1 Samuel 12

Listen to 1 Samuel 12

Samuel's Farewell Address

1 And Samuel said to all Israel, "Behold, I have obeyed 1your voice in all that you have said to me 2and have made a king over you.
2 And now, behold, the king 3walks before you, 4and I am old and gray; and behold, my sons are with you. I have walked before you from my youth until this day.
3 Here I am; testify against me before the LORD and before 5his anointed. 6Whose ox have I taken? Or whose donkey have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? Testify against me[a] and I will restore it to you."
4 They said, "You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man's hand."
5 And he said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and 7his anointed is witness this day, that you have not found anything 8in my hand." And they said, "He is witness."
6 And Samuel said to the people, 9"The LORD is witness,[b] who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt.
7 Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous deeds of the LORD that he performed for you and for your fathers.
8 10When Jacob went into Egypt, and the Egyptians oppressed them,[c]11then your fathers cried out to the LORD and 12the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, 13who brought your fathers out of Egypt and made them dwell in this place.
9 But 14they forgot the LORD their God. 15And he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor,[d]16and into the hand of the Philistines, 17and into the hand of the king of Moab. And they fought against them.
10 18And they cried out to the LORD and said, 'We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD 19and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. But now 20deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, that we may serve you.'
11 And the LORD sent 21Jerubbaal 22and Barak[e]23and Jephthah and 24Samuel and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety.
12 And when you saw that 25Nahash the king of the Ammonites came against you, 26you said to me, 'No, but a king shall reign over us,'27when the LORD your God was your king.
13 And now 28behold the king whom you have chosen, for whom you have asked; behold, 29the LORD has set a king over you.
14 If you will 30fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well.
15 But 31if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then 32the hand of the LORD will be against you and 33your king.[f]
16 Now therefore 34stand still and see this great thing that the LORD will do before your eyes.
17 35Is it not wheat harvest today? 36I will call upon the LORD, that he may send thunder and rain. And you shall know and see that 37your wickedness is great, which you have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking for yourselves a king."
18 So Samuel called upon the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day, 38and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
19 And all the people said to Samuel, 39"Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king."
20 And Samuel said to the people, "Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet 40do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart.
21 And 41do not turn aside after 42empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.
22 43For the LORD will not forsake his people, 44for his great name's sake, because 45it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself.
23 Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing 46to pray for you, 47and I will instruct you in the good and the right way.
24 48Only fear the LORD and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider 49what great things he has done for you.
25 But if you still do wickedly, 50you shall be swept away, 51both you and your king."

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 51

  • 1. 1 Samuel 8:5, 19, 20
  • 2. 1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Samuel 11:14, 15
  • 3. [1 Samuel 8:20; Numbers 27:17]
  • 4. 1 Samuel 8:1, 5
  • 5. 1 Samuel 24:6; 1 Samuel 26:9, 11, 16; 2 Samuel 1:14, 16; [1 Samuel 10:1]
  • 6. [Exodus 20:17; Numbers 16:15]
  • 7. [See ver. 3 above]
  • 8. Exodus 21:16; Exodus 22:4
  • 9. [Micah 6:4]
  • 10. Genesis 46:5, 6
  • 11. Exodus 2:23
  • 12. Exodus 3:10; Exodus 4:14-16
  • 13. [1 Samuel 10:18]
  • 14. Judges 3:7
  • 15. Judges 4:2
  • 16. Judges 10:7; Judges 13:1; [Judges 3:31]
  • 17. Judges 3:12
  • 18. Judges 10:10; [Judges 3:9]
  • 19. Judges 2:13
  • 20. Judges 10:15
  • 21. Judges 6:14, 32
  • 22. Judg. 4:6, 8, 10
  • 23. Judges 11:1
  • 24. See 1 Samuel 7:10-13
  • 25. 1 Samuel 11:1
  • 26. 1 Samuel 8:5, 19
  • 27. [1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Samuel 10:19; Judges 8:23]
  • 28. 1 Samuel 10:24
  • 29. 1 Samuel 9:16, 17; [Hosea 13:11]
  • 30. ver. 24; Deuteronomy 6:2; Joshua 24:14
  • 31. Leviticus 26:14, 15; Deuteronomy 28:15; Joshua 24:20
  • 32. 1 Samuel 5:9
  • 33. [ver. 9]
  • 34. Exodus 14:13
  • 35. [Proverbs 26:1]
  • 36. 1 Samuel 7:9, 10; [James 5:16-18]
  • 37. 1 Samuel 8:7
  • 38. Exodus 14:31; [Ezra 10:9]
  • 39. ver. 23; [Exodus 9:28; Exodus 10:17; Jeremiah 15:1]
  • 40. Deuteronomy 11:16
  • 41. [See ver. 20 above]
  • 42. Jeremiah 16:19; Habakkuk 2:18; [1 Corinthians 8:4]
  • 43. 1 Kings 6:13; Psalms 94:14; [1 Kings 8:57]
  • 44. Joshua 7:9; Psalms 106:8; Jeremiah 14:21; Ezek. 20:9, 14, 22
  • 45. Deuteronomy 7:7, 8; Deuteronomy 14:2; [1 Peter 2:9]
  • 46. See ver. 19
  • 47. 1 Kings 8:36; 2 Chronicles 6:27; Psalms 27:11; [Proverbs 4:11; Jeremiah 6:16]
  • 48. ver. 14; [Ecclesiastes 12:13]
  • 49. Deuteronomy 10:21; Psalms 126:2, 3
  • 50. Joshua 24:20; [Numbers 16:26]
  • 51. [Deuteronomy 28:36]

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Septuagint; Hebrew lacks Testify against me
  • [b]. Septuagint; Hebrew lacks is witness
  • [c]. Septuagint; Hebrew lacks and the Egyptians oppressed them
  • [d]. Septuagint the army of Jabin king of Hazor
  • [e]. Septuagint, Syriac; Hebrew Bedan
  • [f]. Septuagint; Hebrew fathers

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.