Samuel opens this passage with a speech leading up to Saul’s coronation. He asks if anyone has a charge against him of unfaithfulness or receiving a bribe. They all affirm his integrity. He then reminds them of how God delivered Israel from Egypt, from the Philistines, the Moabites, even Nahash of the Ammonites. They had asked for a king, even when the Lord was their king. He instructs them that they should still obey the commandments of the Lord, and that they will be blessed by God. However, if they disobey God, the hand of the Lord will be against them. He then prophesied of thunder and rain, to demonstrate God’s displeasure with them asking for a king. The thunder and rain came, and the people feared the Lord and Samuel. The people ask Samuel to pray for them, and he promises to do so, and reminds them that God will never leave them as long as they follow God.
After two years of Saul’s reign, he appointed three thousand men as his elite soldiers. Two thousand stayed with him, and one thousand were with Jonathan, his son. Jonathan attacked the garrison of the Philistines in Geba. The Philistines learned of it, and Saul blew the trumpet, calling all the Hebrews. They came to Saul at Gilgal. Once the Philistines showed up, preparing for battle, with 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and people numbered as the sands of the sea, the Israelites melted in fear, and scattered, hiding in caves and behind rocks, and holes and pits. Saul waited the 7 days Samuel had prescribed, and when Samuel did not show up in Gilgal, Saul offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. Once he was finished, Samuel arrived. Saul reported what he had done, and Samuel scolded him, and told him that he had forfeited his kingdom, and would not have a kingdom forever. He hinted of the fact that God had chosen another king, a man after His own heart, and that he would be commander over God’s people. Saul then left, and went to Gibeah of Benjamin with six hundred men.
God warned Israel numerous times of their sinfulness in asking for a king. They would not relent, so God gave them a king. His leadership had been sufficient, and Samuel’s leadership had been full of integrity, yet they still felt the need for a king. What they got was not a blessing. God allowed them a king, and even told them how to be blessed, but their new king was impetuous and impulsive, and lost favor with God within just two years of his coronation. If you ask God for something, be sure it is in His will, and then listen carefully to His instructions regarding the thing for which you ask. Be diligent to obey God, knowing that God always know best!