Samuel, a godly man, was a religious leader over Israel. Samuel was growing older, so he appointed his sons, Joel and Abijah, to be judges (leaders) of Israel. Both of Samuel’s sons did not walk in Samuel’s way. Joel and Abijah were dishonest, accepted bribery, and were not just in their judging. The people of Israel did not accept Samuel’s sons as leaders.

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Israel’s First Three Kings

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At Ramah, the Israeli elders spoke to Samuel. The leaders told Samuel that his sons did not walk the same way he did and that they wanted Samuel to give them a king to judge them like the other nations. The leaders of Israel did not need to accept leaders that were not godly and not able to lead.

God had plans for Israel to have a king. During prayer to the Lord regarding the elder’s request of a king, God told Samuel to give Israel their king. Although God told Samuel to tell the people of Israel they would get their King, he also told Samuel to warn the people of Israel about having a king. The people of Israel were warned what the king will claim as his rights. The king would take their sons (have them work for him), take their daughters to be cooks and bakers, take their fields, grains, servants, and that they will become slaves to the king. Even with this warning, the people refused to listen to Samuel and continued to demand a king. Samuel prayed to the Lord and the God said to give them their king. The people of Israel wanted a king to lead them and fight battles for them. They wanted a king for the people even though they rejected having the Lord as their king. Samuel gave the people of Israel their king. The new king was Saul.

The Choosing and Rejecting of Saul
Due to the people of Israel desire to have a king, Samuel gave them their king that God chose. In the first book of Samuel chapter nine verse seventeen, the Lord told Samuel, while Samuel was looking at Saul, that he was the one who would govern his people. Samuel took olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head, telling him he was anointed by God to rule over God’s people. The people of Israel were impressed by Saul’s good looks and stature.

Saul was rejected by God due to his continued disobedience to God. Saul did not follow God’s rules. Before the battle of Philistines, Saul offered an unauthorized sacrifice and did not wait for Samuel to arrive. When Samuel instructed Saul to eliminate all of Amalekites and their livestock (per God), Saul did not completely fulfill what was asked of him. Saul allowed some of the livestock to live as well as the King Agag. Saul lied to Samuel about his transgressions and by doing so, he was lying to God. Due to his obedience and pride, God took his spirit from Saul. Although Saul remained Israel’s king for the rest of his life, he was tormented by an evil spirit. Being prideful and not following God’s rule is ultimately why Saul was rejected.

David’s Attributes
God sent Samuel to go see Jesse the Bethlehemite (son of Ruth and Boaz), for God himself had provided a king for Israel, that was among Jesse’s sons. God told Samuel to invite Jesse to attend a sacrifice and from there, God would show Samuel who was going to be anointed as Israel’s next king.

God was going to crown who he leased as king despite that the fact that years ago Israelites rejected Jesus (Lord) as king, instead wanting human king instead. God was going to pick a king that was for God, not a king for the people. God did not choose any of Jesse’s seven older sons as king. Although his older sons were handsome and could do a good job for Israel, the Lord does not look at the outward appearance of a man, but instead looks at a man’s heart.

After not choosing any of the older sons, Samuel asked if all the young men were present. Jesse was then told to send for the youngest son who was tending to the sheep. Due to David keeping the sheep, he was trusting God at all times to keep the sheep safe. Keeping sheep meant he had a special heart and was able to thing about all of God’s glory on a daily basis. David waited on the Lord. David was able to recognize his own sin and felt a deep remorse for it. David was a man that wanted to become a better man for the Lord. One of the greatest attributes of David that made him a better king than Saul, was that he was a man after God’s own heart.

Solomon and the Division of Israel
King Solomon was a great king until he let sin take over. He was warned by God not to become disobedient. Solomon acquired an excess amount of silver and gold, he had stock and trade in horses, and had many different wives from various places and concubines. Solomon’s wives were not women of God. Solomon let his wives change his heart. Solomon relied more on his own wealth and wisdom instead of God’s. Solomon was prideful. Due to Solomon’s sin, God decided to split the kingdom of Israel in half. This split did not take place until after Solomon’s death due to God’s promise to David.