John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary

Verse 11 (1 Samuel 8:11)

And he said, this will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you ,.... Not in which he ought to proceed, but what he will do: and this not the manner of one king, or of the first only, but of all of them, more or less; of kings in general, who are commonly inclined to arbitrary power. So Aristotle F1 In Politicis, l. 3. c. 16. in opposition to theocracy, describes a full and absolute kingdom, as he calls it, when a king does all things according to his will: and observes, that he that would have the mind or reason preside, would have God and the laws rule; but he that would have a man to reign, adds also a lust, or one led by his own lust: so it follows:

he will take your sons, and appoint them for himself ; for his own use and service, to wait upon him, to be his pages, or grooms, or guards:

for his chariots ; to take care of them, and drive them, though not without paying them for it; yet this being but a mean and servile employment, and what they should be obliged to, whether they would or no, is observed to show the tyranny and bondage to which they would be subject, when their sons otherwise might be free men, and possessed of estates and carriages of their own:

and to be his horsemen ; or rather "for his horses", to take care of them, and go out along with him, and attend his person, whether when going to war, or on pleasure:

and some shall run before his chariots ; be his running footmen, being swift of foot, and trained up for that service; some are naturally swift, as Asahel was 2 Samuel 2:18 . Pliny F2 Nat. Hist. l. 7. c. 2. speaks of some swifter than horses; and of the swiftness of some he elsewhere gives F3 Ibid. c. 20. many surprising instances. It seems as if it was usual to have fifty such men to run before them, see 2 Samuel 15:1 .

- John Gills Exposition of the Bible Commentary