Request for a King. 1In his old age Samuel appointed his sons judges over Israel. 2His first‐born was named Joel, his second son, Abijah; they judged at Beer‐sheba. 3His sons did not follow his example but sought illicit gain and accepted bribes, perverting justice. r Ex 23, 8; Dt 16, 19; Prv 17, 23 . 4Therefore all the elders of Israel came in a body to Samuel at Ramah 5and said to him, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your example, appoint a king over us, as other nations have, to judge us.” s 5f: Dt 17, 14f; Hos 13, 10; Acts 13, 21 .
God Grants the Request. 6Samuel was displeased when they asked for a king to judge them. He prayed to the LORD, however, 7who said in answer: “Grant the people's every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting me as their king. t 7f: 1 Sm 12, 1. 12f; Jgs 8, 22f; 10, 13; 1 Kgs 9, 9 . 8As they have treated me constantly from the day I brought them up from Egypt to this day, deserting me and worshiping strange gods, so do they treat you too. 9Now grant their request; but at the same time, warn them solemnly and inform them of the rights of the king who will rule them.”
The Rights of a King. 10Samuel delivered the message of the LORD in full to those who were asking him for a king. 11He told them: “The rights of the king who will rule you will be as follows: He will take your sons and assign them to his chariots and horses, and they will run before his chariot. u 1 Sm 10, 25; Dt 17, 14–20; 1 Kgs 12 . 12He will also appoint from among them his commanders of groups of a thousand and of a hundred soldiers. He will set them to do his plowing and his harvesting, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. v 2 Sm 15, 1; 1 Kgs 1, 5 . 13He will use your daughters as ointment‐makers, as cooks, and as bakers. 14He will take the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his officials. w 1 Sm 22, 7; 1 Kgs 21, 1–24; Ez 46, 18 . 15He will tithe your crops and your vineyards, and give the revenue to his eunuchs and his slaves. 16He will take your male and female servants, as well as your best oxen and your asses, and use them to do his work. 17He will tithe your flocks and you yourselves will become his slaves. x 1 Kgs 12, 4 . 18When this takes place, you will complain against the king whom you have chosen, but on that day the LORD will not answer you.”
Persistent Demand. 19The people, however, refused to listen to Samuel's warning and said, “Not so! There must be a king over us. y 1 Sm 10, 19 . 20We too must be like other nations, with a king to rule us and to lead us in warfare and fight our battles.” 21When Samuel had listened to all the people had to say, he repeated it to the LORD, 22who then said to him, “Grant their request and appoint a king to rule them.” Samuel thereupon said to the men of Israel, “Each of you go to his own city.”