What does 1 Samuel 8:7 mean?
ESV: And the Lord said to Samuel, "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them.
NIV: And the Lord told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
NASB: And the Lord said to Samuel, 'Listen to the voice of the people regarding all that they say to you, because they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being King over them.
CSB: But the Lord told him, "Listen to the people and everything they say to you. They have not rejected you; they have rejected me as their king.
NLT: Do everything they say to you,' the Lord replied, 'for they are rejecting me, not you. They don’t want me to be their king any longer.
KJV: And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
NKJV: And the Lord said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
Verse Commentary:
The people of Israel have asked Samuel to appoint a king to govern them, in essence asking the judge and prophet to replace himself as their leader (1 Samuel 8:5). Samuel is not pleased and takes the matter to the Lord (1 Samuel 8:6). The Lord now tells Samuel to do as the people are suggesting.

God goes on to assure Samuel that the people are not rejecting him. This makes sense. The Israelites have submitted to Samuel's authority as judge and prophet for decades. They have even brought their proposal for a king to Samuel as an appeal to his authority in the Lord.

No, the Lord tells Samuel, the people of Israel are rejecting Him, the Lord, from being their king. Israel's form of government up to that time had been a theocracy, with the Lord exercising His authority over the nation in all things, from the words and commands of the Law to raising up military leaders in the form of Joshua and the judges and telling them specifically how to engage in battle. The Lord has served Israel as king for many generations. Now they want a human king to take that authority from God.
Verse Context:
First Samuel 8:1–9 jumps forward in time, likely several decades, from the events of the previous chapter. Samuel is now old and his sons, also judges, are corrupt. The elders of Israel gather in Ramah to ask Samuel to appoint a king for the nation. Samuel is concerned but takes their proposal to the Lord. The Lord says that the people are rejecting Him as king. Still, the Lord tells Samuel to do as the people say after he gives them fair warning about how a king will treat them.
Chapter Summary:
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.
Chapter Context:
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.
Book Summary:
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 7/18/2024 10:49:48 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV, NKJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.
www.BibleRef.com