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7 – Chapter 7

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Samuel's career marks the end of Israel as a tribal confederacy and the beginning of its history as a monarchy.
The Israelites demanded a new form of government
headed by a king as a means of unifying the tribes and
providing an adequate defense. Samuel warned that if
they chose a king, they would be denying the primacy of
God. In addition, he said, they would lose their personal
independence and become servants of the king.
When the Israelites rejected Samuel's warnings,
he anointed Saul as their king. At first, Saul proved to be
a forceful military leader, as shown when the Ammonites
attacked the city of Jabesh-gilead...

Then Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged
Jabesh-gilead, and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash,
"Make a treaty with us, and we will be your subjects."
But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, "Only on this
condition will I make a treaty with you, that I scoop out all your
right eyes, as a disgrace upon all Israel."
The elders of Jabesh said to him, "Give us seven days
so that we can send messengers through all the territory of
Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will give our-
selves up to you."

When the messengers came to Gibeah, Saul's home-
town, they reported the terms of the disaster, and all the people wept aloud. Saul was just coming from the field with his
oxen; and Saul said, "Why are the people weeping?" So they
told him the message of the men of Jabesh.

And the spirit of God came upon Saul, and he became
very angry. He took a pair of oxen, and cut them in pieces and
sent messengers to carry the pieces throughout all the territory of Israel, saying, "Whoever does not join Saul and
Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen!" Then the fear of
Adonai fell upon the people, and they all came as one man.
He assembled three hundred thousand men of Israel and
thirty thousand men of Judah at Bezek. And they said to the
messengers who had come, "This is what you shall say to the
men of Jabesh-gilead: Tomorrow, when the sun is hot, you
shall be saved." When the messengers came and told the
men of Jabesh, they were glad.

So the men of Jabesh said, tomorrow we will surrender to you, and you may do as you please with us. The next
day Saul divided his soldiers into three detachments; and
they attacked the camp during the morning watch, and they
cut down the Ammonites. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
Then the people said to Samuel, "Who are the people
who asked, 'Shall Saul reign over us?' Bring us the men, so
that we may put them to death."

But Saul said, "No one shall be put to death, for today
Adonai has preserved Israel."

Then Samuel said to the people, "Come, let us go to
Gilgal and there reaffirm the kingdom." So all the people went
to Gilgal, and there, before Adonai, they crowned Saul king.
There they sacrificed peace offerings before Adonai, and
Saul and all the people of Israel rejoiced.

I Samuel 11:1-14


1. Why would a monarchy be more able to unite the
people and provide for defense than a loose tribal confederacy?
2. Why was Samuel opposed to choosing a king to
govern the Israelites?
3. Who governed the Israelites before King Saul?
4. One of the problems with the judges system
was that there was no government permanently in place.
Instead a judge stepped in and took over whenever the
nation was in danger. What were the advantages and disadvantages of this somewhat libertarian system as compared to a monarchy?
5. Why did the Israelites insist upon choosing a
6. Why did the prophet Samuel finally agree to
crown Saul?

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