1 Samuel 8:4-20
Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel to Ramah,…
For are we not all in the same condemnation? The life of faith, which relies on an unseen arm, and hearkens to the law of an unseen King, is difficult, the sense cries out for something that it can realise and cling to. Luther, in one of his letters, has a parable that tells how he looked at the vault of the sky, and sought in vain for the pillars that held it up, and how he feared that, having no visible supports, it must fall. We all would like to see the upholding columns. An Alpine path without a parapet seems to us more dangerous that if a wall, however low, fenced it on the side of the precipice. "Give us a king" is but the ancient form of the universal craving for something "more substantial" than the bare word of a God whom sense cannot grasp. How many of us would rather have a good balance at our banker's than God's promise, "Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water made sure"! How many of us call the visible supports "solid realities," and the unseen strengths "mystical," meaning thereby unreal! How few of us believe that the Unseen is the real and solid, and the visible and transient and phantasmal! Let us scrutinise our governing ideas, and we shall find them very like those that sent the elders to Samuel, crying for a king.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,