was very displeased
that the Hebrews should reject God as their leader and want a king
He pointed out
that their sons would be taken to be the king's horsemen and
charioteers, soldiers and workers; their daughters would be taken
as cooks and bakers; the king would take the best of their fields,
their flocks and their servants. When all these things had
happened, they would regret it and cry out, but in that day it
would be too late and the Lord would not hear them. Nevertheless,
the people refused to follow this advice and insisted on a king.
The Lord told Samuel to do as the people wished, and give them a
king. He said that he would send to Samuel a man from the land of
Benjamin, and this man would be king over Israel.
Now there was a
man of the tribe of Benjamin whose name was Kish, and he had a son
whose name was Saul. There was not among the children of Israel a
more presentable person than Saul. He was handsome and a head
taller than any of his fellows.
It chanced that
the asses of Kish had strayed, and Saul took one of his father's
servants to seek them. In his search he came to Samuel's town, and
went to the temple to ask the prophet where to look for the lost
When Samuel saw
Saul, the Lord said to him, "Behold the man of whom I spoke!
This same shall reign over my people."
protested that the Benjamites were the smallest of the tribes of
Israel, and his family the least of all the families of the tribe
of Benjamin, Samuel ordered a feast for him and anointed him with
called all the tribes of Israel, brought Saul before them, and
said, "See him whom the Lord has chosen. There is none like
him among all the people."
As the people
beheld Saul, towering head and shoulders above the crowd, they
shouted: "Long live the king!" And Saul was made
king at Gilgal.
After two years,
King Saul built a standing army of three thousand soldiers. He
stationed two thousand at Michmash and put one thousand under his
son Jonathan at Gibeah.
Philistines were causing much trouble in Israel. They were not
afraid of King Saul. Throughout the land they had forts and
messengers through the land. "The Philistines are marching
atainst us. Let every man come to Saul at Gilgal."
Saul was king, the people answered his call, but they were afraid!
The Philistines were a fighting people, and the Israelites did not
even have weapons.
Samuel heard about the trouble, he sent word to Saul that he would
come to Gilgal in seven days. Then he would offer sacrifices to
God and pray for the king and the people. God would show Samuel
what they should do.
Gilgal, King Saul and his men waited for Samuel, but Samuel did
not come. While they waited the Philistines grew stronger. With
each new Philistine soldier, the Israelites became more afraid.
They were so frightened that they hid in caves, thickets, deep
holes, and between rocks. Some even deserted and crossed the
Saul saw his men becoming even more afraid, he thought he had to
do something to give them courage. Finally, he said, "Bring
the sacrifices to me and I will offer them." And Saul offered
the sacrifices even though he knew God had commanded that only the
priests and Levites should do this.
Samuel arrived, he said to Saul, "You have been very foolish.
If you had not disobeyed the Lord, your family would have ruled
Israel down through the years. Now your kingdom cannot endure. The
Lord is looking for a man who will follow in his ways. He will
become king over the people because you have disobeyed the
of telling Saul what to do about the Philistines, Samuel walked
away. When Saul counted his soldiers, there were only six hundred
still with him. He marched them back to Gibeah, and the
Philistines held their garrison at Michmash.