**Scripture references have been highlighted in red and are hyperlinked to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window. Please click to read!
Resource quotes have been highlighted in blue and are noted at the end of the blog.
Recently we learned of Hannah, a great woman of the Old Testament that teaches us remarkable values and life skills in living righteously. Hannah took the grief of her childlessness to the Temple and there promised that if she were to be blessed with a son, she would dedicate him, all the days of his life, to the Lord (1 Sam. 1:9-11).
The Lord heard the prayer of Hannah and blessed her with a son whom she called Samuel, a name which means "Name of 'El (God)" or "his name is 'El." When she went to the temple at Shiloh to deliver her son to the Lord, by entrusting him to the ministry of the temple under the priest Eli, she prayed a prayer in the form of a song (or poem) of joyous thanksgiving and praise to the Lord (1 Sam. 2:1-10). This poem echoes themes of the omnipotence of God, his love for his children, and the justice that he metes out to them. It ends with the phrase "he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed" (1 Sam. 2:10), which is a clear allusion to the establishment of kingship in Israel in which Samuel was to play a part.
We learn about imperative righteous qualities from Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 as we now continue on to 1 Samuel 2–3; 1 Samuel 8 we can begin to understand the blessings of honoring and pleasing the Lord above ourselves, others, or the world. As taught through the prophet Eli, his sons, Samuel and Israel, we can see whom the Lord will honor. 1 Samuel 2:30
The Books of Samuel
The books of 1 and 2 Samuel include the period from the beginning of the Judges to the death of King David roughly 1100 BC to 961 BC. They describe the change in Israel from a tribal congregation to a more organized royal state. There was a shift during this time to a more centralized temple worship that led to Jerselum as a religious and political center.
In the Hebrew Bible these books form one. Our division into two books follows the Greek Bible. The books begin with the birth of Samuel (hence the title) and carry us down nearly to the death of David, a period of about 130 years. It is uncertain who the author was or when he wrote. In order to compile his narrative he no doubt used various writings that he found already in existence, including the state chronicles (among which were writings by Samuel, Nathan, and Gad, 1 Sam. 10:25; 1 Chr. 29:29). In some cases he has combined together two different accounts of the same event and has not always been careful to reconcile the two together (compare the two accounts of David’s introduction to Saul, 1 Sam. 16:14–23 and 17:1–18:5). He also made use of various national and religious poems, which may have been preserved in writing or by oral tradition, such as Hannah’s song (1 Sam. 2:1–10); David’s lament for Abner (2 Sam. 3:33–34); David’s thanksgiving and his last words (2 Sam. 22; 23:1–7); see also the reference to the Book of Jasher (2 Sam. 1:18). (Bible Dictionary King James)
Whom the Lord Will Honor
Part 1 The Sons of Eli Honor Themselves Above the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:12–17, 22–25.
By the time of Eli, who was the next to last judge to rule in Israel, two things were evident: "First, there was a common central place of worship at Shiloh, north of Jerusalem, where all were to assemble once each year. "Second, there seems to have been a sort of central government. Eli sat on his seat before the temple and in some way decided problems for the people." Washburn surmised that Eli was "an indulgent father, a humble, charitable, and easy-going priest and judge." Eli's sons, Hophni and Phinehas, were also priests and officiated at the sacrifice with their father. "But they were wicked, self-indulgent, and disobedient, and utterly disregarded the example and teachings of their father," wrote Washburn. "Of each animal sacrificed the priests were to be given a certain portion after it was boiled and cooked. These two men took what they pleased by force and roasted it to their liking regardless of the law. "Besides this evil, they were otherwise wicked and immoral and caused much sin and wickedness among the people. . . ." Because of the sons' transgressions, "a man of God" pronounced the Lord's curse upon Eli's house. (1 Sam. 2:27-34.)
In the following verses of the Sons of Eli commit trangressions and are counseled by their father. Hophni and Phinehas were sons of Eli, the high priest and were priests themselves. However, they were wicked. When Israelites came to offer sacrifices at the tabernacle Hophni and Phinehas forcibly took the flesh of the sacrificial animals before the fat portions had been burned on the altar. They also took some of the flesh that the offerer was boiling for the sacrificial meal (1 Samuel 2:12–17). These were serious transgressions of God’s laws, equivalent to robbing God. Eli’s sons also committed the extremely serious sin of seducing women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle (1 Samuel 2:22).
12 ¶ Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord.
Belial was an epithet meaning "worthlessness, evil"; the English translators capitalized it as if it were a cognomen for Satan, and, indeed, in New Testament times, Paul apparently so used it (2 Cor. 6:15; BD, "Belial"). The immoral and blasphemous acts of the sons of Eli justified the label.
13 And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;
14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.
15 Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.
16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.
17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the Lord: for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.22 ¶ Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress
.25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.
“Of these offerings, the portion which legally fell to the priest as his share was the heave-leg and wave-breast. And this he was to receive after the fat portions of the sacrifice had been burned upon the altar [see Leviticus 7:30–34]. To take the flesh of the sacrificial animal and roast it before this offering had been made, was a crime which was equivalent to a robbery of God. … Moreover, the priests could not claim any of the flesh which the offerer of the sacrifice boiled for the sacrificial meal, after burning the fat portions upon the altar and giving up the portions which belonged to them, to say nothing of their taking it forcibly out of the pots while it was being boiled [see 1 Samuel 2:12–17]. Such conduct as this on the part of the young men (the priests’ servants), was a great sin in the sight of the Lord, as they thereby brought the sacrifice of the Lord into contempt.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:35–36.)
What effect did the actions of Eli’s sons have on other people in Israel? 1 Samuel 2:17, 24. The poor example of the priests caused others in Israel to abhor “the offering of the Lord. But these actions were not all, for the sons of Eli seduced women and engaged in adulterous acts at the very door of the tabernacle, evidently by misusing their office of priest to entice the women.
What do the actions of Eli's sons say about whom they chose to honor? They chose to honor themselves their needs and wants above the commandments of the Lord.
In what areas of our lives do we sometimes choose to honor and please ourselves rather than the Lord? Entertainment, Sabbath observance, Dating and morality, Fasting, Church callings...
Why do you think we sometimes choose to please ourselves rather the God?
What are the consequenses of honoring ourselves above God? For the sons of Eli under the law of Moses, willful disobedience to parents was punishable by death, and the parents were abliged to see that the punishment was carried out. The consequence for their choice to please themselves above God was death.
Can these consequences in our day, be similar for us?
Part 2 Eli Honors His Sons Above the Lord 1 Samuel 2:27–36; 3:12–14.
In the above verses we read that A man of God warns Eli about the consequences of the wickedness in his family. Hophni and Phinehas compounded their already serous sins by disobeying their father, and Eli failed in his parental responsibility as well as in his office as the presiding priest. Although he rebuked his sons, he took no action to see that the abomination in his family and at the tabernacle was corrected. Therefore, “a man of God” (some unnamed prophet) came to Eli and pronounced the Lord’s curse upon Eli’s house because “[thou] honourest thy sons above me” That is, Eli’s relationship with his sons was of more value to him than his relationship with God.
What responsibility did Eli have when he learned of the wickedness of his sons? What did he do? 1 Samuel 2:22–25 To rebuke and correct their sins. Eli knew of his sons' grave violations not only of their priestly privileges (they had the right to certain portions of flesh and other food items offered in sacrifice, but they took more than allowed and demanded choice parts) but also of the commandments (their abuse of women worshippers emulated the behavior of the priests of fertility cults in Canaan).
22 ¶ Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
23 And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.
24 Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the Lord’s people to transgress.
25 If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.
What was their response? 1 Samuel 2:25
Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them.
After reprimanding his sons, Eli did nothing further to correct the terrible sins in his family and at the tabernacle. As a result, a man of God came and chastised him, telling him that he honored his sons more than God 1 Samuel 2:27–29
27 ¶ And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
28 And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?
29 Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?
In what way had Eli honored his sons more than God? The priest reproved his sons, but he did not effectively restrain them.
What did the man of God say would happen to the house of Eli? 1 Samuel 2:30–35.
30 Wherefore the Lord God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.
31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.
32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.
33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.
34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.
35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.
In what ways do we sometimes honor other people more than God? We allow our peers to persuade us to do something we know is wrong. We act dishonestly because we are afraid of what other people might think of us. We fail to correct family members or friends in their wrongdoing because we want to maintain good relations with them.
President Joseph F. Smith taught: “There should [not] be any of us so unwisely indulgent, so thoughtless and so shallow in our affection for our children that we dare not check them in a wayward course, in wrong-doing and in their foolish love for the things of the world more than for the things of righteousness, for fear of offending them” (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed. , 286).
How can parents fulfill their responsibility toward wayward children in a spirit of love? We have no choice but to declare what is and what should be. We do not lower our vision or dilute our ideals as a concession to a decaying society. And yet, there is much heart-ache among us, much distress over current failures in the home and family, even among the Latter-day Saints. The key is not to surrender our goals but to be more sensitive and solicitous of those who come up short. Not all of our little ones will be above average. Not all of our children will excel academically. Not all of our teenagers will be articulate, handsome, or charismatic. And not all of our posterity will choose the right. The odds are certainly greater that children will turn out properly if parents do their part to live the gospel, teach the gospel, and be active and involved in the Church. But we live in a world of risk; there are no guarantees. We knew that before we came here, and perhaps that is why so many of our spirit brothers and sisters followed Lucifer: "The contention in heaven was——Jesus said there would be certain souls that would not be saved; and the devil said he could save them all, and laid his plans before the grand council, who gave their vote in favor of Jesus Christ" (Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 357).
To hold on, to hope on in regard to the family is to face life and its challenges with courage and conviction, recognizing that God is in his heaven and knows of our sufferings. To proceed with hope is to live the gospel the best we can, to trust in the infinite power and never-ending mercy of Jesus Christ, and to surrender our burdens to him. Jesus is the Balm of Gilead. His is the soothing ointment that heals the wounds of the brokenhearted. To a degree, we each have wandered, just as do some of our children. "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way" (Isaiah 53:6). But thanks be to God, "he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows" (Isaiah 53:4). Because he has taken upon him our infirmities, he is filled with mercy and knows how to succor his people according to their individual needs (see Alma 7:12) (When a Child Wanders Robert L Millet)
What is the responsibility of children as their parents strive to lead them in righteousness?
Part 3 Samuel Honors the Lord 1 Samuel 3
Beginning wtih 1 Samuel 3:1-10 Samuel is called of the Lord.
1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.
2 And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see;
3 And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;
4 That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.
6 And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.
8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.
9 Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.
The word precious as used here means “scarce.” The word of God was seldom heard in all the land. Elder Harold B. Lee explained why as follows: “The story commences with a significant statement. “‘And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.’ (I Samuel 3:1) … That means that there was no prophet upon the earth through whom the Lord could reveal his will, either by personal experience, or by revelation. And it came to pass that Eli was laid down in his place and his eyes were dim, and Samuel the boy also lay down to his sleep, and you remember through that night there came a call, ‘Samuel,’ and thinking that Eli had called him he went to Eli’s room to be told that Eli had not called him. And he lay down the second time again to be called, and yet the third time. And by this time Eli, sensing the fact that he was being spoken to by an unseen speaker, said, ‘The next time that you hear, then you shall answer, “Here I am Lord, speak to me.”’ And so the next time when the call came, Samuel answered as he had been directed. Now it says, ‘Samuel (up to this time) did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord revealed unto him.’ And after he had recognized the Lord and said, ‘Thy servant heareth,’ then he was told that the Lord was to proceed to ‘do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of everyone that heareth it, shall tingle.’ And then he explained the reason why Eli could not receive further messages from the Lord. ‘His sons make themselves vile, and he restrained them not,’ or in other words he allowed his sons to curse God and therefore were leading the people of Israel astray.” (“But Arise and Stand upon Thy Feet”—and I Will Speak with Thee, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, Provo, 7 Feb. 1956, p. 2.)
Who spoke to Samuel in the night? 1 Samuel 3:4. the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.
Whom did Samuel first think was calling him? 1 Samuel 3:5–6, 8 5 And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.
How did Samuel learn it was the Lord calling? 1 Samuel 3:8–9 8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
An editorial note introduces the account of the call of Samuel: "And the word of the Lord was precious [or rare] in those days; there was no open vision" (1 Sam. 3:1). What was about to happen to Samuel was extraordinary. The narrative of Samuel's call is full of light and dark, sight and sound. As the lamp of God was flickering in the temple, Eli the aged priest, who was dim of sight, and young Samuel, who knew not the voice of the Lord, were lying down in their beds. Three times the silence was broken by the voice of the Lord as it called to Samuel. Eli could not hear it and Samuel, who could, did not recognize it as the voice of the Lord. Three times Samuel responded to the call by presenting himself to the priest, the Lord's administrator, thinking it was Eli who had called. The fourth time, following Eli's instructions, he recognized and answered the voice of the Lord, responding, "Speak; for thy servant heareth" (1 Sam. 3:10). Light came into the darkness and the Lord stood before Samuel and spoke to him. The Lord immediately explained the symbolism of Samuel's three fruitless visits to Eli. The chain of authority had been circumvented and changed. Because of the iniquity of Eli's sons, his house was destined for destruction. And just as the house of Eli was to decrease, Samuel was to increase. A new prophet had been called, and Samuel became the direct recipient and dispenser of the word of the Lord to Israel. In the morning the darkness came to light for Eli as Samuel recounted the judgment of the Lord against his house. Sorrowfully but with humility the priest accepted his fate as the "will of the Lord" (1 Sam. 3:18).
How does the Lord communicate with us? He communicates most often through the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.
How can we prepare ourselves to receive and understand communications from the Lord?
The Lord continued with Samuel as he matured "and did let none of his words fall to the ground" (1 Sam. 3:19). Samuel enjoyed the presence of the Lord at Shiloh and all of Israel recognized him as the prophet of God (1 Sam. 3:20-21) Samuel then stepped forward and revealed to Israel what they should have already known: the cause of their oppression at the hands of the Philistines was their own wickedness. He called them to repentance and they responded, turning away from their false gods, and turning their hearts back to the true God. Then he invited the people to gather at Mizpeh, where he promised them that he would pray for them. In the narrative of the events at Mizpeh, Samuel is portrayed as functioning as prophet, judge, intercessor, and priest (1 Sam. 7:5-8).
In what ways did Samuel honor the Lord? “I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind” (1 Samuel 2:35). “The Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I” (1 Samuel 3:4). Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth” (1 Samuel 3:10).
The Lord promised to honor those who honored him 1 Samuel 2:30, How did the Lord honor Samuel? 1 Samuel 3:19. 19 ¶ And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.
How do you think the Lord will honor us if we honor him as Samuel did?
Part 4 Israelites Honor the World 1 Samuel 8
In 1 Samuel 8. The Israelites want a king so they can be “like all the nations.” Samuel warns them about the dangers of such a choice. Samuel’s sons take bribes and pervert judgment. The Israelites seek for a king to rule over them and Samuel rehearses the nature and evils of kingly rule. Finally the Lord consents to give them a king.
In understanding Israel at this time we must first understand their government. What type of government did Israel have during Samuel’s ministry? 1 Samuel 8:1. 1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
“Thearchy or theocracy is government by the immediate direction of God through his ministers and representatives. A state governed in this manner is called theocracy. This was the original earthly government, Adam serving as the great presiding high priest through whom the laws of the Lord, both temporal and spiritual, were revealed and administered. This type of government apparently continued among the righteous portion of mankind from the days of Adam to Enoch and the taking of Zion to the Lord’s bosom.
“The great patriarchs after the flood—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and others—appear to have had this type of government. Righteous portions of the Jareditish peoples were undoubtedly governed on this system. Certainly ancient Israel in the days of Moses and the judges operated on a theocratic basis, and the same system prevailed among the Nephite portion of Lehi’s descendants during most of their long history. When Christ comes to reign personally on earth during the millennial era, a perfect theocratic government will prevail. (D. & C. 38:20–22; 58:20–22.)” (McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 789.)
Whom was Israel supposed to regard as their king? 1 Samuel 12:12. 12 And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the Lord your God was your king.
Why did the children of Israel want a king? 1 Samuel 8:5, 20. 5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
20 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.
In asking for a king “like all the nations,” whom did Israel reject? 1 Samuel 8:7 They rejected the Lord.
7 And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them
Samuel’s sons set a poor example to the people. They turned aside from the religious truths they had learned in their youth. They used their judgeships to seek monetary gain, betraying their sacred trusts by taking bribes and giving perverted judgments. But, even more than this, the Israelites as a people had become weak and sinful and were envious of surrounding kingdoms, even though their governments were wicked and oppressive. So they used Samuel’s sons as an excuse to justify their desire to be governed by the same system as the gentile nations.
“The people of Israel traced the cause of the oppression and distress, from which they had suffered more and more in the time of the judges, to the defects of their own political constitution. They wished to have a king, like all the heathen nations, to conduct their wars and conquer their enemies. Now, although the desire to be ruled by a king, which had existed in the nation even from the time of Gideon, was not in itself at variance with the appointment of Israel as a kingdom of God, yet the motive which led the people to desire it was both wrong and hostile to God, since the source of all the evils and misfortunes from which Israel suffered was to be found in the apostasy of the nation from its God, and its coquetting with the gods of the heathen. Consequently their self-willed obstinacy in demanding a king, notwithstanding the warnings of Samuel, was an actual rejection of the sovereignty of Jehovah, since He had always manifested himself to His people as their king by delivering them out of the power of their foes, as soon as they returned to Him with simple penitence of heart.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:78.)
The Lord Himself said to Samuel, “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” (Old Testament Student Manuel)
What did the Lord instruct Samuel to say about the problems of having a king? 1 Samuel 8:9–18
9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
10 ¶ And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king.
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.
Samuel's woeful prophecies concerning what will happen to the Israelites under kings start to be fulfilled almost immediately after the establishment of the monarchy. Samuel warned the Israelites of three principal evils of a kingly form of government: excessive taxation, conscription of the labor force, and seizure of private lands. In discussing the matter, Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “The system of kingly government itself, no matter how talented or noble an individual occupant of the throne may be, does not make the best form of government, one in which the instinctive and automatic concern of government is to look after the best interests of the body of the people. It is inherent in the nature of even the best and most ideal kingly systems that special privilege and questionable adulation be heaped upon those in the ruling class. …“It is true that the Lord on occasions, in the pre-Christian Era, administered righteous and theocratic government through kings, but no such approved kingly government has existed among men for some 2000 years. Such a system, in which the king is the Lord’s representative, is patterned after the true kingdom of God and is proper government, but even then the moment an unrighteous king gains the throne, the blessings and freedoms of such a system die out. As King Mosiah said, ‘Because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you. For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!’ (Mosiah 29.) Pending the day in which He shall again reign, whose right it is, the saints are obliged to be subject to the powers that be.” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 414–15.)
What was the response of the Israelites to Samuel’s warnings? 1 Samuel 8:19–22
19 ¶ Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
20 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.
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord.
22 And the Lord said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.
In asking for a king, whom did the Israelites honor? The honored the world, they wanted to be like the all nations rather than God.
In what ways do we sometimes desire to be “like all the nations”?
The Lord Jesus Christ is our true king, just as he was the true king of the Israelites (Psalm 47:7; 89:18; 149:2). How should this knowledge affect our attitudes toward the ways of the world?
How do we sometimes reject the Lord as our king?
All of us must choose each day whom we will honor and Sometimes we exchange things of great value for things of lesser value. What did Eli and his sons give up because of their choices? What things did Samuel tell the Israelites they would give up if they wanted a king? 1 Samuel 8:11–17. As we seek to honor the Lord, instead of the world, we will be blessed and we will have the strength, courage, and skills needed to endure to the end faithfully and well. The First Presidency has stated:, "We promise that as you keep these standards and live by the truths in the scriptures, you will be able to do your life's work with greater wisdom and skill and bear trials with greater courage. You will have the help of the Holy Ghost. You will feel good about yourself and will be a positive influence in the lives of others. You will be worthy to go to the temple to receive holy ordinances. These blessings and many more can be yours." (For The Strength of Youth, p2-3)
Old Testament Student Manual
Story of the Old Testament, by J.A. Washburn
Studies in Scripture, Vol. 3, Edited by Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet;
October 1983 conference report
Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 2:2:35–36
Gospel Doctrine 5th edition
Latter-day Saint Commentary of the Old Testament Ellis Rasumussen
Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 357
When a Child Wanders Robert L Millet
Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year, Provo, 7 Feb. 1956
McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, p. 789.
For Strength of Youth
Post a Comment