The Foundation of the Monarchy

Samuel’s leadership brought great blessings to the people of Israel, both spiritually as well as physically. Problem’s arose because he had appointed his sons as judges over Israel (I Samuel 8:1-5). The people came to resent this move because of the fact that Samuel’s sons were evil men. They abused their power, accepted bribes, and perverted justice. The elders came up with a solution for this. To solve the problem of abuse they requested Samuel to anoint a king for them.

Until that time Israel had always been a theocracy, with God as their true King. Samuel did not see the need to change this (8:6), but obeyed the voice of the Lord when He told him to do exactly as the elders had suggested. So Samuel would anointed a king to rule Israel (8:7-9), though he obviously felt that they were rejecting his leadership.

Samuel warned them what would happen as soon as the king came to power:

1) There would be forced conscription into his army

2) He would demand high taxes

3) He would force their sons and daughters to work for him

But the people were determined to have a king (8:19-20)

I) Like the nations around about them

2) To judge them instead of Samuel’s wicked sons

3) To go out to battle for them

Samuel met Saul in Zuph, but was told by the Lord the previous day concerning him (9:15-16). As he looked upon the young man that was searching for his father’s animals and seeking advice from the prophet, God spoke to Samuel and told him that he was to he anointed Israel’s first king (9:17).

The anointing of Saul seems to have been a secret ceremony (10:1), and it does not seem that he fully understood the full implications of what was happening to him. Before he publicly introduced the king Samuel called Israel together at Mizpeh and reprimanded them for their desire for a king once again (10:17-19). There was an initial problem with announcing the future king until someone found him hiding amongst some baggage (10:20-24).

After Saul’s victory over the Ammorites he was to be publicly anointed as king (11:14-15). Then once again Samuel rebuked the people by asking if he ever mistreated them in any way. He was obviously still smarting from the fact that they had rejected his ministration when they desired a king. Nevertheless Samuel commanded that they obey the Lord and remember how he had led them throughout all these years since deliverance from Egypt. This can be seen as Samuel’s farewell speech as he stepped down from public life.