“We want to be like the nations around us (v. 20 NLT).” Do you now what you’re asking, Israelites? Let’s think that through just a bit longer. While we know that the Israelites already have a King, the One True King, we can kind of see where they’re coming from if we look at their situation a little more closely. Samuel has been good to them, but he’s old and dying, and his sons are rude little heathens. By this time, the Israelites are established in the land, and they are seeing all the countries around them being ruled by kings. They probably feel like they need to get with the program, and since Samuel is on his way out, now is a good time to make the shift. I get it. I really do. But I’m not sure I would have understood the enormity of it all if I would have been there, and I’m not sure the Israelites totally got it, either. Samuel tries to explain that there is a VAST difference between a judge and a king. To this point, the King of the Israelites has been God, and He is way different than other kings. “Regular” kings require special, selfish treatment, different than the reverence God asks of us. And also, there is the danger of the two getting muddled. Kings often are worshiped like a god. Oh, what are the Israelites requesting??? They don’t even know!!!
Writing prompt: shifting tide
There’s a big shift in the waters coming, folks! Write about the dangers of having a king versus a judge, or expand on verse 20 in any direction you want to go.