In this week’s readings Israel asks Samuel to give them a king like the pagan nations have. It is a request that Samuel tries to talk them out of but the people demand it anyway. The problem wasn’t that having a king was evil in itself; the problem came from the people’s motivation for a king. Up until that time, God had been their king. He had been the One who had gone before them into battle. He had been the One who had been their Judge. He had been the One who had saved them and now the people wanted a human king in that place. They wanted to be as they say in 1st Samuel 8:20, “…like all the other nations.”
Samuel warned them that they had it better than any nation with a king and that a king would not be the wonderful experience they thought it would be, but the people didn’t listen. So, like a parent who knows that what their teenager wants is not going to be good for them but they demand it anyway, God lets Israel have their king. Some of their kings would be good and God-fearing men but most would be greedy, selfish tyrants who would lead Israel away from the Lord. But through it all, God was faithful to Israel and continued to move His plan to save all humanity through the descendants of Abraham.