I - Chapter 8
Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:
1When Shmuel grew old, he appointed his sons judges over Yisrael.
אוַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר זָקֵן שְׁמוּאֵל וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־בָּנָיו שֹׁפְטִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל׃
2The name of his first-born son was Yoel, and his second son's name was Aviya; they sat as judges in Be'er Sheva.
בוַיְהִי שֶׁם־בְּנוֹ הַבְּכוֹר יוֹאֵל וְשֵׁם מִשְׁנֵהוּ אֲבִיָּה שֹׁפְטִים בִּבְאֵר שָׁבַע׃
3But his sons did not follow in his ways; they were bent on gain, they accepted bribes, and they subverted justice.
גוְלֹא־הָלְכוּ בָנָיו בדרכו [בִּדְרָכָיו] וַיִּטּוּ אַחֲרֵי הַבָּצַע וַיִּקְחוּ־שֹׁחַד וַיַּטּוּ מִשְׁפָּט׃
4All the elders of Yisrael assembled and came to Shmuel at Rama,
דוַיִּתְקַבְּצוּ כֹּל זִקְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיָּבֹאוּ אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵל הָרָמָתָה׃
5and 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.”
הוַיֹּאמְרוּ אֵלָיו הִנֵּה אַתָּה זָקַנְתָּ וּבָנֶיךָ לֹא הָלְכוּ בִּדְרָכֶיךָ עַתָּה שִׂימָה־לָּנוּ מֶלֶךְ לְשָׁפְטֵנוּ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִם׃
6Shmuel 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
ווַיֵּרַע 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.
7and 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.
זוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵל שְׁמַע בְּקוֹל הָעָם לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־יֹאמְרוּ אֵלֶיךָ כִּי לֹא אֹתְךָ מָאָסוּ כִּי־אֹתִי מָאֲסוּ מִמְּלֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם׃
8Like 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.
חכְּכָל־הַמַּעֲשִׂים אֲשֶׁר־עָשׂוּ מִיּוֹם הַעֲלֹתִי אֹתָם מִמִּצְרַיִם וְעַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וַיַּעַזְבֻנִי וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים כֵּן הֵמָּה עֹשִׂים גַּם־לָךְ׃
9Heed their demand; but warn them solemnly, and tell them about the practices of any king who will rule over them.”
טוְעַתָּה שְׁמַע בְּקוֹלָם אַךְ כִּי־הָעֵד תָּעִיד בָּהֶם וְהִגַּדְתָּ לָהֶם מִשְׁפַּט הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם׃
10Shmuel reported all the words of Hashem to the people, who were asking him for a king.
יוַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֵת כָּל־דִּבְרֵי יְהֹוָה אֶל־הָעָם הַשֹּׁאֲלִים מֵאִתּוֹ מֶלֶךְ׃
11He 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.
יאוַיֹּאמֶר זֶה יִהְיֶה מִשְׁפַּט הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר יִמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיכֶם אֶת־בְּנֵיכֶם יִקָּח וְשָׂם לוֹ בְּמֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ וּבְפָרָשָׁיו וְרָצוּ לִפְנֵי מֶרְכַּבְתּוֹ׃
12He 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.
יבוְלָשׂוּם לוֹ שָׂרֵי אֲלָפִים וְשָׂרֵי חֲמִשִּׁים וְלַחֲרֹשׁ חֲרִישׁוֹ וְלִקְצֹר קְצִירוֹ וְלַעֲשׂוֹת כְּלֵי־מִלְחַמְתּוֹ וּכְלֵי רִכְבּוֹ׃
13He will take your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.
יגוְאֶת־בְּנוֹתֵיכֶם יִקָּח לְרַקָּחוֹת וּלְטַבָּחוֹת וּלְאֹפוֹת׃
14He will seize your choice fields, vineyards, and olive groves, and give them to his courtiers.
ידוְאֶת־שְׂדוֹתֵיכֶם וְאֶת־כַּרְמֵיכֶם וְזֵיתֵיכֶם הַטּוֹבִים יִקָּח וְנָתַן לַעֲבָדָיו׃
15He will take a tenth part of your grain and vintage and give it to his eunuchs and courtiers.
טווְזַרְעֵיכֶם וְכַרְמֵיכֶם יַעְשֹׂר וְנָתַן לְסָרִיסָיו וְלַעֲבָדָיו׃
16He will take your male and female slaves, your choice young men, and your asses, and put them to work for him.
טזוְאֶת־עַבְדֵיכֶם וְאֶת־שִׁפְחוֹתֵיכֶם וְאֶת־בַּחוּרֵיכֶם הַטּוֹבִים וְאֶת־חֲמוֹרֵיכֶם יִקָּח וְעָשָׂה לִמְלַאכְתּוֹ׃
17He will take a tenth part of your flocks, and you shall become his slaves.
יזצֹאנְכֶם יַעְשֹׂר וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ־לוֹ לַעֲבָדִים׃
18The 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.”
יחוּזְעַקְתֶּם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא מִלִּפְנֵי מַלְכְּכֶם אֲשֶׁר בְּחַרְתֶּם לָכֶם וְלֹא־יַעֲנֶה יְהֹוָה אֶתְכֶם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא׃
19But the people would not listen to Shmuel's warning. “No,” they said. “We must have a king over us,
יטוַיְמָאֲנוּ הָעָם לִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל שְׁמוּאֵל וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹּא כִּי אִם־מֶלֶךְ יִהְיֶה עָלֵינוּ׃
20that we may be like all the other nations: Let our king rule over us and go out at our head and fight our battles.”
כוְהָיִינוּ גַם־אֲנַחְנוּ כְּכָל־הַגּוֹיִם וּשְׁפָטָנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ וְיָצָא לְפָנֵינוּ וְנִלְחַם אֶת־מִלְחֲמֹתֵנוּ׃
21When Shmuel heard all that the people said, he reported it to Hashem.
כאוַיִּשְׁמַע שְׁמוּאֵל אֵת כָּל־דִּבְרֵי הָעָם וַיְדַבְּרֵם בְּאָזְנֵי יְהֹוָה׃
22And Hashem said to Shmuel, “Heed their demands and appoint a king for them.” Shmuel then said to the men of Yisrael, “All of you go home.”
כבוַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵל שְׁמַע בְּקוֹלָם וְהִמְלַכְתָּ לָהֶם מֶלֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־אַנְשֵׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְכוּ אִישׁ לְעִירוֹ׃