- 1 Sam. 8:1-12:25
When Samuel was old, the Israelites demanded that he setup a king to rule over them. They said they wanted to be like all the other nations around them who were led by a king. Samuel was upset about this and he prayed to GOD, but GOD said:
Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them.
(1 Sam. 8:7 NKJV)
GOD told Samuel to warn Israel what the king they asked for would do.
So Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who asked him for a king. And he said, “This will be the behavior of the king who will reign over you: He will take your sons and appoint them for his own chariots and to be his horsemen, and some will run before his chariots. He will appoint captains over his thousands and captains over his fifties, will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and some to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
He will take your daughters to be perfumers, cooks, and bakers. And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your grain and your vintage, and give it to his officers and servants. And he will take your male servants, your female servants, your finest young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take a tenth of your sheep. And you will be his servants. And you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, and the LORD will not hear you in that day.”
(1 Sam. 8:10-18 NKJV)
Surely, given all of this warning and knowing who GOD is and His ability to see and control the future, Israel would change their minds and stop asking for a king, right? Nope.
Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
(1 Sam. 8:19-20 NKJV)
GOD chose a thirty-year-old tall man named Saul from the tribe of Benjamin to be Israel's king. Initially Saul was not quick to accept the idea of his being chosen as king. In fact, when all of Israel was gathered before the LORD for GOD to select the man before the whole nation, Saul hid among the baggage because he was afraid. But Saul soon won over the hearts of the nation by showing leadership in defeating Nahash the Ammonite and his army who had been oppressing the city of Jabesh Gilead.
After the battle Samuel spoke to the Israelites:
And when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ when the LORD your God was your king. “Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen and...the LORD has set a king over you. If you fear the LORD and serve Him and obey His voice, and do not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then both you and the king who reigns over you will continue following the LORD your God. However, if you do not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers.
“Now therefore, stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes: Is today not the wheat harvest? I will call to the LORD, and He will send thunder and rain, that you may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking a king for yourselves.” So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel. And all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins the evil of asking a king for ourselves.”
(1 Sam. 12:12-19 NKJV)
Too late. GOD tried to tell them, now they had to live with the consequences of their choice and refusal to do things GOD's way.