as they reject of My leadership they also reject yours.


Samuel was named in the essentially list of problem that Israel had with being without a king, so God briefly explains the hard-headedness of His people. Here’s what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       “As all of the deeds which they have done from a day my bringing them out from Egypt and to the day the this and so they are forsaking Me and so they are serving gods others so they [even they] are doing also to you.

Septuagint                             According to all their doings which they have done to Me, from the day that I brought them out of Egypt until this day, even as they have deserted Me, and served other gods, so they do also to you.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         From the day I brought them out of Egypt until this very day they've been behaving like this, leaving me for other gods. And now they're doing it to you.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         They’re doing just what they’ve done since I took them out of Egypt—leaving me and serving other gods.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Like everything else they have done ever since I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other gods—so they are doing to you.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “Like all the deeds which they have done wince the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also.

Young's Updated LT              According to all the works that they have done from the day of My bringing them up out of Egypt, even to this day, when they forsake Me, and serve other gods—so they are doing also to you.


What is the gist of this verse? God tells Samuel that this is typical of the Jews throughout their history. From the time that God brought them out of Egypt to that day, the Jews would continually forsake God and serve other gods. Their negative volition is here being made clear to Samuel.


1Samuel 8:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Ke kôl (לֹ ׃) appear to mean according to all, just as all, exactly as all.

ma׳ăseh (ה  ֲע ַמ) [pronounced mah-ğa-SEH

deeds, works, production, that which is done

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #4639 BDB #795

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793


Translation: “As all of the deeds which they have done... Here, God begins to summarize the history of Israel in relation to Him. God speaks of all the actions which Israel has done. The idea is, Israel has consistently done the same thing over and over again, as made obvious in all of their deeds. They have consistently shown to have negative volition toward God.


1Samuel 8:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to cause to go up, to lead up, to take up, to bring up

Hiphil infinitive construct with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Mitzerayim (ם̣י-רצ̣מ) [pronounced mits-RAH-yim]

Egypt, Egyptians

proper noun

Strong’s #4714 BDB #595


Translation: ...since the day I brought them out of Egypt... Then God gives a period of time over which the Israelites have exhibited this behavior. The negative volition of the nation of Israel dates back to the time that God led them out of Egypt. God show Israel marvelous signs through Moses, and still, much of the Torah is a case history of Israel rebelling against God.


1Samuel 8:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

Together, min...wa ׳ad (דַע ַו ן ̣מ) mean from...to or both...and; as in from soup to nuts or both young and old.

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260


Translation: ...even to this day,... Or, more fully: “...as all the deeds which they have done from the day of my bringing them out of Egypt even to this day...” God assures Samuel that this is typical Israeli behavior. Even when God brought them out of Egypt with great signs and wonders, they continually bitched in the desert about this thing and that thing to a point where God was ready to kill them all and start over with Moses. “They are behaving no differently than when I brought these ingrates out of Egypt, out of bondage, and performed signs and miracles in their presence.” Then God adds, “And they continue in this same behavior problem even up until today.”


Let me speak now concerning...

Covenant Theology vs. Dispensations

There is an evil doctrine out there known as covenant theology. The idea is, Israel, because of her unfaithfulness, either morphed into the church or became the Church; and that the nation Israel has been set aside permanently. Throughout the books we have studied, Israel fails again and again and again. At a time when we would expect Israel to believe God, when observing signs and wonders, they are still in rebellion against Him. So, don't get this idea that somehow Israel turned from good to bad, and God rejected Israel for being bad. Israel has always fallen short of God's expectations; Israel has continually expressed negative volition toward God. The Church, however, does not replace Israel; but only temporarily supplants them. The Age of Israel still has 7 years to play out. God did not grow so disgusted with Israel as to just flat out reject her; God will set Israel aside, but not permanently. God will fulfill all of His promises to Israel. He is not going to change things up, and propose, "Well, Israel was just so damn bad, that the church is going to get all of the promises that I made to Abraham." God is faithful, even when we are not. God is faithful to Israel, even when Israel is not. It is one of the great truths of Scripture that God has not forsaken the Jews and He will never forsake the Jew. Why do you think there are Jews today? We don't find Philistines; we don't find Girgashites; we don't find Edomites. But God has preserved the Jewish race, because God is not finished with them yet.

And maybe you are thinking, well, no matter what you say, I don't believe in dispensations. If you attend a church where there are no animal sacrifices, then you believe in dispensations. If you attend a church where the Sabbath (Saturday) is not observed, then you believe in dispensations. If you don't have one altar and one altar alone that men from all over the world come to in order to offer up animal sacrifices, then you believe in dispensations. Even the most staunch of the covenant theologians believes in dispensations. Dispensation simply indicates that God handles things in one time period in a slightly different fashion than He did during another time period. In the nation Israel, God has one altar, one priesthood, one High Priest; He has designed a Tabernacle and an Ark to speak of Jesus Christ; He has designed holy days and feast days, all of which point to Jesus Christ. All of this takes place in one central location. However, when it comes to the Church Age, we can come from any nation, speak any language, and we meet in a variety of places, all over the world. There is no altar, there is no Sabbath, there are no feast days. We enjoy the filling of God the Holy Spirit; we enjoy being a part of spiritual progress, regardless of what position we play. We can be poor, borderline retarded, have no friends, and barely be tolerated in church, and we can still have spiritual impact. We can appear to be the least of all brothers in the church, in every respect, by every single way men judge other men, and we can still have spiritual impact. That is a big difference between the previous dispensation and this dispensation.

This is obviously not a complete examination of these two viewpoints; it is simply a short dissertation. However, I mention this because, God here speaks about the complete unfaithfulness of Israel, something which is observed again and again, even back to when He brought them out of Egypt. I mention this because, Covenant Theology presumes that God gave all of Israel's blessings to the church because of Israel's unfaithfulness. Israel's unfaithfulness is legend, throughout the entire Age of Israel.


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1Samuel 8:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âzab (בַזָע) [pronounced ģaw-ZABV]

to loosen ones bands; to let go [one from being in bonds]; to leave [forsake, desert]; to leave off, to cease from [anything]

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5800 BDB #736


Translation: ...they [continue to] forsake Me... Then God gives them a simple example, which is His primary beef with Israel (but certainly not the only one). God tells Samuel that Israel forsakes Him and His leadership. After all, Israel is, at this point in time, a theocracy, a nation under God; however, they desire to the a monarchy instead. This is a forsaking of God.


1Samuel 8:8e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

3rd person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

Context inevitably points out whether this is the God, the Creator of the Universe, or foreign gods, which are the result of fertile imagination at best and representative of demons at worst. They are distinguished in a variety of ways (1) there will be the word other associated with the Hebrew word (Ex. 20:3 23:13 Joshua 24:2); (2) there will be a modifying word to indicate that gods is different from the God (Ex. 18:11); (3) the word gods is specifically differentiated from Yehowah in the immediate context (Ex. 22:19); (4) God would be associated with a singular verb (Deut. 4:34) and gods with plural verbs (Ex. 32:1, 23); (5) or gods will be modified by foreign or of the Gentiles (Gen. 35:2, 4 Deut. 31:16 I1Kings 18:33).

achêr (ר̤ח-א) [pronounced ah-KHEHR]

another, following, other as well as foreign, alien, strange

adjective/substantive

Strong’s #312 BDB #29


Translation: ...and serve other gods. Or, more fully: “...and they forsake me and serve other gods...” With all that God had done for Israel, one would think that this would be the easiest thing for an Israelite to grasp—he was to serve the One Who brought him out of Egypt. However, Israelites again and again deserted the God Who bought them and served heathen gods. When it came to worship of the True God, they continually chose to worship an idol or a false, non-existent god. You may wonder, how is it possible for the Jews of the first century a.d. to reject Jesus Christ? It was in their nature to do so. You may wonder, how can Jews, given the historical perspective, reject their God and Savior Christ Jesus? It is in their nature; they turned from God when they were in the desert wilderness and they continued to turn away from God again and again even until today. Okay, the other side of the coin: didn’t some of the Jews remain faithful? Yes, a number of them did, from time to time, followed the God of Glory; just as there are Jews now and again who believe in Christ Jesus. Negative volition toward Jesus Christ is negative volition toward God. For probably the majority of Jews, they know only the most fundamental things about their origins and little if anything about Christ Jesus (except that they should not believe in Him). The Old Testament is filled with parallels to the new, from Abraham’s aborted sacrifice of his only son to Moses’ intercession on behalf of Israel, to the Suffering Servant of Isa. 53. Footnote


1Samuel 8:8f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: Thus they also keep doing to you. The gist of this verse is that God has been faithful to the Jew and has led them out of Egypt, as had never before occurred in history. Yet, they continued to reject Him and to serve other gods. Samuel has provided good and faithful leadership to Israel, under God’s authority, and now—typical of the Jew—they reject his leadership as well. God simply tells Samuel that this is characteristic of His people.


And now hearken in their voice—only that you a testimony testify against them and you have made conspicuous to them a custom of the king who reigns over them.”

1Samuel

8:9

“Therefore, listen to their voice [and acquiesce to their request]; only solemnly testify against them [after] you have made conspicuous to them the customs of a king who would reign over them.”

“Therefore, listen to the voice of the elders and acquiesce to their demands. However, first solemnly testify against them and acquiesce only after you have made it clear to them the customs and behavior of a king who reigns over them.”


Again, the text is somewhat more difficult here than elsewhere in this chapter. The gist of this verse is rather simple: God tells Samuel to listen to what the people request, grant this request, but make it clear to them what will happen if they demand a king. First, here is what others have done with this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And now hearken in their voice—only that you a testimony testify against them and you have made conspicuous to them a custom of the king who reigns over them.”

Septuagint                             And now hearken to their voice; only you will solemnly testify [or, report] to them, and you will describe to them the manner [or, judgment] of the king who will reign over them.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NAB                                       Now grant their request; but at the same time, warn them solemnly and inform them of the rights of the king who will rule them.”

NLT                                Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them.”

REB                                       Hear what they have to say now, but give them a solemn warning and tell them what sort of king will rule them.’

TEV                                       “So then, listen to them, but give them strict warnings and explain how their kings will treat them.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        Heed their demand; but warn them solemnly, and tell them about the practices of any king who will rule over them.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn [lit., testify to] them and tell them of the procedure [lit., custom] of the king who will reign over them.”

Young's Updated LT              And now, hearken to their voice; only, surely you do certainly protest to them, and have declared to them the custom of the king who does reign over them.’


What is the gist of this verse? God tells Samuel to listen (and obey) the voice of these elders; just make it clear what they are in for when it comes to having a king.


1Samuel 8:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen [intently], to hear, to listen and obey, [or, and act upon, give heed to, take note of], to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and be cognizant of

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876


Translation: “Therefore, listen to their voice [and acquiesce to their request];... God already told Samuel to listen to what the elders had to say, the implication of the words meaning to listen and obey. So God for a second time tells Samuel to go along with what they want. It is obvious that Samuel is digging in his heels now, and God is making it as clear as possible that he is going to have to give in to the request of the elders at this point.


1Samuel 8:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ake ( ַא) [pronounced ahke]

surely, certainly, no doubt, only, but; only now, just now, scarcely; only this once; nothing but, merely [before a substantive]; quite, altogether [before an adjective]

adverb of restriction, contrast, time, limitation, and exception. Also used as an affirmative particle. Expanded meanings given here.

Strong’s #389 BDB #36

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

gûwd (דע) [pronounced ģood]

to take as a witness, to call [someone] to witness; to bear witness, to testify, to solemnly affirm; to solemnly admonish [or, enjoin]

Hiphil infinitive absolute

Strong’s #5749 BDB #729

gûwd (דע) [pronounced ģood]

to take as a witness, to call [someone] to witness; to bear witness, to testify, to solemnly affirm; to solemnly admonish [or, enjoin]

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5749 BDB #729

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #88


Translation: ...only solemnly testify against them... So God puts a restriction upon what Samuel is to do, even though he is to listen and to acquiesce to the requests of the elders. We have the doubling of a verb, which increases the intensity of the verb. Notice that the JPS, the NASB and the Septuagint all have solemnly added to the verb. Samuel is going to make is clear what the consequences are of having a king. God is letting these people make a mistake with open eyes (although, it will be apparent that they do not listen very well).


1Samuel 8:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

mîshepâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-PAWT]

judgement, justice, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, a judgement of the court

masculine singular construct

Strong's #4941 BDB #1048

Gesenius organizes the meanings as follows:

(1) a judgement; including:

(a) the act of judging; (b) the place of judgment; (c) a forensic cause, the setting forth of a cause, to appeal a judgment; (d) the sentence of a judge; (e) the fault or crime one is judged for;

(2) a right, that which is just, lawful according to law; which set of meanings would include:

(a) a law, a statute; a body of laws; (b) that which is lawfully due a person, a privilege, a legal privilege, the right of redemption, the right of primogeniture; (c) a manner, a custom; (d) a fashion, a kind, a plan.

We could possibly add the meanings for the plural: laws, responsibilities, privileges. From the standpoint of the one under judgment, mîshepâţ could mean appeal.

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

 

Translation:...[after] you have made conspicuous to them the customs of a king... Note that we have a very familiar noun in v. 9c: the masculine singular construct of mishepâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mish-PAWT], which means judgement, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision; etc. It can also mean manner, custom, fashion. The complete story is found in the Hebrew exegesis.


God is telling Samuel to clearly state to the elders just exactly what it is they are getting themselves into. We have a lot of ideas about how things would be much better if only we could have this or that; or do this or that. In this world, given the old sin nature, there are a myriad of things which occur when we have this or that or we have the freedom to do this or that. That is, there are logical results, and God wants Samuel to make these logical results clear to the elders. God already knows that the elders will not be dissuaded; He simply is going to see to it that they know, at least intellectually, the results of their decisions.


Application: Have you ever said to yourself, if I only had a million dollars (or, ten million dollars)? You think that all of your problems could be solved, if only you have some big bucks in your bank account. These elders figured, all of their problems would be solved, if only they could talk Samuel into letting them have a king over them, as the other surrounding nations had. Do you see how they are the same things? If only this or that thing were different; then everything would be alright. As you will read as we go along—Samuel's warnings to Israel—it will be clear than, this great idea just isn't all that great.


Application: Maybe your mind is still back with the ten million dollars. Please realize that, when you have money, then there are a lot of people who want that money and they will do almost anything to get it. I am not talking about a stone cold street punk who will rob you at gunpoint; I am talking about others who will do whatever they can to separate you from your money, and they will attempt to do that legally. Even if they cannot get their hands on it, they will do everything they can to make your life miserable in the process. You may think that ten million dollars will solve all of your problems; however, you may suddenly find hundreds more problems than you ever anticipated.


In any case, even without covering the warnings which these elders will receive; think about the consequences of Saul becoming king over Israel as we study the life of Saul in the chapters to come (1Sam. 9–31). Remember all of the problems that having a king is supposed to solve, and then line this up against the reign of Saul and observe that for every problem his kingship solves, two more problems spring up.


1Samuel 8:9d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...who would reign over them.” More completely: “...only you will solemnly testify against them and [once] you have made known to them the custom of a king who rules over them.” The people are making a choice here to which God will assent. However, He wants Samuel to make it clear to them just what exactly they are getting into. It is like you want to touch a hot stove and God says, “Okay, first you need to understand the concept of burning flesh and pain, then I will let you touch it.” Most of the stupid mistakes we make is with open eyes. We know that we are about to screw up and we go ahead and do it anyway.


Keil and Delitzsch Explain Why the Request of the Elders was Displeasing

Keil and Delitzsch explain: ...the reason why the petition for a king displeased the prophet, was not that he regarded the earthly monarchy as irreconcilable with the sovereignty of God, or even as untimely; for in both these cases he would not have entered into the question at all, but would simply have refused the request as ungodly or unseasonable. But Samuel prayed to the Lord, i.e., he laid the matter before the Lord in prayer, and the Lord said (v. 7) “Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee.” This clearly implies, that not only in Samuel’s opinion, but also according to the counsel of God, the time had really come for the establishment of the earthly sovereignty in Israel. In this respect the request of the elders for a king to reign over them was perfectly justifiable, and there is no reason to say, with Calvin, “they ought to have had regard to the times and conditions prescribed by God, and it would no doubt have come to pass that the regal power would have grown up in the nation. Although, therefore, it had not yet been established, they ought to have waited patiently for the time appointed by God, and not to have given way to their own reasons and counsels apart from the will of God.” For God had not only appointed no particular time for the establishment of the monarchy; but in the introduction to the law for the king, “When you will say, I will set a king over me,” He had ceded the right to the representatives of the nation to deliberate upon the matter. Nor did they err in this respect, that while Samuel was still living, it was not the proper time to make use of the permission that they had received; for they assigned as the reason for their application, that Samuel had grown old; consequently they did not petition for a king instead of the prophet who had been appointed and so gloriously accredited by God, but simply that Samuel himself would give them a king in consideration of his own age, in order that when he should become feeble or die, they might have a judge and leader of the nation. Nevertheless, the Lord declared, “They have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. As they have always done from the day that I brought them up out of Egypt unto this day, that they have forsaken Me and served other gods, so do they also unto you.” This verdict on the part of God refers not so much to the desire expressed, as to the feelings from which it had sprung. Externally regarded, the elders of Israel had a perfect right to present the request; the wrong was in their hearts. They not only declared to the prophet their confidence in his administration of his office, but they implicitly declared him incapable of any further superintendence of their civil and political affairs. This mistrust was founded upon mistrust in the Lord and His guidance. In the persons of Samuel they reject the Lord and His rule. They wanted a king, because they imagined that Jehovah their God-king was not able to secure their constant prosperity. Instead of seeking for the cause of the misfortunes which had hitherto befallen them in their own sin and want of fidelity towards Jehovah, they searched for it in the faulty constitution of the nation itself. In such a state of mind as this, their desire for a king was a contempt and rejection of the kingly government of Jehovah, and was nothing more than forsaking Jehovah to serve other gods. See ch. 10:18, 19 and ch. 12:17 ff, where Samuel points out to the people still more fully the wrong that they have committed. Footnote Okay, then, what would have been the proper approach?

 

Calvin suggests They might, indeed, have reminded Samuel of his old age, which rendered him less able to attend to the duties of his office, and also of the avarice of his sons and the corruptness of the judges; or they might have complained that his sons did not walk in his footsteps, and have asked that God would choose suitable men to govern them, and thus have left the whole thing to His will. And if they had done this, there can be no doubt that they would have received a gracious and suitable answer. But they did not think of calling upon God; they demanded that a king should be given them, and brought forward the customs and institutions of other nations. Footnote


So, the problem with the elders was in their motivation, and not with their request. They were motivated to ask for a king because they did not trust God to take care of Israel, despite the fact that He had for hundreds of years. Their request revealed a general distrust in God and was a rejection of God, and that was the problem. As I have discussed before, the key is not the type of government, but the hearts of the people being governed.


In any case, God tells Samuel to acquiesce to the demands of the elders; however, prior to granting any such request, Samuel is to make it clear to these same elders what a king would do. Actually, the bulk of this chapter, vv. 10–18, will be devoted to the downside of Israel choosing a king to be over her. What Israel will gain in security and organization will be far offset by their loss of liberties and personally acquired capital.


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Samuel Warns the People about the Consequences of Their Petition


And so says Samuel all words of Yehowah unto the people the ones asking from him a king.

1Samuel

8:10

So Samuel communicated all the words of Yehowah to the people, the ones petitioning from him a king.

So Samuel communicated all the words of Jehovah to the people who were petitioning for a king.


First, what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Samuel all words of Yehowah unto the people the ones asking from him a king.

Septuagint                             And Samuel spoke every word of the Lord to the people who asked of him a king.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NAB                                       Samuel delivered the message of the Lord in full to those who were asking him for a king.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people, who were asking him for a king.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king.

Young's Updated LT              And Samuel spoke all the words of Jehovah unto the people who are asking form him a king,...


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel tells the elders all that God told him.


1Samuel 8:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct with a masculine plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

words, sayings, doctrines, commands; things, matters, reports

masculine plural construct

Strong's #1697 BDB #182

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: So Samuel communicated all the words of Yehowah to the people,... Even though we have a myriad of spiritual functions in the Old Testament, the end result was the man of God was to communicate the word of God to the people of God.


I want to point out that Samuel was much different in style than Moses. Moses would record every single word of God, carefully, and indicate that these are the words spoken by God. It is actually unclear where vv. 7–9 comprise all of God's words to Samuel, or whether God had more to say on this subject. Samuel clearly speaks these words to the elders (v. 10) and then adds a few of his own (v. 11a). Whether the words he adds are from doctrine in his soul or from what God said to him is unknown; however, given that God appeared to Samuel on several occasions at Shiloh (1Sam. 3:21), it is clear that we are never told everything that God said to Samuel.


1Samuel 8:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask [petition, request, inquire]; to demand; to question, to interrogate; to ask [for a loan]; to consult; to salute

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

Together, min êth mean from proximity with, from with, from close proximity to, to proceed from someone. A good up-to-date rendering might be directly from.

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: ...the ones petitioning from him a king. Samuel speaks to God, then he returns to the elders and communicates to them what God has said. There are a lot of particulars left out—how exactly did God communicate to Samuel? What sort of a time frame are we talking about here? Did Samuel simply go to a private place to pray and return an hour later? Did he sleep on it, during which time he listened to God? However, even though we lack the particulars, we have the information that we need. Samuel was confronted with a request that he knew was wrong; he took this request to God and God sent him back to the elders with a granting of this request, accompanied by a stern warning. What the NIV Study Bible suggests is that Samuel will draw this information from the behavior of the Canaanites kings who lived in the land. Footnote Furthermore, after saying these things to the elders, then Samuel will write them down as a witness against the people of Israel (1Sam. 10:25).


In the next several verses, Samuel will list the reasons why having a king is not the best political choice. This has been neatly summed up. The problems they [the Israelites] would experience would include a military draft, the servitude of the populace, widespread royal confiscation of private property, taxation and loss of personal liberty. Footnote So Samuel does not even approach this problem from a spiritual stance. What he presents to the elders of Israel is simply a list of civil problems associated with the appointing of a monarch over Israel. Like so many other human solutions, one problem is solved and five more problems take its place.


And so he says, “This is [the] judgment of the king who reigns over you: your sons he takes and he has placed for himself in his chariot and in his horsemen and they have run from faces of his chariot;...

1Samuel

8:11

Then he said, “These are the customs of a king who would rule over you: he will seize your sons and appoint [them] to himself as [manning] his chariots and as his horsemen and they will be mobilized before his chariots.

And then he began to explain, “This is how a king who ruled over you would behave—he would seize your sons and use them in his army—they would man his chariots, they would be his horsemen, and they would be foot soldiers who walk before the chariots.


Let’s see how others dealt with this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he says, “This is [the] judgment of the king who reigns over you: your sons he takes and he has placed for himself in his chariot and in his horsemen and they have run from faces of his chariot;...

Septuagint                             And he said, “This will be the manner [or, judgement] of the king that will rule over you; he will take your sons and put them in his chariots, and among his horsemen, and running beside his chariots,...

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences. The final phrase is simply a problem of translation.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         He said, "This is the way the kind of king you're talking about operates. He'll take your sons and make soldiers of them--chariotry, cavalry, infantry,...

NLT                                This is how a king will treat you,” Samuel said, “The king will draft your sons into his army and make them run before his chariots.

TEV                                       “This is how your king will treat you,” Samuel explained. “He will make soldiers of your sons; some of them will serve in his war chariots, others in his cavalry, and others will run before his chariots.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         Samuel said, “These are the rights of a king: He will draft your sons, make them serve on his chariots and horses, and make them run ahead of his chariots.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He said, “This will be the practice of the king who will rule over you: He will take your sons and appoint them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will serve as outrunners for his chariots.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And he said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.

Young's Updated LT              ...and says, ‘This is the custom of the king who does reign over you: You sons he does take, and has appointed for himself among his chariots, and among his horsemen, and they have run before his chariots;...


What is the gist of this verse? A king would draft many of the young men of Israel for a personal army.


1Samuel 8:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

mîshepâţ (ט ָ  ׃ש  ̣מ) [pronounced mishe-PAWT]

judgement, justice, a verdict rendered by a judge, a judicial decision, a judicial sentence, a verdict, the judgement of the court

masculine singular construct

Strong's #4941 BDB #1048

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752


Translation: Then he said, “These are the customs of a king who would rule over you:... From this point on, for several verses, Samuel will make it clear what a king would do as a part of his rulership over Israel.


Samuel now presents a very organized list of what a king will do to those in Israel:

What a King would Do in Israel

1.    First, Samuel explains what will happen to their sons. The young men of Israel would be drafted into an army, possibly during peace time; and they would function as virtual slaves of the king, even to plowing his fields and reaping his harvests. They would also build weapons, although these weapons are clearly for the king, and not for them. That is, they may or may not get to use the weapons that they construct. 1Sam. 8:11–12

2.    Then Samuel tells the elders what would be done with their daughters—their daughters would also function as virtual slaves of the king, as his cooks, bakers and perfumers. 1Sam. 8:13

3.    The king will take from their fields and vineyards. In essence, this would be an additional 10% tax over and above their responsibilities to the Tabernacle and the Levites. 1Sam. 8:14–15

4.    The king would also take from their labor force—their slaves and all that comes with the slaves (their work animals, for instance). 1Sam. 8:16

5.    Finally, the king would take a portion of their livestock. 1Sam. 8:17

In v. 18, we hear the reaction of the people to having a king over them. The people respond, “Still, we want a king who will fight our battles for us.” What we have is the classic tradeoff between perceived security and personal freedom. There is a lot to pay for human security, which may not be very secure.


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1Samuel 8:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; pausal form

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sîym (םי ̣) [pronounced seem]; also spelled sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set, to make

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...he will seize your sons and appoint [them] to himself... The most important thing in a family in Israel was its sons. The first thing that a king must do is put together a standing army. So he will take the sons for this. Now the war against the Philistines was severe all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any mighty man or any valiant man, he attached him to his staff (1Sam. 14:52). This was a draft and there would be few if any exceptions. The Law gives us some exceptions; however, it is doubtful that Saul (Israel's next king) ever paid much attention to those, as he appeared to pay very little attention to the Word of God.


1Samuel 8:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

merekâbâh (הָבָר∵מ) [pronounced mere-kawb-VAW]

chariot, war chariot

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4818 BDB #939

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

The slight problem is that we have the bêyth preposition here rather than a lâmed. My thinking is that the bêyth simply points to the object of the verb, much like a direct object; however, I do not have much by way of documentation to stand on. A second and more likely possibility is that bêyth may be rendered as, which would solve all of our problems here. Then, it would not be a bêyth preposition (ב), but a kîy preposition (כ), a mistake which occurs occasionally. We do have the possibility that the bêyth preposition may itself be rendered as. Footnote

pârâsh (שָרָ) [pronounced paw-RASH]

horse, steed; horseman

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6571 BDB #832


Translation: ...as [manning] his chariots and as his horsemen... An army must have mobility, and a king would call for men to make up his mobile force. David, when he had defeated the Philistines in battle, took 100 chariots and the horses for those chariots as the prize of his victory (2Sam. 8:4). Footnote Solomon had 4000 stalls for his chariot horses (1Kings 4:26) and 1400 chariots (1Kings 10:26).


Samuel continues with how the children of Israel will be inducted into the armed forces. The preposition is a little confusing here, as mentioned above in the Hebrew exegesis: “...and for his horsemen...” We really do not have either the preposition as or for here. Some discussion of this is above.


1Samuel 8:11d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

rûts (ץר) [pronounced roots]

to run, to hasten to; to move quickly [and with purpose]; to rush upon [in a hostile manner]

3rd person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7323 BDB #930

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of.

merekâbâh (הָבָר∵מ) [pronounced mere-kawb-VAW]

chariot, war chariot

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4818 BDB #939


Translation: ...and they will be mobilized before his chariots. Or, “...and they will run before his chariot [or, chariots].” The reference here is that they will be foot soldiers running before the chariot army, or that they will surround and run before the chariot of the king. The former is more in line with the context and previous use of the word merekâbâth. Also, the idea of them running before these chariots is really a reference to the foot soldiers; therefore, these are the men who will be mobilized before the chariots of the king’s army. Those attached to the king’s chariot also functioned as body guards and enforcers; they are almost a retinue or an entourage to satisfy the vanity of the charioteer. Now it was after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men as runners before him (2Sam. 15:1). Now Adonijah ben Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” So he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him. (1Kings 1:5). This same word for runners in 2Sam. 15:1 is found in connection with Saul’s personal guards in 1Sam. 22:17 (see also 1Kings 14:27–28 and I1Kings 10:25 for a similar usage).


Therefore, if the Israelites have a king over them, then he will take their sons and put them into all three branches of their military: charioteers, horsemen and foot soldiers. However, this is not the only place where he will use these men. There is also the support for the military, which in part supports the king himself. That is, the king is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. One of the reasons that the elders will cite for desiring a king will be his ability to quickly mobilize a defense force when needed. Well, these men do not just pop out of nowhere, nor are their supplies free. You should grasp how in previous battles, the term citizen-soldier was no more apt than when applied to Israel. All males were conscripted into military service. They all had whatever weapons they found necessary to conduct their lives with, they put those weapons on their backs, and showed up when it was necessary. They rode their own horses. These men who went to war did not get a government-issued uniform or government-issued horse or government-issued horse or even government-issued c-rations. All of these things were provided by the soldiers themselves (when David will visit his brothers on the front lines in 1Sam. 18, we will see that he also brings them food).


...and to place for himself leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties; and to plow his plowing and to harvest his harvest and to make articles of his war and articles of his chariots.

1Samuel

8:12

Furthermore, he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties; and to plow his ground [lit., plow his plowing] and to reap his harvest and to manufacture his articles of war and his chariot parts.

“Furthermore, he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and sub-commanders over fifties; and he will appoint others to plow his ground, to reap his harvest and to manufacture weapons for war and chariot parts.


The king of Israel, as mentioned, is commander-in-chief over the armed forces of Israel. These armed forces will become organized and the government will provide some of the weapons, supplies and the armored division (their chariots). As commander-in-chief, the king will also reap some of the benefits of government-issued supplies. In the government of the United States, the budget for the military is separate from the budget for the White House. One budget provides for the necessary supplies of the military, along with all of its staff, provisions and armaments. The other budget sees to the staffing and provisions of the executive branch of the government. In both cases, this money comes from the same place: the taxpayer. Footnote In this verse, we will look at the supplying of the needs of the armed force of Israel, which will include the needs of the king himself and his own personal staff. At that time, this would not be seen as a separate or different expense.


Now the other translations:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...and to place for himself leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties; and to plow his plowing and to harvest his harvest and to make articles of his war and articles of his chariots.

Septuagint                             ...and to make them to himself captains of hundreds and captains of thousands; and to reap his harvest, and gather his vintage, and prepare his instruments of war, and the implements of his chariots.

 

Significant differences:          The LXX adds that these young men will also harvest the grapes for the king's wine. Also, the numbering is somewhat different. Apart from these things, there are no significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         ...regimented in battalions and squadrons. He'll put some to forced labor on his farms, plowing and harvesting, and others to making either weapons of war or chariots in which he can ride in luxury.

NEB                                       Some he will appoint officers over units of thousand and units of fifty. Others will plough his fields and reap his harvest; others again will make weapons of war and equipment for mounted troops.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        He will appoint them as his chiefs of thousands and of fifties; or they will have to plow his fields, reap his harvest, and make his weapons and the equipment for his chariots.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing [lit., to plow his plowing] and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.

Young's Updated LT              ‘...also to appoint for himself heads of thousands, and heads of fifties; also to plow his plowing, and to reap his reaping; and to make instruments of his war, and instruments of his charioteer.


What is the gist of this verse? Some men would be drafted as leaders; and some men would be drafted to function as servants in the fields and factories of the king.


1Samuel 8:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

sûwm (ם) [pronounced soom]

to put, to place, to set, to make

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #7760 BDB #962

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

ălâphîym (מי.פָלֲא) pronounced uh-law-FEEM]

thousands, families, [military] units

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #505 (and #504) BDB #48

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

chămishîym (םי ̣ש ̣מֲח) [pronounced kheh-mih-SHEEM]

fifty

plural numeral

Strong’s #2572 BDB #332


Translation: Furthermore, he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties;... We essentially continue the previous verse. Samuel names the other places where the sons of the Israelites will be put into public service (most of it on behalf of the king and the military).


For personal reasons, I would not be surprised if this word turned out to refer to a much lower amount, e.g., five hundred. We have beat into our brains a system based upon tens. This was not the case for all ancient civilizations. Given the Roman notation for 5's, 50's, 500's and 5000's, there is no reason to suppose that the ancient Hebrews functioned on a base-10 numbering system. The Arabic numbering system, which we use today, was not commonly used until the late 1500's. Footnote This gives us: “And to appoint leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties;...” Every army requires strong organization. Men’s lives are constantly being put at risk, and their blood is used to purchase land, time and victory. Apart from training, it is not normally one’s predilection to run into battle; therefore, careful organization is necessary for the movement of troops. This particular organization was at least as old as the time of Moses (Num. 31:14 Deut. 1:15) and was practiced by the Canaanites as well (1Sam. 29:2). When Saul realized that he was losing the loyalty of the people of Israel, he said to the men (concerning David): “Listen now, O Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give to all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds?” (1Sam. 22:7b).


1Samuel 8:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

chârash (ש-רָח) [pronounced chaw-RAHASH]

to cut in, to engrave, to inscribe; to fabricate [out of wood or metal]; to fabricate, devise or plot [evil]; to plough (cutting furrows)

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #2790 BDB #360

chârîysh (שי .רָח) [pronounced khaw-REESH]

plowing, plowing-time

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #2758 BDB #361


Translation: ...and to plow his ground [lit., plow his plowing]... It is unclear whether this is for the king himself or to provide rations for his troops. It is probably a task which will provide for both, given the context.


1Samuel 8:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

qâtsar (ר-צָק) [pronounced kaw-TSAR]

to be short, to come short of, to cut off [with regards to grain], to reap, to harvest

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #7114 BDB #894

qâtsîyr (רי.צָק) [pronounced kaw-TZEER]

harvesting, harvest

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7105 BDB #894


Translation: ...and to reap his harvest... As in v. 12b, it appears by context that these men would be employed to serve both the king and his armies by harvesting his crops. There is no indication that they would be reasonably remunerated for their services.


1Samuel 8:12d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

kelîy (י.ל) [pronounced kelee]

manufactured good, artifact, article, utensil, vessel, weapon, armor, furniture, receptacle; baggage, valuables

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #3627 BDB #479

milechâmâh (הָמָח׃ל ̣מ) [pronounced mil-khaw-MAW]

battle, war

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4421 BDB #536

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kelîy (י.ל) [pronounced kelee]

manufactured good, artifact, article, utensil, vessel, weapon, armor, furniture, receptacle; baggage, valuables

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #3627 BDB #479

merekâbâh (הָבָר∵מ) [pronounced mere-kawb-VAW]

chariot, war chariot

feminine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4818 BDB #939


Translation: ...and to manufacture his articles of war and his chariot parts. You will note in both cases we have the masculine singular suffix his, indicating that not all wars will be those which are popular. When a king has a standing army, he does not have to enter into wars which make sense—he can go to war for any reason that he feels. We will see that Saul will gather up his entire army on several occasions to go after David, a man who is not seditious or dangerous to the national security of Israel. In fact, David will be one of the most patriotic and loyal men in Israel.


One also must get a grasp of the idea of a chariot back then. There are celebrities who collect cars and may own 20–30 cars of a varied vintage. A king would be able to so indulge himself and own as many ancient cars as he chose to. And Solomon amassed chariots and horsemen. He had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he station them in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem. (I1Chron. 1:14; see I1Chron. 9:25 as well). These chariots do not have to be necessarily used in war. Men love to collect gadgets and large toys; there is no reason to assume that any king of Israel will be genetically different.


And your daughters he will take for perfumers and for cooks and for bakers.

1Samuel

8:13

And he will take your daughters to [be] perfumers, cooks and bakers.

And he will also take your daughters to function as his own personal servants—as perfumers, cooks and bakers.


The king will also press some of the daughters into civil service. Here are some translations of this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And your daughters he will take for perfumers and for cooks and for bakers.

Septuagint                             And your daughters he will take to [be] perfumers, and to [be] cooks and to [be] bakers,... Footnote

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         He'll put your daughters to work as beauticians and waitresses and cooks.

NAB                                       He will use your daughters as ointment-makers, as cooks, and as bakers.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        He will take your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “He will also take our daughters for perfumers, and cooks and bakers.

Young's Updated LT              ‘And your daughters he does take for perfumers, and for cooks, and for bakers;...


What is the gist of this verse? It will not just be sons who are used by the king, but daughters as well, who will function as cooks, bakers and perfumers.


1Samuel 8:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

bath (ת ַ) [pronounced bahth]

daughter; village

feminine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #1323 BDB #123

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; pausal form

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542


Translation: And he will take your daughters... Any future king would have carte blanc with relation to the people. He can take anyone that he finds and use them how he wishes. The king would certainly have women around him just as he would have men around him.


1Samuel 8:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

raqqâchâh (הָח ָ -ר) [pronounced rahk-kaw-KHAW]

a female perfumer, a female ointment maker

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #7548 BDB #955


Translation: ...to [be] perfumers,... I don't think that anyone really appreciates the smells of the modern world (or lack thereof) which we have come to take for granted. We have toilets which flush away our waste; garbage companies which take away our garbage; air conditioning which removes humidity, and therefore removes many odors from the air. Those in the ancient world did have some of these conveniences to a limited degree; however, nothing as we have today. I am fully aware that my living conditions are far better than the living conditions of even a king or a president of 200 years ago. In the ancient world, the smells could be quite repugnant and I suspect that many of us, if we were instantly transported into the ancient world, would be most displeased with how the average residence smells. So, what a king did is, he would have those who would mask the smells of the ancient world; to make them easier to handle. So, some women would be drafted into the service of simply making the king's residence more livable. It should be obvious that this function has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting Israel from external threats.


1Samuel 8:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

ţabbâchâh (הָחָ-ט) [pronounced tahb-baw-KHAW]

female cook

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #2879 BDB #371

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âphâh (הָפ ָא) [pronounced aw-FAW]

to bake, to cook

feminine plural, Qal active participle

Strong’s #644 BDB #66


Translation: ...cooks and bakers. In case you ever thought that the woman’s place is in the home, the philosophy of some kings would be that the woman’s place is in his home. Here, what we are looking at is a king who simply presses women into civil service, which does not mean that they work for the benefit of the state, but that they work for the state, but for the benefit of the king and his staff.


The king is certainly not going to give to his armed forces all kinds of support, and yet withhold things from himself. When you are in the position of being able to acquire material wealth, you tend to do this. If we had the ability to acquire servants and material wealth, we would do this as well. This is simply what a king would do.


Interestingly enough, although we would expect a mention in this passage about accumulation of wives, that is not mentioned. A king, in many instances, is going to be a normal male—except a normal male with great power and loads of money, each of which is a great attraction to women. David, Israel’s second king, had a handful of wives and was often on the prowl for more. His son and Israel’s third king, Solomon, collected wives as most men collect CD’s. He had a thousand women (wives and mistresses). Although we would expect for this to be mentioned, it is not. However, Deut. 17:17 mentions this prohibition: “Neither shall he [the king] multiply wives for himself, so that his heart is not turned away; nor will he greatly increase silver and gold for himself.” A king is in a unique position of power; whatever he sees, he can have. Whatever wants or desires that he has, he can fulfill. Much of the book of Ecclesiastes is that of King Solomon having money, power and intelligence and searching for a way to satiate his soul. All that my eyes desired, I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. So I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold, all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun (Eccles. 2:10–11). Solomon completed a great many public projects; he built buildings, he employed the people of Israel; and, as a reward for that, he took whatever it was that he wanted. And in satiating every desire and lust, and having virtually unlimited resources, Solomon concluded that it was not satisfying. Now, on the one hand, we have the testimony of this sort of life given in Ecclesiastes; on the other hand, those under the rule of Solomon were taxed excessively so that Solomon could do whatever it was that he wanted to do.


One of the very goofy theories proposed is that part of this chapter was written much later, during the reign of Solomon, and that the excesses of his reign were in view here. There are things which he did that would be objectionable to the average person's sensibilities which are not mentioned here. The collection of wives and mistresses for one. If some self-righteous, religious type was adding his own ideas to this narrative, you can be damned sure he's tell us about how bad it is for kings to multiply wives to themselves. He might further point out how these women will lead the king astray (which they did to King Solomon). This author would probably mention Solomon's building projects as well, as Solomon must have pressed thousands of men into public service in order to build all that he built. However, none of this is alluded to—and do you know why? None of this is mentioned, because no one during the time of Solomon (or after his time) wrote this material. It would be illogical to think that someone else added this material a hundred years later and yet left out commenting on a king multiplying wives to himself.


There are so many goofy theories out there, and yet none of them really examine themselves very carefully. That is, they don't really explore their own theories any further than to discredit Scripture. As you study Scripture further and read various commentators, you are going to find a whole host of goofy theories of when this or that book was written; that there were several people involved; and, invariably, the authorship is never by the person credited with authorship, but it is always written hundreds of years later to reflect some theological bias. Where does this come from? Negative volition. This comes from rebellion against God. Theological students can rebel against God just like you or me. They can reject Jesus Christ as Savior; they can reject Jesus Christ as God; and then, they can go to great lengths to justify their negative volition. Simply recognize what they are doing. Simply examine their theories further than they do themselves. As I mentioned, one popular theory is that no prophet could have foreknown this stuff; that someone during the time of Solomon must have written these things. However, as pointed out, if this happened, then that alleged writer of Scripture (or adder to Scripture), skipped the things which come to our mind first about Solomon. Samuel's predictions here are reasonable and not necessarily a result of God revealing this information to him directly. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even people without spiritual understanding have some grasp of this. Why on earth would anyone come up with these fanciful theories when there is no need for them in the first place? The answer is, negative volition—pure and simple.


And your field and your vineyards and your olive trees—the good ones—he will seize and he has given [them] to his servants.

1Samuel

8:14

And he will seize your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and he will give [them] to his servants.

Furthermore, he will seize your very best fields, vineyards and olive orchards and he will give these lands to his own servants to keep.


Now, not only do we have the insult that the king will press into personal service the sons and daughters of Israel, but that he will then take the choicest of the fields and orchards of the populace and give these over to these new servants. The translations:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And your field and your vineyards and your olive trees—the good ones—he will seize and he has given [them] to his servants.

The Septuagint                      And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your good olive orchards, and give them to his servants.

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         He'll conscript your best fields, vineyards, and orchards and hand them over to his special friends.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

Complete Jewish Bible          He will expropriate your fields, vineyards and olive groves—the very best of them!—and hand them over to his servants.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He will seize your choice fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “And he will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.

Young's Updated LT              ...and your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive yards—the best—he does take, and has given to his servants.


What is the gist of this verse? Not only would the king draft men and women into civil service, but we will even take whatever fields or vineyards appeal to him.


1Samuel 8:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

sâdeh (ה∵דָ) [pronounced saw-DEH]

field, land, country, open field, open country

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #7704 BDB #961

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kerem (ם∵ר∵) [pronounced keh-REM]

vineyard, orchard

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3754 BDB #501

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

zayith (ת̣י-ז) [pronounced ZAH-teeth]

olive orchard

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #2132 BDB #268

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine plural adjective which acts like a substantive; with the definite article

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; pausal form

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542


Translation: And he will seize your best fields, vineyards, and olive orchards... The king, as I said before, has carte blanc in relation to his country—he can go anywhere and take anything. He might see a piece of land which he likes; he can simply take it. He might see a field with great crops and wonderful yields—and he can simply take it. Recently, this has been a point of contention in our own government (the US government). The Supreme Court (if memory serves) has ruled that the government can seize land and allow it to be developed in a different way than it is at this point in time. This is in direct violation to the Bill of Rights. However, when one has power, one often exercises that power.


One older illustration of this is from the Old Testament—Jezebel, wife of Ahab, takes Naboth’s vineyard for Ahab: And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” (1Kings 21:7; see also Ezek. 46:18).


1Samuel 8:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713


Translation: ...and he will give [them] to his servants. This is what the king will do with these farmlands: “...and he will give [them] to his servants.” And who are his servants? Either the young men and women whom the king has taken into service or slaves captured by the young men or purchased with tax money. We have a similar provision in our law called Eminent Domain. Our approach is a bit more reasonable, as, although it allows the government to seize private land for public use, it also stipulates that a price must be paid for the land which is taken. What the price should be, of course, is problematic—but anytime there is a government, there will be powers of that government which encroach personal freedom and private property. The bigger the government, often the greater the encroachment on personal freedom.


This gives us an idea as to the loyalties of a king. He sees his servants each and every day. His loyalty to them will tend to be far greater than his loyalty to the people of Israel, whom he is appointed to serve. Therefore, it will be nothing to a king to seize whatever he wants from a citizen and to give that to a personal servant.


And your seeds and your vineyards—he will take a tenth and he has given [it] to his warlords and to his servants.

1Samuel

8:15

Furthermore, he will take a tenth of your seeds and your vineyards and give [it] to his warlords and his servants.

Furthermore, he will seize a tenth of your raw materials and your land and turn around and give it to his own warlords or to his own servants.


First, what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And your seeds and your vineyards—he will take a tenth and he has given [it] to his warlords and to his servants.

The Septuagint                      And he will take the tithe of your seeds and your vineyards, and give to his eunuchs, and to his servants.

 

Significant differences:          There is one major difference between the Greek and the Hebrew; in the Greek, some of what the king takes in as revenue will go to eunuchs. In the Hebrew (and Syriac), this goes to his army officers.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         He'll tax your harvests and vintage to support his extensive bureaucracy.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         He will take a tenth of your grain and wine and give it to his aids and officials.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He will take a tenth part of your grain and vintage and give it to his eunuchs and courtiers.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “And he will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards, and give to his officers and to his servants.

Young's Updated LT              And your seed and your vineyards he does tithe, and has give to his eunuchs, and to his servants.


What is the gist of this verse? The king would take some of the taxes (which could include 10% of the seed which is harvested to use again) and give this to his own servants and officers.


1Samuel 8:15a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

zera׳ (ע -ר∵ז) [pronounced ZEH-rahģ]

a seed, a sowing, an offspring

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #2233 BDB #282

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

kerem (ם∵ר∵) [pronounced keh-REM]

vineyard, orchard

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #3754 BDB #501

׳âsar (ר-ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAHR]

to take a tenth of, to take a tithe of, to decimate, to tithe

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6237 BDB #797


Translation: Furthermore, he will take a tenth of your seeds and your vineyards... Given the context, this would not refer to people but to actual seed, which would be the basic resource for one’s crops. The king is the absolute ruler. Many of us believe that happiness occurs with the accumulation of things; a king has the ability to accumulate whatever it is that he wants to accumulate—he simply takes it from the subjects of his country.


Now, don’t get this tenth part confused with the amount that Israel was to give to God. Israel supported the Levites and the priesthood through a tenth of their possessions (Lev. 27:30–32 Num. 18:26 Deut. 14:22). In addition to this, every third year, an additional tenth was brought to support the poor (Deut. 14:28 26:12). However, what the king would take would be an additional tenth part of what the people had accumulated, and this would be for himself. NIV Study Bible: In fact, the demands of the king would parallel all that Israel was to consecrate to the Lord as her Great King (persons, lands, crops, [and] livestock). Footnote That is, the king would take to himself the same as God requires.


1Samuel 8:15b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

çerânîym (ןרס) [pronounced se-RAW-neem]

warlords, lords, princes, czars, generals, officers; officials, VIP’s

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5633 BDB #710

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

 

Translation: ...and give [it] to his warlords and his servants. One of the nouns here is the very common masculine noun çeren ר ס) [pronounced SEH-ren], which means warlord, tyrant, lord, princes, czar, potentate, despot. As already mentioned, the Greek has eunuchs here instead.


The seeds are the raw material needed for produce and the land is needed to plant the produce on. Any king of Israel will take a tenth of that (this is essentially income tax). We have already made mention of 1Sam. 22:7b, which reads: “Listen now, O Benjamites! Will the son of Jesse also give to all of you fields and vineyards? Will he make you all commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds?” Saul used the fields of his people to bribe the loyalty of his own supporters.


Now, for some real life application: this passage is a warning as to what will happen when a king is placed over Israel. However, we also have some guidance here with respect to government. Just as a case could be made for spiritual giving to be about 10% Footnote (I grimace to say that); a case could also be made, from this passage, for government to cost 10% of our income. When government begins to exceed this amount, then we have gone even beyond what Samuel is warning.


And your [male] servants and your maidservants and your young men—the best—and your donkeys—he will take them and he has made them to his work.

1Samuel

8:16

And he will take the best of your male servants, female servants and young men—and your donkeys—and he will make them [do] his work.

And he will take the best of your male and female servants as well as your young men and your donkeys, and he will put them to work for himself.


First, what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And your [male] servants and your maidservants and your young men—the best—and your donkeys—he will take them and he has made them to his work.

Septuagint                             And he will take your servants and your handmaids and your good herds and your asses, and he will take a tenth of them for his works.

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         Your prize workers and best animals he'll take for his own use.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         He will take your male and female slaves, your best cattle, and your donkeys for his own use.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He will take your male and email slaves, your choice young men [Septuagint reads cattle] and your asses, and put them to work for him.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use [lit., make] them for his work.

Young's Updated LT              And your male servants and your maidservants, and your young men—the best, and your asses, he does take, and has prepared for his own work;...


What is the gist of this verse? The king could seize anyone that he chose, including any servant, no matter what had been paid for that servant; and employ these people directly.


1Samuel 8:16a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

shiphechâh (הָחפ̣ש) [pronounced shif-KHAW]

maid, maid-servant, household servant

feminine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #8198 BDB #1046

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine plural adjective which acts like a substantive; with the definite article

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

chămôwr (רמ ֲח) [pronounced khuh-MOHR]

ass, male donkey, he-ass

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #2543 BDB #331

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect; pausal form

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542


Translation: And he will take the best of your male servants, female servants and young men—and your donkeys—... Although the first noun can be simply rendered servants, many most translations go with male servants (or a similar gender bearing noun) in order to contrast with the next noun, which is the feminine plural maid, maid-servant. The 3rd noun is young men. Footnote Instead, the Septuagint has cattle here. My thinking is that this verse parallels v. 14 where we have three items followed by the same adjective. These three items are modified by the definite article and the masculine plural adjective pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better. If this sounds familiar, it is because we had exactly the same thing in v. 14. Literally, this gives us: “And your male servants and your female servants and your young men—the best, and your donkeys...” These will become the king's personal servants; there is no remuneration paid for any of them. So the king would take sons and daughters, male and female servants, and they will become his servants. He will take land and seed and produce, and this will be used to support his huge staff.


1Samuel 8:16b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

melâkâh (ה ָכא ָל  ׃מ) [pronounced melaw-KAWH]

work, occupation, labor, workmanship, items produced by work?

feminine singular noun with the definite article with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4399 BDB #521


Translation: ...and he will make them [do] his work. We have an illustration of this in 1Kings 5:13–16: Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbers 30,000 men. And he sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month and two months at home. And Adoniram was over the forced laborers. Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains, besides Solomon’s 3300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work. Of these people taken by the king, there are a significant number of them which have nothing to do with national security. The king simply has the power and ability to induct whoever he wants into personal service, and what man would not be tempted by this kind of power?


Your flock he will take a tenth and you [even] you are to him for slaves.

1Samuel

8:17

He will take a tenth of your flock and even you are slaves to him.

He will take a tenth of your flock and even you are as slaves to him.


Interestingly enough, this is one of the very few verses which does not begin with a wâw conjunction. Here is what others have done with it:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       Your flock he will take a tenth and you [even] you are to him for slaves.

Septuagint                             And he will tithe your flocks; and you will be his servants.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         He'll lay a tax on your flocks and you'll end up no better than slaves.

NEB                                       He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        He will take a tenth part of your flocks, and you shall become his slaves.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants.

Young's Updated LT              ...your flock he does tithe, and you are to him for servants.


What is the gist of this verse? The king would take a tenth of the flocks of the people and they themselves (the population of Israel), for all intents and purposes, would be his servants.


1Samuel 8:17a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

tsôn (ןאֹצ) [pronounced tzohn]

small cattle, sheep and goats, flock, flocks

feminine singular collective noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6629 BDB #838

׳âsar (ר-ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAHR]

to take a tenth of, to take a tithe of, to decimate, to tithe

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #6237 BDB #797


Translation: He will take a tenth of your flock... A king would tax all that he could get away with. In general, he would take a tenth of all that belonged to the Israelites. Here, he is taking a tenth of their flocks.


1Samuel 8:17b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

attem (ם∵-א) [pronounced aht-TEM]

you all, you guys, you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine plural, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ebed (ד ב ע) [pronounced ĢEB-ved]

slave, servant

masculine plural noun

Strong’s #5650 BDB #713


Translation: ...and even you are slaves to him. The Israelites were not supposed to enslave one another (Lev. 25:39–46); that is, if one Israelite became so indebted to another that he chose to work off his debt as a slave, he still was to maintain his dignity and the owner was to treat his slave as a hired hand; and that, after a certain period of time, he was to be manumitted, debt-free. What Samuel is speaking of here is that the entire nation becomes indebted to the king. Whatever belongs to them that he wants, he takes, whether it is land, produce, animals or people—in essence, all of Israel is enslaved to their king.


Throughout this passage, we have what a king would take from the people. Israel did have a financial responsibility to the Levitical tribe and to the priesthood. 10% of their wealth went to support the Levites. Furthermore, an additional 10% every third year was given for the poor. Although we have instances of giving in the Old Testament, I do not recall the actual enforcing of this particular law anywhere. Given that Israel ignored its seven-year Sabbaths, I would not be surprised if they also went through periods of time where they did not support the priests and the Levites. The addition of a king increased the financial burden. An additional 10% of every form of wealth would be given to the king. My guess is that the percentage found throughout—10%—was a number pulled out of the air by Samuel, although he was inspired by God the Holy Spirit in doing so. Pretty much what this means is, if a king were placed into power over Israel, then the least they should expect to contribute is 10%. We have found that our contribution to government in the United States to be much, much higher (our total tax liability is not far from 50%). Footnote So Samuel’s point is that having a king is going to cost the general population of Israel. “You go home and look around your house; you might have 3 or 4 servants—the king is going to take one. You may have been blessed with many sons and daughters. The king will take a couple of them and press them into public service. You may have some beautiful land and great farm and grazing land. The king will look it over and take the best of it from you. Take a look at your livestock—your sheep, your cattle, your chickens—whatever it is that you have. The king is going to take a look and take a 10th of your livestock. Look at all your possessions of all sorts, and realize that a king is going to take 10% of them from you.”


What the king would do is quite interesting. When a country would oppress Israel and take money from them, it was often not much different than we find here. Their best lands would be seized; they would sometimes have to give up their sons or their daughters or their servants; and they would often pay tribute. This occurred occasionally with an antagonistic power; however this would occur all of the time with a king.


Application: Those in positions of power and those who seek to be in a position of power have often two different approaches to their power. The view most often taken is, “I’m now in charge and I am going to make some changes.” Or, “I’m in charge and you are going to do my bidding or else.” This person has power lust and is the worst type of person to be under (as I and many of you can attest to). There is also the one in charge who takes responsibility for those under him and sees himself as their servant. I recall working in a system where several principals saw their job as doing whatever they could to make it possible for me to teach. They were in authority over me, but they saw their function as making my job easier. That was so damn close to being in the millennium and I have never forgotten those few years. Most people who aspire to power or positions of authority have no concept of doing the best that they can for those under them. This does not mean that there is no place for an autocratic ruler. Moses was autocratic. However, he was also irreproachable in his behavior and he had a direct line to God, something which could not be said of most other leaders.


And you have cried out in the day the that from to faces of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves and will not answer Yehowah you in the day the that.”

1Samuel

8:18

And [when] you have cried out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, Yehowah will not answer you in that day.”

And when you cry out in that day because of the king whom you have chosen, Yehowah will not answer you.”


First, what others have done:



Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And you have cried out in the day the that from to faces of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves and will not answer Yehowah you in the day the that.”

Septuagint                             And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen to yourselves, and the Lord will not year you in those days, because you have chosen to yourselves a king.”

 

Significant differences:          The LXX essentially repeats a statement, which could have been a scribal error in the manuscript that they used. Its being left out of the MT could be a scribal error as well. In either case, the meaning of this verse is essentially the same.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don't expect GOD to answer."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):


 

JPS (Tanakh)                        The day will come when you cry out because of the king whom you yourselves have chosen; and the Lord will not answer you on that day.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

Young's Updated LT              And you have cried out in that day because of the king whom you have chosen for yourselves and Jehovah does not answer you in that day.


What is the gist of this verse? Israel would eventually cry out to God because of their king, but God would not answer them.


Throughout Israel’s history, when faced with great oppression or discipline, the people of Israel would call out to their God and He would hear them and answer them (e.g., Ex. 2:23–25 Judges 3:15). However, in this verse, Samuel warns them that they would cry out to God because of the king whom they had chosen, and God would not answer them. You see, it is their choice to have a king to take the place of God.


1Samuel 8:18a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

zâ׳aq (ק ַע ָז) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out, to call, to cry

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

that

masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun (with a definite article)

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, the two prepositions and pânîym mean from before, from the presence of, a from a position before a person or object, from before a place. However, this also expresses source or cause, and is also rendered because of, on account of.

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: And [when] you have cried out in that day because of your king... The verb means to cry out, to call, to cry. This is a word which is used for an utterance of horror, anxiety, alarm, distress, sorrow. At some point in time, Israel would call out to God because of their king. His oppression and his actions will become as awful as the oppression he was put in power to cure.


1Samuel 8:18b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

bâchar (ר ַח ָ) [pronounced baw-KHAHR]

to choose; Gesenius also lists to prove, to try, to examine, to approve, to choose, to select; to love, to delight in [something], to desire

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #977 BDB #103.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: ...whom you have chosen for yourselves,... So far, this verse reads: “And [when] you cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves,...” God has given a long list of grievances which the people will have about their king. It will come to the point of great oppression to where they call out to God for help.


Also, do you see how the choices of this generation would affect the lives of the many generations to follow? This generation is requiring Samuel to give them a king. However, there will be a king over Israel from now until 586 b.c. when Assyria will overrun Israel. The choice of this generation would affect Israel for the next 500 or so years.


1Samuel 8:18c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

that

masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun (with a definite article)

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214


Translation: ...Yehowah will not answer you in that day.” In previous situations, Israel might get out of fellowship through idolatry and then God would allow antagonistic peoples to impose their will over the Jews. However, when they turned to God, He would then deliver them. However, here, they are choosing a king, knowing full well what the end result would be. God warns them through Samuel that, under these circumstances, He would not deliver them from their own king. This is the choice of Israel, and Samuel is making certain that they know what they are choosing. They cried for help, but there was none to deliver. They cried even to Jehovah, but He did not answer them (Psalm 18:41). And you neglected all My counsel, and did not want My reproof. I will even laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your dying fear comes, when your dying fear comes like a storm, and your calamity comes on like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come on you. They will call on Me, but I will not answer; they will seek Me diligently, but they will not find Me. Because they hated knowledge, and did not chose the fear of Jehovah, they would not accept My counsel, they spurned all My reproof. So they will eat the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own evil conspiracies (Prov. 1:25–31). “So when you spread out your hands [toward God in prayer, or to God in helpless desperation], I will hide My eyes from you. Furthermore, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of bloodshed.” (Isa. 1:15). Then they will cry out to Jehovah and He will not answer them. Instead, He will hide His face from them at that time, because they have practiced evil deeds (Micah 3:5). Note that, in these passages, the reason that God does not listen to the Israelites is not based upon their asking for a king. That was simply one illustration of their negative volition toward Him. Their acts which followed were all indicative of their negative volition toward Him.


There is always the anti-prophetic approach to Scripture. There are apparently those who allege that this passage was written long after the establishment of the monarchy (and later the split monarchy) in Israel. Footnote They allege that these problems mentioned could not have been foretold, and therefore one writing from the time of the divided kingdom would have, in retrospect, listed these problems, and then inserted them into Scripture. There are a couple of problems with this interpretation which go beyond simple theological differences. (1) If that sort of cheating was to take place, we would expect to later find in Scripture the people crying out to God over Ahab and Jezebel (or because of some other degenerate and evil king); but we do not. If you are going to add to Scripture, why not do it right? (2) This prediction is not a difficult one to make. The Israelites were surrounded by heathen nations with heathen kings. When entering into Canaan, the Jews had destroyed city after city where the city was ruled by a city king. We would be foolish to think that it was beyond Samuel’s ability to suggest these things when he lives in the midst of example after example of kings doing these things to their own nation. In other words, we are not speaking of some great, hidden theological insight, but a reasonable expectation of the results of Israel being ruled by a king. In other words, even apart from God’s guidance and counsel, any reasonably bright person could have predicted what Samuel predicts here. Therefore, there is no reason to assume that some future author wrote this stuff down and inserted into Scripture.


Those who make these suggestions have this agenda, so to speak, which we should recognize. They want to remove all vestiges of the supernatural from Scripture, and they will use any and all means to do so, including theories who convolution is legendary. What they completely ignore is the incredible reverence with which the Jews gave to the Holy Scriptures. Given the fact that the Old Testament manuscripts used in the translation of the Septuagint (circa 100 b.c.) and those which we have today (from 800–1000 a.d.), the differences are few and can generally be attributed to errors in transmission. There are very, very few additions which crept into Scripture. If one wants to counter with the argument that we treat the Scriptures with reverence now, but they did not way, way back when. If they were not Scriptures back then, why make changes in the first place? That would presuppose that one who altered Scripture by adding to it would be doing so to manuscripts not seen as holy during his time, but would later be seen as from God. Therefore, such a one who would add to Scripture would have to recognize that what he was adding to would become revered hundreds of years later, even though it was not so revered at that time. That would make no sense at all, particularly to one who was anti-supernatural.


Let's take this in points...

Why is it Illogical that Someone Added Long Passages to the Scriptures?

1.    We know that, through most of Israel's history, there was a great reverence of the Scriptures.

2.    This is clearly shown when we compare the Septuagint, a translation made in 300–200 b.c. to the MT of 900–1000 a.d. The differences are trivial and often easy to explain (the book of Samuel has probably the greatest number of differences of any book).

3.    This same reverence can be confirmed with the Dead Sea Scrolls, also from the same era roughly as the Septuagint. There is very little variance between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Masoretic text.

4.    So, this gives us two options: these Scriptures were always revered, or, sometime prior to the translation of the LXX, they were not so revered.

5.    If these Scriptures were revered, then it is unlikely that anyone would have added huge portions to them. The priests had access to the Scriptures as did the king, and the addition of large portions of Scripture would have caused these Scriptures to be less revered. So, instead of reaching a point to where every word was seen as inspired, they would have felt just the opposite. The end result would have been a much less accurate transmission of Scripture.

6.    The other option is, these historical records were not seen as inspired. So, an author who intended to add to these records would have to both go back and insert passages to indicate that these records are inspired and then add whatever viewpoint he wants to add. Then, the author has to wait hundreds of years for these records to become revered, so that his viewpoint can become the Law of God.

7.    This is illogical. Why would such an author want his influence to kick in long after he is dead? And, how would this author be able to predict that these historical records, which he has partially forged, will become so revered that his additions will be seen an God's Word?

8.    If people viewed this as God's Word to begin with, then how is someone going to make changes and additions to Scripture without this being noticed?

9.    If people did not view this as God's Word, then why go to so much effort to make these changes and additions in the first place?

10.  Furthermore, liberal theologians who cannot believe that there is real prophecy in Scripture, have to believe that this did not occur on just one occasion by one author, but that several different men made these additions and changes over a period of a thousand years—so these objections hold each and every time for each and every unknown author who supposedly made these changes.

11.  Also note what is missing: men who have the idea that their philosophy is so great that everyone should listen to them tend to be egotistical enough to want their name affixed to their philosophy. However, if all of these changes and additions were made after the fact, and on several occasions, somehow, not one single person got his name inserted in such a way as to give him credit for his great religious and philosophical thinking? All the credit falls into the laps of the historical figures whose lives they have supposedly distorted. In this passage, Samuel is seen as the great prophet, and no credit is given to the person who supposedly added vv. 11–18.

12.  My point is, what is proposed by liberal theology—that huge portions of Scripture were written long after the fact and with a specific viewpoint, and that these huge portions of Scripture were interwoven into what was already written—this is illogical. It does not make sense that people would, a century later, suddenly blindly follow these doctored records as Scripture; and it does not make sense that this would have been done on several occasions by several different men, but without any of them getting credit and without any of their ideas of philosophies coming to light until after their deaths.

Liberal theology particularly dislikes the idea that Samuel really was a prophet—that he really could see into the future and make the predictions that we find here, and that he could really be accurate in these predictions. What they propose is, someone inserted this passage a century later, and then, somehow, no one noticed.

Furthermore, some theologians, like Robinson, suggest that these inserted prophecies came from the time of Solomon. Solomon, although he did use a lot of the resources of the people of Israel also ruled during a very prosperous time for Israel. This was Israel's golden age. Someone would have to be high up in office to be able to get to the Scriptures of God during Solomon's time. He would have to be dissatisfied with Solomon in order to use Solomon as an example of what a king should not be. It is illogical that he would have come to such a high position and, at the same time, would be unhappy about it. And, most importantly, he would have had to have made changes in Scripture which Solomon had learned as a child and had reviewed from time to time throughout his life. How on earth did he pull that off? Again, it is illogical to think that this passage got added into the Scriptures sometime after it was written.


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To quote from Keil and Delitzsch, who present the correct view of this passage: This description, which contains a fearful picture of the tyranny of the king, is drawn from the despotic conduct of the heathen kings, and does not presuppose, as many have maintained, the times of the later kings, which were so full of painful experiences. Footnote


King Solomon was a mixed blessing to Israel. Because of his father David, he lived during a time of great prosperity and peace. Because of the people’s love for King David, Solomon enjoyed unprecedented power. He went in for a great many experiments, the cost of which fell upon the shoulders of the people of Israel. The book of Ecclesiastes, a great book of Scripture, reveals Solomon chasing after happiness in a number of different ways. His building projects—leaving behind great buildings to testify to his greatness after his death—did not come cheap. They involved great expense and a tremendous amount of labor. All of this fell upon the shoulders of the working class in Israel, as well as upon the shoulders of the slaves and those Solomon pressed into civil service. His collection of things and women also required great daily provisions (1Kings 4:22–25). After Solomon’s death, when his son Rehoboam was to rule, the people spoke to him about Solomon: “Your father made our yoke hard; therefore, lighten the hard service of your father and his heavy yoke which he put on us, and we will serve you.” (1Kings 12:4).


On the other hand, one must balance this with the fact that, Israel enjoyed great prosperity during Solomon's reign. There was no war and the people were free to plant, tend to their orchards and flocks, and enjoy life. So, even though Solomon did press many of them into service, he also did it during a time when the end result would not be that they would lose their lives in battle, but that they would be involved in huge building projects for buildings which would last for centuries.


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Samuel’s List of the Ill Effects of Having a King

Summation

Historical Example

1.    The king would seize the sons of his subjects for the king’s army (vv. 11a, 12a).

2.    The king would seize the sons of his subjects for his personal entourage (v. 11b).

3.    The king would takes the sons of Israel to plow, plant and harvest that land which he seized from the people in the first place (v. 12b).

4.    The king would take the sons of Israel to manufacture the implements of war, as well as his chariots (v. 12c).

5.    The king would takes the daughters of Israel as his own personal servants (v. 13).

6.    The king would seize the property which belonged to others for his own (vv. 14–15).

7.    The king would seize a tenth of one’s servants as his own (v. 16).

8.    The king would seize a tenth of the cattle belonging to the people for himself (v. 17).

9.    Finally, the people would call out to God and He would no longer hear them (v. 18).

Now the war against the Philistines was severe all the days of Saul; and when Saul saw any mighty man or any valiant man, he attached him to his staff (1Sam. 14:52).

Now it was after this that Absalom provided for himself a chariot and horses, and fifty men as runners before him (1Sam. 15:1). Now Adonijah ben Haggith exalted himself, saying, “I will be king.” So he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen with fifty men to run before him. (1Kings 1:5). See also 1Sam. 22:7b.




And Solomon amassed chariots and horsemen. He had 1400 chariots and 12,000 horsemen, and he station them in the chariot cities and with the king at Jerusalem. (I1Chron. 1:14; see I1Chron. 9:25 as well).






And Jezebel his wife said to him, “Do you now reign over Israel? Arise, eat bread, and let your heart be joyful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite.” (1Kings 21:7).

Now King Solomon levied forced laborers from all Israel; and the forced laborers numbers 30,000 men. And he sent them to Lebanon, 10,000 a month in relays; they were in Lebanon a month and two months at home. And Adoniram was over the forced laborers. Now Solomon had 70,000 transporters and 80,000 hewers of stone in the mountains, besides Solomon’s 3300 chief deputies who were over the project and who ruled over the people who were doing the work. (1Kings 5:13–16).

In order to draw these conclusions, Samuel had many examples of the Canaanite kings to use. He also had common sense and foresight. Therefore, he could reasonably predict that many kings would become oppressive, greedy and self-serving. Footnote What would have no doubt surprised Samuel is the greatness of King David, who would rule 40 or so years hence. What Samuel rightly envisioned was someone more like Solomon, who, although he was a believer, abused his position of power. However, Solomon was really not an embodiment of the sort of king which Samuel is predicting because life in Israel under Solomon was prosperous and good. What Samuel predicts is more like King Ahab or King Manasseh.

As an addendum, as I have mentioned, there are those who believe this portion of Scripture was written after the monarchy had been established and that these were predictions which were written after the fact. And, again I say, if someone was going to mess with Scripture, then why not do it right? Why not list things which already had mention in Scripture? Why not add to Scripture those things predicted in here. For instance, it was clear that Solomon, in order to maintain his wives, mistresses and staff, had to have a tremendous support staff taken from the people of Israel at a tremendous cost. Being the kind of man that he was, he probably pressed many women into personal service and some he probably made wives or mistresses of. A mention of this in Scripture would help to match up with v. 13, which warns that a king would take the daughters of Israel as his personal servants. So, whereas this undoubtedly happened; it is not mentioned per se in Scripture except here as a prophecy. All of these warnings of Samuel came to pass; but not all of them are mentioned specifically. If one was appending Scripture to make everything come together, why not do a good job of it? Why not see to it that each of these predictions has a specific fulfillment? Or, assuming that these were written after the fact, why not make predictions which had been already specifically stated in Scripture? My point is that we have no reason to make any assumption that this was written after the fact. Any intelligent and observant believer could have predicted these things would come to pass.


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The People Still Want a King and God Grants Them this Request


And so refuse the people to listen to a voice of Samuel. And so they said, “No, for if a king is over us....

1Samuel

8:19

Still, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No! For, if a king was over us...

Despite what Samuel had to say, the people did not heed his warnings. Instead, they said, “We don’t care what you say; if there was a king over us,...


Again, this is one of those screwy verses which stops in mid-thought. They ignore what God has said, and they list their reasons, which they believe to be valid and persuasive. Here is how others have rendered this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so refuse the people to listen to a voice of Samuel. And so they said, “No, for if a king is over us...

Septuagint                             But the people would not hearken to Samuel; and they said to him, “Nay, but there will be a king over us.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         But the people wouldn't listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We will have a king to rule us!.

NAB                                       The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel’s warning and said, “Not so! There must be a king over us.

TEV                                       The people paid no attention to Samuel, but said, “No! We want a king,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        But the people would not listen to Samuel’s warning. “No,” they said. “We must have a king over us,...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Never the less, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us,...

Young's Updated LT              And the people refuse to harken to the voice of Samuel, and say, ‘Nay, but a king is over us,...


What is the gist of this verse? Despite Samuel's explanation as to what would happen with a king over Israel, the elders still say, "We want a king over us."


1Samuel 8:19a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâên (ן ֵא ָמ) [pronounced maw-AIN]

 to refuse, to be unwilling; to cease, to leave off

3rd person masculine plural, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #3985 BDB #549

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen [intently], to hear, to listen and obey, [or, and act upon, give heed to, take note of], to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and be cognizant of

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028


Translation: Still, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel,... This was typical of the Israelites throughout their history. They are legend in this regard. They continually rebelled against the voice of God. “So I will choose their punishments and I will bring on them what they dread; because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. Furthermore, they did evil in My sight, and they chose that which I did not delight in.” (Isa. 66:4). “And now, because you have done all these things,” declares Jehovah, “and I spoke to you, rising up early and speaking, but you did not hear; and I called you, but you did not answer.” (Jer. 7:13). “Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They certainly were not ashamed. And they did not know how to blush; therefore, they will fall among those who fall, at the time of their punishment, they will be brought down,” declares Jehovah (Jer. 8:12). “This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband, which is totally worthless. For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,” declares Jehovah, :that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not listen.” (Jer. 13:10–11). “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings; but you would not!” (Luke 13:34).


1Samuel 8:19b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

 

Translation: ...and they said, “No! The first word that comes out of their mouths is lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low], which means no. This word represents the absolute negation. Whereas, al (ל-א) might be dehortative, Footnote lô is prohibitive. Al denies subjectively as one would wish and lô denies objectively as a fact. We might render this: And they said, “Hell no!” What Samuel was saying, they weren’t having. What Samuel was selling, they weren’t buying. They had made their minds up. They were going to have a king, regardless of what Samuel said.


I have taught teenagers for years and occasionally, because they are practically people, I have reasoned with individuals. There is something that they want or something that they want to do, and I will explain to them the consequences of putting their plan into action. Invariably, they respond with, “Yeah, but I want to do it.” There is a concert and your kid wants to go and you have over a dozen reasons why he can’t go (it’s a school night; you don’t know the people he is going with to the concert; there will be drugs available there; etc.). His response, “Yeah, but I want to go, and my friends are going.” In the short time that I have dealt with kids on the intermediate level, such an approach is even more pronounced.


God knew from eternity past the reaction of these elders. He knew that Samuel would clearly explain to them the problems inherent with having a king over Israel and that they would either half-listen to Samuel, or that they would give very little weight to his arguments. When all is said and done, the elders respond, “Yeah, but we want a king over us so that we can be like the other nations.” Samuel is their spiritual authority. He is the only man in Israel who speaks to God and to whom God speaks. If the people should listen to anyone, it should be Samuel. Yet, as far as they are concerned, the plan that they have come up with—to install a king over Israel—is the path they choose. Their mind is made up. “As for the message which you have spoken to us in the name of Jehovah, we are not going to listen to you!” (Jer. 44:16).


New believers often look toward Israel or look to the Jew and wonder, why don’t they believe in Jesus? There are passages in the Old Testament which speak of Jesus. When Abraham offered up his son, this was analogous to God giving His Son on our behalf. The millions of sacrifices as originally set forth in the books of Moses, all which point to the sacrifice of our Lord. When Isaiah spoke of the suffering servant in Isa. 53, this passage better described the cross and what Jesus did for us on the cross than any gospel passage. When God spoke through Zechariah, crying out to Israel, “And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication, so that they will look on Me Whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zech. 12:10); this speaks of Jesus. The Old Testament parallels and prophecies are incredibly numerous and stand alone in religious literature as an unprecedented pointing toward the Son of God to come and to deliver this world, first through His blood and then, later, through the blood of His enemies. To the believer—particularly to the believer who has studied Old and New Testaments—it is almost inconceivable that a Jew could view this and not see that Jesus is the Suffering Servant, the Son of Abraham, the Son of David, the Mighty God, the Prince of Peace. But what we find again and again in Scripture is the strong negative volition of the Jew—their negative volition is practically legend in the Old Testament; despite all evidence to the contrary, they would still reject their God again and again; they would continue to reject His Word; they would not only reject God’s prophets but the Jews would execute them. So, we should not be surprised when Jews, in general, reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior. From the day that God led them out of Egypt to the day that our Lord walked the earth, we see great negative volition expressed on the part of the Jew toward God and God’s will. Earlier, I quoted a handful of passages which testify to that. Therefore, their negative volition toward the Lord of Glory, the Lord Who bought them, has great precedent in Scripture—and this is one of the many passages which testifies to this negative volition. Furthermore, the negative volition of the Jew toward Jesus is even predicted. He was despised and we did not esteem Him (Isa. 53:3b).


Please allow me this tangent: no matter how much liberal theologians want to remove prophecy from Scripture, what they cannot take out of Scripture are the hundreds of prophecies about Jesus Christ. The Old Testament was clearly in existence and in the possession of a people and a priesthood who were clearly antagonistic toward Jesus Christ. However, even though they had every reason in the world to change Scripture—to remove every passage which could be taken as a prophecy of Jesus, they did not. Despite their spiritual blindness, the Scriptures were too holy to simply go in and change in order to separate themselves from the man Christ Jesus. So, even though liberal theologians think that the Jews have gone in on several occasions and changed their Scriptures, when it comes to the thing which is most abhorrent to them—Jesus Christ—they make no changes there. Again, the position of the liberal theologian is a very illogical position to take.


1Samuel 8:19c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

Together, kîy îm (ם ̣א י ̣) [pronounced kee-eem] act as a limitation on the preceding thought, and therefore should be rendered but, except, except that, unless and possibly only. However, these particles are not used in a limiting way if they follow an oath, a question or a negative. Then they can be rendered that if, for if, for though, that since, for if, but if, indeed if, even if.

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752


Translation: For, if a king was over us... Right now, at this juncture, we should have a new verse. They will reiterate their arguments and this portion of v. 19 should be tied directly to v. 20. Since most translators ignore one of the words in this next portion of v. 19, the direct connection of the two verses is less pronounced in most translations.

 

Then we have the kîy conjunction (for, when, because) followed by the hypothetical particle îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem], which means if. Strong's #518 BDB #49. Then we have a king followed by the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect of to be followed by over us, giving us: “For if [there] was a king over us...”


It might be good to understand a few things about prayer:

The Petitions of Prayer

1.    Every time you petition God for this or that, there is the thing that you ask God for, and behind it is what you actually want.

2.    For instance, you might pray to God for money, but what you are looking for is happiness or financial security.

3.    The people here petitioned God for a king, but what they wanted was national security (1Sam. 8:20).

4.    So, for every petition, there is the thing that you pray for, and then there is the desired effect of getting what you have prayed for.

5.    Sometimes God says yes to both things: you get what you prayed for and you get the desire effect. They may or may not be related.

       a.    For instance, you can pray for a wife, and God sends you a woman. The desire behind your petition is happiness, which you think you will get by having the companionship of a woman or by having sex with this woman.

       b.    God can give you a wife and she can be the source of a great deal of your happiness; but God could also send you a wife, and she could be a thorn in your flesh.

       c.     This does not mean you can’t be happy. You might find your happiness and solace in God, despite the fact that you married this bitch that you prayed for.

6.    Sometimes God gives you what you petition for, but not the desire behind the petition. The Israelites here pray for a king, but they desire national security. At first, their king, Saul, will provide Israel with some national security. He will be very successful in war. However, mental illness will plague Saul, and, the end result will be that Israel has no national security. At this end of this book, the Philistines will soundly defeat Saul and his army and occupy central Israel.

7.    Sometimes God does not give you what you pray for, but gives you the desire behind what you are praying for. You might pray for a new car, because you see in that new car a certain self-satisfaction and happiness. God may not give you the car, but with doctrine and spiritual growth, you get the happiness and peace which a good relationship with God will give you.

8.    Sometimes God says no to your petition and to the desire behind your petition.

       a.    This may seem to be excessively cruel, but it is not.

       b.    You may be out of fellowship and you refuse to get back into fellowship. God does not hear your petitions and God therefore has no reason to grant your petitions.

       c.     You might be under the sin unto death, meaning you are dying a horrible and painful death. Unless you get back into fellowship and start getting doctrine in order to grow, you are going to continue to die this horrible death.

       d.    It is possible that the petition is in God’s hands (and He refuses), but the desire behind the petition is in your hands. So many believers want happiness and peace, but they are unwilling to exhibit any positive volition toward God and His Word in order to get it. They will pray for money, a new car, a new house; or they will chase after these things themselves; but what they are after is happiness. “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all things will be added to you.” (Matt. 6:33). Your being happy is more up to you than it is up to God.

       e.    Sometimes, you might pray for God to remove suffering, but God has put that suffering on you for blessing. We have receive a great deal of blessing from Paul’s prison epistles. However, this meant that Paul had to spend time in prison in order to slow him down so that he could write to these various churches. Although we are never told whether Paul prayed to get out of prison or not, this is not the point. It is because of his personal suffering that we are blessed; and, we can be certain that, even in prison, Paul was blessed as well.

I should mention that I learned most of this doctrine in Berachah Church (under R. B. Thieme Jr.). The points come from memory, so I cannot point you to a particular series at Berachah where this is covered. However, they do publish a pamphlet called Prayer, and these points should be found there, although the illustrations may be different.


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One of the negative aspects of breaking up Scripture into verses is not simply the mess made of the context and the breaking off of thoughts, but that some translators are then inspired to improperly translate some words because they don’t make sense when one looks at Scripture as a verse by verse rendering. V. 19b is closely tied to the next verse. V. 19b is the if and v. 20 is the then. This is lost in many translations. So, as we move into the next verse, bear in mind, it is not a new thought, but a continuation of the second half of v. 19.


It is in the next verse that they give their reasons why having a king is better than not having a king.


...and we have been also we as all the nations and has governed us our king and has gone out to our faces and has waged war our battles.”

1Samuel

8:20

...then we, even ourselves, will also be like all the [other] nations and our king will judge [and govern] us. Furthermore, he will go out before us and fight our battles.”

...then we will finally be like the other nations with a king to govern us and a king who will go out before us to fight our battles.”


So their idea is, put quite simply, is that a king will govern over them and fight their battles for them. Somehow it does not seem to occur to them, from the sound of this verse, that a king would draft them and their sons into the armed forces during a war. The king does not go out there and fight these battles alone or with a mercenary army. Here is how others have rendered this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...and we have been also we as all the nations and has governed us our king and has gone out to our faces and has waged war our battles.”

Septuagint                             And we also will be like all the nations; and our king will judge us, and he will go out before us and fight our battles.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         Then we'll be just like all the other nations. Our king will rule us and lead us and fight our battles." .

TEV                                       ...so that we will be like other nations, with our own king to rule us and to lead us out to war and to fight our battles.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        ...that we may be like all the other nations: Let our king rule over us and go out at our head and fight our battles.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     ...that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

Young's Updated LT              ...and we have been, even we, like all the nations; and our king has judged us, and gone out before us, and fought our battles.’


What is the gist of this verse? This is a continuation from the latter half of v. 19, and the elders state the reasons for wanting a king: they will be like other nations, the king will rule over them and the king will lead them into battle.


1Samuel 8:20a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

also, furthermore, in addition to, even, moreover

adverb

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

ănachenûw (נח-נֲא) [pronounced uh-NAHKH-noo]

we

1st person plural pronoun

Strong’s #587 BDB #59

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

gôwyîm (ם̣י) [pronounced goh-YEEM]

Gentiles, [Gentile] nation, people, peoples, nations

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1471 BDB #156


Translation: ...then we, even ourselves, will also be like all the [other] nations... Or, “...[then] we [even] we are also like all the [Gentile] nations...” The whole point of what God did in creating Israel was to create a nation, a theocracy, which was not like all the other nations. And, once again, demanding a king will not actually change the fact that Israel is a theocracy—it will simply be less apparent to the surrounding nations. That is, in the past, a foreigner could ask an Israelite: “But, how do you function without a king?” And the Israelite could answer, “We do not require a king as God rules over us.” Such a testimony, stated or implied by the nature of Israel’s government, will be obscured because Israel will have a king. Let me give you an example. Let’s say that you have become a believer in Jesus Christ, but you then choose to continue sinning in some very spectacular and visible ways. Now, you will spend eternity with God the Father and God the Son; you are eternally saved. However, your testimony is going to be lacking somewhat. Some one will not be able to look at your life and see Jesus. One of my oldest friends one time many years ago paid me probably the highest complement that he could—he reiterated his disinterest in becoming a Christian, but told me if he were to become one, it would be a Christian like me. Israel, as a nation without a king, is a greater testimony to being ruled by God.


1Samuel 8:20b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

to judge, to condemn, to punish; to defend [especially the poor and oppressed], to defend [one’s cause] and deliver him from his enemies; to rule, to govern

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: ...and our king will judge [and govern] us. This is the second reason given: there would be a king to judge and govern over Israel. What happened in the past was, a man would arise now and again, and he would judge Israel. The area over which he ruled could be small or large; it just depended. For the Israelite, this was not consistent enough; they wanted to know there would always be somewhere there to make these judgments. What they ignored was, sometimes, such a man is going to make a series of poor judgments.


1Samuel 8:20c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of.

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction