Shmuel 1-Chapter 8: The Jewish people request for a King to be appointed over them

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Chapter 8: The Jewish people request for a King to be appointed over them

1. The sins of the sons of Shmuel:

  • When Shmuel became old, he appointed his sons to judge the Jewish people. The name of his oldest son was Yoel while the name of a second son was Aviyah. They were judges in Bear Sheva. However, his sons did not go in his path and they strayed after greed as they took bribery and swerved the judgment.  

2. The Jewish leaders ask Shmuel to appoint for them a king:

  • All the elders of the Jewish people gathered and went up to Shmuel who was in the city of Ramasa. They told him but he has become old and that his children are not going in his ways. They asked him to appoint for them a King to judge them like all the other nations.
  • The matter seemed very evil in the eyes of Samuel for them to ask him to appoint for them a king to judge them, and he therefore prayed to G-d.   

3. G-d instructs Shmuel to listen to the nation’s request to appoint for them a king:

  • G-d responded to Shmuel that he should listen to the voice of the nation and do whatever they tell him, as it is not you that they have become repulsed with but rather Me who they have become repulsed with from reigning over them. All the actions that they did to me from the day that I took them out of Egypt until this day that they left me and served foreign idols, this is what they are now doing also to you. Now, you shall listen to their voice, however, warn them and tell them the laws relevant to a King which will reign over them.

4. Shmuel warns the Jewish people the laws applicable to a monarchy:

  • Shmuel related all the words of G-d to the nation that asked him for a King. He told him that the following will be the laws of the King that will rule over them.
  • The sons of the nation will be taken as workers: He will take your sons and appoint them as workers for his chariot and as horseman to run before it. He will appoint ministers of thousands and ministers of 50 to plow the land and harvest it and make from him weapons of war and vessels for his chariot.
  • The daughters of the nation will be taken as workers: Your daughter he will take for himself to be used as spice and cosmetic brewers, chefs, and bakers.
  • The King will have total control of your property and people: From the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards the King will take and distribute to his servants. He will take 10% have your fields and vineyards and give it to his ministers and servants. He will take the best of your servants and maidservants and young lads, and the best of your donkeys to be used for his service. He will take 10% of your sheep, and you will be to him as slaves. You will scream on that day to G-d regarding the King that you have chosen, however G-d will not answer you on that day.  

5. The people request that a King be appointed despite the above rules of monarchy:

  • The people refused to listen to the message of Shmuel, and they said to him that despite the above warning “we want a King to rule over us.” We desire to be like all the other nations with a King that judges us, and that leads us in warfare to fight our battles.
  • So, Shmuel listened to the words of the nation, and he relayed their request to G-d. G-d replied to Shmuel saying that he should listen to their voice and appoint for them a King.
  • Shmuel told all the people of Israel to return to their cities.

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