The People of Israel Want a King
1-2Samuel had two sons. The older one was Joel, and the younger one was Abijah. When Samuel was getting old, he let them be leaders at Beersheba. 3But they were not like their father. They were dishonest and accepted bribes to give unfair decisions.
4One day the nation's leaders came to Samuel at Ramah 5 and said, “You are an old man. You set a good example for your sons, but they haven't followed it. Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. Choose one for us!”
6Samuel was upset to hear the leaders say they wanted a king, so he prayed about it. 7The Lord answered:
Samuel, do everything they want you to do. I am really the one they have rejected as their king. 8Ever since the day I rescued my people from Egypt, they have turned from me to worship idols. Now they are turning away from you. 9Do everything they ask, but warn them and tell them how a king will treat them.
10Samuel told the people who were asking for a king what the Lord had said:
11If you have a king, this is how he will treat you. He will force your sons to join his army. Some of them will ride in his chariots, some will serve in the cavalry, and others will run ahead of his own chariot. 12Some of them will be officers in charge of 1,000 soldiers, and others will be in charge of 50. Still others will have to farm the king's land and harvest his crops, or make weapons and parts for his chariots. 13Your daughters will have to make perfume or do his cooking and baking.
14The king will take your best fields, as well as your vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his own officials. 15He will also take a tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and officials.
16The king will take your slaves and your best young men and your donkeys and make them do his work. 17He will also take a tenth of your sheep and goats. You will become the king's slaves, 18and you will finally cry out for the Lord to save you from the king you wanted. But the Lord won't answer your prayers.
19-20The people would not listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want to be like other nations. We want a king to rule us and lead us in battle.”
21Samuel listened to them and then told the Lord exactly what they had said. 22“Do what they want,” the Lord answered. “Give them a king.”
Samuel told the people to go back to their homes.