Israel Asks for a King

The story of Israel asking for a king is an important event in the Bible, found in 1 Samuel 8. This story shows how the Israelites wanted to change their leadership and what happened as a result.

The Israelites Want a King

Bible Verse: 1 Samuel 8:4-5

“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 follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.'”

The Israelites, led by their elders, went to Samuel, who was a prophet and judge. They told him they wanted a king to lead them like other nations. Samuel was getting old, and his sons, who were judges, were not fair like him.

Samuel’s Warning

Bible Verse: 1 Samuel 8:10-11, 18

“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 claim as his rights… When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.'”

Samuel was not happy about this request, but he told the people what God said. He warned them that a king would take their sons and daughters to serve him, take their best fields and crops, and make them work for him. The people might regret having a king, but God would not help them then.

The People’s Insistence

Bible Verse: 1 Samuel 8:19-20

“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.'”

Despite Samuel’s warning, the people still wanted a king. They wanted to be like other nations and have a king to lead them in battles.

God’s Response

Bible Verse: 1 Samuel 8:21-22

“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.'”

Samuel told God what the people said. God instructed Samuel to do as they asked and give them a king.

The First King

Later, God guided Samuel to choose Saul as the first king of Israel. This was the beginning of a new era for the Israelites, with kings leading them instead of judges.


Samuel Anoints Saul as King