Give Us a King to Judge Us

Theocracy

Israel was set up as a Theocracy. This is a type of government whose leader is God. Though God did not come down and sit on a throne, He always led the country by speaking through a designated person. A clear start for this type of leadership is seen in Moses when he was told by God to help free Israel from Egypt. Later the spokesperson was Joshua. Yet God had been leading Israel in this way for centuries.

Judges

After Joshua died the people of Israel preferred not to listen to God’s leadership and they went their own way. God sent various men and women in the book of Judges to lead the nation back to a better relationship with Him. However, one of the common phrases in the book of Judges is “they did that which was right in their own eyes.” They did not want to seek God and His leadership.

Samuel

Samuel, as priest, became the spokesperson for God. When he was old the people rose up and said that they wanted a king to rule over them so that they would be like all the other nations around them (1 Samuel 8:5). They began to look at the world and imitate their leadership style. Israel had grown tired of God.

Samuel went to God to tell what was going on (like God didn’t already know). The old priest was pretty disheartened. But God assured Samuel that it wasn’t Samuel’s leadership they were rejecting, they were rejecting God (1 Samuel 8:6-9). They wanted a finite, fallible man and not an all knowing, perfect and holy God leading them. Man could be bought and controlled. God wasn’t going to change no matter how much they tried to bribe Him.

King

God said  that they could have a king, but He also warned them through Samuel what a king would mean. A king would take many of their children to be slaves and servants as royal guards, military leaders and field workers. Their daughters would also be taken as servants to cook and bake for the king. Their best fields would be seized by the king as his own land. And then, on top of all the king took (not purchased or hired) he would then enact a 10% tax on everything they had (1 Samuel 8:11-18).

Even after this full explanation they said they still wanted a king. For what purpose? “That we also may be like all the nations…” They were tired of God leading them and they wanted to be like the world.

Your King?

We don’t live in a theocracy in any government today. However, as individual Christians we have a God who wants to live and reign in our lives. He requests not just 10%, He wants our whole lives. Yet He doesn’t do it by force. He allows us to choose to serve Him. He gives great blessings and guidance in return for our service. But how many of us are like Israel and choose to reject God as sovereign and want to have the same type of leadership the world has?

One of my favorite stories in the Bible comes at the end of 1 Samuel 15. This is a few years after a king was chosen and “old Samuel” was even more advanced in age. The people had said they didn’t want an old man ruling their nation who was not able to go out to war and fight. Yet in the final verses of chapter 15 Samuel chops up an enemy king with a sword. Though I have never done that, I can’t imagine that it would be an easy task. Samuel sounds like a pretty spry young man to me.

Bible Study: 2 Samuel – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 2 Samuel

Originally the books of 1 and 2 Samuel were one book. The men who translated the Septuagint from Hebrew to Greek separated the book into two parts. They are two separate books to this day.

The book of 2 Samuel is one of the books of history in the Bible. Like the other books of history, it does not seem to have a targeted audience. It covers a time period of approximately 40 years. This was from the death of Saul until the end of the life of King David.

Author

Tradition held that Samuel wrote the book. However, that is not likely. Samuel died in 1 Samuel 25:1. If Samuel wrote at least part of the books of Samuel, then whoever finished what is now 1 Samuel probably wrote 2 Samuel.

Possible authors are Gad or Nathan (1 Chronicles 29:29). The book could have been finished before the death of David. Even though David did not die until the next book, whoever wrote the first book would have probably included some information about David’s death if his death had happened when the book was written. Continue reading Bible Study: 2 Samuel – Summary of the Book

Bible Study: 1 Samuel – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of 1 Samuel

The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book. The translators of the Septuagint separated the books and they have remained two separate books since that time.

The book of 1 Samuel is a historical book, as is 2 Samuel. It covers a time period of approximately 100 years. This was from the birth of Samuel to the death of King Saul. While it is general history it has a very strong focus on the selection of the first king in Israel as well as how the kingdom progressed under Saul.

Author

While tradition holds that Samuel wrote the book, it is unlikely. He may have written part of the book, but someone else would have had to finish a good portion of the book. Remember that the two books of Samuel were originally a single book. The events continue long after the death of Samuel (1 Samuel 25:1). However, it is known that Samuel wrote at least one book (1 Chronicles 29:29). This verse probably refers to one of the previous books attributed to him.

Other possible authors are Nathan the prophet or Gad (1 Chronicles 29:29). Since the death of David is not recorded in either book, it is suspected that the books would have been finished while David was still alive. Both Gad and Nathan could have written the book from a chronological perspective.

Date Written

The book was written after the death of Saul (1007 B.C.), but before the death of David (971 B.C.). Saul’s death is recorded by the end of the book, but David’s was not. Nor is David’s death recorded by the end of 2 Samuel. Continue reading Bible Study: 1 Samuel – Summary of the Book

Bible Study: Judges – Summary of the Book

Summary of the Book of Judges

Like Joshua, Judges is a historical book. It follows Joshua chronologically beginning with the death of Joshua at 1370 B.C. It covers a period of about 300 years until the death of Samson in 1070 B.C. Judges bridges the period of time when the people had settled into their inheritance but before they were given a king.

The main subjects in the book are the wickedness of the people and the 12 judges. Thus the title Judges.

The recipients of this book are not specifically named. This seems to be the case for all of the historical books in the Bible. The book was written as a reminder to future generations of how God has worked in the past.

Author

According to Jewish tradition, Samuel was the author, but there is no strong proof for this. Clues as to when it must have been written support that Samuel could have been the author. It seems to have been written shortly after the events of the book. There is no reason to think it was not Samuel other than the lack of proof that he was the author.

Date Written

The time period covered in the narrative is about 300 years from the death of Joshua to the death of Samson, 1370 to 1070 B.C. However it was written at a time after Israel had a king. Several times in the book the statement is made such as, “in those days there was no king in Israel.” (Judges 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21-25). This is an indication that the author knew there would be a king in Israel. It is as if there was a king at the time of the book’s writing. But it was also written early in this period as shown in Judges 1:21. In this verse the Jebusites still lived in Jerusalem, even though the Bible says that David drove them out in 1003. Therefore the book had to be written after kings were established in the land, but before David drove out the Jebusites from Jerusalem. Or, sometime between 1047 and 1003 B.C. Continue reading Bible Study: Judges – Summary of the Book