1 Samuel 8:6

ESV But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the LORD.
NIV But when they said, 'Give us a king to lead us,' this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.
NASB But the matter was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, 'Give us a king to judge us.' And Samuel prayed to the Lord.
CSB When they said, "Give us a king to judge us," Samuel considered their demand wrong, so he prayed to the Lord.
NLT Samuel was displeased with their request and went to the Lord for guidance.
KJV But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.

What does 1 Samuel 8:6 mean?

The elders of Israel have asked Samuel to appoint a king to govern them. The two reasons they have given are that Samuel is getting old and that his sons are corrupt (1 Samuel 8:5). A third implied reason is so that Israel can be like other nations; in other words, they felt this is how nations "should be" run and Israel "should" do the same (1 Samuel 8:5).

Some translations describe Samuel as being displeased at this. A more literal reading is that the matter was evil in Samuel's eyes. He hated this proposal. On one hand, it may have been personal. Samuel had served as judge over Israel for at least thirty years or so. The people were asking him to replace himself with a king and to keep his own sons from ever coming to national power. That likely stung.

Samuel may also have recognized that the hearts of the people to be like the other nations instead of depending directly on the Lord as their king showed how weak their faith in God truly was. Samuel immediately takes his frustration with this proposal to the Lord in prayer. God's response is surprising (1 Samuel 8:7).
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