1 Samuel 12

Samuel’s Farewell Speech

1 Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you said to me and have set a king over you.
2 Now you have a king as your leader. As for me, I am old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have been your leader from my youth until this day.
3 Here I stand. Testify against me in the presence of the LORD and his anointed. Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I cheated? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I accepted a bribe to make me shut my eyes? If I have done any of these things, I will make it right.”
4 “You have not cheated or oppressed us,” they replied. “You have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.”
5 Samuel said to them, “The LORD is witness against you, and also his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything in my hand.” “He is witness,” they said.
6 Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of Egypt.
7 Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the LORD as to all the righteous acts performed by the LORD for you and your ancestors.
8 “After Jacob entered Egypt, they cried to the LORD for help, and the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.
9 “But they forgot the LORD their God; so he sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines and the king of Moab, who fought against them.
10 They cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We have sinned; we have forsaken the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths. But now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve you.’
11 Then the LORD sent Jerub-Baal,[a] Barak,[b] Jephthah and Samuel,[c] and he delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around you, so that you lived in safety.
12 “But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was moving against you, you said to me, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us’—even though the LORD your God was your king.
13 Now here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for; see, the LORD has set a king over you.
14 If you fear the LORD and serve and obey him and do not rebel against his commands, and if both you and the king who reigns over you follow the LORD your God—good!
15 But if you do not obey the LORD, and if you rebel against his commands, his hand will be against you, as it was against your ancestors.
16 “Now then, stand still and see this great thing the LORD is about to do before your eyes!
17 Is it not wheat harvest now? I will call on the LORD to send thunder and rain. And you will realize what an evil thing you did in the eyes of the LORD when you asked for a king.”
18 Then Samuel called on the LORD, and that same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. So all the people stood in awe of the LORD and of Samuel.
19 The people all said to Samuel, “Pray to the LORD your God for your servants so that we will not die, for we have added to all our other sins the evil of asking for a king.”
20 “Do not be afraid,” Samuel replied. “You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.
21 Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they rescue you, because they are useless.
22 For the sake of his great name the LORD will not reject his people, because the LORD was pleased to make you his own.
23 As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.
24 But be sure to fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
25 Yet if you persist in doing evil, both you and your king will perish.”

Images for 1 Samuel 12

1 Samuel 12 Commentary

Chapter 12

Samuel testifies his integrity. (1-5) Samuel reproves the people. (6-15) Thunder sent in harvest time. (16-25)

Verses 1-5 Samuel not only cleared his own character, but set an example before Saul, while he showed the people their ingratitude to God and to himself. There is a just debt which all men to their own good name, especially men in public stations, which is, to guard it against unjust blame and suspicions, that they may finish their course with honour, as well as with joy. And that we have in our places lived honestly, will be our comfort, under any slights and contempt that may be put upon us.

Verses 6-15 The work of ministers is to reason with people; not only to exhort and direct, but to persuade, to convince men's judgments, and so to gain their wills and affections. Samuel reasons of the righteous acts of the Lord. Those who follow God faithfully, he will enable to continue following him. Disobedience would certainly be the ruin of Israel. We mistake if we think that we can escape God's justice, by trying to shake off his dominion. If we resolve that God shall not rule us, yet he will judge us.

Verses 16-25 At Samuel's word, God sent thunder and rain, at a season of the year when, in that country, the like was not seen. This was to convince them they had done wickedly in asking a king; not only by its coming at an unusual time, in wheat harvest, and on a clear day, but by the prophet's giving notice of it before. He showed their folly in desiring a king to save them, rather than God, or Samuel; promising themselves more from an arm of flesh, than from the arm of God, or from the power of prayer. Could their prince command such forces as the prophet could do by his prayers? It startled them very much. Some will not be brought to see their sins by any gentler methods than storms and thunders. They entreat Samuel to pray for them. Now they see their need of him whom shortly before they slighted. Thus many who will not have Christ to reign over them, would yet be glad to have him intercede for them, to turn away the wrath of God. Samuel aims to confirm the people in their religion. Whatever we make a god of, we shall find it deceive us. Creatures in their own places are good; but when put in God's place, they are vain things. We sin if we restrain prayer, and in particular if we cease praying for the church. They only asked him to pray for them; but he promises to do more, to teach them. He urges that they were bound in gratitude to serve God, considering what great things he had done for them; and that they were bound in interest to serve him, considering what he would do against them, if they should still do wickedly. Thus, as a faithful watchman, he gave them warning, and so delivered his own soul. If we consider what great things the Lord hath done for us, especially in the great work of redemption, we can neither want motive, encouragement, nor assistance in serving him.

Cross References 67

  • 1. S 1 Samuel 8:7
  • 2. 1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Samuel 11:15
  • 3. S 1 Samuel 8:5
  • 4. 1 Samuel 8:3
  • 5. S 1 Samuel 9:16; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 24:6; 1 Samuel 26:9,11; 2 Samuel 1:14; 2 Samuel 19:21; Psalms 105:15
  • 6. Numbers 16:15
  • 7. S Exodus 18:21; S 1 Samuel 8:3; Deuteronomy 16:19
  • 8. Exodus 20:17; Acts 20:33
  • 9. S Leviticus 25:14
  • 10. S Genesis 31:50
  • 11. Acts 23:9; Acts 24:20
  • 12. Exodus 22:4
  • 13. S Exodus 3:10; Exodus 6:26; Micah 6:4
  • 14. S Joshua 24:1
  • 15. Isaiah 1:18; Isaiah 3:14; Jeremiah 2:9; Jeremiah 25:31; Ezekiel 17:20; Ezekiel 20:35; Micah 6:1-5
  • 16. S Judges 5:11
  • 17. S Genesis 46:6
  • 18. S Exodus 2:23
  • 19. S Exodus 3:10; Exodus 4:16
  • 20. S Deuteronomy 32:18; S Judges 3:7
  • 21. S Deuteronomy 32:30
  • 22. Judges 4:2
  • 23. S Joshua 11:1
  • 24. Judges 10:7; Judges 13:1
  • 25. Judges 3:12
  • 26. S Judges 3:9
  • 27. S 1 Samuel 8:8; Judges 10:10,15
  • 28. S 1 Samuel 7:3; Judges 2:13
  • 29. Judges 6:32; Judges 6:14,32
  • 30. S Judges 4:6
  • 31. S Judges 11:1
  • 32. S 1 Samuel 7:15
  • 33. S 1 Samuel 11:1
  • 34. S 1 Samuel 8:5
  • 35. 1 Samuel 25:30; 2 Samuel 5:2; 1 Chronicles 5:2; Judges 8:23; 1 Samuel 8:6,19
  • 36. S 1 Samuel 8:5; Hosea 13:11
  • 37. S 1 Samuel 9:20; 1 Samuel 10:24
  • 38. S Joshua 24:14
  • 39. Jeremiah 4:17; Lamentations 1:18
  • 40. ver 9; Leviticus 26:16; Joshua 24:20; Isaiah 1:20; Jeremiah 4:17; Jeremiah 26:4
  • 41. S Exodus 14:14
  • 42. S Exodus 14:13
  • 43. S Genesis 30:14; S 1 Samuel 6:13; 1 Samuel 7:9-10
  • 44. 1 Kings 18:42; James 5:18
  • 45. S Exodus 9:23; S 1 Samuel 2:10
  • 46. Genesis 7:12; Exodus 9:18; Job 37:13; Proverbs 26:1
  • 47. S 1 Samuel 8:6-7
  • 48. Psalms 99:6
  • 49. S Genesis 3:10; S Exodus 14:31
  • 50. ver 23; Exodus 9:28; S Exodus 8:8; S 1 Samuel 7:8; S Jeremiah 37:3; James 5:18; 1 John 5:16
  • 51. S Deuteronomy 9:19
  • 52. S Exodus 32:30
  • 53. Isaiah 40:20; Isaiah 41:24,29; Isaiah 44:9; Jeremiah 2:5,11; Jeremiah 14:22; Jeremiah 16:19; John 2:8; Habakkuk 2:18; Acts 14:15
  • 54. Deuteronomy 11:16
  • 55. Psalms 25:11; Psalms 106:8; Isaiah 48:9,11; Jeremiah 14:7; Daniel 9:19
  • 56. S Joshua 7:9; 2 Samuel 7:23; John 17:12
  • 57. S Leviticus 26:11; S Deuteronomy 31:6; 1 Kings 6:13
  • 58. Deuteronomy 7:7; 1 Peter 2:9
  • 59. S Numbers 11:2; S 1 Samuel 1:20; S 1 Samuel 7:8; Romans 1:9-10; Colossians 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:3
  • 60. 1 Kings 8:36; Psalms 25:4; Psalms 34:11; Psalms 86:11; Psalms 94:12; Proverbs 4:11
  • 61. Deuteronomy 6:2; Ecclesiastes 12:13
  • 62. Deuteronomy 6:5; S Joshua 24:14
  • 63. Job 34:27; Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 26:10
  • 64. S Deuteronomy 10:21
  • 65. 1 Samuel 31:1-5
  • 66. Deuteronomy 28:36
  • 67. S Joshua 24:20; S 1 Kings 14:10

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Also called "Gideon"
  • [b]. Some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac; Hebrew "Bedan"
  • [c]. Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts and Syriac "Samson"

Chapter Summary


In this chapter Samuel, resigning the government to Saul, asserts the integrity with which he had performed his office, and calls upon the people of Israel to attest it, who did, 1Sa 12:1-5, he then reminds them of the great and good things the Lord had done for them in times past, 1Sa 12:6-11 and whereas they had desired a king, and one was given them, it was their interest to fear and serve the Lord; if not, his hand would be against them, 1Sa 12:10-15 he terrifies them by calling for thunder in an unusual time, 1Sa 12:16-19 and then comforts and encourages them, that in doing their duty God would be with them, and not forsake them, otherwise they might expect nothing but ruin and destruction, 1Sa 12:20-25.

1 Samuel 12 Commentaries

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