1 Samuel 8-12 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Israel Demands a King
8 And it came about when Samuel was old that he appointed his sons judges over Israel. 2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judging in Beersheba. 3 His sons, however, did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after dishonest gain and took bribes and perverted justice.
4 Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; 5 and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.” 6 But the thing was [a]displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” And Samuel prayed to the Lord. 7 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8 Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day—in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. 9 Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly [b]warn them and tell them of the [c]procedure of the king who will reign over them.”
Warning concerning a King
10 So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. 11 He said, “This will be the [d]procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. 12 He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to [e]do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. 15 He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. 16 He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and [f]use them for his work. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. 18 Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
19 Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but there shall be a king over us, 20 that we also may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.” 21 Now after Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the Lord’s hearing. 22 The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice and [g]appoint them a king.” So Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”
9 Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of [h]valor. 2 He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys.” 4 He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, and let us return, or else my father will cease to be concerned about the donkeys and will become anxious for us.” 6 He said to him, “Behold now, there is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; all that he says surely comes true. Now let us go there, perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out.” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sack and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” 8 The servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.” 9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, “Come, and let us go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.) 10 Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.
11 As they went up the slope to the city, they found young women going out to draw water and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered them and said, “He is; [i]see, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today, for the people have a sacrifice on the high place today. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up for you will find him at once.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they came into the city, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place.
God’s Choice for King
15 Now a day before Saul’s coming, the Lord had [j]revealed this to Samuel saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord [k]said to him, “Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” 19 Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and in the morning I will let you go, and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21 Saul replied, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the [l]tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak to me in this way?”
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who were invited, who were about thirty men. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “[m]Bring the portion that I gave you, concerning which I said to you, ‘Set it [n]aside.’” 24 Then the cook took up the leg with what was on it and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, “Here is what has been reserved! Set it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you until the appointed time, [o]since I said I have invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 When they came down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the [p]roof. 26 And they arose early; and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, saying, “Get up, that I may send you away.” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Say to the servant that he might go ahead of us and pass on, but you remain standing now, that I may proclaim the word of God to you.”
Saul among Prophets
10 Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you a ruler over His inheritance? 2 When you go from me today, then you will find two men close to Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. Now behold, your father has [q]ceased to be concerned about the donkeys and is anxious for you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?”’ 3 Then you will go on further from there, and you will come as far as the [r]oak of Tabor, and there three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine; 4 and they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. 5 Afterward you will come to [s]the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man. 7 It shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what [t]the occasion requires, for God is with you. 8 And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.”
9 Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed [u]his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10 When they came to [v]the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. 11 It came about, when all who knew him previously saw that he prophesied now with the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 A man there said, “Now, who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.
14 Now Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they could not be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But he did not tell him about the matter of the kingdom which Samuel had mentioned.
Saul Publicly Chosen King
17 Thereafter Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah; 18 and he said to the sons of Israel, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the [w]power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have [x]said, ‘No, but set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.”
20 Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the Matrite family was taken. And Saul the son of Kish was taken; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore they inquired further of the Lord, “Has the man come here yet?” So the Lord said, “Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage.” 23 So they ran and took him from there, and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the Lord has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “[y]Long live the king!”
25 Then Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book and placed it before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house. 26 Saul also went to his house at Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But certain [z]worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.
Saul Defeats the Ammonites
11 Now Nahash the Ammonite came up and [aa]besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us and we will serve you.” 2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “I will make it with you on this condition, that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will make it a reproach on all Israel.” 3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Let us alone for seven days, that we may send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to deliver us, we will come out to you.” 4 Then the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, and all the people lifted up their voices and wept.
5 Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, and [ab]he said, “What is the matter with the people that they weep?” So they related to him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6 Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and [ac]he became very angry. 7 He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.” Then the dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out as one man. 8 He [ad]numbered them in Bezek; and the sons of Israel were 300,000, and the men of Judah 30,000. 9 They said to the messengers who had come, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh-gilead, ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance.’” So the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. 10 Then the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good [ae]to you.” 11 The next morning Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp at the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ [af]Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” 13 But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the Lord has accomplished deliverance in Israel.”
14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
Samuel Addresses Israel
12 Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have listened to your voice in all that you said to me and I have [ag]appointed a king over you. 2 Now, here is the king walking before you, but I am old and gray, and behold my sons are with you. And I have walked before you from my youth even to this day. 3 Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” 4 They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” 5 He said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day that you have found nothing in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”
6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who [ah]appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7 So now, take your stand, that I may plead with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord which He did for you and your fathers. 8 When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron [ai]who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9 But they forgot the Lord their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent Jerubbaal and [aj]Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.
The King Confirmed
12 When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ although the Lord your God was your king. 13 Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has set a king over you. 14 If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the [ak]command of the Lord, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. 15 If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the [al]command of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers. 16 Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the Lord, that He may send [am]thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord by asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent [an]thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
19 Then all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the Lord your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.” 20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. 22 For the Lord will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the Lord has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 Only [ao]fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25 But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.”
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