April 30, 2005

GIVE US A KING:

Israel Asks for a King (1 Samuel 8)

1 Samuel 8:1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.

1 Samuel 8:2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: [they were] judges in Beersheba.

1 Samuel 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

1 Samuel 8:4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,

1 Samuel 8:5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.

1 Samuel 8:6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

1 Samuel 8:8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.

1 Samuel 8:9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.

1 Samuel 8:10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.

1 Samuel 8:11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint [them] for himself, for his chariots, and [to be] his horsemen; and [some] shall run before his chariots.

1 Samuel 8:12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and [will set them] to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

1 Samuel 8:13 And he will take your daughters [to be] confectionaries, and [to be] cooks, and [to be] bakers.

1 Samuel 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, [even] the best [of them], and give [them] to his servants.

1 Samuel 8:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

1 Samuel 8:16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put [them] to his work.

1 Samuel 8:17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

1 Samuel 8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

1 Samuel 8:19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;

1 Samuel 8:20 That we also may be like all the nations; and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.

1 Samuel 8:21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.

1 Samuel 8:22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king.


Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2005 12:39 PM
Comments

"Every nation has the government it deserves."
Joseph de Maistre, 1811

Posted by: at April 30, 2005 6:18 PM

Just so we all understand that the point of the story is that it is dumb to wish for a King.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 30, 2005 7:28 PM

David:
It is "dumb" to wish for a flesh & blood mortal/human king. A wise person will acknowledge that he/she already has a king reigning over them ... God.

Posted by: Dave W. at April 30, 2005 10:53 PM

Dave: I'm not fond of the "king" metaphor for G-d, but my point here was to tweak our resident flesh-and-blood monarchists.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 30, 2005 11:08 PM

God makes it pretty clear that the choice is His reign or reign by a king. As it happens, this was before He'd been Christ, so He didn't realize we were incapable of the former.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 11:13 PM

Not, obviously, much of an issue for me.

But this idea you have of a non-omniscient god, a god who is a prisoner of time, is just fascinating. It is in some ways more science fiction than theology and, as Harry has noted, would have gotten you burned a couple of centuries ago. It also might explain why you and Jeff and creeper have such a hard time agreeing on what Intelligent Design is. Your god is so much less orthodox than theirs.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 30, 2005 11:33 PM

He sure seems surprised alot in the Bible.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 11:37 PM

We may understand it as surprised (from our viewpoint), but I doubt if that is the case for Him.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 30, 2005 11:50 PM

jim:

I feel safe in saying that we only knoe Him from our perspective, not His. No?

I'm perfectly willing to accept the idea that He knows but is instructing us via the tale.

Posted by: oj at April 30, 2005 11:53 PM

OK with me - it's just that sometimes I see anthropomorphisms that get carried way too far.

I have always been mildly amused at this passage: the people are clearly telling God to take a hike, and yet they beg Samuel to get Him to agree to their demand. Another example that human behavior hasn't changed.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 1, 2005 12:28 AM

Well, He did morph into an anthro and it did go way too far.

Posted by: oj at May 1, 2005 12:34 AM

However, interesting, it is not terribly useful to interpret this passage of scripture literally.

Clearly, the Children of Israel, so quickly forgetful and perversely and preternaturally ungrateful, wanted, and badly needed, Elvis.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at May 1, 2005 2:37 AM

Tweak away, David. Let us pray that the monarchists among us will soon realize that monarchy runs contrary to God's design for human government, but is permitted by God for those too selfish and foolish to realize what they're asking for and allowing to pass them by.

On an unrelated note, David, do you think OJ would have preferred slavery in Egypt to freedom in the promised land?

Posted by: Dave W. at May 1, 2005 4:32 PM

Dave: No, although Moses might soon wish he had.

Posted by: David Cohen at May 1, 2005 6:17 PM

1 Samuel 8:11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you:

1 Samuel 8:14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, [even] the best [of them], and give [them] to his servants.

1 Samuel 8:15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

1 Samuel 8:16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put [them] to his work.

1 Samuel 8:17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

1 Samuel 8:18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.

========================

Samuel was an optimist about tax rates.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at May 2, 2005 6:18 PM
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