6 Shmuel was displeased that they said “Give us a king to govern us.” Shmuel prayed to Hashem,
va-YAY-ra ha-da-VAR b’-ay-NAY sh’-mu-AYL ka-a-SHER a-m’-RU t’-nah LA-nu ME-lekh l’-shof-TAY-nu va-yit-pa-LAYL sh’-mu-AYL el a-do-NAI
ו וַיֵּרַע הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינֵי שְׁמוּאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר אָמְרוּ תְּנָה־לָּנוּ מֶלֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵנוּ וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־יְהֹוָה׃
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.