1 Samuel 9:16 NASB

, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me.

In the previous texts we are told about how the Israelites defeated the Philistines and they never bothered them anymore

1 Samuel 7:13 NASB

13 So the Philistines were subdued and they did not come anymore within the border of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.

Again in another text they had cried for a king

1 Samuel 8:4 NASB

4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; 5 and they said to him, “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.”

Is the cry about Philistines or their need for a king?

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The short answer is BOTH. Now for the long answer.

The beginning of Samuel's judgeship was marked by their victory over the Philistines at Mizpah (1 Sam 7). However, winning a battle does not win the war. while the Philistines nod not occupy Israelite territory, they still controlled the economy by controlling the external borders and often tried to make incursions.

1 Sam 8 records how the Israelites wanted a final end to the constant Philistine harassment (as well as Amelakite and other nations) and so asked for the institution of a military leader, that is a king who could lead them into battles.

1 Sam 9 records how this was brought about.

  • 2
    I agree that it is likely both. I am always struck by these circumstances, had they simply followed the Lord in dealing with the Philistines in the days of Joshua by remaining true to God, avoiding the high places and avoiding the intermarriage with the peoples of the Land they never would have been oppressed by the Philistines and maybe never would have cried for a king. The last point is weak because the Law had provisions for a king, so God knew they were going to call for one in the future. – Ken Banks Dec 7 at 1:40
  • Sad that, even if they had a divine King, Israel still clamored for an earthly one. – Philip Dec 7 at 4:57
  • That is very true - one of the lessons of history that humans look earthwards instead of (by faith) heavenward. – Dr Peter McGowan Dec 7 at 8:39

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