What does 1 Samuel 8:10 mean?
ESV: So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking for a king from him.
NIV: Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.
NASB: So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked him for a king.
CSB: Samuel told all the Lord's words to the people who were asking him for a king.
NLT: So Samuel passed on the Lord’s warning to the people who were asking him for a king.
KJV: And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.
Samuel is both judge and prophet in Israel (1 Samuel 3:19–21; 7:15–17). As judge, he led the nation as a deliverer, especially in the battle against the Philistines described in 1 Samuel 7. He also served as a legal judge in the sense of overseeing disputes and settling disagreements between factions. Samuel, though, was also understood to be a prophet of the Lord from the time he was incredibly young (1 Samuel 3:20). In that role, He communicated the will and warnings of the Lord to the people.
In the following verses, Samuel will communicate God's will and warning about Israel's desire for a human king. The Lord has instructed Samuel to appoint a king for them (1 Samuel 8:9). The prophet will also communicate God's solemn and formal disclaimer about what having a human king will cost the people. The price to become like other nations in this way will be high. The Israelites will sacrifice freedoms, taxes, land, labor, and even their children (1 Samuel 8:11–18).
First Samuel 8:10–18 describes a solemn, legal warning Samuel gives the elders of Israel. He cautions about all the things a human king will take from them. He will take their sons and daughters as his servants, their land for his officials, and a percentage of their crops and flocks. In many ways, Samuel officially warns the Israelites that they will become slaves to their own king. When that happens and they cry out to the Lord, He will not answer them because they will have chosen this for themselves.
Samuel is old, and his sons are corrupt. The elders of Israel gather in Ramah to ask Samuel to appoint a king over them. Samuel resists, but the Lord tells the prophet to do as the people have said after warning them about what a king will take from them. The list includes their children, property, fields, crops, and freedom. The Lord will not save them from their king, Samuel warns. The elders insist they still want a king like all the other nations. The Lord agrees and tells Samuel to provide them one.
First Samuel 8 jumps forward in time perhaps thirty years from the events of the previous chapter. Samuel is now old and his sons, also judges, are corrupt. The elders of Israel gather to ask Samuel to appoint a king for them. Samuel doesn't like it, but he takes the request to the Lord. The Lord tells Samuel to do it, even though the people are rejecting Him as their king. Samuel warns the elders of all the things a king will take from them to serve himself. The elders still insist, and the Lord grants their request.
First Samuel introduces the key figures who led Israel after the era of the judges. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally part of a single text, split in certain translations shortly before the birth of Christ. Some of the Bible’s most famous characters are depicted in this book. These including the prophet Samuel, Israel’s first king, Saul, her greatest king, David, and other famous names such as Goliath and Jonathan. By the end of this book, Saul has fallen; the book of 2 Samuel begins with David’s ascension to the throne.
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