The First Glimpse of the First King of Israel -- By: G. Coleman Luck

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 123:489 (Jan 1966)
Article: The First Glimpse of the First King of Israel
Author: G. Coleman Luck

The First Glimpse of the First King of Israel

G. Coleman Luck

[G. Coleman Luck, Faculty Member, Moody Bible Institute, Chicago.]

Samuel, the last and greatest of the judges, was old. As this godly leader and deliverer of Israel felt his physical powers waning, he enlisted the aid of his two sons, and sent them to judge the people at Beersheba. Evidently there was a need far to the south which he himself was not able to handle (1 Sam 8:1–2).

Sad to say, however, the sons of this noble servant of God were not men of integrity as their father was. Eventually their corruption became widely known and served as an excuse, at least, for Israel’s request for a king that they might be “like all the nations” (1 Sam 8:5). Samuel knew it was far better for them to be ruled directly by God with deliverers raised up by Him as the need arose. So he faithfully warned the people of the troubles that a king would bring on them (1 Sam 8:11–18). But when the people stubbornly persisted in their determination for a monarchy, he agreed (at the command of the Lord) to “make them a king” (1 Sam 8:22). “The noblest thing, in some respects, in all Samuel’s noble life was the way he took the providence of God in the establishment of the monarchy. The monarchy was a great innovation. It was a great revolution. And even more than that, it was a severe condemnation, if not of Samuel’s own life, of his office and his order, which are sometimes dearer to a man than life itself. And, in addition to that, it was the deposition and

dismissal of his two sons from the office and the rank to which he had raised them. Everything was against Samuel taking kindly to the thought of the new monarchy…but the great man bowed to the will of God and the will of Israel, and cast in his lot with the new dispensation.”1

But how was the desired king to be selected? How could he be the very one who would satisfy the ideal of the whole nation as to the kind of man they wanted? If the elders of Israel had selected him, he would certainly not have been the people’s choice, and might indeed have been far from what they desired. Even if a popular election had been held, probably no one person would have been well enough known to the nation at large to obtain just a simple majority. Even in our own land, with better means of communication and dissemination of information than has ever before existed on this earth, most of our presidents are elected by very small...

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