The Asked-For King

1 samuel 10
Anointed by Samuel, judge, seer and cleric,
Saul fell among prophets all speaking in tongues,
Impressionable, highly-strung and hysteric,
Saul prophesied too at the top of his lungs;
Prophets back then were obscure and elliptic
In trance-like states they shouted or muttered,
Unlike Samuel who, while being cryptic,
Was generally clear in such words as he uttered.
Now Samuel assembled the people and said:
‘Though God saved you from Egypt and slavery’s yoke,
By a fallible mortal you choose to be led,’
As if chilled at the thought, Samuel tightened his cloak.
He said ‘Lots will be drawn, tribe by tribe, clan by clan,
Then your king will be known by the lots, where they fall,’
Thus the search for the first king of Israel began
And the lot clearly fell to a Benjamite, Saul,
And up went the cry, ‘Where is Saul? He’s not here!’
He had fled from the noise, the acclaim of the crowd,
To hide among bags used for storing some gear
For it pained him to hear his own name called aloud.
They found him quite soon and the crowd was delighted,
Shouting ‘Long live the king!’ as if with one voice,
Even Samuel for once in his life grew excited,
Saying, ‘Look at the man who is truly God’s choice!’
Just a few made expressions of cynical doubt:
‘Can he save us in war? There’s not much he can do,
He lacks all authority, confidence, clout,’
Saul did not respond, but he heard and he knew.

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