God warned ancient Israel about the suppression of freedom that results from having an all-powerful leader who answers to no one, but still they demanded a king. The Israelites, then, who were greatly blessed under the judgment of God-appointed judges, rejected their Creator by demanding a human king so they could be like the other, poorer, enslaved nations. Thus, the last true bastion of freedom established by God was rejected. Ever since, all governmental systems have been based on taking freedom from the people and enslaving them to pay for the desires of power and pleasure of their leaders.
Martin G. Collins
Slavery and Babylon
In I Samuel 8:9-18, God strongly forewarns Israel about the painful future they were creating for themselves by desiring a king to rule over them. God had previously said in Deuteronomy 17 that the time would come when Israel would have a king, so their wanting a king is not the issue. The problem is that the Israelites desired a king who would be like the Gentile kings, not one whom God would appoint from among themselves.
God warns them that their request would open the door for their self-appointed king and his government's bureaucracy to steal their hard-earned wealth from them systematically. He tells them that it would be a curse beyond their imagination and that the king would take their wealth "legally" and then use it for his own political ends to extend his power.
Thus, at one extreme end of the thievery cycle, the state assumes the right to steal indirectly because it has taxing power to use anything and everything to its own ends. In the process, the government ceases to be the servant and instead becomes the master. Nowhere, under any circumstance, does God give either government, business, or individuals the right to steal another's property—regardless of how one feels the other came into possession of it or how greatly one feels justified in appropriating it.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Eighth Commandment
Other commentary entries containing this verse:
1 Samuel 8:9-18