Bible Studies
Written by Jim Jordal   
Monday, 02 July 2012


By Jim Jordal

And Samuel said, This will be the manner of the king who shall reign over you: he will take the best of your sons for charioteers, horsemen, foot soldiers, commanders, makers of armaments and caretakers for his lands. He will take the best of your daughters to be servants, cooks, and bakers. He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves as gifts to his servants.  He will take a tax of your seed, flocks, and vineyards for his officers and servants, and you will no longer be free people, but will be his servants. You shall cry out in that day because of the king you have chosen; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.

Paraphrase of I Sam. 8:11-18

As you may remember, the people of Israel, grown tired of theocratic life under the rule of God, revolted against God by demanding a king so they could be like their neighboring kingdoms. The prophet Samuel, inspired by God, agrees to their wishes, but with the prediction that they will suffer under the domineering king they soon will have.

So they get their first king, Saul, who begins his reign as a just and benevolent ruler but soon turns to dictatorship and tyranny, as Samuel had prophesied.

Considering the carnival that has become the political scene today, most Americans are troubled by the chaos and irresolution shown by both parties, but have no earthly reasonable place to turn. Consider also that we, like Israel of old, have asked for this situation by steadfastly refusing to demand that our leaders secure political freedom and economic justice for all citizens. Because of our failure to follow God we now face political chaos, irresolute leaders, public policies verging on insanity, corruption on all sides, and perhaps worse, the subversion of the machinery of government by massive corporate money allowed by the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

Samuel predicted that the king would take the best of their sons for charioteers, cavalry, foot soldiers, makers of armaments, and caretakers for his lands. Think about today and how the very best of our youth is sacrificed to the Moloch of war on battlefields that few can find on a map, and where there is little hope of clear victory or even permanent gain. Look at the broken hulks of humans arriving home from the war to a homeland where over 20 percent of them will be unable to find jobs or even decent medical care.


The apostle Paul tells us that events in the Old Testament are given for our learning, (see Romans 15:4 and I Cor. 10:11). If you believe this to be true then you may reach the conclusion that our current entrapment in worthless wars has happened because we have forgotten to consult God before choosing our leaders.

And we’re being set up again for another such debacle, this time with Iran. We’re being told that the peace of the entire world rests on keeping nuclear arms out of the hands a militant Iran led by Islamic extremists. The only peace that’s really threatened is that of Israel and the dictatorial regimes in Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf sheikdoms. We’re told that a nuclear armed Iran is an unthinkable threat, not only to Israel, but to us. So we’re being prepared for another war, this time against a much larger and more dedicated enemy at a time when the military budget is being drastically cut and some of us are thinking that perhaps we’re soon done with hopeless wars.

And perhaps the worst thing is that voices of sanity and moderation are almost totally absent from the political debate. Couple this spineless irresolution with the billions in corporate money now subverting the political arena and able to almost buy anything the corporate titans want, and you have the makings of monstrous political dysfunction and a rudderless, confused people.

But God still rules in the affairs of men. However, he will not always allow us to escape the fruits of our continued resistance to his word. God told us through Samuel that the outcome of our refusal to be governed by his law administered through devout political leaders would be disastrous, and so it is.

Neither party has the answer, but God does. I only wonder how much we will have to suffer before we realize this.