The prophet Samuel was a good judge and prophet, who “judged Israel all the days of his life.” 1 Samuel 7:15. But when Samuel grew too old to fulfill his duties, he appointed his two sons to take his leadership role. Sadly, the two sons were corrupt. 1 Samuel 8:3 (CSB), “However, his sons did not walk in his ways ?– ?they turned toward dishonest profit, took bribes, and perverted justice.”
Then, “they (the elders of Israel) said to him (Samuel), “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.” (1 Samuel 8:5 NIV). The elders should have turned to God for direction to fix this unrighteous situation. But the nation was disobedient, and was not studying and not obeying God’s laws. “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did whatever seemed right to him.” Judges 21:25 (CSB)
When God made the Law Covenant with Israel, He established a theocracy. God was their king, judge, and leader. Leviticus 26:3, 12, “If you walk in My statutes and keep My commandments, and perform them,…I will walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.”
When Israel asked Samuel to appoint a king, “the LORD told him: ‘Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me (the LORD) as their king. As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.’ ” 1 Samuel 8:7-8 (NIV).
Samuel then proceeded to tell Israel all the hardships of having a king. 1 Samuel 8:11-18, “…the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots,…And he will take your fields, and your vineyards,… even the best of them, and give them to his servants…And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give…to his servants…And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the LORD will not hear you in that day.” “But the people refused to listen to Samuel. ‘No!’ they said. 'We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.’ ” 1 Samuel 8:19-10 (NIV). All of the words God told Samuel to speak were fulfilled.
It has always been God’s principle, “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11:6. Israel did not have faith in God and in His promises. Israel did not need a king; they already had a king – GOD.