1 Samuel 8:10 - 18
NASB - 10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, "This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots.
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The warnings given by Samuel are indicative of a human ruler who would exercise prerogatives by virtue of his position that would impinge on the rights and freedoms of the people, and against which the people would have no recourse, but with no accompanying assurance that the ruler would in turn act wisely in the best interests of the people, both as individuals and as a collective nation. As God told Samuel (1 Samuel 8:7-9), the people were not rejecting Samuel, but were rejecting God and the manner in which He had led Israel -- first through Moses, then through Joshua, and then through the various judges -- since the exodus from Egypt. Although modern democratic or constitutional forms of government (such as a parliamentary republic) may be far removed from the autocratic rule and prerogatives of an absolute monarch, they will always carry with them -- as long as humans conduct them -- the potential for abuses of power and unwise decisions, whether by executive, legislative, or judicial elements. These abuses may not take the precise forms pointed out by Samuel, and people may now have a constitutional or legal means of addressing them short of overthrowing the entire government. But they still point out the need for leaders, and also the people who choose those leaders, to act wisely and with respect for the principles upon which the government is based. Citizens should also honor and obey the lawful actions of that government (even while possibly working at the same time to change or improve them), and leaders should remember that any authority they exercise is a responsibility that has ultimately been entrusted to them by God (Romans 13:1).
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