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  The Great Bible Story #55
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Israel gets a king

Jacob Ninan
When Samuel became old he appointed his two sons as judges. But they started taking bribes and perverting justice. One day the people came to him and said that they wanted a king just like the other nations. Samuel was not happy with this, and so he asked God what to do. God told him that it was not Samuel that the people rejected but God Himself. From the time He had brought them out from Egypt, they had been regularly leaving Him and going after other gods. So God decided to give them what they wanted, along with the problems that would come with it.

There was a young man called Saul from the tribe of Benjamin who was tall and handsome and whose father, Kish, was a mighty warrior. One day Kish sent him to look for some donkeys that had been lost. Since Saul was unable to find the donkeys, his servant suggested that perhaps they should ask Samuel about it. As they were going to see Samuel, God told Samuel that Saul would be coming to him, and that he should anoint him as the king of Israel. When they met, Samuel told Saul that the donkeys had been found, and asked him to come to a feast he was hosting. After the feast was over, Samuel took Saul to the rooftop, poured oil over his head and declared that God was anointing him as the king of Israel.

Then Samuel called all the people to Mizpah and recounted to them how God had taken them from Egypt to the Promised Land and how they had rejected Him from being king over them. He said that God was going to give them a king according to their wish. He cast lots to identify the man, first taking the tribe of Benjamin, then Saul's family and then Saul himself. But they could not find Saul anywhere! Finally they found him hiding among the baggage because he felt that he was not fit to be the king because of his lowly tribe and family. But when people saw the tall and handsome man in front of them they were quite pleased to make him king.

After this the Ammonites came and surrounded Jabesh-Gilead that belonged to Israel. The people of Jabesh-Gilead sent for help. When King Saul heard about it, the Spirit of God came upon him, he took two oxen, cut them in pieces and sent them all around the land with the message that anyone who did not come to join him in battle, his oxen would be cut to pieces like that. Then they all gathered together and got a great victory over Ammon. This strengthened the position of Saul as king in the eyes of the people.


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