1 Samuel 8:1–14:52

Israel Asks for a King

8 When Samuel grew old, he appointedp his sons as Israel’s leaders.a The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah,q and they served at Beersheba.r But his sonss did not follow his ways. They turned asidet after dishonest gain and accepted bribesu and pervertedv justice.

So all the eldersw of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.x They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a kingy to leadb z us, such as all the other nationsa have.”

But when they said, “Give us a kingb to lead us,” this displeasedc Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listend to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected,e but they have rejected me as their king.f As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsakingg me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them knowh what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

10 Samuel toldi all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will takej your sons and make them servek with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.l 12 Some he will assign to be commandersm of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of yourn fields and vineyardso and olive groves and give them to his attendants.p 15 He will take a tenthq of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattlec and donkeys he will take for 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 cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answerr you in that day.s

19 But the people refusedt to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We wantu a kingv over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations,w with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeatedx it before the Lord. 22 The Lord answered, “Listeny to them and give them a king.”

Then Samuel said to the Israelites, “Everyone go back to your own town.”

Samuel Anoints Saul

9 There was a Benjamite,z a man of standing,a whose name was Kishb son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsomec a young man as could be foundd anywhere in Israel, and he was a head tallere than anyone else.

Now the donkeysf belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys.” So he passed through the hillg country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha,h but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeysi were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them.

When they reached the district of Zuph,j Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come, let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worryingk about us.”

But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God;l he is highly respected, and everythingm he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.”

Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no giftn to take to the man of God. What do we have?”

The servant answered him again. “Look,” he said, “I have a quarter of a shekela of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take.” (Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquireo of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.)p

10 “Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was.

11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to drawq water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”

12 “He is,” they answered. “He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrificer at the high place.s 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must blesst the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.”

14 They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anointu him rulerv over my people Israel; he will deliverw them from the hand of the Philistines.x I have looked on my people, for their cryy has reached me.”

17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “Thisz is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.”

18 Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”

19 “I am the seer,” Samuel replied. “Go up ahead of me to the high place, for today you are to eat with me, and in the morning I will send you on your way and will tell you all that is in your heart. 20 As for the donkeysa you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. And to whom is all the desireb of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line?”

21 Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribec of Israel, and is not my clan the leastd of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?e Why do you say such a thing to me?”

22 Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the hall and seated them at the head of those who were invited—about thirty in number. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the piece of meat I gave you, the one I told you to lay aside.”

24 So the cook took up the thighf with what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, “Here is what has been kept for you. Eat, because it was set aside for you for this occasion from the time I said, ‘I have invited guests.’ ” And Saul dined with Samuel that day.

25 After they came down from the high place to the town, Samuel talked with Saul on the roofg of his house. 26 They rose about daybreak, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get ready, and I will send you on your way.” When Saul got ready, he and Samuel went outside together. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us”—and the servant did so—“but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.”

10 Then Samuel took a flaskh of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the Lord anointedi you ruler over his inheritance?a j When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb,k at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeysl you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worriedm about you. He is asking, “What shall I do about my son?” ’

“Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to worship God at Betheln will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread,o which you will accept from them.

“After that you will go to Gibeahp of God, where there is a Philistine outpost.q As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophetsr coming down from the high places with lyres, timbrels,t pipesu and harpsv being played before them, and they will be prophesying.w The Spiritx of the Lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changedy into a different person. Once these signs are fulfilled, do whateverz your handa finds to do, for God is withb you.

“Go down ahead of me to Gilgal.c I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait sevend days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”

Saul Made King

As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changede Saul’s heart, and all these signsf were fulfilledg that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirith of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying.i 11 When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is thisj that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”k

12 A man who lived there answered, “And who is their father?” So it became a saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?”l 13 After Saul stopped prophesying,m he went to the high place.

14 Now Saul’s unclen asked him and his servant, “Where have you been?”

“Looking for the donkeys,o” he said. “But when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.”

15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.”

16 Saul replied, “He assured us that the donkeysp had been found.” But he did not tell his uncle what Samuel had said about the kingship.

17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the Lord at Mizpahq 18 and said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressedr you.’ 19 But you have now rejecteds your God, who savest you …

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