KING I Samuel 8 and Deuteronomy 17:14-20
(outline from Raymond Brown and some ideas from Colin Smith)
As Samuel, the prophet, reaches his final years, the people of Israelite renewed their call for a king. They wanted to be like other nations. We find this account in I Samuel 8. Samuel felt rejected but God reminded Samuel that it is God that is being rejected (1 Sam 8:7). God agreed to give the Israelites their desire and Saul was anointed as king (I Sam 10:1).
Samuel reminded the people of all of the bad things kings do (see I Sam 8:10-18).
Interesting Deuteronomy 16-18 had already defined the criteria for various categories of leader: judge, king, priest, and prophet. Deuteronomy even anticipated that the people will want a king (17:14).
- The king must be anointed by God. The king must not be pretentious. — “be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses” (15).
- The king must belong to God’s people. – “He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite” (15).
- The king must not be afraid. — “The king, moreover, must not acquire great numbers of horses for himself or make the people return to Egypt to get more of them” (16).
- The king must not be disloyal. – “He must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray” (17).
- The king must not be materialistic. – “He must not accumulate large amounts of silver and gold” (17).
- The king must not be ignorant — “When he takes the throne of his kingdom, he is to write for himself on a scroll a copy of this law, taken from that of the priests, who are Levites. It is to be with him, and he is to read it all the days of his life . . .” (18-19).
- The king must not be disobedient. — ” . . . so that he may learn to revere the LORD his God and follow carefully all the words of this law and these decrees and not . . . turn from the law to the right or to the left (19-20).
- The king must not be proud. – “ . . . and not consider himself better than his brothers” (20).
New Testament leadership parallels:
- (Mark 10:45 NIV) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
- (Phil 2:7 NIV) but [Jesus] made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
What does contemporary leadership look like?
What kind of leaders do we need?
We need leaders that God chooses; that are committed to His truth and His word; that value God’s will over alliances of religion, military might, money, or family; that are obedient to God’s direction; and that are not proud but willing to humble themselves before others and God’s truth.