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1 Samuel 8

1 When Samuel was old, he appointed his sons judges over Israel.

2 The name of his firstborn son was Joel. He named his second son Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba.

3 The sons did not follow their father’s example but turned to dishonest ways of making money. They took bribes and denied people justice.

4 One day the nation’s elders came to Samuel at Ramah.

5 They said: »You are an old man. You set a good example for your sons. But they have not followed it. Now we want a king to be our leader like all the other nations. Choose one for us!«

6 Samuel was upset to hear the leaders say they wanted a king. So he prayed about it.

7 Jehovah answered: »Samuel, do everything they want you to do. I am really the one they have rejected as their king.

8 »Ever since the day I rescued my people from Egypt, they have turned from me to worship idols. Now they are turning away from you.

9 »Listen to them. But be sure to warn them and tell them about the behavior and rights of a king who rules over them.«

10 Then Samuel told the people who had asked him for a king everything Jehovah said.

11 Samuel said: »These are the rights of a king: He will draft your sons and make them serve on his chariots and horses, and make them run ahead of his chariots.

12 »He will appoint them to be his officers over one thousand or over fifty soldiers. He will have them plow his ground and harvest his crops. He will require them to make weapons and equipment for his chariots.

13 »He will take your daughters from you and force them to make perfumes, cook, and bake.

14 »He will take away the best of your fields, vineyards, and olive orchards and give them to his officials.

15 »He will take a tenth of your grain and wine and give it to his aids and officials.

16 »He will confiscate your male and female slaves, your best cattle, and your donkeys for his own use.

17 »He will take a tenth of your flocks. In addition, you will be his servants.

18 »You will cry out because of the king whom you have chosen for yourselves. Jehovah will not answer you when that day comes.«

19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. They said: »We want a king!

20 »We want to be like other nations, with our own king to rule us and to lead us out to war and to fight our battles.«

21 Samuel listened to everything they said. Then he repeated it to Jehovah.

22 Jehovah answered: »Do what they want. Give them a king.« Then Samuel told all the men of Israel to go back home.

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