In 1 Samuel Chapter 8, Samuel is now old. He names his sons to replace him as judge of the Israelites. His firstborn son is called Joel, and his second son is called Abijah.
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Samuel’s Sons are Corrupt
Both of Samuel’s sons serve as judges in the town of Beersheba. However, Joel and Abijah are not wise or righteous like their father. They indulge in abusing their authority and they accept bribes. Their behavior is so egregious that the elders go to Samuel at his house in Ramah and tell him that his sons are not behaving correctly and he, Samuel, should appoint a king instead.
Samuel Prays for a Solution
Samuel does not like this message, so he prays to God, who instructs him to listen to the elders. God says the people are not rejecting Samuel, but they are forsaking the Lord as they have done since they were delivered from Egypt. God tells Samuel to let the elders know just what a king is going to do to them.
The Evil of a King
Samuel then tells the elders that he will appoint a king, but the king will be corrupt and will oppress them and their sons and daughters. The king will take their livestock and fields for his own purposes. This king will rob them of their best harvest, give it to his courtiers and his officials or hoard it for himself.
Samuel warns the Israelites that a king will, in fact, enslave them. He warns that they will pray to the Lord to deliver them from this king, but the Lord will not listen to their pleas.
The People Want a King
Still, the Israelites do not listen to what Samuel tells them. They want a king, which will make them like other nations with kings who lead them into battle. Samuel prays to God again and God again tells him to give the Israelites their king. Resigned, Samuel returns to the elders and tells them all to go home.
1 Samuel 8 (King James Version)
1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beersheba.
3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah,
5 And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations.
6 But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD.
7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
8 According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.
9 Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.
10 And Samuel told all the words of the LORD unto the people that asked of him a king.
11 And he said, This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.
12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.
13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.
14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.
15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.
16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.
17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.
18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.
19 Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;
20 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.
21 And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the LORD.
22 And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.