Before King Saul in the Bible, the Hebrews were “ruled” by judges who proved to show the fruits of the Spirit and by reputation were known to be fair. Sometimes it was one of the priests, but the majority according to the history were just anybody who led armies of farmers against oppressors and then were sought out by others to adjudicate disputes.
When the elders of the land demanded that Samuel select a king for them, they said it was because his sons were corrupt. Samuel warned them that a king would extort abusive taxes, would take their sons off to war, and he would take their daughters to prepare his delicacies.
As Samuel warned them, and God told Samuel, so it went. (#1) The kings of Israel were more corrupt and much worse than any “judges” they had before, (#2) there was much more unnecessary war than ever before, and (#3) they now took a constant source of cooks, attendants and helpers from the descendants of the ones who coveted a king. (1 Samuel 8)
There is no hereditary “divine right” of kings, nor is there any “divine right” of the majority to “elect” a king for a season. God wants to rule his people directly, and he wants all people to be his (“not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance), with guidance from the most godly of neighbors.
How to tell which ones are the “most godly”. Matthew 7:20 is almost a magic formula, and it works for discernment in almost any area of society.
And what are these “fruits”, whereby “..by their fruits ye shall know them”? The fruits of the spirit:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,–Galatians 5:22