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And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

8:7 rejected me. It was actually God’s will for His people to have a king, for eventually Messiah would be their king (note Genesis 49:10; Numbers 24:17). He had, through Moses, instructed them in how a future king should rule and how he should be chosen (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). However, their motives in desiring a king at this time were altogether wrong (I Samuel 8:19,20).

8:7 reign over them. It was not that the people really needed a king to “judge us, and go out before us, and fight out battles” (I Samuel 8:20). God Himself had been their king, and had gone before them and fought their battles, whenever they were faithful to Him. But they deliberately rejected this theocratic kingdom, and the judges that God had raised up (such as Samuel), in order that they “may be like all the nations” (I Samuel 8:20). As a result of their complaining instead of being grateful and obeying, God “gave them their request; but sent leanness into their souls” (Psalm 106:15), just as He had done in the wilderness when they complained about their food.

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