1 Samuel 8:1–22

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.”

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