During The Time Of Samuel, Why Did The People Of Israel Desire A King?
(1 Samuel 8: 1-9). When the Israelites settled in Canaan, God continued to be their ruler through the judges. However as time went by the Iraelites reached a point where they made a decision to have an earthly king to rule over them. The following are the reasons the Israelites had for askinng for an earthly king;
- Samuel’s sons, Joel and Abijah, were corrupt and took bribes. Samuel had been a judge and a prophet for many years in Israel and when he grew old he appointed his two sons to be judges in his place. He forgot that he himself had been appointed by God and not by people. The two sons lacked the leadership qualities of their father. They were corrupt and took bribes. The Israelites were not ready to have corrupt people as their leaders and hence went to Samuel and asked him to choose a king to rule over them.
- The Israelites wanted a warrior king who could lead them to war against their enemies and bring victory to Israel. The sanctuary (the place wher the Ark was kept had been destroyed by the Philistines. The Ark of the covenant, the ancient symbol of Yahweh’s protecting and and guiding presence in the midst of His people, had been seized and taken into exile by the Philistines. Canaan, therefore faced the threat of being a Philistine empire. The Israelites wanted a warrior who would leadthem into battles against the Philistines so as to recover the stolen Ark.
- The Isrealites wanted to be like other nations around them who had kings. They wanted Samuel under the guidance of God, to find them a leader who would have power over them. They reasoned that they were the only nation in that region who had no king.
- The Israelites wanted a physical leader whom they could see and approach. This implied that they were rejecting Yahweh as their unseen ruler.
Why Saul was chosen as king of the Israelites.
(Read 1 Samuel 13: 8-14, 15: 7-25). When the elders of Israel went to Prophet Samuel and asked him to appoint for them a king, Samuel prayed to God seeking his guidance. God told him to obey the voice of the people. He sent him to a man called Saul, son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. Samuel was to annoint Saul to become king over Israel. When he met Saul, Yahweh told him: “This is the man I told you about. He will rule my people” (1 Samuel 9:17). Then Samuelpoured oil on Sauls head from a flask he had with him (1 Samuel 10: 1). The people shouted: “Long live the king” (1 Samuel 10: 24). Therefore Saul became the first King of Israel.
Samuel then made it clear to the people of Israel that they still remained God’s people. An Israelite king would still remain a servant of God. This meant that the king was to rule God’s people according to the covenant way of life.
Why Saul was rejected as king of the Israelites.
Despite the fact that Saul was God’s choice and led a number of war victories, he has never been considered as the founder of the Kingdom of Israel. He had a number of weaknesses that led to his failure and final rejection by God. King Sauls weaknesses and failures that led to his eventual rejection by God are:
- He became impatient and offered sacrifices to God at Gilgal instead of waiting for Prophet Samuel who had told him he would meet him at at Gilgal and offer sacrifices to God before the Israelite army went to fight the Philistines.
- He failed to carry out the law of total destruction of an enemy conquered. This law was referred to as heremor the ban. It required that when the Israelites went to war against any enemy, they were to destroy everything: mam, woman, child, cattle and all other property belonging to the enemy as a form of sacrifice to Yahweh. When Saul led his army against the Amalekites and defeated him, he did not destroy everything as commanded. His army kept the best sheep, lamb and cattle with the intention of offering burnt sacrifice to to God. He also spared king Agag despite capturing him alive.
- The spirit of the lord left Saul and was replaced with an evil spirit that tormented him. (1 Samuel 16: 14).
- Saul turned against David because David had become popular with the Israelites. David, the son of Jesse, had been employed by Saul to be playing soothing music for him when the evil spirit would attack him (1 Samuel 18: 7-8, 19: 1-22). By the time Saul died, the Israelites were in great danger from the Philistines than when Saul had become king.
Attributes that made David a better King than Saul.
(1 Samuel 16: 1-23; 2 Samuel 6: 1-15). After Saul was rejected as king of Israel, Samuel was guided by God to go to Bethlehem, to the home of a shepherd called Jesse who had eight sons. God would then show him who among the sons would be annointed as the next king of Israel. After long hours in prayer seeking God’s guidance. Seven of Jesse’s sons were brought before before Samuel one at a time but God chose none of them. When David, the youngest of them appeared before Samuel, God told Samuel to annoint him (1 Samuel 16: 12). Samuel took Olive oiland annointed him.
David is remembered as the greatest king and founderof Israel because of his achievements which made him better than Saul. They are;
- He was chosen by God
- He received public annointing at Hebron (2 Samuel 2: 4, 5: 1-5) where he signed a treaty with the elders meaninng he had been acknowledged by all the twelve tribes as their king.
- He received the spirit of God from the time he was annointed..
- He was a brilliant military commander. The name David means “any commander”. He broke Philistines control over Israel,waged a succesful war against Moab, Amalek, and Aram. Concluded a treaty with the Phoenician King and Hiram of Tyre.
- He captured the old fortress of Jerusalem from the Jebusites and made it his capital city.
- Brought back the Ark of Covenant to Jerusalem, expressed great faith in God and respected the prophets of God by consulting them unlike his predecessor Saul.
The sin that Solomon committed that led to the division of Israel.
When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam succeeded him but it was necessary for him to go to the north of the country so as to be accepted publicly as the King of Israel. David had earlier signed a treaty by signing with the northern tribes. A delegation of elders from the ten tribes of the north presented a memorandum and told him they were willing to accept him as their king if he could give them some assurance of better treatment. They wanted him to rule less harshly than his father Solomon had done.
Having lived in a royal court and not having expirienced difficulties of life, he gave an unwise answer to the delegation. He threatened them with more severe punishment than his father. This angered the delegation and they rebelled against Rehoboam. They made Jeroboam 1 King of the nothern tribes. Rehoboam was left with only two tribes of Judah and Benjamin hence the splitting of this great kingdom into two: The Kingdom of Israel comprising the ten tribes and the Kingdom of Judah comprising two tribes
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