What does 1 Samuel 8:21 mean?
ESV: And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the LORD.
NIV: When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD.
NASB: Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord’S hearing.
CSB: Samuel listened to all the people's words and then repeated them to the Lord.
NLT: So Samuel repeated to the Lord what the people had said,
KJV: And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.
Samuel served both as prophet and judge (1 Samuel 3:19–21; 7:15–17). Here, that makes him the go-between in a conversation between the Lord and His people Israel. Samuel had strong feelings of his own: that Israel should not have a human king. He saw this as evil (1 Samuel 8:6), likely because he saw that Israel was motivated by a desire to "fit in" with other nations (1 Samuel 8:4–5). Yet Samuel he refused to act according to his own feelings. He faithfully reported to the Lord the desire of the Israelites and faithfully reported to Israel the will of the Lord.
Despite Samuel's objections, the Lord will instruct Samuel to find and anoint for the Israelites a king (1 Samuel 8:7–9, 22).
First Samuel 8:19–22 describes the response of Israel's elders to Samuel's solemn warning from the Lord about human kings. The Israelites still insist on having a king. They want to be like the cultures around them, with a single leader to judge them and lead them in battle. When Samuel reports this to the Lord, God tells the prophet to do as the people have said and appoint a king for them. Samuel sends the elders back to their homes from Ramah.
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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