1 Samuel
Chapter 12

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1 And Samuel saide vnto all Israel, Beholde, I haue hearkned vnto your voice in all that ye said vnto mee, and haue made a King ouer you.

2 And now behold, the King walketh before you: and I am olde, and gray headed, and behold, my sonnes are with you: and I haue walked before you from my childhood vnto this day.

3 Behold, here I am, witnesse against me before the Lord, and before his Anoynted: Whose oxe haue I taken? or whose asse haue I taken? or whom haue I defrauded? whom haue I oppressed? or of whose hand haue I receiued any bribe to blinde mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.

4 And they said, Thou hast not defrauded vs, nor oppressed vs, neither hast thou taken ought of any mans hand.

5 And hee said vnto them, The Lord is witnesse against you, and his Anointed is witnesse this day, that ye haue not found ought in my hand: And they answered, He is witnesse.

6 And Samuel said vnto the people, It is the Lord that aduanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers vp out of the land of Egypt.

7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the Lord, of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to you and your fathers.

8 When Iacob was come into Egypt, and your fathers cried vnto the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, which brought foorth your fathers out of Egypt, and made them dwell in this place.

9 And when they forgat the Lord their God, he sold them into the hand of Sisera captaine of the hoste of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them.

10 And they cried vnto the Lord, and said, Wee haue sinned, because we haue forsaken the Lord, and haue serued Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliuer vs out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serue thee.

11 And the Lord sent Ierubbaal, and Bedan, and Iephthah, and Samuel, and deliuered you out of the hand of your enemies on euery side, and yee dwelled safe.

12 And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said vnto me, Nay, but a King shall reigne ouer vs, when the Lord your God was your King.

13 Now therefore, behold the King whom yee haue chosen, and whom yee haue desired: and behold, the Lord hath set a King ouer you.

14 If ye will feare the Lord, and serue him, and obey his voice, and not rebell against the Commandement of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the King that reigneth ouer you, continue following the Lord your God.

15 But if ye wil not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the Commandement of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers.

16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing which the Lord will doe before your eyes.

17 Is it not wheat haruest to day? I will call vnto the Lord, and hee shall send thunder and raine, that ye may perceiue and see that your wickednesse is great, which ye haue done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a King.

18 So Samuel called vnto the Lord, and the Lord sent thunder and raine that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

19 And all the people said vnto Samuel, Pray for thy seruants vnto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we haue added vnto all our sinnes, this euil, to aske vs a King.

20 And Samuel saide vnto the people, Feare not: (ye haue done al this wickednesse, yet turne not aside from following the Lord, but serue the Lord with all your heart:

21 And turne ye not aside, for then should ye goe after vaine things, which cannot profit, nor deliuer, for they are vaine.)

22 For the Lord wil not forsake his people, for his great Names sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people.

23 Moreouer, as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord, in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way.

24 Onely feare the Lord, and serue him in trueth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

25 But if yee shall still doe wickedly, yee shall be consumed, both yee and your King.

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Commentary for 1 Samuel 12

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

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.

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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

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