The People Ask for a King
1When Samuel grew old, he made his sons judges in Israel. 2The elder son was named Joel and the younger one Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. 3But they did not follow their father's example; they were interested only in making money, so they accepted bribes and did not decide cases honestly.
4Then all the leaders of Israel met together, went to Samuel in Ramah, 5#Deut 17.14and said to him, “Look, you are getting old and your sons don't follow your example. So then, appoint a king to rule over us, so that we will have a king, as other countries have.” 6Samuel was displeased with their request for a king; so he prayed to the Lord, 7and the Lord said, “Listen to everything the people say to you. You are not the one they have rejected; I am the one they have rejected as their king. 8Ever since I brought them out of Egypt, they have turned away from me and worshipped other gods; and now they are doing to you what they have always done to me. 9So then, listen to them, but give them strict warnings and explain how their kings will treat them.”
10Samuel told the people who were asking him for a king everything that the Lord had said to him. 11“This is how your king will treat you,” Samuel explained. “He will make soldiers of your sons; some of them will serve in his war chariots, others in his cavalry, and others will run before his chariots. 12He will make some of them officers in charge of a thousand men, and others in charge of fifty men. Your sons will have to plough his fields, harvest his crops, and make his weapons and the equipment for his chariots. 13Your daughters will have to make perfumes for him and work as his cooks and his bakers. 14He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials. 15He will take a tenth of your corn and of your grapes for his court officers and other officials. 16He will take your servants and your best cattle#8.16 One ancient translation cattle; Hebrew young men. and donkeys, and make them work for him. 17He will take a tenth of your flocks. And you yourselves will become his slaves. 18When that time comes, you will complain bitterly because of your king, whom you yourselves chose, but the Lord will not listen to your complaints.”
19The people paid no attention to Samuel, but said “No! We want a king, 20so that we will be like other nations, with our own king to rule us and to lead us out to war and to fight our battles.” 21Samuel listened to everything they said and then went and told the Lord. 22The Lord answered, “Do what they want and give them a king.” Then Samuel told all the men of Israel to go back home.