At the end of the lesson, you should be able to:

  1. Explain the reasons for and against kingship in Israel.
  2. State king Saul’s achievements, failures and lessons learnt from Saul.
  3. Explain the importance of David as King of Israel and ancestor of Jesus Christ.
  4. Describe the qualities of a good leader drawn from King David’s leadership.
  5. State King Solomon’s achievements and failures.
  6. Explain the importance of the temple in Israel.

Lesson One: Reasons for and Against Kingship in Israel Introduction

Yahweh remained the God of Israel and the sovereign ruler of his people.

Learning outcomes.

By the end of this lesson, you should

  1. Define leadership.
  2. Name Israel judges in Canaan.

Leadership refers to the manner in which a community’s way of life is ruled or controlled.

When Israelites settled in Canaan, Judges ruled them for the first 200 years.

Some of the judges were

(i) Othniel,

(ii) Ehud

(iii) Samson

(iv) Deborah

(v) Gideon

(vi) Shamgar

(vii). Samuel

(viii). Barak

Duties of judges

  1. Leading Israelites to war against their enemies.
  2. Settling disputes among the people.
  3. Acting as religious leaders and leading Israelites in worship.
  4. Offering sacrifices on behalf of the people.
  5. Some of the judges acted as God’s prophets.
  6. They anointed kings, for example Samuel anointed King David.

Demands for a King in Israel

After Israelites settled in Canaan, the Promised Land, they started demanding for an earthly king to rule over them.

These demands for a king ruler were brought about by:

i Samuel’s sons Joel and Abijah were corrupt and took bribes.


The sons of Samuel, who were judges,lacked his good leadership qualities.

ii The Israelites wanted a warrior king who could lead them to war against their enemies.

iii The Israelites wanted to be like the other nations around them who had kings.

iv The Israelites wanted a human leader whom they could see, approach, and talk to him face to face.

The Israelites wanted security, which could be provided by a stable political government ruled by law and order.

vi They wanted a government that had a regular army.

vii They also wanted an established law court system.

Reasons against Kingship in Israel (Samuel 8:10 – 20)

By demanding for a king, the Israelites were seen as rejecting Yahweh – their unseen ruler.

Two, there would be danger of hereditary kingship which would lead to oppression / dictatorship.

God told Samuel to give Israelites strict warnings against Kingship by explaining how the king would treat them.

A king would: –

(a) Recruit Israelites sons forcefully into the army.

(b) Grab peoples land.

(c) Force people to pay taxes to the government.

(d) Turn people into slaves.

(e) Introduce forced labour.

(f) Force their daughters to work for his wives, sons, and for the royal house in general.

The people of Israel were distinct from other nations.

Asking for a king meant rejecting God as their unseen king.

Further to this, Israel could become like other nations, which did not worship Yahweh.

Then the covenant with God and the people of Israel would cease.

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