Updated: May 6
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All the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only—you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”
So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; [and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers.] He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
[Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.]
This is the Old Testament selection to be read aloud on the second Sunday after Pentecost (Proper 5), Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will precede the singing of Psalm 138, which has the lyric: “All the kings of the earth will praise you, O Lord, when they have heard the words of your mouth.” An Epistle reading will then follow from Paul’s second letter to the Christians of Corinth, which says: ”Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where Jesus said: “And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come.”
This reading selection includes some leaps and skips. It leaps from 1 Samuel chapter 8 to grab two verses from chapter 11, which is optional reading that tells of Saul being approved as the first human King of Israel. The other skips involve details about what all the Israelites would have to sacrifice, for someone to be raised to ‘all-important’ status. The main point of this reading is found in verses 4 to 11, in chapter 8.
In verse 5, the elders that came to Samuel and told him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways.” This has to be seen as part of the history of the Israelites, after they were taken into the Promised Land by Joshua. Joshua was much like Elisha, as the mantle of power and authority was passed to him from Moses, albeit the decision [as Elijah told Elisha] was wholly Yahweh’s. Once in the land of Canaan, the point was to have ALL the Israelites have the mantle of Yahweh passed onto them, so ALL would live righteously and the Spirit of Yahweh would protect them [along with the Ark of the Covenant].
The reality was the Israelites regressed from their commitment to Yahweh [as their Husband – King], so it became a repeating cycle of forty years slipping away from Yahweh until their enemies were about to destroy them, which would then lead them to cry out in anguish and promise, "Never again!" Then, Yahweh would send them a judge. The judge would right the ship; and, that then led to forty years of being good wives of Yahweh. That history is what the elders saw coming again. They felt a regression of commitment and fidelity coming on.
Their statement to Samuel about his sons not following his ways is also a repeated theme, as the prophet who trained Samuel [as a youth learning to listen to the voice of Yahweh] – Eli – also had sons who did wicked things. Yahweh spoke to Eli about his sons, telling him to treat them harshly for their wicked deeds; but Eli responded like a father, who could not bring himself to harm his offspring. Consequently, Eli accepted his punishment from Yahweh for disobeying His command. Isaac had twin sons, one who stole from his brother through trickery and deceit. Samuel also had sons and they too did not act in righteous ways. Adam had Cain and Abel, with one of those becoming the first murderer of divine blood, all of which shows a human bloodline is not a guarantee to saintliness.
The whole Old Testament is story after story of the paring of dead branches from the tree of divine lineage. The only ‘blood’ that matters is the holy flow of Yahweh’s Spirit. This can now be terms the "blood of Christ," which means individual Anointing by Yahweh's Spirit. Thus, this history should also be seen as playing a role [along with Samuel’s age making him be beyond fathering more sons] in the demands of the elders.
The elders then demanded of Samuel: “appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” Here, the translation is better stated as a demand to “put in place for us a king to judge us like other people.” Samuel was a most divine prophet, but he was also the judge of Israel. The twelve tribes [from which the elders came] each ruled a separate area of land, with the whole unified to follow the advice of their one judge. Thus, the use of the Hebrew word “melek” was a reference to such leaders as the Pharaoh of Egypt and the kings of other lands that surrounded the land of the Israelites. The intent was for Samuel to find a bloodline within the family of Israelites, whose would always sire sons that would lead the people like Samuel, with no worry about wickedness setting in. Certainly, Samuel was expected to consult with Yahweh to determine whose Israelite blood was most holy.
As far as understanding how this request would go, one need look no further than the wicked ways the Episcopal Church uses translation of the Hebrew text that clearly names Yahweh, but wickedly changes that to “the Lord.” The truth of what should be read says, “Samuel prayed to Yahweh. Yahweh said to Samuel.” In between is written a “פ” [“pe”], which denotes the end of a statement. The prayer ends verse 6; and, the response coming in verse 7. These signals should make it clearly known that Samuel was not immediately answered by Yahweh; and, it can indicate there were a series of prayers and meditations on this matter placed in Samuel’s lap.
Because Samuel was upset over this demand, because “evil things saw Samuel” [from “way·yê·ra‘ had·dā·ḇār bə·‘ê·nê šə·mū·’êl”] as being the result of an unwise demand, it is probable that Yahweh waited until Samuel was ready to receive His response to his prayers. After all, Yahweh knew this demand was coming before Samuel’s prayers came.
When Yahweh told Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them,” that says Yahweh knew there was historical reason for the “voice of the people” to speak their concerns. They knew Samuel would eventually die and they did not blame him for having sons that did not follow in Samuel’s ways. All the elders had sons – just like the parents of today have children – where it is always the case that the ways of the elders is never the direction their youths wants to take. The truth of what the elders were saying to Samuel is this: none of them [including Samuel] were able to pass on the Spirit of Yahweh [a double share of His mantle] to their children.
They most all rejected the ability to hear the voice of Yahweh and become His voice, individually. That can only happen when one’s soul is married to Yahweh, as the soul of Samuel was. The lazy soul's way to self-indulgence is to place the responsibility of salvation on someone else's shoulders. Samuel shouldered the load well, keeping alive the flame of the "blood of Christ."
In verse 8, Yahweh then said, “Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you.” The better literal translation says, “this , which they have forsaken me , served gods other , so they are doing to you”. This needs to be understood as a statement that speaks of the Israelites petitioning Samuel for a divorce.
As I have said before, the Covenant brought down from Mount Sinai by Moses was a marriage agreement. The Ten Commandments are what all souls [brides-to-be of Yahweh] must say, “I do” to, in order to be protected by the Almighty. The First Commandment says, “You shall have the face of no other gods before my face.” [This is poorly translated as “You shall have no other gods before me.”] When Yahweh said “this , which they have forsaken me” [“haz·zeh , way·ya·‘az·ḇu·nî”], “this” was the marriage agreement [the Covenant] and “which they have forsaken me” means they cheated on Yahweh, their Husband [King].
This makes “served other gods” be the breaking of the First Commandment, as “gods other” [“’ĕ·lō·hîm ’ă·ḥê·rîm”] means wearing the face of self, rather than the face of Yahweh. The “elohim” are then everything that lured their eyes away from the ground before Yahweh, which is where their eyes should have been focused, while they were kneeling before Yahweh in servitude, submission of soul-wives to their Husband [just as other people had the same responsibility before their kings]. Today, Christians worship “gods other” such as “jobs-careers, money, sex, pleasure, games, repeat infinitely." Selfishness was then their ‘grounds for divorce.’
When Yahweh told Samuel, “you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them,” the word translated as “solemnly” better translates as “repeatedly” [from “hā·‘êḏ”], where telling them just once is not enough.” Yahweh told Samuel to “warn” [from "tā·‘îḏ"] the people, where the warning is about the repetition of what they can expect. Both "hā·‘êḏ" and "tā·‘îḏ" share the same root word - "uwd," which means "o return, go about, repeat, do again." (Strong's)
Because the elders thought they were so good at figuring out the past, so they could then contrive a plan that would avoid the same mistakes of the past in the future, the word translated as “warn” or “forewarn” comes from the same root as “repeatedly,” used back-to-back. Thus, Yahweh told Samuel to tell the people, “What goes around comes around, time and again, forever and ever.” That meant to reject Yahweh as their king would not only have repercussions in this life, but all through their lives of reincarnation.
The warning Yahweh told Samuel to say was not to tell the elders, “Man, you have a hard life ahead of you with the human king option.” That is known because Yahweh expected all His wives to work hard all their lives – for Him. The beauty of that hard work was eternal life as the reward for a soul, which meant no physical work would ever need to be done after one soul's release from its body of flesh. Now, Yahweh told Samuel to tell them [albeit, they needed to be the "voice of Yahweh" to understand what was said] that they had not only magnified the work of one lifetime, but infinitely many … with no promise of any good outcome.
The reason the Episcopal Church has decided to cut out much of the verbiage from this selection [the optional text] is pewples fall asleep when forced to imagine chariots, horsemen, plowing ground and reaping harvests, because modern Anglican-Roman Catholics [universal catholic church] are mostly white and so privileged materially that they never have to do any manual labor. All the warnings of Samuel fly well over their elite heads. Thus, they get easily bored and fall asleep. They snore, "Not meeeee. Not meeeee."
The elders of the Israelites did that, while enslaving all their own people, especially those who had no land or influence over anyone [the Law said to take care of their slaves]. Episcopalians and English Anglicans love to cast condemnations on the ‘racists’ of the lower churches, quickly choosing human kings over Yahweh, because their lives will not change for the worse. In the US of A, Episcopal leaders even bend over backwards electing the one [maybe there was more than one] black guy in their membership to be their presiding bishop. They erect shrines to Martin Luther King in their seminaries, just to prove to all Episcopalians they are sorry God made them be Caucasians. So, like the elder Israelites who went to Samuel, the modern high churches want the self-given right to intermingle with whomever their sex organs tingled over, without having to maintain the race the Israelites had begun in the wilderness with Moses, not being allowed to cross-breed with Gentiles [even if they too were white folk]. Following a human king releases Episcopalians from having to call Yahweh by name.
The point of that is the same word – “king” – applies to presidents and prime ministers. All of those are spat from a tube that is called a political party. The Episcopal Church has ‘flat knees’ from kneeling at the altar of social justice and community organizing, loving to hate anyone who does not think like their leaders think. They need to hear the warnings of Samuel, as told to him by Yahweh, so they know what “repeatedly repeat” means. It foretells what such behavior can expect; and, it is not heaven.
After Samuel made a very clear picture about how bowing down before [the meaning of the word translated as “worship”] mere human beings [and not Yahweh] meant everyone but the guy on top [wait women, there will come a Jezebel in Israelite history, who would smear the odor of waste matter all over your gender] was a slave. Even then the people screamed: “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.” This means the elders decided for the ordinary Israelites [surely thinking they would never have to work a day in this new arrangement] and chose the equivalent of “patriotism” as one of the “elohim” that sounded good at the time.
So, the “repeatedly repeat” outcomes American Christians see now, as parallels to that choice: George W. Bush led a country into a twenty year war against ghosts [not a nation]; followed by Barack Hussein Obama giving away state secrets and billions in cash to our Muslim enemies; followed by Donald Trump selling patriotism and conservatism for his own self-benefit; and, they have been followed by a career politician with a brain disorder, who is presently selling the country down the river to ruin, pretending to be a savior of a Chinese flu. The common people have forever had their hands tied, by the ancient commitment to obey human leaders, even when Yahweh is always saying, “Not where I would have led you.”
The optional verses from the leap ahead to chapter 11 are just the final straws being loaded on the camel’s back. Saul was thrown a fancy party, much like the presidential galas held in recognition of a new stolen election [COVID19 pandemics aside]. While the Congress pretends to care about any of the common slaves, all the while doing nothing more than line their own pockets, the people still do all the work, with no chance of ever gaining anything more than reincarnation. Life after life their souls come back into a worse and worse world, where the same sold souls are always the leaders of the masses, taking the common souls to ruin.
As fun as Saul’s party was, the fun didn’t last. It never is fun; but it is always coming back again. Like the axiom: You might be through with the past, but the past isn’t through with you.
As a reading for the Ordinary Sunday deemed “Proper 5,” on the second Sunday after Pentecost in the season that symbolizes personal ministry, it is vital to see the depth of meaning that comes from this Old Testament reading. Yahweh did not choose a “people,” as a “bloodline” to serve Him. If He had, then the blood of Samuel would have become the kings of Israel. In the same way, Yahweh did not choose a “nation” or a “religion” to lead souls. The Christian movement came to be because the lead of human beings had so corrupted the religion that had been built from Mosaic Law and other divine texts. Judaism had failed to be anything more than the reincarnation of the dead souls of Israel and Judah. There were no “kings” that knew Yahweh, like Samuel knew Him, like Jesus knew Him. Jesus was not sent to create the Church of Rome, much less the Episcopal Church. A "church" is anywhere two or more gather "in the name of Jesus [souls merged with the soul of Jesus]. Worshiping a “Church” is the same thing as bowing down before a king.
The season of personal ministry means one has to have his or her soul married to Yahweh [become His wife, regardless of human gender], so one has received the Spirit and been reborn as the soul of Jesus in the flesh. Yahweh is the only King to serve. Yahweh will send His wives to lead others to become His wives. Nothing like that is found in any Church, of any denomination. That is because the leaders of those churches are all selfishly trying to climb the ladder of success within an organization, where paying customers means higher wages and better benefits. No one who serves a Church can also serve Yahweh. That is the message of the message of the Gospel reading; and, that message is echoed here in 1 Samuel.