3 But his sons did not follow in his ways; they were bent on gain, they accepted bribes, and they subverted justice.
ג וְלֹא־הָלְכוּ בָנָיו בדרכו [בִּדְרָכָיו] וַיִּטּוּ אַחֲרֵי הַבָּצַע וַיִּקְחוּ־שֹׁחַד וַיַּטּוּ מִשְׁפָּט׃
5 and they said to him, “You have grown old, and your sons have not followed your ways. Therefore appoint a king for us, to govern us like all other nations.”
ה וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו הִנֵּה אַתָּה זָקַנְתָּ וּבָנֶיךָ לֹא הָלְכוּ בִּדְרָכֶיךָ עַתָּה שִׂימָה־לָּנוּ מֶלֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵנוּ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִם׃
8:6 Shmuel was displeased
While Shmuel expressed his displeasure with the people’s request, it was not their actual request for a king that troubled him. In fact, the Torah includes a commandment requiring the people to appoint a king (Deuteronomy 17:15). The problem, Rashi notes, was that they wanted a king “like all the other nations” (verse 5). This request ignores the uniqueness of the People of Israel, and the unusual type of leader their king should be, a very different model than that followed by “all the other nations.” Rabbi Shlomo Aviner notes that because of their request, this is exactly the kind of king they receive. King Shaul is a righteous individual who is very successful in uniting and organizing the people. But a king of Israel is required to be even more than that. He is to meant lift the people spiritually, to bring them closer to Hashem so that they can serve as a “light unto the nations” (Isaiah 42:6). King Shaul is unable to do this. For example, as detailed in Chapter 15, he does not completely destroy Amalek and their animals, thereby defying God’s will in order to please the people. By contrast, King David constantly seeks to elevate the nation, even at the expense of his own honor. For example, he dances before the Holy Ark when it was brought to Yerushalayim, even though this conduct could be deemed unseemly for a king. Therefore, Shaul’s kingship is of a temporary nature, while David’s dynasty becomes the eternal monarchy of the Jewish People.1 comment
7 and Hashem replied to Shmuel, “Heed the demand of the people in everything they say to you. For it is not you that they have rejected; it is Me they have rejected as their king.
8 Like everything else they have done ever since I brought them out of Egypt to this day—forsaking Me and worshiping other gods—so they are doing to you.
ח כְּכָל־הַמַּעֲשִׂים אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂוּ מִיּוֹם הַעֲלֹתִי אֹתָם מִמִּצְרַיִם וְעַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וַיַּעַזְבֻנִי וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים כֵּן הֵמָּה עֹשִׂים גַּם־לָךְ׃
9 Heed their demand; but warn them solemnly, and tell them about the practices of any king who will rule over them.”
ט וְעַתָּה שְׁמַע בְּקוֹלָם אַךְ כִּי־הָעֵד תָּעִיד בָּהֶם וְהִגַּדְתָּ לָהֶם מִשְׁפַּט הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם׃
10 Shmuel reported all the words of Hashem to the people, who were asking him for a king.
י וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֵת כָּל־דִּבְרֵי יְהֹוָה אֶל־הָעָם הַשֹּׁאֲלִים מֵאִתּוֹ מֶלֶךְ׃
11 He said, “This will be the practice of the king who will rule over you: He will take your sons and appoint them as his charioteers and horsemen, and they will serve as outrunners for his chariots.
יא וַיֹּאמֶר זֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיכֶם אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶם יִקָּח וְשָׂם לוֹ בְּמֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ וּבְפָרָשָׁיו וְרָצוּ לִפְנֵי מֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ׃
12 He will appoint them as his chiefs of thousands and of fifties; or they will have to plow his fields, reap his harvest, and make his weapons and the equipment for his chariots.
יב וְלָשׂוּם לוֹ שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים וְשָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְלַחֲרֹשׁ חֲרִישׁוֹ וְלִקְצֹר קְצִירוֹ וְלַעֲשׂוֹת כְּלֵי־מִלְחַמְתּוֹ וּכְלֵי רִכְבּוֹ׃
13 He will take your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
יג וְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֵיכֶם יִקָּח לְרַקָּחוֹת וּלְטַבָּחוֹת וּלְאֹפוֹת׃
14 He will seize your choice fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers.
יד וְאֶת־שְׂדוֹתֵיכֶם וְאֶת־כַּרְמֵיכֶם וְזֵיתֵיכֶם הַטּוֹבִים יִקָּח וְנָתַן לַעֲבָדָיו׃
15 He will take a tenth part of your grain and vintage and give it to his eunuchs and courtiers.
טו וְזַרְעֵיכֶם וְכַרְמֵיכֶם יַעְשֹׂר וְנָתַן לְסָרִיסָיו וְלַעֲבָדָיו׃
16 He will take your male and female slaves, your choice young men, and your asses, and put them to work for him.
טז וְאֶת־עַבְדֵיכֶם וְאֶת־שִׁפְחוֹתֵיכֶם וְאֶת־בַּחוּרֵיכֶם הַטּוֹבִים וְאֶת־חֲמוֹרֵיכֶם יִקָּח וְעָשָׂה לִמְלַאכְתּוֹ׃
17 He will take a tenth part of your flocks, and you shall become his slaves.
יז צֹאנְכֶם יַעְשֹׂר וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ־לוֹ לַעֲבָדִים׃
18 The day will come when you cry out because of the king whom you yourselves have chosen; and Hashem will not answer you on that day.”
יח וּזְעַקְתֶּם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא מִלִּפְנֵי מַלְכְּכֶם אֲשֶׁר בְּחַרְתֶּם לָכֶם וְלֹא־יַעֲנֶה יְהֹוָה אֶתְכֶם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא׃
19 But the people would not listen to Shmuel‘s warning. “No,” they said. “We must have a king over us,
יט וַיְמָאֲנוּ הָעָם לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל שְׁמוּאֵל וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹּא כִּי אִם־מֶלֶךְ יִהְיֶה עָלֵינוּ׃
20 that we may be like all the other nations: Let our king rule over us and go out at our head and fight our battles.”
כ וְהָיִינוּ גַם־אֲנַחְנוּ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִם וּשְׁפָטָנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ וְיָצָא לְפָנֵינוּ וְנִלְחַם אֶת־מִלְחֲמֹתֵנוּ׃
21 When Shmuel heard all that the people said, he reported it to Hashem.