First Samuel 8:1-10: Grammatical Analysis

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The eighth chapter of First Samuel functions as one of the major pivot points in the historical development of ancient Israel.  Following the conquest of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, the Israelites were organized as a loose tribal confederacy and were governed, primarily on an ad hoc military basis, by a series of judges.  This form of ad hoc governance followed a distinctive pattern (referred to as the “Judges cycle”) containing a typical sequence of events: 1) the theological apostasy of the Israelites (characteristically through the practice of idolatry), introduced by the formulaic statement, “…the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord…” (Judges 2:11; 3:7; 3:12; 4:1; 6:1; 10:6; 13:1);  2) the oppression of Israel by a foreign nation/state; 3) the crying out of the people to God for deliverance, introduced by the formula, “…the people of Israel cried out to the Lord…” (Judges 3:9; 3:15; 4:3; 6:6; 7:20; 10:10);  and 4) God responding to the cry of the people by raising up a deliverer or prophet (Judges 2:16-18; 3:9, 15; 6:7). 

This chapter brings the Judges cycle to an effective conclusion as the people demand to be reorganized into a monarchial form of government.  Two main factors influenced the elders’ decision to ask Samuel for a king.  First, the confederated tribes were experiencing a substantial amount of collective anxiety related to what appeared to be the ever-present threat of war with the Philistines, a condition Keith Bodner terms “national insecurity.”  Secondly, Samuel had broken from the normal pattern of God raising a judge in response to the cry of the people, by appointing his sons to a sort of dynastic judgeship (1Sam 8:1).  Unfortunately, rather than following the example of their father’s integrity, the sons fell to corruption by taking bribes and perverting justice (1Sam 8:3).

TEXT: FIRST SAMUEL 8:1-10

1 וַיְהִ֕י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר זָקֵ֖ן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל וַיָּ֧שֶׂם אֶת־בָּנָ֛יו שֹׁפְטִ֖ים לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

2 וַיְהִ֞י שֶׁם־בְּנֹ֤ו הַבְּכוֹר֙ יוֹאֵ֔ל וְשֵׁ֥ם מִשְׁנֵ֖הוּ אֲבִיָּ֑ה שֹׁפְטִ֖ים בִּבְאֵ֥ר שָֽׁבַע׃

3 וְלֹֽא־הָלְכ֤וּ בָנָיו֙ בְּדַרְכוֹ וַיִּטּ֖וּ אַחֲרֵ֣י הַבָּ֑צַע וַיִּ֨קְחוּ־שֹׁ֔חַד וַיַּטּ֖וּ מִשְׁפָּֽט׃  פ

4 וַיִּֽתְקַבְּצ֔וּ כֹּ֖ל זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל הָרָמָֽתָה׃

5 וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו הִנֵּה֙ אַתָּ֣ה זָקַ֔נְתָּ וּבָנֶ֕יךָ לֹ֥א הָלְכ֖וּ בִּדְרָכֶ֑יךָ עַתָּ֗ה שִֽׂימָה־לָּ֥נוּ מֶ֛לֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵ֖נוּ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִֽם׃

6 וַיֵּ֤רַע הַדָּבָר֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמְר֔וּ תְּנָה־לָּ֥נוּ מֶ֖לֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵ֑נוּ וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל אֶל־יְהוָֽה׃  פ

7 וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל שְׁמַע֙ בְּק֣וֹל הָעָ֔ם לְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־יֹאמְר֖וּ אֵלֶ֑יךָ כִּ֣י לֹ֤א אֹֽתְךָ֙ מָאָ֔סוּ כִּֽי־אֹתִ֥י מָאֲס֖וּ מִמְּלֹ֥ךְ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃

8 כְּכָֽל־הַמַּעֲשִׂ֣ים אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂ֗וּ מִיּוֹם֩ הַעֲלֹתִ֨י אֹתָ֤ם מִמִּצְרַ֨יִם֙ וְעַד־הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה וַיַּ֣עַזְבֻ֔נִי וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים כֵּ֛ן הֵ֥מָּה עֹשִׂ֖ים גַּם־לָֽךְ׃

9 וְעַתָּ֖ה שְׁמַ֣ע בְּקוֹלָ֑ם אַ֗ךְ כִּֽי־הָעֵ֤ד תָּעִיד֙ בָּהֶ֔ם וְהִגַּדְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֔ם מִשְׁפַּ֣ט הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִמְלֹ֖ךְ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃  ס

10 וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל אֵ֖ת כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה אֶל־הָעָ֕ם הַשֹּׁאֲלִ֥ים מֵאִתּוֹ֖ מֶֽלֶךְ׃  ס

TRANSLATION

And so it was, when Samuel had become old, he made his sons judges in Israel.  The name of his firstborn son was Joel and the name of his second was Abija; they judged in Beersheba.  But his sons did not walk in in his way and they followed after unjust gain and they took a bribe and they twisted justice.  And all the elders of Israel assembled and they went to Samuel at Ramah.  And they said to him, “Behold, you have become old and your sons do not walk in your ways; now place for us a king to judge us like all the nations.  But the thing was evil in the eyes of Samuel when they said, “Give to us a king to judge us” and Samuel prayed to the LORD.  And the LORD said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people concerning all that they said to you for (it is) not you they have rejected but (it is) Me they have rejected from being king over them.  According to all the deeds that they have done (to me), from the day I brought them out up of Egypt until this day, they have abandoned me and served other gods, so they are doing also to you.  Now, obey their voice, only solemnly warn them and declare to them the custom of the king who will rule over them.  And Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking from him a king.

GRAMMATICAL ANALYSIS

List of Abbreviations

PN: past narrative

VP: ad-verbial verb phrase

NP: ad-nominal noun phrase

PP: Prepositional phrase

PrN: proper noun

N: noun

m: masculine

f: feminine

s: singular

p: plural

DA: definite article

DDOM: definite direct object marker

HALOT: Ludwig Koehler et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (electronic ed.; Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1999).

The Elders Request a King: Analysis

1 וַיְהִ֕י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר זָקֵ֖ן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל וַיָּ֧שֶׂם אֶת־בָּנָ֛יו שֹׁפְטִ֖ים לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃

וַיְהִ֕י כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר זָקֵ֖ן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל

This narrative episode opens with the discourse וַיְהִ֕י (wayyiqtol 3ms Qal √ היה) used to introduce a circumstantial clause and indicate a new segment of the broader narrative.  It is followed by the temporal VP כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר זָקֵ֖ן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל .   This phrase is an adjunct used to establish the time of the narrative “when Samuel had become old”. שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל is the subject of the clause and argument for the verb זָקֵ֖ן (qatal stative 3ms Qal √ זקן).  The word order is V-S, inversion triggered by the grammatical word.

וַיָּ֧שֶׂם אֶת־בָּנָ֛יו שֹׁפְטִ֖ים לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל

וַיָּ֧שֶׂם (wayyiqtol Qal 3ms √ שׂים).  This is a null-subject clause and the verb is being used bi-valently taking בָּנָ֛יו and שֹׁפְטִ֖ים as accusative compliments. Regarding this bi-valency, MNK explains, “With verbs where the status, role or name of someone is changed, one object is the old and the other is the new status, role or name.”  Note that the definite direct object marker precedes the first complement but is absent in the second. 

שֹׁפְטִ֖ים (Qal substantive participle mp √ שׁפט) may be used in the narrow sense as one who passes judgment in matters relative to the law (i.e., administer justice), or in the broader sense of one who rules or governs, especially in times of military crisis.  However, sense Samuel’s sons are accused of taking bribes and perverting justice (8:3), the latter function also seems to include the former.  HALOT explains, “the judges of Israel originate in a town or a tribe during the transition from a tribal to a civil constitution; they are the appointed representatives from the elders of the tribe for ordering the administration of justice and civil affairs concerning a town and the corresponding territory.”  Sometimes judges in the broader sense are chosen by the elders (e.g., Jephthah, Jdg 11:5) and at other times they are chosen by God (e.g., Samson, Jdg 13).  Additionally, even in the broader sense, the rule of the judges of Israel rule was not absolute as can be seen from the refrain, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Jdg 17:6; 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). 

לְיִשְׂרָאֵֽל  (PrN with inseparable preposition לְ) serves as an adjunct modifying שֹׁפְטִ֖ים signifying their judgeship included the entire territory of the twelve tribes, as did Samuel’s.  This move by Samuel breaks from the typical pattern of judges in that the appointment was made neither by the elders nor by God, but was made unilaterally by Samuel.

2 וַיְהִ֞י שֶׁם־בְּנֹ֤ו הַבְּכוֹר֙ יוֹאֵ֔ל וְשֵׁ֥ם מִשְׁנֵ֖הוּ אֲבִיָּ֑ה שֹׁפְטִ֖ים בִּבְאֵ֥ר שָֽׁבַע׃

וַיְהִ֞י שֶׁם־בְּנֹ֤ו הַבְּכוֹר֙ יוֹאֵ֔ל

This clause also opens with וַיְהִ֞י (wayyiqtol 3ms Qal √ היה) but here should be taken as the PN rather than discourse marker.  The NPשֶׁם־בְּנֹ֤ו הַבְּכוֹר֙ serves as the subject of the clause.  שֶׁם (N ms) is in construct with בְּנֹ֤ו (N ms with 3ms enclitic pronoun). הַבְּכוֹר֙ (N ms with DA) is an adjunct modifying בְּנֹ֤ו. יוֹאֵ֔ל (PrN) is the complement of the verb וַיְהִ֞י and probably means “Yahweh is God.”

וְשֵׁ֥ם מִשְׁנֵ֖הוּ אֲבִיָּ֑ה

The וְ coordinates this clause with the preceding one.  The NP וְשֵׁ֥ם מִשְׁנֵ֖הוּ is the subject of the clause.  מִשְׁנֵ֖הוּ (N ms with 3ms enclitic pronoun) is an adjunct modifying שֵׁ֥ם (N ms).  Note that the spelling does not indicate that the noun is in construct with the following noun nor is it cliticized by maqqef.  The clause is either null-copular or וַיְהִ֞י from the preceding clause is being used distributively.???  אֲבִיָּ֑ה (PrN) probably means “my father is Yahweh.”

שֹׁפְטִ֖ים בִּבְאֵ֥ר שָֽׁבַע

The participle שֹׁפְטִ֖ים (Qal mp) can be taken either predicatively or substantively.  If the former, then we have a null-subject and the clause would be rendered “they were judging in Beersheba.”  If the latter, then we have a null-copular clause yielding, “they were judges in Beersheba.”  If the participle functions substantively, the locative PP בִּבְאֵ֥ר שָֽׁבַע is an adjunct modifying the participle.  If however it is predicative, then the PP is a complement.

3 וְלֹֽא־הָלְכ֤וּ בָנָיו֙ בְּדַרְכוֹ וַיִּטּ֖וּ אַחֲרֵ֣י הַבָּ֑צַע וַיִּ֨קְחוּ־שֹׁ֔חַד וַיַּטּ֖וּ מִשְׁפָּֽט׃  פ

וְלֹֽא־הָלְכ֤וּ בָנָיו֙ בְּדַרְכוֹ

The clause begins with the adversative use of the וְ conjunction and the particle of negation, לֹֽא which triggers word order inversion to V-S. The subject is בָנָיו֙ (N mp with 3ms enclitic pronoun). הָלְכ֤וּ (qatal Qal 3mp √ הלךְ) means to walk, behave, or follow and it is modified by the PP בְּדַרְכוֹ (N ms with inseperable prep בְּ and 3ms enclitic pronoun) is an adjunct modifying the verb.  דֶּרֶךְ is used here with the sense of manner, custom, or behavior.  Thus, the idiom indicates that Samuel’s sons did not conduct themselves as judges in the manner of their father, viz. with justice and righteousness.

וַיִּטּ֖וּ אַחֲרֵ֣י הַבָּ֑צַע

The clause is null-subject with the subject encoded in the verb וַיַּטּ֖וּ (wayyiqtol Hif 3mp √ נטה).  Note that this is a I- נverb with guttural in R3, hence the guttural elides and the נ assimilates into R2 indicated by the dagesh in the ט.  The verb in this stem has the meaning of stretch out, extend, twist, guide away, deceive, turn aside.  According to HALOT, when appearing with the preposition אַחֲרֵ֣י it has the sense of “follow after.”  The PP אַחֲרֵ֣י הַבָּ֑צַע serves as the complement of the verb.  הַבָּ֑צַע (N ms with DA) is the object of the preposition with the sense “gain,” the implication being that the gain is unlawful, unjust, or made by violence.

וַיִּ֨קְחוּ־שֹׁ֔חַד

This null-subject clause consists of the verb וַיִּ֨קְחוּ (wayyiqtol Qal 3mp √ לקח) and its accusative complement שֹׁ֔חַד (N ms), which is a gift intended to secure favor, a bribe.

וַיַּטּ֖וּ מִשְׁפָּֽט

The final clause in this sentence is null-subject consisting of the verb  (wayyiqtol Hif 3mp √ נטה), in this context, however, the sense is “twist” or “divert” (see the morphological note in the prior occurrence of this verb in the second clause of this v.).  Its accusative complement is מִשְׁפָּֽט (N ms), judgment or justice.  Hence, Samuel’s sons took bribes and twisted or perverted justice (ESV, NASB).  Given their conduct, the names of Samuel’s sons are ironic.  This irony may be purposeful in the discourse but it is more likely that Samuel simply gave his sons names that they did not live up to; in fact, their behavior is antithetical to their respective names. 

4 וַיִּֽתְקַבְּצ֔וּ כֹּ֖ל זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל הָרָמָֽתָה׃

וַיִּֽתְקַבְּצ֔וּ כֹּ֖ל זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל

The subject of the clause is the NP כֹּ֖ל זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל which may refer to “the fully grown (bearded) men, of the legally competent citizens of a society” but may also refer to a class of men responsible for leadership of their respective clans or tribes. The adjunct כֹּ֖ל (N ms construct) modifies the construct NP זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל.  זִקְנֵ֣י (N mp construct) is modified by the genitive relationship denoting that they were in fact the elders of all the clans of Israel.  The verb וַיִּֽתְקַבְּצ֔וּ (wayyiqtol Hit 3mp √ קבץ), means gathered or assembled.

וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל הָרָמָֽתָה

The null-subject is encoded in the verb וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ (wayyiqtol Qal 3mp √ בוא), to go or come.  The PP אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל is the complement of the verb and הָרָמָֽתָה (PrN with DA and directional or locative ה).  The site of the place is disputed, but it was the ancestral home of Samuel in Ephraim.

5 וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו הִנֵּה֙ אַתָּ֣ה זָקַ֔נְתָּ וּבָנֶ֕יךָ לֹ֥א הָלְכ֖וּ בִּדְרָכֶ֑יךָ עַתָּ֗ה שִֽׂימָה־לָּ֥נוּ מֶ֛לֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵ֖נוּ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִֽם׃

וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֵלָ֗יו

The narrative now introduces reported speech with the verb וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ (wayyiqtol Qal 3mp √ אמר) with the adjunct PP אֵלָ֗יו (prep. with 3ms enclitic pronoun).

הִנֵּה֙ אַתָּ֣ה זָקַ֔נְתָּ

The reported speech begins with the adverbial interjection הִנֵּה֙ which calls attention to the following noun, or in this case the pronoun אַתָּ֣ה , which is fronted and used to emphasize the subject.  The verb זָקַ֔נְתָּ (qatal Qal stative 2ms √ זקן) declares the state of affairs, viz. Samuel has become old.  This speech act reiterates information the narrator has already given in the background information above.

וּבָנֶ֕יךָ לֹ֥א הָלְכ֖וּ בִּדְרָכֶ֑יךָ

The word order is S-V as expected.  The subject of the clause is וּבָנֶ֕יךָ (N mp with 2ms enclitic pronoun and וּ conjunctive). The particle of negation לֹ֥א precedes the verb הָלְכ֖וּ (qatal Qal 3mp √ הלךְ).  Since the verb is technically intransitive, the PP בִּדְרָכֶ֑יךָ is an adjunct.  However, given the sense of the verb in this context, the PP acts a complement to explain the manner in which the sons are, or in this case are not, conducting themselves.  בִּדְרָכֶ֑יךָ (N mp with 2ms enclitic pronoun and inseparable preposition בְּ).  See lexical analysis in v. 3 for הלךְ and דֶּרֶךְ.  Again, this speech act reiterates what has already been disclosed in the background information above.

עַתָּ֗ה שִֽׂימָה־לָּ֥נוּ מֶ֛לֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵ֖נוּ

The request of the elders opens with the adverb עַתָּ֗ה with the sense of “in these circumstances.”  The verb שִֽׂימָה (yiqtol Qal juss 2ms √ שׂים) appears in the jussive rather than imperative and is followed by the adjunct PP לָּ֥נוּ (inseperable prep לְ with 1cp enclitic pronoun).  מֶ֛לֶךְ is the accusative complement to the verb.  The clause ends with לְשָׁפְטֵ֖נוּ (Qal inf. construct √ שׁפט with prep. לְ and the 1cp enclitic pronoun).  The inf. functions as an adjunct with the sense “to govern,” the prep.  expresses purpose, and the enclitic pronoun functions as the object of the prep. 

6 וַיֵּ֤רַע הַדָּבָר֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמְר֔וּ תְּנָה־לָּ֥נוּ מֶ֖לֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵ֑נוּ וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל אֶל־יְהוָֽה׃  פ

וַיֵּ֤רַע הַדָּבָר֙ בְּעֵינֵ֣י שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל

The subject of the clause is הַדָּבָר֙ (N ms with DA) has the sense here of “matter.”  The verb וַיֵּ֤רַע (wayyiqtol Qal stative 3ms √ רעע), “to be evil” describes the state of the subject.  The PP בְּעֵינֵ֣י שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל (N mp in construct with PrN with inseparable prep בְּ) is an adjunct to the verb.  The PP בְּעֵינֵ֣י שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל  (N mp construct with inseparable prep. בְּ in construct with PrN) used with this verb expresses something that is evil or displeasing in the eyes (judgment) of the subject.  Thus, the clause explains Samuel’s assessment of the people’s request for a king.   

כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמְר֔וּ תְּנָה־לָּ֥נוּ מֶ֖לֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵ֑נוּ

This entire clause functions as an ad-verbial adjunct to the preceding clause and clarifies the reason for Samuel’s assessment of the situation.  It begins with the temporal use of the conjunction כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר and then reiterates the speech act introduced by the verb אָמְר֔וּ (qatal Qal 3mp √ אמר) that triggered Samuel’s assessment.  The verb תְּנָה (yiqtol Qal 2ms √ נתן) is in the jussive but differs from the verb in the reported speech (שׂים).

וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל אֶל־יְהוָֽה

שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל (PrN) is the subject of the verb וַיִּתְפַּלֵּ֥ל (wayyiqtol Hit 3ms √ פלל) and appears with the adjunct PP אֶל־יְהוָֽה (prep. אֶל with PrN) which indicates the recipient of Samuel’s prayer.  Samuel’s response to his assessment of the request of the people was to seek the counsel of the LORD.  This sets the stage for what follows in the narrative, viz. the reply of the LORD.  It is noteworthy that before responding to the elders, Samuel goes the Lord in prayer.  This may also have didactic value in the overall theology of the narrative.

7 וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל שְׁמַע֙ בְּק֣וֹל הָעָ֔ם לְכֹ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־יֹאמְר֖וּ אֵלֶ֑יךָ כִּ֣י לֹ֤א אֹֽתְךָ֙ מָאָ֔סוּ כִּֽי־אֹתִ֥י מָאֲס֖וּ מִמְּלֹ֥ךְ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃

וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יְהוָה֙ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל

This clause introduces the reported speech of the LORD’s response to Samuel’s petition.  יְהוָה֙ is the subject and the verb וַיֹּ֤אמֶר (wayyiqtol Qal 3ms √ אמר).  The adjunct PP אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל (prep. אֶל with PrN) identifies the recipient of the speech act.

שְׁמַע֙ בְּק֣וֹל הָעָ֔ם לְכֹ֥ל

This null-subject clause begins with the command שְׁמַע֙ (impv Qal 2ms √ שׁמע), used here with the sense of “obey” or “heed.”  The nouns in the PP are in construct and both nouns are made definite by the presence of the DA.  The PP is the accusative complement of the verb and the inseparable preposition בְּ is used to mark the genitive construction as the direct object rather than being used in the more typical fashion as a subordinating preposition.  Halot explains, “in later texts a verb may be followed by בְּ instead of an acc. in order to indicate more clearly the connection between verb and object…” ק֣וֹל is used 181 times as the direct object of the verb שׁמע and when the verb has the sense “obey,” the preposition בְּ is commonly used to mark ק֣וֹל as the accusative complement.  Thus, the preposition is left untranslated and the clause should be rendered “obey the voice of the people” rather than “listen to the voice of the people.”  Although HALOT suggests that this is a late phenomenon, the construction is found frequently in the Hexateuch, appearing 18 times in Deut. alone.

The second PP begins with the inseparable preposition לְ which is used here to express an exact relationship with the sense “concerning” or “in regard to.”  It is affixed to the noun כֹ֥ל which serves as a secondary complement to the verb.

אֲשֶׁר־יֹאמְר֖וּ אֵלֶ֑יךָ

The particle אֲשֶׁר is a complementizer and marks the clause as relative.  The verb יֹאמְר֖וּ (yiqtol Qal 3mp √ אמר) is null-subject and refers anaphorically to the content of the reported speech of the elders in v. 5.  The adjunct PP אֵלֶ֑יךָ (preposition אֶל with 2ms enclitic pronoun) is commonly used with the verb אמר to identify the recipient of a speech act.

כִּ֣י לֹ֤א אֹֽתְךָ֙ מָאָ֔סוּ

The negative particle usually appears before the verb but here is placed before the subject having the effect of negating the subject rather than the verb (i.e., “not you”).  The DDOM appears with the 2ms enclitic pronoun as the object of the verb and is placed before the verb for emphasis.  Although the grammatical word כִּ֣י commonly triggers V-S word order inversion, in this case the object is fronted; as Davidson explains, “את must be used… when for the sake of emphasis the obj. is to be placed before the verb.”   The verb מָאָ֔סוּ (qatal Qal 3mp √ מאס) means to reject or despise, hence the LXX use of ἐξουθενέω/ἐξουθενόω, “to have no use for someth. as being beneath one’s consideration, reject disdainfully. 

כִּֽי־אֹתִ֥י מָאֲס֖וּ מִמְּלֹ֥ךְ עֲלֵיהֶֽם

The demonstrative particle כִּֽי is here used in the adversative sense, “but” or “on the contrary.”  Again the accusative complement אֹתִ֥י is fronted for emphasis (see note in the preceding clause.  The verb is followed by two PP’s מִמְּלֹ֥ךְ (Qal inf. construct √ מלך with preposition מִן) and עֲלֵיהֶֽם (preposition עַל with 3mp enclitic pronoun).  Note that in the former PP the ן has assimilated into the מ indicated by the dagesh.  The preposition attached to the infinitive has a separative force and the infinitive is rendered as a gerund yielding “from ruling” or from being king.”  The construction is used in place of a subordinate clause.  The latter PP is an adjunct to the former and identifies a limit to the sphere of the infinitive.

8 כְּכָֽל־הַמַּעֲשִׂ֣ים אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂ֗וּ מִיּוֹם֩ הַעֲלֹתִ֨י אֹתָ֤ם מִמִּצְרַ֨יִם֙ וְעַד־הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה וַיַּ֣עַזְבֻ֔נִי וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים כֵּ֛ן הֵ֥מָּה עֹשִׂ֖ים גַּם־לָֽךְ׃

כְּכָֽל־הַמַּעֲשִׂ֣ים אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂ֗וּ

This clause begins with the PP כְּכָֽל־הַמַּעֲשִׂ֣ים (preposition כְּ with כָֽל  [N] in construct with הַמַּעֲשִׂ֣ים [N mp] with DA).  The particle אֲשֶׁר functions as a complementizer and appears with verb עָשׂ֗וּ (qatal Qal 3mp √ עשׂה).

מִיּוֹם֩ הַעֲלֹתִ֨י אֹתָ֤ם מִמִּצְרַ֨יִם֙ וְעַד־הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה

This clause consists of three PP’s used to establish a a temporal reference.  מִיּוֹם֩ הַעֲלֹתִ֨י אֹתָ֤ם is a PP consisting of the prep מִן cliticized to the N יּוֹם֩ (ms) with the verb הַעֲלֹתִ֨י (Hif inf. √ עלה) and the accusative complement אֹתָ֤ם (DDO with 3mp enclitic pronoun).  מִמִּצְרַ֨יִם֙ the second PP consists of preposition מִן cliticized to the PrN מִּצְרַ֨יִם֙.  These two PP’s form a unit that is used to establish the beginning point of the temporal reference and the final PP וְעַד־הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֔ה (preposition עַד with ו conjunctive and N יּ֣וֹם [ms] with DA and near demonstrative pronoun זֶּ֔ה with DA) is used to establish the end point. 

וַיַּ֣עַזְבֻ֔נִי

וַיַּ֣עַזְבֻ֔נִי (wayyiqtol Qal 3mp √ עזב with 1cs enclitic pronoun).  Note that the 3mp sufformative shureq in this form is written defectively as qibbuts.  The pronoun serves as the complement to the verb.  The verb means to leave, abandon, or forsake and may connote the idea of divorce (cf. Akk. ezēbu to abandon a wife, husband, divorce).  

וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ אֱלֹהִ֣ים אֲחֵרִ֑ים

וַיַּעַבְד֖וּ (wayyiqtol Qal 3mp √ עבד) means to serve but when used in relation to deities is typically refers to cultic service (i.e., “sacrifice”).  The complement אֱלֹהִ֣ים is modified by the adjective אֲחֵרִ֑ים.  This construction refers to the deities of the Canaanite pantheon.

כֵּ֛ן הֵ֥מָּה עֹשִׂ֖ים גַּם־לָֽךְ

Although כֵּן usually follows the action that it modifies, “with the preposition כְּ it forms a type of fixed expression that emphasizes the similarities between processes or conditions.  The personal pronoun הֵ֥מָּה (3mp) is the subject of the participle עֹשִׂ֖ים (Qal act. part. mp), “to make” or “do.”  It is followed by the conjunction גַּם with לָֽךְ (preposition לְ with 2ms enclitic pronoun).  Note that although the form of the enclitic pronoun prima facie appears to be 2fs, the vocalization has actually changed due to the construction being in pause.  The vocal shewa with the לְ has lengthened to qamets due to pausal-form stress shift, and the qamets associated with the 2ms pronoun has reduced to shewa

9 וְעַתָּ֖ה שְׁמַ֣ע בְּקוֹלָ֑ם אַ֗ךְ כִּֽי־הָעֵ֤ד תָּעִיד֙ בָּהֶ֔ם וְהִגַּדְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֔ם מִשְׁפַּ֣ט הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִמְלֹ֖ךְ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃  ס

וְעַתָּ֖ה שְׁמַ֣ע בְּקוֹלָ֑ם

וְעַתָּ֖ה is an adverb used rhetorically to indicate the sense “in these circumstances.”  The phrase שְׁמַ֣ע בְּקוֹלָ֑ם is repeated but this time the noun appears with the 3mp enclitic pronoun (see notes under clause 2 of v. 7).

אַ֗ךְ כִּֽי־הָעֵ֤ד תָּעִיד֙ בָּהֶ֔ם

The particle אַ֗ךְ is used with the preposition כִּֽי in the restrictive sense with the verb תָּעִיד֙ (yiqtol Qal 2ms √ עוד) “admonish” or “warn” which is modified adverbially by the infinitive absolute of the same lexical root and stem (הָעֵ֤ד) providing the modal nuance of “solemnly.”  The lexical sense is indicated by the use of the preposition בְּ which includes the 3mp enclitic pronoun.  The PP is the complement to the verb.

וְהִגַּדְתָּ֣ לָהֶ֔ם מִשְׁפַּ֣ט הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ

וְהִגַּדְתָּ ([we]qatal Hif 2ms √ נגד) is used to express the command to “declare” the information that will be disclosed in the following episode in the narrative.  Note that the initial נ of this verb has assimilated into R2 indicated by the dagesh.  The PP לָהֶ֔ם expresses the indirect object of the verb consisting of the proposition with the enclitic 3mp pronoun.  This is the quasi-datival use of the preposition .  The verb’s complement is מִשְׁפַּ֣ט (N ms constuct) and in this context means either legal claim/privilege or custom.  It is in construct with the following noun הַמֶּ֔לֶךְ (ms with DA).

אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִמְלֹ֖ךְ עֲלֵיהֶֽם׃

The particle אֲשֶׁ֥ר indicates that this is a relative clause and serves as the subject of the verb יִמְלֹ֖ךְ (yiqtol Qal 3ms √ מלך).  The complement to the verb is the PP עֲלֵיהֶֽם (preposition with 3ms enclitic pronoun) and defines the sphere of the rule of the king.

10 וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל אֵ֖ת כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה אֶל־הָעָ֕ם הַשֹּׁאֲלִ֥ים מֵאִתּוֹ֖ מֶֽלֶךְ׃  ס

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל אֵ֖ת כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה אֶל־הָעָ֕ם

The narrator now reports Samuel’s obedience to the LORD’s command.  שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל  (PrN) is the subject of the clause with the verb being וַיֹּ֣אמֶר (wayyiqtol Qal 3ms √ אמר).  The accusative complement is the phrase כָּל־דִּבְרֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה .  The entire phrase is in construct, and is marked by the DDOM.  The adjunct PP אֶל־הָעָ֕ם expresses the indirect object.

הַשֹּׁאֲלִ֥ים מֵאִתּוֹ֖ מֶֽלֶךְ

Rather than the DA, the proclitic הַ functions as a relative marker for the participle שֹּׁאֲלִ֥ים (Qal active mp √ שׁאל), which causes the participle to function predicatively, thus the rendering “those who were asking.” The PP מֵאִתּוֹ֖ (prep מִן with DDOM and 3ms enclitic pronoun) is the complement of the verb.  מֶֽלֶךְ (N ms) identifies the content of the request, what the people were specifically asking for.

SUMMARY

God’s purpose for Israel was to be a unique people among the nations, and as a theocratic tribal confederation, they certainly stood out against the geopolitical landscape of the ancient Near East.  Nonetheless, the stated purpose behind the elders’ request for a king was that they wished to be “like all the nations” (1Sam 8:5).  As mentioned above, Samuel’s advanced years, coupled with the fact that his sons, whom he had appointed as his successors, were greedy and corrupt (1Sam 8:3), likely produced a high level of anxiety among the tribal leaders relating to the seemingly ever-present specter of war with the Philistines. 

God’s response to their request was to solemnly warn the people of what would eventually happen once a monarchial form of government was established. The content of the warning is given in the next episode.  Interestingly, in spite of the dire ramifications, God instructs Samuel to grant the request of the people.BIBLIOGRAPHY

Arndt, William et al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early

Christian Literature 3rd ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000.

Arnold, Bill T. and John H. Choi, A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. New York:

Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Davidson A. B., Introductory Hebrew Grammar Hebrew Syntax 3d ed.; Edinburgh:

T&T Clark, 1902.

Koehler, Ludwig et al., The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament;

electronic ed.; Leiden; New York: E.J. Brill, 1999.

Van der Merwe, Christo et al., A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar, electronic ed.;

Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.

Waltke, Bruce K. and M. O’Connor, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax.

Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 1990.

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