1 Samuel 8:20

20 Then we'll be just like all the other nations. Our king will rule us and lead us and fight our battles."

1 Samuel 8:20 Meaning and Commentary

1 Samuel 8:20

That we also may be like all the nations
Even though they were slaves, like them; a king they would have, as they had, such was their stupidity. It was their greatest honour and glory, as well as happiness, not to be like other nations; as in their religion, laws, and liberties, so in their form of government; God being their King in such a peculiar sense as he was not of others, but with this they could not be content:

and that our king may judge us;
hear their causes, administer justice and judgment to them, protect their persons and properties, and rule them according to the civil laws that were given them:

and go out before us, and fight our battles;
which Samuel their present judge did not, and to which perhaps they may have some respect; but then he gained more for them by his prayers, than a king or general would by his military skill or prowess, see ( 1 Samuel 7:10 ) , and it is very remarkable, and what is observed by some, that their first king died in a battle. What made them so pressing and importunate to have a king at, this time, and not defer it to another, it is very probable was, that they understood that Nahash, king of the children of Ammon, was preparing to attack them, and therefore they were desirous to have a king also to go out before them, and meet him, and give him battle, ( 1 Samuel 12:12 ) .

1 Samuel 8:20 In-Context

18 The day will come when you will cry in desperation because of this king you so much want for yourselves. But don't expect God to answer."
19 But the people wouldn't listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We will have a king to rule us!
20 Then we'll be just like all the other nations. Our king will rule us and lead us and fight our battles."
21 Samuel took in what they said and rehearsed it with God.
22 God told Samuel, "Do what they say. Make them a king." Then Samuel dismissed the men of Israel: "Go home, each of you to your own city."