Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the LORD.
When Samuel became old, he made his sons judges over Israel. The name of his firstborn son was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah; they were judges in Beersheba. Yet his sons did not walk in his ways but turned aside after gain. They took bribes and perverted justice.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, “Behold, you are old and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.”
Comment: It reads as if Samuel was a hard working honest judge who travelled the country giving justice and good advice. Age seems to have stopped that and he appointed his two sons as judges in Beersheba about 300km away from his home area of Ramah. It seems a wise thing to have done, but his sons weren’t as honest as he was. Children need to know God individually. Faith is not inherited. There is no record of them turning to worship of foreign gods or of sexual immorality but to bribery. Worship of money is, of course, another variety of idolatry. It seems that their bribery, as you would expect, led to perverted justice. Maybe to be like surrounding nations, all with kings, or possibly with the mistaken assumption that kings are always nearly perfect they demanded a change – the elders wanted a king as their ruler.
Prayer: If I seek changes may I be sure that they are right in Your eyes, O God.