Israel Asks for a King
1When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges for Israel. 2His first son was named Joel, and his second son was named Abijah. Joel and Abijah were judges in Beersheba. 3But Samuel’s sons did not live as he did. They tried to get money dishonestly, and they accepted money secretly to make wrong judgments.
4So all the elders came together and met Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, “You’re old, and your sons don’t live as you do. Give us a king to rule over us like all the other nations.”
6When the elders said that, Samuel was not pleased. He prayed to the Lord, 7and the Lord told Samuel, “Listen to whatever the people say to you. They have not rejected you. They have rejected me from being their king. 8They are doing as they have always done. When I took them out of Egypt, they left me and served other gods. They are doing the same to you. 9Now listen to the people, but warn them what the king who rules over them will do.”
10So Samuel told those who had asked him for a king what the Lord had said. 11Samuel said, “If you have a king ruling over you, this is what he will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and his horses, and they will run in front of the king’s chariot. 12The king will make some of your sons commanders over thousands or over fifties. He will make some of your other sons plow his ground and reap his harvest. He will take others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13He will take your daughters to make perfume and cook and bake for him. 14He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants. 15He will take one-tenth of your grain and grapes and give it to his officers and servants. 16He will take your male and female servants, your best cattle, and your donkeys and use them all for his own work. 17He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When that time comes, you will cry out because of the king you chose. But the Lord will not answer you then.”
19But the people would not listen to Samuel. They said, “No! We want a king to rule over us. 20Then we will be the same as all the other nations. Our king will judge for us and go with us and fight our battles.”
21After Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated their words to the Lord. 22The Lord answered, “You must listen to them. Give them a king.”
Then Samuel told the people of Israel, “Go back to your towns.”