When Samuel got to be an old man, he set his sons up as judges in Israel.
His firstborn son was named Joel, the name of his second, Abijah. They were assigned duty in Beersheba.
But his sons didn't take after him; they were out for what they could get for themselves, taking bribes, corrupting justice.
Fed up, all the elders of Israel got together and confronted Samuel at Ramah.
They presented their case: "Look, you're an old man, and your sons aren't following in your footsteps. Here's what we want you to do: Appoint a king to rule us, just like everybody else."
When Samuel heard their demand - "Give us a king to rule us!" - he was crushed. How awful! Samuel prayed to God.
God answered Samuel, "Go ahead and do what they're asking. They are not rejecting you. They've rejected me as their King.
From the day I brought them out of Egypt until this very day they've been behaving like this, leaving me for other gods. And now they're doing it to you.
So let them have their own way. But warn them of what they're in for. Tell them the way kings operate, just what they're likely to get from a king."
So Samuel told them, delivered God's warning to the people who were asking him to give them a king.
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)