1 Samuel 8

Israel Seeks a King

1In his old age Samuel appointed his sons as judges over Israel. 2The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second son was Abijah. They were judges in Beer Sheba. 3But his sons did not follow
Heb “walk in” (also in v. 5).
his ways. Instead, they made money dishonestly, accepted bribes, and perverted justice.
Heb “and they turned aside after unjust gain and took bribes and perverted justice.”

4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and approached Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, “Look, you are old, and your sons don’t follow your ways. So now appoint over us a king to lead
Heb “judge” (also in v. 6).
us, just like all the other nations have.”

6 But this request displeased Samuel, for
Heb “when.”
they said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So Samuel prayed to the Lord.
7The Lord said to Samuel, “Do everything the people request of you.
Heb “Listen to the voice of the people, to all which they say to you.”
For it is not you that they have rejected, but it is me that they have rejected as their king.
8Just as they have done
Heb “according to all the deeds which they have done.”
from the day that I brought them up from Egypt until this very day, they have rejected me and have served other gods. This is what they are also doing to you.
9So now do as they say.
Heb “and now, listen to their voice.”
But seriously warn
The infinitive absolute appears before the imperative for emphasis.
them and make them aware of the policies of the king who will rule over them.”
Heb “and tell them the manner of the king who will rule over them.”

10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11He said, “Here are the policies of the king who will rule over you: He will conscript your sons and put them in his chariot forces and in his cavalry; they will run in front of his chariot. 12He will appoint for himself leaders of thousands and leaders of fifties,
The numbers of v. 12 are confused in the Greek and Syriac versions. For “fifties” the LXX has “hundreds.” The Syriac Peshitta has “heads of thousands and heads of hundreds and heads of fifties and heads of tens,” perhaps reflecting influence from Deut 1:15.
as well as those who plow his ground, reap his harvest, and make his weapons of war and his chariot equipment.
13He will take your daughters to be ointment makers, cooks, and bakers. 14He will take your best fields and vineyards and give them to his own servants. 15He will demand a tenth of your seed and of the produce of your vineyards and give it to his administrators
Or “eunuchs” (so NAB); NIV “officials”; KJV, NASB, NRSV, NLT “officers.”
and his servants.
16He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best cattle and your donkeys, and assign them for his own use. 17He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will be his servants. 18In that day you will cry out because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord won’t answer you in that day.”
The LXX adds “because you have chosen for yourselves a king.”

19 But the people refused to heed Samuel’s warning.
Heb “and the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel.”
Instead they said, “No! There will be a king over us!
20We will be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us and lead us
Heb “and go out before us.”
and fight our battles.”

21 So Samuel listened to everything the people said and then reported it to the Lord.
Heb “and Samuel heard all the words of the people and he spoke them into the ears of the Lord.”
22The Lord said to Samuel, “Do as they say
Heb “listen to their voice.”
and install a king over them.” Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Each of you go back to his own city.”

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