1 Samuel 8:18 MEANING

1 Samuel 8:18
(18) The Lord will not hear you in that day.--After the separation of the north and the south, when King Solomon was dead, a large proportion of the northern sovereigns--or kings, as they were called, of "Israel," in distinction to the southern monarchs, the kings of "Judah"--fulfilled in their lives and government of the realm the dark forebodings of the seer. The northern tribes broke with all the hallowed associations connected with the Ark and temple, and set up a rival and semi-idolatrous religion in some of their own popular centres. There no holy influences swayed the councils of their despotic kings. The lives of the Israelites who still loved the law of the Lord, and cherished the glorious memories of their fathers, must have been very bitter and hard when men like Omri and Ahab reigned with all their cruel power in Tirzah and Samaria.

But no prayers then availed; one wicked dynasty succeeded another, until the cup of iniquity was filled, and Israel carried away captive for ever out of their fair land.

Verse 18. - Ye shall cry. In despair at this cruel oppression ye shall appeal to Jehovah, but in vain. The king was given them at their own request, persisted in even after warning, and they must abide by their choice. It is worth noting that in the northern kingdom a majority of the kings more or less fulfilled Samuel's evil forebodings, and there they were much more completely the product of the temper condemned by the prophet than they were in Judah. The ten tribes roughly snapped the tie which bound them to Jehovah; they discarded the ark and all the services of the sanctuary, and were content with so poor an imitation of them that all piously disposed men were compelled to abandon their lands and migrate into Judaea (2 Chronicles 11:16); and so the majority of their kings, not being held in check by religious influences, were tyrants. At Jerusalem, on the contrary, most of them were content to remain within the limits of the Mosaic law, and were upon the whole a series of men far superior, not merely to the judges and the monarchs in old time, but to any European dynasty.

8:10-22 If they would have a king to rule them, as the eastern kings ruled their subjects, they would find the yoke exceedingly heavy. Those that submit to the government of the world and the flesh, are told plainly, what hard masters they are, and what tyranny the dominion of sin is. The law of God and the manner of men widely differ from each other; the former should be our rule in the several relations of life; the latter should be the measure of our expectations from others. These would be their grievances, and, when they complained to God, he would not hear them. When we bring ourselves into distress by our own wrong desires and projects, we justly forfeit the comfort of prayer, and the benefit of Divine aid. The people were obstinate and urgent in their demand. Sudden resolves and hasty desires make work for long and leisurely repentance. Our wisdom is, to be thankful for the advantages, and patient under the disadvantages of the government we may live under; and to pray continually for our rulers, that they may govern us in the fear of God, and that we may live under them in all godliness and honesty. And it is a hopeful symptom when our desires of worldly objects can brook delay; and when we can refer the time and manner of their being granted to God's providence.And ye shall cry out in that day, because of your king,.... His power and pride, his oppression and tyranny, his heavy exactions, and intolerable yoke, and yet not be able to free themselves from them; all that they could do would be only to cry out under them as grievously distressed, and not knowing how to help themselves; and which would be the more aggravated, because they brought all this upon themselves, as it follows:

which ye shall have chosen you; for though the choice of a king for them, at a proper time, God had reserved to himself, yet in later times, as is here suggested, they would choose for themselves, and did, see Hosea 8:4 besides, to have a king in general was at first their own choice, though the particular person was by the designation of the Lord:

and the Lord will not hear you in that day; will not regard them, have no compassion on them, suffer them to remain under their oppressions, and not deliver them out of them; because they rejected him from being their King, and put themselves out of his protection, into the hands of another, and therefore it was just to leave them to their own choice.

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