1 Samuel 12

1Samuel said to all Israel, “I have done
Heb “Look, I have listened to your voice.”
everything you requested.
Heb “to all which you said to me.”
I have given you a king.
Heb “and I have installed a king over you.”
2Now look! This king walks before you. As for me, I am old and gray, though my sons are here with you. I have walked before you from the time of my youth till the present day. 3Here I am. Bring a charge against me before the Lord and before his chosen king.
Heb “anointed [one].”
Whose ox have I taken? Whose donkey have I taken? Whom have I wronged? Whom have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe so that I would overlook something? Tell me,
The words “tell me” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
and I will return it to you!”

4 They replied, “You have not wronged us or oppressed us. You have not taken anything from the hand of anyone.” 5He said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and his chosen king
Heb “anointed [one].”
is witness this day, that you have not found any reason to accuse me.”
Heb “that you have not found anything in my hand.”
They said, “He is witness!”

6 Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is the one who chose Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors
Heb “fathers” (also in vv. 7, 8).
up from the land of Egypt.
7Now take your positions, so I may confront you
Heb “and I will enter into judgment with you” (NRSV similar); NAB “and I shall arraign you.”
before the Lord regarding all the Lord’s just actions toward you and your ancestors.
Heb “all the just actions which he has done with you and with your fathers.”
8When Jacob entered Egypt, your ancestors cried out to the Lord. The Lord sent Moses and Aaron, and they led your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place.

9 “But they forgot the Lord their God, so he gave
Heb “sold” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NAB “he allowed them to fall into the clutches of Sisera”; NLT “he let them be conquered by Sisera.”
them into the hand of Sisera, the general in command of Hazor’s
For location see Map1-D2; Map2-D3; Map3-A2; Map4-C1.
Heb “captain of the host of Hazor.”
and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them.
10Then they cried out to the Lord and admitted,
Heb “and said.”
‘We have sinned, for we have forsaken the Lord and have served the Baals and the images of Ashtoreth.
Heb “the Ashtarot” (plural). The words “images of” are supplied in both vv. 3 and 4 for clarity.
The Semitic goddess Astarte was associated with love and war in the ancient Near East. See the note on the same term in 7:3.
Now deliver us from the hand of our enemies so that we may serve you.’
After the imperative, the prefixed verbal form with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose/result.
11So the Lord sent Jerub-Baal,
Jerub-Baal (יְרֻבַּעַל) is also known as Gideon (see Judg 6:32). The Book of Judges uses both names for him.
The MT has “Bedan” (בְּדָן) here (cf. KJV, NASB, CEV). But a deliverer by this name is not elsewhere mentioned in the OT. The translation follows the LXX and the Syriac Peshitta in reading “Barak.”
Jephthah, and Samuel,
In the ancient versions there is some confusion with regard to these names, both with regard to the particular names selected for mention and with regard to the order in which they are listed. For example, the LXX has “Jerub-Baal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel.” But the Targum has “Gideon, Samson, Jephthah, and Samuel,” while the Syriac Peshitta has “Deborah, Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, and Samson.”
and he delivered you from the hand of the enemies all around you, and you were able to live securely.

12 “When you saw that King Nahash of the Ammonites was advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No! A king will rule over us’ – even though the Lord your God is your king! 13Now look! Here is the king you have chosen – the one that you asked for! Look, the Lord has given you a king! 14If you fear the Lord, serving him and obeying him
Heb “and you listen to his voice.”
and not rebelling against what he says,
Heb “the mouth of the Lord.” So also in v. 15.
and if both you and the king who rules over you follow the Lord your God, all will be well.
The words “all will be well” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
15But if you don’t obey
Heb “listen to the voice of.”
the Lord and rebel against what the Lord says, the hand of the Lord will be against both you and your king.
The LXX reads “your king” rather than the MT’s “your fathers.” The latter makes little sense here. Some follow MT, but translate “as it was against your fathers.” See P. K. McCarter, 1 Samuel (AB), 212.

16 “So now, take your positions and watch this great thing that the Lord is about to do in your sight. 17Is this not the time of the wheat harvest? I will call on the Lord so that he makes it thunder and rain. Realize and see what a great sin you have committed before the Lord by asking for a king for yourselves.”

18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord made it thunder and rain that day. All the people were very afraid of both the Lord and Samuel. 19All the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God on behalf of us – your servants – so we won’t die, for we have added to all our sins by asking for a king.”
Heb “for we have added to all our sins an evil [thing] by asking for ourselves a king.”

20 Then Samuel said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. You have indeed sinned.
Heb “you have done all this evil.”
However, don’t turn aside from the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart.
21You should not turn aside after empty things that can’t profit and can’t deliver, since they are empty.
Or “useless” (so NIV, NRSV, NLT); NAB “nothing”; NASB “futile”; TEV “are not real.”
22The Lord will not abandon his people because he wants to uphold his great reputation.
Heb “on account of his great name.”
The Lord was pleased to make you his own people.
23As far as I am concerned, far be it from me to sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you! I will instruct you in the way that is good and upright. 24However, fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. Just look at the great things he has done for you! 25But if you continue to do evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”

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