It’s been about two hundred years in ancient Israel’s history since this royal experiment began with the anointing of Saul. Not long after the Israelites entered the Promised Land with Joshua as their leader they began begging for a king like all of their neighbors had. Yahweh, the God of Israel, was suspicious of the idea and put them off as long as possible – raising up judges to settle disputes and lead in times of crisis. But judges weren’t good enough for the people of Israel. They wanted a king.
God obliged and gave them King Saul. After Saul came David. After David came Solomon, and after that the names get harder and harder to recite, not just because of the phonetic gymnastics one has to do to differentiate between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, but because the details of their reigns are less and less exemplary the longer the monarchy continues. The quality of leadership in Israel goes downhill quickly, eventually even causing a split among the twelve tribes into two different kingdoms, with two different capitals and two different temples. The people are breaking the covenant God so graciously gave them left and right, up and down. Worship is happening at the wrong places and in wrong ways. The people are turning to idols and abandoning worship of Yahweh and Yahweh alone. Simply put, God’s people are falling apart at the seams.
Which is how a young girl ends up in service to the enemy’s wife.