Israel demands a king
1Now when Samuel got old, he appointed his sons to serve as Israel’s judges. 2The name of his oldest son was Joel; the name of the second was Abijah. They served as judges in Beer-sheba. 3But Samuel’s sons didn’t follow in his footsteps. They tried to turn a profit, they accepted bribes, and they perverted justice.
4So all the Israelite elders got together and went to Samuel at Ramah. 5They said to him, "Listen. You are old now, and your sons don’t follow in your footsteps. So appoint us a king to judge us like all the other nations have." 6It seemed very bad to Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us," so he prayed to the LORD.
7The LORD answered Samuel, "Comply with the people’s request—everything they ask of you—because they haven’t rejected you. No, they’ve rejected me as king over them. 8They are doing to you only what they’ve been doing to me#LXX; MT lacks to me. from the day I brought them out of Egypt to this very minute, abandoning me and worshipping other gods. 9So comply with their request, but give them a clear warning, telling them how the king will rule over them."#Or telling them the lawful practice of the king; also in 8:11; cf 10:25.
10Then Samuel explained everything the LORD had said to the people who were asking for a king. 11"This is how the king will rule over you," Samuel said:
"He will take your sons, and will use them for his chariots and his cavalry and as runners for his chariot. 12He will use them as his commanders of troops of one thousand and troops of fifty, or to do his plowing and his harvesting, or to make his weapons or parts for his chariots. 13He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, or bakers. 14He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his servants. 15He will give one-tenth of your grain and your vineyards to his officials and servants. 16He will take your male and female servants, along with the best of your cattle#LXX; MT young men and donkeys, and make them do his work. 17He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and then you yourselves will become his slaves! 18When that day comes, you will cry out because of the king you chose for yourselves, but on that day the LORD won’t answer you."
19But the people refused to listen to Samuel and said, "No! There must be a king over us 20so we can be like all the other nations. Our king will judge us and lead us and fight our battles."
21Samuel listened to everything the people said and repeated it directly to the LORD. 22Then the LORD said to Samuel, "Comply with their request. Give them a king."
Samuel then told the Israelite people, "Go back, each of you, to your own hometown."