After asking for a king Samuel goes on to numerate the rights the king will demand from the Israelites

KJV 1 Samuel 8 : 10 - 17

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.

I don't know whether I have missed it but there seems to be no record of the immediate king(Saul) ever claiming those rights other than the misdemeanours stated below

Threatening the Israelites to join his army

KJV 1 Samuel 11 : 7

And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.

Unsanctioned sacrifice

KJV 1 Samuel 13 : 9

And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.

Forbidding soldiers to eat

KJV 1 Samuel 14 : 24

And the men of Israel were distressed that day: for Saul had adjured the people, saying, Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening, that I may be avenged on mine enemies. So none of the people tasted any food.

Failure to obey God in the Amalekite debacle

KJV 1 Samuel 15 : 9

But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.

Trying to kill David

KJV 1 Samuel 19 : 1

And Saul spake to Jonathan his son, and to all his servants, that they should kill David.

Other than these unfortunate Incidents there is nowhere Saul claimed the rights resembling what Samuel had numerated in the above texts

Was Samuel referring to Saul?

  • 2
    I think the full description of royal behaviour is actually about kingship in general. It portrays a fully organised system which can be better illustated by the chapters about David and Solomon. Jan 7, 2023 at 9:02

1 Answer 1


The description of the behavior of kings generally as recorded in 1 Sam 8:10-17 is a description of the worst of kingly behavior generally. That is, Samuael was not suggesting that each would do all these things, but kingship always tended towards them.

However, King Saul was certainly guilty of some of this behavior such as:

  • 1 Sam 14:52 - ... whenever Saul saw a mighty or brave man, he took him into his service.

The subsequent kings of the Davidic line were far more guilty of these things. For example, Solomon was particularly egregious. I note the following:

  • the huge daily provisions to feed the royal household and its servants, 1 Kings 4:22, 23
  • the above does not include the care and feeding of all Solomon's animals as recorded in 1 Kings 4:26-28
  • Solomon also appoint numerous local and district governors to aid his rule, 1 Kings 4:1-19, all of which would have been kept at royal expense
  • The preparations for building the temple and Solom's palace were huge and draining on the national economy as recorded in 1 Kings 5-7
  • as if the above was not enough, Solomon had huge gangs of forced labor (1 Kings 5:13, 9:15) all of which had to fed, clothed and housed at royal expense
  • indeed, the taxes and drain on the people was so great that they asked for relief when Solomon dies (1 Kings 12:4) which caused the rebellion of the 10 northern tribes.

Subsequent kings perpetuated some of these practices.

  • Yes, he is talking about the nature of what kings do. This is a very nice list of real examples, almost as if Samuel's words were not just a warning, but possibly prophecy. It was not about Saul specifically, but just as it reads, "He will..."
    – Jesse
    Jan 10, 2023 at 0:07

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