The elders demanded of Samuel the prophet, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” (1 Samuel 8:5). They were sure that what worked for the other nations would also work in Eretz Israel.
Before biblical Israel received its king, there were judges who led the nation of Israel. God Himself was responsible for their military strategy. There was no standing army – if Israel needed to go to war, God poured out His spirit upon the judge, who then gathered up volunteers. Every victory on the battlefield was a miracle, because it should have been all but impossible for an army of volunteers gathered at the last minute to defeat professional military forces. For the children of Israel, victory was always dependent upon their relationship to God. If the nation sinned, God allowed defeat. Under these circumstances, the people became aware that there were other systems of government that existed outside of Israel that were supposedly better. The other nations could decide...
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