Ellen G. White Writings

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From Eternity Past, Page 437

Chapter 59—Saul, the First King of Israel

This chapter is based on 1 Samuel 8 to 12.

The government of Israel was administered in the name of God. The work of Moses, of the seventy elders, of the rulers and judges, was simply to enforce the laws that God had given; they had no authority to legislate for the nation. This was the condition of Israel's existence as a nation.

The Lord foresaw that Israel would desire a king, but He did not change the principles on which the state was founded. The king was to be the vicegerent of the Most High. God was the head of the nation. (See Appendix, Note 7.)

When the Israelites first settled in Canaan, the nation prospered under the rule of Joshua. But intercourse with other nations brought a change. The people adopted many of the customs of their heathen neighbors and ceased to prize the honor of being God's chosen people. Attracted by the pomp and display of heathen monarchs, they tired of their own simplicity. Jealousy sprang up between the tribes. Internal dissensions made them weak. They were exposed to the invasion of heathen foes, and the people were coming to believe that the tribes must be united under a strong central government. They desired to be freed from the rule of their divine Sovereign. Thus the demand for a monarchy became widespread throughout Israel.

Under Samuel's administration the nation had prospered, order had been restored, godliness promoted, and the spirit of discontent checked for the time. But with advancing years the prophet appointed his two

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