Israel Demands a King
1 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges a over Israel. 2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second was Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not walk in his ways; they turned aside toward dishonest gain, accepting bribes and perverting justice.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 “Look,” they said, “you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king to judge us like all the other nations.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to judge us,” their demand was displeasing in the sight of Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.
7 And the LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you. For it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected Me as their king. 8 Just as they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking Me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them, but you must solemnly warn them and show them the manner of the king who will reign over them.”
10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This will be the manner of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them to his own chariots and horses, to run in front of his chariots.
12 He will appoint some for himself as commanders of thousands and of fifties, and others to plow his ground, to reap his harvest, to make his weapons of war, and to equip his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and grape harvest and give it to his officials and servants. 16 And he will take your menservants and maidservants and your best cattle b and donkeys and put them to his own use.
17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will beg for relief from the king you have chosen, but the LORD will not answer you on that day.”
God Grants the Request
19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We must have a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to judge us, to go out before us, and to fight our battles.”
21 Samuel listened to all the words of the people and repeated them in the hearing of the LORD.
22 “Listen to their voice,” the LORD said to Samuel. “Appoint a king for them.”
Then Samuel told the men of Israel, “Everyone must go back to his city.”
1 a Or governors or leaders ; similarly in verses 2, 5, 6, and 20
16 b LXX; Hebrew your best young men