As Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons to be judges over Israel.
Joel and Abijah, his oldest sons, held court in Beersheba.
But they were not like their father, for they were greedy for money. They accepted bribes and perverted justice.
Finally, the leaders of Israel met at Ramah to discuss the matter with Samuel.
"Look," they told him, "you are now old, and your sons are not like you. Give us a king like all the other nations have."
Samuel was very upset with their request and went to the LORD for advice.
"Do as they say," the LORD replied, "for it is me they are rejecting, not you. They don't want me to be their king any longer.
Ever since I brought them from Egypt they have continually forsaken me and followed other gods. And now they are giving you the same treatment.
Do as they ask, but solemnly warn them about how a king will treat them."
So Samuel passed on the LORD's warning to the people.
"This is how a king will treat you," Samuel said. "The king will draft your sons into his army and make them run before his chariots.
Some will be commanders of his troops, while others will be slave laborers. Some will be forced to plow in his fields and harvest his crops, while others will make his weapons and chariot equipment.
The king will take your daughters from you and force them to cook and bake and make perfumes for him.
He will take away the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his own servants.
He will take a tenth of your harvest and distribute it among his officers and attendants.
He will want your male and female slaves and demand the finest of your cattle and donkeys for his own use.
References for 1 Samuel 8:16
He will demand a tenth of your flocks, and you will be his slaves.
When that day comes, you will beg for relief from this king you are demanding, but the LORD will not help you."
But the people refused to listen to Samuel's warning. "Even so, we still want a king," they said.
"We want to be like the nations around us. Our king will govern us and lead us into battle."
So Samuel told the LORD what the people had said,
and the LORD replied, "Do as they say, and give them a king." Then Samuel agreed and sent the people home.