What does 1 Samuel 8:12 mean?
ESV: And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots.
NIV: Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
NASB: He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to gather in his harvest, and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
CSB: He can appoint them for his use as commanders of thousands or commanders of fifties, to plow his ground and reap his harvest, or to make his weapons of war and the equipment for his chariots.
NLT: Some will be generals and captains in his army, some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, and some will make his weapons and chariot equipment.
KJV: And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
The people have asked for a human king to rule over them instead of having God as their ruler (1 Samuel 8:4–5). Samuel is warning them, from the Lord, what it will cost to have an earthly, human king. For one, he has said, the king will take their sons to serve as chariot riders and runners.
Now Samuel warns that the king will lay claim to all kinds of Israel's citizens to serve him in all kinds of ways. He will appoint some to honored positions of military service, including commanders of various groups. He will also claim some to work his farms and others to build weapons for warfare. Though some of these positions may be highly sought after, Samuel's point seems to be that those selected will lose the freedom of deciding what they want to do with their time and energy. The king will simply claim them as his own.
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.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:56:05 AM
© Copyright 2002-2023 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.