The title phrase is usually spoken to another when something happens to another because of their foolish action or talk. This is exactly the reason this could have been said to the Israelites after they had asked for a king.
For years Israel had been guided by judges that God has chosen. Samuel was the last one appointed before the beginning of the kings. According to 1 Samuel 8:1-3, Samuel made his sons judges over Israel. However, they “walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.”
The children of Israel used this as an excuse to ask for a king so they would be “like all the nations” (vs. 5). God told Samuel to give the Israelites a king but straitly warn them “the manner of the king that shall reign over them” (vss. 7-9). This Samuel did (vss. 10-18).
God knew that Samuel was not the problem. He knew that the children of Israel were rebelling against Him (vs. 7). The man Saul became the first king (9:16-17) and for a time he did well as king. However there came a point in time when Saul became disobedient toward God. He neglected to do all that God had told him to do concerning the Amalekites (15:1-24).
Fast forward ahead to the fourth man to become king over Israel, the man Rehoboam. Rehoboam was the son of Solomon (1 Kings 11:43). The children of Israel had apparently become tired of the way they were being treated by the kings and petitioned Rehoboam to ease the burden which had been placed on them (12:4). The king seeking advice asked the older men what to do but did not care for their advice and instead took the counsel of the younger men (vss. 8-14). Due to this lapse of good judgment, the people rebelled against the king and from that point on the kingdom was divided (vss. 16-19).
The children of Israel got exactly what they asked for. But, instead of keeping the ruler that always took care of them, they chose to rely on a fallible and weak man. The God of heaven said that He would “dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God” (Exodus 29:45). This should have been all the Israelites ever asked for. However, in asking for a king they were also asking to be given a burden they would not want to bear (1 Samuel 8:18).
If we could confront the children of Israel today, we could rightly say to them, “You asked for it.”
In Christ, Steve Preston