1 Kings Chapter 8
Samuel growing old, and his sons not walking in his ways, the people desire a king.
8:1. And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel.
8:2. Now the name of his firstborn son was Joel: and the name of the second was Abia, judges in Bersabee.
8:3. And his sons walked not in his ways: but they turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
8:4. Then all the ancients of Israel being assembled came to Samuel to Ramatha.
8:5. And they said to him: Behold thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: make us a king, to judge us, as all nations have.
8:6. And the word was displeasing in the eyes of Samuel, that they should say: Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed to the Lord.
8:7. And the Lord said to Samuel: Hearken to the voice of the people in all that they say to thee. For they have not rejected thee, but me, that I should not reign over them.
Rejected, etc... The government of Israel hitherto had been a theocracy, in which God himself immediately ruled, by laws which he had enacted, and by judges extraordinarily raised up by himself; and therefore he complains that his people rejected him, in desiring a change of government.
8:8. According to all their works, they have done from the day that I brought them out of Egypt until this day: as they have forsaken me, and served strange gods, so do they also unto thee.
8:9. Now, therefore, hearken to their voice: but yet testify to them, and foretell them the right of the king, that shall reign over them.
The right... That is, the manner (misphat) after which he shall proceed, having no one to control him, when he has the power in his hand.
8:10. Then Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people that had desired a king of him,
8:11. And said: This will be the right of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and put them in his chariots, and will make them his horsemen, and his running footmen, to run before his chariots,
8:12. And he will appoint of them to be his tribunes, and his centurions, and to plough his fields, and to reap his corn, and to make him arms and chariots.
8:13. Your daughters also he will take to make him ointments, and to be his cooks, and bakers.
8:14. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your best oliveyards, and give them to his servants.
8:15. Moreover he will take the tenth of your corn, and of the revenues of your vineyards, to give to his eunuchs and servants.
8:16. Your servants also, and handmaids, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, he will take away, and put them to his work.
8:17. Your flocks also he will tithe, and you shall be his servants.
8:18. And you shall cry out in that day from the face of the king, whom you have chosen to yourselves: and the Lord will not hear you in that day, because you desired unto yourselves a king.
8:19. But the people would not hear the voice of Samuel, and they said, Nay: but there shall be a king over us,
8:20. And we also will be like all nations: and our king shall judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles for us.
8:21. And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord.
8:22. And the Lord said to Samuel: Hearken to their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said to the men of Israel: Let every man go to his city.
1 Kings Chapter 9
Saul seeking his father's asses, cometh to Samuel, by whom he is entertained.
9:1. Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Cis, the son of Abiel, the son of Seror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphia, the son of a man of Jemini, valiant and strong.
9:2. And he had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and goodly man, and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he appeared above all the people.
9:3. And the asses of Cis, Saul's father, were lost: and Cis said to his son Saul: Take one of the servants with thee, and arise, go, and seek the asses. And when they had passed through Mount Ephraim,
9:4. And through the land of Salisa, and had not found them, they passed also through the land of Salim, and they were not there: and through the land of Jemini, and found them not.
9:5. And when they were come to the land of Suph, Saul said to the servant that was with him: Come, let us return, lest perhaps my father forget the asses, and be concerned for us.
9:6. And he said to him: Behold there is a man of God in this city, a famous man: all that he saith, cometh certainly to pass. Now, therefore, let us go thither, perhaps he may tell us of our way, for which we are come.
9:7. And Saul said to his servant: Behold we will go: but what shall we carry to the man of God? the bread is spent in our bags: and we have no present to make to the man of God, nor any thing at all.
9:8. The servant answered Saul again, and said: Behold there is found in my hand the fourth part of a sicle of silver, let us give it to the man of God, that he may tell us our way.
9:9. Now in time past in Israel, when a man went to consult God, he spoke thus: Come, let us go to the seer. For he that is now called a prophet, in time past was called a seer.
Seer... Because of his seeing by divine light hidden things and things to come.
9:10. And Saul said to his servant: Thy word is very good, come let us go. And they went into the city, where the man of God was.
9:11. And when they went up the ascent to the city, they found maids coming out to draw water, and they said to them: Is the seer here?
9:12. They answered and said to them: He is: behold he is before you, make haste now: for he came to day into the city, for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place.
A sacrifice... The law did not allow of sacrifices in any other place, but at the tabernacle, or temple, in which the ark of the covenant was kept; but Samuel, by divine dispensation, offered sacrifices in other places. For which dispensation this reason may be alleged, that the house of God in Silo, having lost the ark, was now cast off; as a figure of the reprobation of the Jews, Ps. 77.60, 67. And in Cariathiarim where the ark was, there was neither tabernacle, nor altar.-Ibid. The high place... Excelsum. The excelsa, or high places, so often mentioned in scripture, were places of worship, in which were altars for sacrifice.
These were sometimes employed in the service of the true God, as in the present case: but more frequently in the service of idols; and were called excelsa, which is commonly (though perhaps not so accurately) rendered high places; not because they were always upon hills, for the very worst of all, which was that of Topheth, or Geennom, (Jer. 19.) was in a valley; but because of the high altars, and pillars, or monuments, erected there, on which were set up the idols, or images of their deities.
9:13. As soon as you come into the city, you shall immediately find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat till he come; because he blesseth the victim, and afterwards they eat that are invited. Now, therefore, go up, for to day you shall find him.
9:14. And they went up into the city. And when they were walking in the midst of the city, behold Samuel was coming out over against them, to go up to the high place.
9:15. Now the Lord had revealed to the ear of Samuel the day before Saul came, saying:
9:16. To morrow about this same hour I will send thee a man of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel: and he shall save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked down upon my people, because their cry is come to me.
9:17. And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him: Behold the man, of whom I spoke to thee, this man shall reign over my people.
9:18. And Saul came to Samuel in the midst of the gate, and said: Tell me, I pray thee, where is the house of the seer?
9:19. And Samuel answered Saul, saying: I am the seer; go up before me to the high place, that you may eat with me to day, and I will let thee go in the morning: and tell thee all that is in thy heart.
9:20. And as for the asses, which were lost three days ago, be not solicitous, because they are found. And for whom shall be all the best things of Israel? Shall they not be for thee and for all thy father's house?