1 Samuel 8

* The evil government of Samuel's sons. (1-3) The Israelites ask

for a king. (4-9) The manner of a king. (10-22)

1-3 It does not appear that Samuel's sons were so profane and

vicious as Eli's sons; but they were corrupt judges, they turned

aside after lucre. Samuel took no bribes, but his sons did, and

then they perverted judgment. What added to the grievance of the

people was, that they were threatened by an invasion from

Nahash, king of the Ammonites.
4-9 Samuel was displeased; he could patiently bear what

reflected on himself, and his own family; but it displeased him

when they said, Give us a king to judge us, because that

reflected upon God. It drove him to his knees. When any thing

disturbs us, it is our interest, as well as our duty, to show

our trouble before God. Samuel is to tell them that they shall

have a king. Not that God was pleased with their request, but as

sometimes he opposes us from loving-kindness, so at other times

he gratifies us in wrath; he did so here. God knows how to bring

glory to himself, and serves his own wise purposes, even by

men's foolish counsels.
10-22 If they would have a king to rule them, as the eastern

kings ruled their subjects, they would find the yoke exceedingly

heavy. Those that submit to the government of the world and the

flesh, are told plainly, what hard masters they are, and what

tyranny the dominion of sin is. The law of God and the manner of

men widely differ from each other; the former should be our rule

in the several relations of life; the latter should be the

measure of our expectations from others. These would be their

grievances, and, when they complained to God, he would not hear

them. When we bring ourselves into distress by our own wrong

desires and projects, we justly forfeit the comfort of prayer,

and the benefit of Divine aid. The people were obstinate and

urgent in their demand. Sudden resolves and hasty desires make

work for long and leisurely repentance. Our wisdom is, to be

thankful for the advantages, and patient under the disadvantages

of the government we may live under; and to pray continually for

our rulers, that they may govern us in the fear of God, and that

we may live under them in all godliness and honesty. And it is a

hopeful symptom when our desires of worldly objects can brook

delay; and when we can refer the time and manner of their being

granted to God's providence.

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