What’s Wrong with a King?

Israel asked for a king and it was wrong.  That should seem strange on two accounts – first God allows them to have a king.  Secondly, God outlines in Deuteronomy (written years before) the qualities that a king should have.  If God is not against kingship per se, what is the problem when Israel asks for a king in 1 Samuel 8?  The answer is all in the motives.

Israel wanted a king so that they could be like the other nations.  Other nations seemed successful because they had a powerful, single-minded dictator ruling over them.  In the cases of the Babylonians and Pharaohs, these dictator-kings saw themselves as divine.  Israel wants something like that.  Something new and shiny was needed to defeat the Philistines – the relationship with God wasn’t bringing swift victory and so God needed to be replaced with a god-like man.

We often put people in the place of God.  The Israelites decided that they wanted to do it as a nation.

1 Samuel 8: 1-22

1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a] 2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.

 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b]us, such as all the other nations have.”

 6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7 And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

 10 Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.”

 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

 21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD. 22The LORD answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”

   Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”

Questions

  1. Describe Samuel’s family.
  2. Why did the people ask for a king?
  3. What were the responses of Samuel and God?
  4. To whom do we look to solve our problems?
  5. How do such people lead us away from  God?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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13 Responses to What’s Wrong with a King?

  1. Sokloon Dy says:

    1. Samuel was a good father, but his sons were dishonest and law breakers.
    2. they wanted a king so that they could be like other nations.
    3. God gave them what they wanted..a king. Samuel told them how to obey what God was allowing.
    4. It should ALWAYS be God first, but sometimes I fail to do that. I look to my friends a lot to solve my problems.
    5. first of all, they are not perfect. they are sinners, just like me. So they are capable of leading me down their path. Also, ill forget to go to God because ill be used to going to them.

  2. Cassie Clark says:

    1.His sons were corrupt and sinful. Just like Eli’s son!
    2.They wanted to be just like other nations.
    3.Both were displeased but God told Samuel to give them what they wanted.
    4.Honestly, I often look to myself first to fix my problems. Then when they get too big, I look to God. After that, closest friends.
    5.Sometimes they can be good because God uses others. However, we can rrely on them with our full strength, and that is wrong. It leads us to trust in someone who cannot be trusted in.

  3. Melisa Guiles says:

    1. Samuel had two sons that were not like him. They accepted bribes, were dishonest, and were not just.
    2. They asked for a king because they wanted to be like the nations around them.
    3. Samuel was not happy about their request and went to the Lord. The Lord told him to tell the people what would happen if they received a king and when they didn’t care, he gave them a king.
    4. There are times when I look to God, but that is often after I have tried to fix it or have others fix it and it hasn’t worked.
    5. They can lead us away from God because we put our trust in them instead of God. They can become the one that we go to with all our problems instead of going to the Lord.

  4. Jessica Gentry says:

    1. Samuel had to sons; Joel and Abijah, but they did not follow in his ways.
    2. The people asked for a king to be like the other nations.
    3. God responded to saying to them give them what they want becuase it is not you have rejected me. Samuel responded by attempting to discourage the people from desiring a king, but then he just told them to go back to their own town.
    4. We often look to politicians to solve major problems, or close relationships, such as good friends or a significant other to solve our personal problems.
    5. Such people lead us away from God as we depend more on them than on God and we treat them as if they have all the answers and are all powerful to fix our problems, which we should realize only God is all- knowing and all-powerful. He is the ultimate provider, and if we forget that and we are demeaning the Lord.

  5. [ED2203-01] HyeJin Lee says:

    1.Describe Samuel’s family.
    – Samuel’s sons were dishonest and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
    2.Why did the people ask for a king?
    – Because they wanted a king just like other nations.
    3.What were the responses of Samuel and God?
    – Samuel was not pleased with their request, but God told him to do as people wanted.
    4.To whom do we look to solve our problems?
    – I ask to God to solve my problems.
    5.How do such people lead us away from God?
    – I think when people get together, they are more likely trying to find solutions within them, not depending on God.

  6. Grace Yoo says:

    1. Samuel had two sons, Joel and Abijah, but they did not follow his ways. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.

    2. The people asked for a king because they wanted a king like the other nations.

    3. Their request displeased Samuel but God listened to them and gave them a king.

    4. I think sometimes we look to our friends or older people to solve our problems and rarely turn to God for answers.

    5. These people will help us to make decisions that are only focused on us whereas we should be focused on God and what He wants for us.

  7. Moon [ED 2203;Mon 6:00pm class] says:

    1.Describe Samuel’s family He had two sons who did not follow Samuel’s ways
    2.Why did the people ask for a king?they thought Samuel’s sons were not following Samuel’s ways so they did not want to accept Samuel’s sons as their leaders. and also they did not trust that God would have better ways than their thoughts which can mean they rejected God as their king (7)
    3.What were the responses of Samuel and God? negative
    4.To whom do we look to solve our problems? sometimes i look to my friends or people whom i trust in. but we should look to God to solve our problems..!
    5.How do such people lead us away from God? for example, Joel Osteen’s books encourage people to think we can change our minds and also our circumstances. He emphasizes human’s efforts, not God’s power. But we can do not by our power, but only by God.

  8. Kendalle says:

    1. Describe Samuel’s family.
    Samuel had two son (Joel and Abijah) who did not follow his fathers lead.
    2. Why did the people ask for a king?
    The People asked for a King to be just like the other nations.
    3. What were the responses of Samuel and God?
    Samuel did not want them to have A king and warned them not to request one. But God told Samuel that he would give them a King.
    4. To whom do we look to solve our problems?
    We look to people rather than the Lord. I know myself I use to have a strong desire for man to help me and them go to God. But you can only really trust in the Lord.
    5. How do such people lead us away from God?
    When I was at Iowa State, people would encourage me to do more leadership clubs and things and I would lead me not to a growing relationship with my savior but rather a Luke- warm hardhearted attitude toward spiritual things.

  9. Sandra Tindle says:

    1. Samuel’s two sons, Joel and Abijah, served at Beersheba, but they did not follow in Samuel’s ways. They did not follow the LORD and therefore became dishonest, selfish, and unjust.
    2. The people asked for a king so that they could be like the other nations, and so that the king would go out and fight their battles for them.
    3. The responses of Samuel and God were fair warnings of what would happen to the people when they got a king, telling them of all that they would have to do and give up for the king.
    4. We look to friends, family members, teachers, people on TV, and people in high positions of power to solve our problems.
    5. Such people lead us away from God because they are trying to benefit themselves by helping us, instead of steering us towards God and helping us look to Him for advice and help.

  10. Kristin Goffinet says:

    1) Samuel’s chidren did not follow in his footprints, instead, they were selfish and sinful.
    2) The Isrealites wanted a king because Samuel was getting old and his sons were too irresponsible to lead them.
    3) Samuel was displeased and God felt rejected.
    4) We should look to the Lord, but we often try to solve our own problems, or we look to advice from our friends.
    5) Anyone that we look to for advice outside of Christ will lead us astray.

  11. Kristen Patush says:

    1.Describe Samuel’s family.

    Samuel was good, but his sons were evil!

    2.Why did the people ask for a king?

    So they can be like the other nations.

    3.What were the responses of Samuel and God?

    Displeased Samuel, he warned then about it. God listened and gave them a king.

    4.To whom do we look to solve our problems?

    A lot of the time, we look to man- someone or something phyiscal, in our grasp, that could help us. We shoudl be going straight to God, however.

    5.How do such people lead us away from God?

    Physical people can never satisfy oiri longings and desires, thus, they will alway leave us searching and seeking, but in the wrong direction.

  12. Melissa Morris says:

    1. Samuel was good and had two not-so-good sons.
    2. They wanted to be like the other nations and knew the sons of Samuel were not fit to do the job.
    3. Samuel was displeased…. God told Samuel there would be a king.
    4. We look to ourselves all too often– we think that we can handle anything and love to quote “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” but we are usually only kidding ourselves and try to fix things on our own. It’s only when we surrender totally that we are giving God control.
    5. We lead ourselves away from God if we do not seek Him first.

  13. aaron wright says:

    1. sons were very disobedient
    2. they werent content with God as king. they wanted a physical king.
    3. Samuel didnt approve and God was’t pleased but still gave them their desire.
    4. we look to Christian books and wise people to solve our problems. Hopefully we turn to prayer and the Bible though.
    5. They may not take their advice from Scripture which would obviously turn us away from God.

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