Then Samuel addressed the people again: "I have done as you asked and given you a king.
I have selected him ahead of my own sons, and I stand here, an old, gray-haired man. I have served as your leader since I was a boy.
Now tell me as I stand before the LORD and before his anointed one -- whose ox or donkey have I stolen? Have I ever cheated any of you? Have I ever oppressed you? Have I ever taken a bribe? Tell me and I will make right whatever I have done wrong."
"No," they replied, "you have never cheated or oppressed us in any way, and you have never taken even a single bribe."
"The LORD and his anointed one are my witnesses," Samuel declared, "that you can never accuse me of robbing you.""Yes, it is true," they replied.
"It was the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron," Samuel continued. "He brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt.
Now stand here quietly before the LORD as I remind you of all the great things the LORD has done for you and your ancestors.
"When the Israelites were a in Egypt and cried out to the LORD, he sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them from Egypt and to bring them into this land.
But the people soon forgot about the LORD their God, so he let them be conquered by Sisera, the general of Hazor's army, and by the Philistines and the king of Moab.
"Then they cried to the LORD again and confessed, 'We have sinned by turning away from the LORD and worshiping the images of Baal and Ashtoreth. But we will worship you and you alone if you will rescue us from our enemies.'
Then the LORD sent Gideon, b Barak, c Jephthah, and Samuel d to save you, and you lived in safety.
"But when you were afraid of Nahash, the king of Ammon, you came to me and said that you wanted a king to reign over you, even though the LORD your God was already your king.
All right, here is the king you have chosen. Look him over. You asked for him, and the LORD has granted your request.
"Now if you will fear and worship the LORD and listen to his voice, and if you do not rebel against the LORD's commands, and if you and your king follow the LORD your God, then all will be well.
But if you rebel against the LORD's commands and refuse to listen to him, then his hand will be as heavy upon you as it was upon your ancestors.
"Now stand here and see the great thing the LORD is about to do.
You know that it does not rain at this time of the year during the wheat harvest. I will ask the LORD to send thunder and rain today. Then you will realize how wicked you have been in asking the LORD for a king!"
So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain. And all the people were terrified of the LORD and of Samuel.
"Pray to the LORD your God for us, or we will die!" they cried out to Samuel. "For now we have added to our sins by asking for a king."
"Don't be afraid," Samuel reassured them. "You have certainly done wrong, but make sure now that you worship the LORD with all your heart and that you don't turn your back on him in any way.
Don't go back to worshiping worthless idols that cannot help or rescue you -- they really are useless!
The LORD will not abandon his chosen people, for that would dishonor his great name. He made you a special nation for himself.
"As for me, I will certainly not sin against the LORD by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right.
But be sure to fear the LORD and sincerely worship him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you.
But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be destroyed."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)