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The Israelites Demand a King

The Israelites Demand a King

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Published by glennpease



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Published by: glennpease on Aug 28, 2013
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THE ISRAELITES DEMAD A KIGBY ALEXADER WATSO, M.A.THE ELECTIO OF A KIG. SAULIt was not the least among the numberless consequences of.those calamities to which man subjected himself by the fall,that he became the miserable victim of a most capricious in-constancy, and an ever wavering unsettledness of judgment,actuated by a spirit of licentious insubordination, restlessdiscontent, seditious murmuring, fickleness of disposition,and an uncontrollable temper of mind, ever dissatisfied, evenwhen fed to the full, and placed in the most favourable cir^cumstances of success, peace, and security. This was re-markably discoverable, in the whole conduct of the Israelitesfrom the time of their deliverance from Egypt, forward to,and during their possession of the land of promise. Theirgovernment, until Saul's time, was under the immediate di-rection of their Omnipotent liberator, guide and sovereign,Hh2${44 THE ISRAELITESwho condescendingly deigned to rule over and conduct themupon the principles of an establishment purely monarchical,uniting the civil and ecclesiastical authority in himself, andappointing deputies under him for each department, — thedirection of the priesthood, and all matters ecclesiastical,being, in the times of Moses and Joshua, in his lieutenant orcivil governor, afterward united in the judges, and, after Saul'sdeath, the power and direction of bolli seem to have been inthe king, as supreme head of the civil government.
The government of the Deity, as originally constituted,was specially assented to by the Israelites, in a formal con-tract or covenant entered into at Sinai, through the mediumof Moses, by the Captain of their salvation, then visibly pre-sent upon the Mount, on the one part, and the nation thenassembled at the toot of it upon the other, after its principlesand conditions were repeatedly laid beforehand deliberately con-sidered by it. Contemplating the miracles which had beenwrought for the deliverance of that nation, and the Omnipo-tent protection of the Almighty, who went along and remainedwith it, we would rationally conceive that a revolution in the go-vernment would not enter into their m'mds ; but that people, afigurative representation of all nations, was characteristically in-subordinate, and addicted to dissatisfaction, sedition, andrevolt^so that even under the administration of Moses, a man of themildest temper and forbearuice, they often broke oat intosuch outrageous acts of violence and opposition to his autho-rity, as made him entreat God to relieve him from the charge.Under, the united civil, criminal, and ecclesiastical f<Min of their constitution, the administration of Eli was conducted,in whom was vested all authority, as the lieutenant and priestof God, in which he was succeeded by Samuel the pn^heUWhen- Samuel became old, he necessarily devolved overupon his sons a part of the management, and it appears fromDEMAD A KIG. 245the record, that, under colour of their misconduct, the peo-ple applied to Samuel, but evidently in a seditious and pe-remptory manner, demanding a change of the governmentand the appointment of a king over them, in the manner of the heathens around them. This was a state of actual re-belliiHi, in the face and violation of the covenant which hadbeen so entered into by their fore&thers, and homologatedand concurred in from that time till now, by their descen-dants ; and accordingly on this occasion, we find Grod thuaupbraiding their ingratitude, though he gave way to their ill-
 judged and irrational requisition, whereby they rejected himas the head of th^ government. ^^ And the Lord said untoSamuel, Hearken to the voice of the people, in all that theyaay unto thee ; for they have not rejected thee, but they haverejected me, that I should not reign over them : Accordingto all the works that they have done, since the day that Ibrought them up out of Egypt, even unto this day, where-with they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so dothey also unto thee. ow, therefore, hearken unto theirvoice : Howbeit, yet protest solemnly unto them, and shewthem the manner of the king that shall reign over them."*Samuel, after representing the grievous tyranny which thepeople would experience from a king, in all the various fea-tures of his despotism, added, by the divine directions, *^ Andye shall cfy out, in that day, because of your king which yeshall have chosen you, and the Lord will not hear you in thatday. evertheless, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel, and they said. ay, but we will have a king over us,that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king.may judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles.And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he re-• 1 SiBiiiel vixL 7, S, 9U346 THE ISRAELITEShearsed them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said toSamuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king,"Sec. * Saul was accordingly anointed by Samuel, and set overand approved of by them.The reason assigned by them to Samuel, as generally isthe case with those who are determined on a change, seemsvery colourable, and urged with much plausibility of justifi-cation,— his sons, as substitute-judges or governors, takingbribes and perverting judgment ; but that their desire of anearthly king to rule over and govern them arose from othermotives than the bad example and misconduct of these young

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