Samuel continued as judge over Israel all the days of his life.
From year to year he went on a circuit from Bethel to Gilgal to Mizpah, judging Israel in all those places.
But he always went back to Ramah, where his home was, and there he also judged Israel. And he built an altar there to the LORD.
When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as judges for Israel.
The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba.
But his sons did not walk in his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.
They said to him, "You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have."
But when they said, "Give us a king to lead us," this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD.
And the LORD told him: "Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.
As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.
Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do."
Samuel told all the words of the LORD to the people who were asking him for a king.
He said, "This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.
Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots.
He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers.
He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants.
He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.
Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.
He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.
When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the LORD will not answer you in that day."
But the people refused to listen to Samuel. "No!" they said. "We want a king over us.
Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles."
When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the LORD.
The LORD answered, "Listen to them and give them a king." Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, "Everyone go back to his town."
There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin.
He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites--a head taller than any of the others.
Now the donkeys belonging to Saul's father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, "Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys."
So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha, but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them.
When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, "Come, let's go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us."
But the servant replied, "Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let's go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take."
Saul said to his servant, "If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?"
The servant answered him again. "Look," he said, "I have a quarter of a shekel of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take."
(Formerly in Israel, if a man went to inquire of God, he would say, "Come, let us go to the seer," because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.)
"Good," Saul said to his servant. "Come, let's go." So they set out for the town where the man of God was.
As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and they asked them, "Is the seer here?"
"He is," they answered. "He's ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice at the high place.
As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time."
They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.