They loved money, and would judge unjustly, if money were given to them as a bribe. So the people came to Samuel at Ramah and said,
"Give us a king to judge us."
And Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord told him to do as the people had asked him to do, for they had not rejected him as judge, but the Lord as their King, and now they must learn what kind of a king would reign over them. So Samuel told them what they must be ready to do for their King, for a king was often a hard master, and ruled his people cruelly, taking the best of their fields, and their harvests, and their flocks for themselves, and the finest of their sons and daughters to be his servants; but they said,
"We will have a king over us, that we may be like other nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us and fight our battles."
When Samuel told these things to the Lord he said, "Make them a king," and Samuel sent the people to their own cities.
Samuel did not choose a king for the people himself, but he waited for the Lord to send him the man He had chosen, and the Lord said to him as he went to a city called Zeph, to hold a sacrifice,
"To-morrow about this time I will send thee a man from the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel."
On the next day as Samuel came out to go up to the hill of sacrifice he met a tall, noble looking young man, who, with his servant, was looking for the lost asses of his father, Kish, the Benjaminite. He had come far, and had heard that Samuel, the seer was in that place, and he hoped he would tell him where to go for the asses that were lost.
Samuel knew from the Lord that this was the man God had chosen, so he told him to go up with him to the sacrifice, and the next day he would let him go.
He told him that he need not be troubled about the asses, for they were found, but the desire of Israel was set upon him. Saul, for that was his name, did not understand him until he was invited to feast with thirty of the chief men, and Samuel had talked with him upon the house-top. Early the next morning they both rose and went out of the city, and while Saul sent his servant on before, Samuel anointed Saul with oil, and kissed him saying, that the Lord had anointed him to be Captain over his inheritance.
As a sign that the Lord had done it, he told Saul three things that would happen to him on the way home, and charged him to go to Gilgal, where he would meet him and sacrifice to the Lord for seven days. As Saul turned to leave the prophet, God gave him another heart, and all the signs came to pass that day.
At Mizpah Samuel called all the tribes together, that the man who was to be their king, might be chosen in their sight, and when Saul, the son of Kish, the Benjaminite was chosen he could not be found; he had hidden from the people; but when they brought him out before them, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders up, and looked a king indeed. For the first time in all their history they cried,
"God save the King!"
Then Saul went home, and there went with him a body of men whose hearts God had touched, while Samuel wrote in a book the order of the kingdom and laid it up before the Lord.