|David the shepherd boy|
Living at Ramah, in the mountains of Ephraim, there was a man whose name was
Elkanah. He had two wives, as did many men in that time. One of these wives had
children, but the other wife, whose name was Hannah, had no child.
Every year Elkanah and his family went up to worship at the house of the Lord in Shiloh,
which was about fifteen miles from his home. And at one of these visits Hannah prayed to
the Lord, saying:
“O Lord, if thou wilt look upon me, and give me a son, he shall be given to the Lord as
long as he lives.”
The Lord heard Hannah’s prayer, and gave her a little boy, and she called his name
Samuel, which means “Asked of God”; because he had been given in answer to her
Samuel grew up to be a good man and a wise Judge, and he made his sons Judges in
Israel, to help him in the care of the people. But Samuel’s sons did not walk in his ways.
They did not try always to do justly.
The elders of all the tribes of Israel came to Samuel at his home in Ramah; and they said
to him: “You are growing old, and your sons do not rule as well as you ruled. All the
lands around us have kings. Let us have a king also; and do you choose the king for us.”
This was not pleasing to Samuel. He tried to make the people change their minds, and
showed them what trouble a king would bring them.
But they would not follow his advice. They said: “No; we will have a king to reign over
So Samuel chose as their king a tall young man named Saul, who was a farmer’s son of
the tribe of Benjamin. When Saul was brought before the people he stood head and
shoulders above them all. And Samuel said:
“Look at the man whom the Lord has chosen! There is not another like him among all the
And all the people shouted, “God save the king! Long live the king!”
Then Samuel told the people what should be the laws for the king and for the people to
obey. He wrote them down in a book, and placed the book before the Lord. Then Samuel
sent the people home; and Saul went back to his own house at a place called Gibeah; and
with Saul went a company of men to whose hearts God had given a love for the king.
So after three hundred years under the fifteen Judges, Israel now had a king. But among
the people there were some who were not pleased with the new king, because he was an
unknown man from the farm. They said:
“Can such a man as this save us?”
They showed no respect to the king, and in their hearts looked down upon him. But Saul
said nothing, and showed his wisdom by appearing not to notice them. But in another
thing he was not so wise. He forgot to heed the old prophet’s advice and instructions
about ruling wisely and doing as the Lord said. It was not long before Samuel told him
that he had disobeyed God and would lose his kingdom.