Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
There can be no doubt that God’s plan for Israel included a king, a specially chosen dynasty from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10), and that in anticipation of that event He laid down certain basic guidelines for such a theocratic king to follow,… as recorded in Deuteronomy 17….
But the reason why their request displeased the Lord was that it was based on the assumption that they should follow their pagan neighbors in their form of government. Their motive was to conform to the world about them rather than to abide by the holy and perfect constitution that God had given them under Moses in the form of the Pentateuchal code. There was a definite sense in which they were setting aside the laws of God as inadequate for their needs and falling in step with the idolatrous heathen…. They had forgotten that God had called them out of the world, not to conform to the world, but to walk in covenant fellowship with Yahweh as a testimony of godliness before all the pagan world.
So it came about that when Samuel’s contemporaries came clamoring for a king, God granted them their request, even though He rebuked them for their worldly motive for making it. He also warned them that the greater unity and efficiency of government they might achieve under a monarchy would be offset by the loss of their liberties under the oppressive and demanding rule of an autocratic king…. So the nation would have reason to regret their choice.
Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982), page 170
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