1 When Samuel grew old, he made his sons leaders* Again the word used is “judges,” but in this period of Israel's history before they had kings the judges did not only settle legal cases but acted as rulers. over Israel. 2 His first son was named Joel, and his second son was named Abijah. They were rulers in Beersheba. 3 However, his sons did not follow his ways. They were corrupt, making money by accepting bribes and perverting justice.
4 So the elders of Israel all joined together and came to meet Samuel at Ramah. 5 “Look here,” they told him, “you are old, and your sons do not follow your ways. Choose a king to rule over us like all the other nations.”
6 Samuel thought this was a bad idea when they said, “Give us a king to rule over us,” so he prayed to the Lord about it. 7 “Do what the people tell you,” the Lord said to Samuel, “because it's not you they're rejecting, but me as their king. 8 They're doing just as they have always done since I led them out of Egypt right up to now. They have abandoned me and worshiped other gods, and they're doing just the same to you. 9 So do what they want, but give them a solemn warning—explain to them what a king will do when he rules over them.”
10 Samuel repeated all that the Lord had said to the people asking him to give them a king. 11 “This is what a king will do when he rules over you,” he told them. “He will take your sons and make them serve as charioteers and horsemen, and to run as a guard in front of his chariot. 12 Some of them he will make commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some will have to plow his fields and reap his harvest. Some will be assigned to making weapons of war and chariot equipment. 13 He will take your daughters and have them work as perfume-makers, cooks, and bakers. 14 He will take your best fields, vineyards, and olive groves and give them to his officials. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain harvest and the produce of your vineyards and allocate it to his chief officers and officials. 16 He will take your male servants and your female servants, and your best young men and your donkeys, and make them work for him. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will be his slaves. 18 On that day you will plead to be rescued from the king you have chosen, but the Lord won't answer you then.”
19 But the people refused to listen to what Samuel said. “No!” they insisted. “We want our own king! 20 That way we can be like all the other nations. Our king will rule us, and will lead us when we go out to fight our battles.”
21 Samuel listened to everything the people said and repeated it to the Lord. 22 The Lord told Samuel, “Do what they say and give them a king.” Then Samuel told the Israelites, “Go back to your homes.”
*8:1 Again the word used is “judges,” but in this period of Israel's history before they had kings the judges did not only settle legal cases but acted as rulers.