Day 98: Israel Asks for a King
1 Samuel 6:1-21 The Philistines decided to return the Ark of the Covenant and included a guilt offering on the advice of their own priests and seers. This was a tacit recognition of the power of the ONE GOD or at least of the mystical power of the Ark. In his Sacrifice on the Cross, Christ gave himself as a sin offering for the transgressions of all people. (CCC 615)
Ch 6:4 The instruction on the golden mice suggests either that there was an unmentioned plague of mice that accompanied the tumors or that the Philistines blamed the mice for spreading the disease.
Ch 7:1-17 Samuel was the LAST of the great judges of Israel and a prophet of the Lord. As a prophet, he called the people to give up their idolatrous practices and repent before God. By making a burnt sacrifice at the shrine of Mizpah, where the people of Israel often gathered for important events, Samuel atoned for the people’s sins, and God intervened to help Israel defeat the attacking Philistines. (CCC 433)
Ch 8:1-25 The people of Israel had not had a king since they entered the Promised Land because, in principle, they recognized only God as their ruler. The Law given by God ought to have governed their lives without resort to an earthly monarch, but this was not the case. Over the years, God had appointed judges who served as the leaders of Israel. Samuel, who was both the last of the judges and a prophet, was approached by the people to ask God for a king to rule Israel; the failure of Samuel’s own sons to serve as exemplary and faithful judges probably made the situation all the more urgent. Samuel warned the people of the many ways that a king could oppress them. When the people did not relent, Samuel turned to God who instructed Samuel to appoint a king as the people had requested; the king, however, would be of God’s choosing and would be under God’s direction. (CCC 709)
Psalm 86 The Council Fathers of Vatican II taught clearly that every baptized person is called to holiness. While this vocation to holiness originates in the message of Christ, it is already present in veiled terms in this psalm. (Cf. St. John Paul II, General Audience, October 23, 2002)
Teach me your way...walk in your truth: Christ revealed himself to be “the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” (cf. Jn 14:6). In the early Church, before the term Christianity was in use, the faith was simply called “The Way.” (No wonder! In The Mandalorian tv show they say, “THIS IS THE WAY..”.🤓) (CCC 107, 1728, 2070, 2773)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Key Event 36: Israel Asks for a King (1 Samuel 8:1-22)
The people as the prophet Samuel to appoint a king for them "like all the nations" (1 Sam 8:5, 20). While a king will be part of God's plan, a worldly kingdom is not--hence, this request is taken as a rejections of God's kingship over his people. In the New Testament, the seemingly insoluble conflict between the people's desire for a human king and God's prerogative as the only King finds resolution in Jesus.
After the Philistines surrender the Ark to Israel, Samuel leads the people in worship and sacrifice at Mizpah—a priestly leadership never displayed by Eli—and God delivers Israel from her enemies: “So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel” (1 Sam 7:13).
Israel Asks for “Another” King In Samuel’s old age, his sons Joel and Abijah succeed him as judges over Israel.
These corrupt men, however, are nothing like their father.
The people, perhaps still mindful of the corruption of Eli’s sons Hophni and Phinehas, gather at Samuel’s hometown of Ramah to make a request that will change the course of Israel’s history forever.
They ask for a king to govern them “like all the nations” (1 Sam 8:5).
This request forces to the surface the question: Does Israel have a king?
Israel does already possess a divine King, “enthroned on the cherubim,” who has bestowed his protection and benefaction upon her.
Even the tithes that Israel was called to pay to God were a sign of God’s kingship, since, in Ancient Near Eastern practice, a tithe was the people’s tribute to the king.
The people’s request betrays a fundamental problem: God’s people are blind to the fact that God is the King of kings.
In asking for a human ruler, Israel rejects God’s Kingship over them (1 Sam 8:7), wanting instead to be “like all the nations.”
God instructs Samuel to warn the people about the consequences of their request, which are emphasized by the fourfold use of the word laqach (“take”) (1 Sam 8:11, 8:13, 8:14, 8:16).
An earthly king will require their sons and daughters to support the needs of the monarchy for such things as a fortified army, harvesters, and household servants for the royal court.
An earthly sovereign will require tithes in addition to the tithes commanded in the Torah.
Samuel’s warnings are vindicated when the future kings of Israel impose burdens on the people heretofore unknown, and eventually enslave them (like Pharaoh reborn).
Only this time, God will not come to their rescue.
Even with these warnings, the people God called to be his “special possession among all peoples” and a nation set apart (Ex 19:5-6) wish to exchange that vocation to become “like all the nations” (1 Sam 8:5, 20).
God gives Israel what they ask for, and although Israel’s monarchy comes from the people’s misguided desires, God will eventually transform the earthly monarchy into an icon of his own kingship, a kingship that will one day issue in the unending reign of the King of kings, Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, in Jesus Christ, God will once again be Israel’s King.
(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)
So there are a couple of questions about golden mice and golden tumors (IT’S NOT A TOOOMA!! 🤪)
Wait, what happened again?
Remember when the Philistines had taken the Ark of the Covenant, they had some health issues
Boils, tumors, and some mice running amok
So they asked what should they do with the Ark?
They put it on a cart, got some cows that had never had a harness or yoke on them
The Philistines have kind of a good sense here
Here is a cart that has never been used
Here are some cows that have never been used (which probably means they would have made some delicious steaks 😋)
There’s something CONSECRATED about using those things
Even though they were pagans and didn’t know the One True God, they had the good sense to say that if they were going to send the Ark of the God of Israel back to Israel, then they should be careful with how they do that
We will soon see how the Israelites WERE NOT CAREFUL in comparison
So about those GOLDEN TUMORS AND GOLDEN MICE…
They had golden tumors as representative of the skin issues they experienced
The mice make sense in that they might have associated their physical illness with something like the plague, which is usually spread by RATS (Rats are just bigger mice, right? And that means that pigeons are just flying rats, right? 🤔)
The RSV translates the word into MICE
Other versions translate the word into RATS
The Philistines say something interesting about this that if they send the Ark on a cart with the cows and the cows go back to Israel, they’ll KNOW it is the God of Israel
If they do not go back to Israel then it’s just a COINCIDENCE
There is something WISE about that, that they are testing it out
In the Catholic Church, if someone says that there is a MIRACLE, the Church doesn’t just say HOORAY! IT’S A MIRACLE!
The Church INVESTIGATES THE MIRACLE
The DEFAULT position of the Church in the case of a miracle like a healing or something extraordinary, we assume a NATURAL CAUSE for this miracle
It MUST be demonstrated BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT that this is NOT A NATURAL HEALING but a SUPERNATURAL HEALING
That’s what the Philistines are doing
This COULD be the Lord God of Israel
It COULD be a coincidence
Pretty wise test on their part
Samuel is a GOOD JUDGE
Samuel is a GOOD PROPHET
He comes from a family of priests
His father, Elkana, lived in Ephraim and was of the Tribe of Levi
Samuel’s sons were not good and were described as WICKED
It just goes to show HOW IMPORTANT IT IS
We say in Christianity that GOD DOES NOT HAVE GRANDCHILDREN
God only has CHILDREN
He reveals Himself and makes Himself OUR FATHER
EVERY ONE OF US
HAS TO CHOOSE GOD AGAIN
Samuel’s sons DID NOT CHOOSE GOD
They were like Eli’s sons (POP QUIZ!!!! What are the names of Eli’s sons? Answer in the Facebook Post comments 😉)
They rode on the coattails of their father, Eli in some ways, and HARDENED THEIR HEARTS
That is TRAGIC, SO TRAGIC in so many ways
Many of us in this Bible in a Year community may be someone who is STRIVING AFTER THE LORD, whether or not you have ALWAYS BEEN FAITHFUL, there is a recognition that what’s happening with my kids though?
It can be the great sorrow of many parents’ heart
The reason we call priests FATHER is because in the Old Testament, in the Levitical Priesthood, the Levite Priest was meant to be a FATHER for the people
Remember, in the ORIGINAL priesthood, the priest was the FATHER OF THE FAMILY
In the New Covenant, the priests are the FATHERS OF THE PARISH
There is something so devastatingly difficult when parents that when we don’t see the faith LIVING IN OUR KIDS that can be more devastating than anything (I know that’s true for my mom when I was away from my faith for 25 years and it’s the biggest regret of my life 😞)
It is so devastating when we have people in our lives who we love so much WHO HAVE TURNED AWAY FROM THE LORD
They have maybe NEVER KNOWN GOD’S GOODNESS
They have maybe NEVER KNOWN GOD’S LOVE
We pray often for parents who desire children
Now we pray for those who have loved ones who have WALKED AWAY FROM THE LORD, WALKED AWAY FROM THE CHURCH
Because that may be the most DEVASTATING thing in our lives other than losing a child to death
The last thing that happened today was that the People of Israel ASK FOR A KING
Talk about rejection eh?
Here are the people of Israel who say they want to be like OTHER NATIONS
Samuel, pick for us a king
Here, God tells Samuel that they are not rejecting Samuel, but they ARE REJECTING GOD
God’s WILL was that God will be their KING
God FIGHTS FOR THEM
God GUARDS THEM
God GUIDES THEM
God LEADS THEM
ALL THESE THINGS
THEY DID NOT WANT GOD
Samuel can give them the warning that if they get a king, he will put their sons and daughters at his service
He will take 10% of their stuff as tribute
He will build up HIS OWN SELF
He will feed HIS OWN PEOPLE
He will feed HIS OWN SERVANTS
And the people will be left with whatever is LEFT OVER
And the Israelites say, “That’s fine. WE WANT TO BE LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.”
THAT IS THE STORY OF ALL OF OUR LIVES
God says, “Let me GUIDE AND GUARD YOU.”
God says, “Let me FEED AND LEAD YOU.”
God says, “LET ME BE YOUR GOD.”
And so often we say, “Nah, I’ll take a secondhand god over you.”
We will see what happens because God can even use some of these broken desires of ours to do something PRETTY INCREDIBLE
Tomorrow, we start the Gospel of John
Our first MESSIANIC CHECKPOINT
KEEP PRAYING FOR FR. MIKE
KEEP PRAYING FOR EACH OTHER
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven, you are our helper and you are our comforter. And Lord God, we ask that you are also our vindicator, that you are the one who rises up and who declares and makes us righteous. It’s not our own works, Lord God, that make us righteous in your sight. It’s You. It’s Your Grace that you have given to us, that you won on the Cross when you handed yourself over for us, Lord God. You made it possible for us to experience your mercy, to have access to the heart of The Father, and to be able to receive the Holy Spirit deep into our hearts. So we ask you, Father in Heaven, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, renew that Spirit, that Holy Spirit in our lives so that everything we do may begin with your inspiration and be carried out by your saving and loving help to its completion which gives you Glory. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”