Samuel called the people to assemble before God at Mizpah.
He addressed the children of Israel, "This is God's personal message to you:
And now you want nothing to do with your God, the very God who has a history of getting you out of troubles of all sorts. "And now you say, 'No! We want a king; give us a king!' "Well, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get! Present yourselves formally before God, ranked in tribes and families."
After Samuel got all the tribes of Israel lined up, the Benjamin tribe was picked.
Then he lined up the Benjamin tribe in family groups, and the family of Matri was picked. The family of Matri took its place in the lineup, and the name Saul, son of Kish, was picked. But when they went looking for him, he was nowhere to be found.
Samuel went back to God: "Is he anywhere around?" God said, "Yes, he's right over there - hidden in that pile of baggage."
They ran and got him. He took his place before everyone, standing tall - head and shoulders above them.
Samuel then addressed the people, "Take a good look at whom God has chosen: the best! No one like him in the whole country!" Then a great shout went up from the people: "Long live the king!"
Samuel went on to instruct the people in the rules and regulations involved in a kingdom, wrote it all down in a book, and placed it before God. Then Samuel sent everyone home.
Saul also went home to Gibeah, and with him some true and brave men whom God moved to join him.
But the riff-raff went off muttering, "'Deliverer'? Don't make me laugh!" They held him in contempt and refused to congratulate him. But Saul paid them no mind. Saul Is Crowned King Nahash, king of the Ammonites, was brutalizing the tribes of Gad and Reuben, gouging out their right eyes and intimidating anyone who would come to Israel's help. There were very few Israelites living on the east side of the Jordan River who had not had their right eyes gouged out by Nahash. But seven thousand men had escaped from the Ammonites and were now living safely in Jabesh.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)