The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
In his old age, Samuel appointed his sons to perform the judge’s office in Israel;
the elder was called Joel, and the younger Abia, and they held assize at Bersabee.
But these sons of his did not follow in his footsteps; greed bent them to take bribes, and to pervert justice.
So all the elders of Israel met Samuel at Ramatha;
Thou hast grown old, they said to him, and thy sons do not follow in thy footsteps. Give us a king, such as other nations have, to sit in judgement over us.
It was little to Samuel’s mind, this demand for a king to be their judge; but when he betook himself to the Lord in prayer,
the Lord said to him, Grant the people all they ask of thee. It is my rule over them they are casting off, not thine.
It has ever been the same, since the day when I rescued them from Egypt; me they will ever be forsaking, to worship other gods; and now it is thy turn.
Grant their request, but put thy protest on record; tell them what rights their king will claim, when they have a king to rule over them.
In answer, then, to their request for a king, Samuel told the people all the Lord had said to him.
When you have a king to reign over you, he will claim the rights of a king. He will take away your sons from you, to drive his chariots; he will need horsemen, and outriders for his teams;
regiments, too, with commanders and captains to marshal them, ploughmen and reapers, armourers and wheelwrights.
It is your daughters that will make his perfumes, and cook for him, and bake for him.
All the best of your lands and vineyards and olive-yards he will take away, and entrust to his own bailiffs;
and he will tithe the revenues of such crop and vintage as is left you, to pay his own courtiers and his own retinue.
He will take away servants and handmaids of yours, all the lustiest of the young men, all the asses that work for you, to work for him instead;
of your herds, too, he will take tithe. You will be his slaves;
and when you cry out for redress against the king you have chosen for yourselves, the Lord will not listen to you; you asked for a king.
But Samuel could not gain the ear of the people; That will not serve, they cried out; a king, we must have a king!
We must be like other nations, with a king to decide our quarrels, to lead us and be our champion in battle.
So he listened to all this outcry of theirs, and brought it to the Lord’s hearing.
Give them their will, the Lord answered; appoint a king to rule over them. And Samuel bade the Israelites disperse, and go back to their homes.
The Holy Bible