Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 8:1
This verse implies a long period, probably not less than 20 years, of which we have no account except what is contained in the brief notice in Sa1 7:13-17. The general idea conveyed is of a time of peace and prosperity, analogous to that under other Judges.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 8:2
The mention of Beer-sheba, on the extreme southern frontier of Judah, as the place where Samuel's sons judged Israel is remarkable. It was probably due to the recovery of territory from the usurpation of the Philistines Sa1 7:14.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 8:6
See the margin which implies that the thing spoken of caused anger, indignation, or some revulsion of feeling (see Gen 21:11-12). The answer of the Lord Sa1 8:7 shows that Samuel's personal feelings had been hurt. They were soothed by being reminded of the continued ingratitude of the people to God Himself, upon whom, in fact, a greater slight was put by this very request for a king "like all the nations," than upon Samuel (compare Mat 10:24; Joh 15:18, Joh 15:20). For a comment on this transaction, see Hos 13:9-11; Act 13:21-22.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 8:12
This organization was as old as the time of Moses Num 31:14; Deu 1:15, and prevailed among the Philistines also Sa1 29:2. The civil and military divisions were identical, and the civil officers were the same as the captains of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens, in time of war.
To ear his ground - literally, "to plow his plowing." "To ear" is an old English word, now obsolete, for to plow.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 8:14
See illustrations in marginal references; Kg1 5:13-18; Kg1 12:4.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 8:20
Fight our battles - It appears from Sa1 12:12, that the warlike movements of Nahash had already begun to excite alarm.
1 Kings (1 Samuel) 8:22
A repetition for the third time Sa1 8:7, Sa1 8:9 of the expression of God's will in the matter, marks Samuel's great unwillingness to comply with the people's request. Besides the natural aversion which he felt to being thrust aside after so many years of faithful and laborious service, and the natural prejudice which he would feel at his age against a new form of government, he doubtless saw how much of the evil heart of unbelief there was in the desire to have a visible king for their leader, instead of trusting to the invisible Lord who had hitherto led them. But God had His own purpose in setting up the kingdom which was to be typical of the kingdom of His only begotten Son.