1 Samuel 12:12
And when you saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, you said to me, No; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Nahash the king of the children of Ammon.—It has been suggested, with great probability, that Nahash and the Ammonites had invaded the trans-Jordanic territory of Israel in the period immediately preceding the demand addressed to Samuel for a king, and that the invasion which culminated in the siege of Jabesh-gilead was only one of a series of destructive forays and invasions.

1 Samuel 12:12. When ye saw that Nahash came against you, &c. — From this it appears that Nahash had levied war against them some time before he came against Jabesh-gilead, as mentioned in the foregoing chapter; and that they took occasion from thence to demand a king, as being fearful and impatient of staying till God should raise them up a deliverer, or command Samuel, who was their judge, to go out to fight against him. When the Lord your God was your king — That is, when God was your immediate king and governor, who was both able and willing to deliver you, if you had cried to him, whereof you and your ancestors have had plentiful experience; so that you did not at all need any other king; and your desire of another was a manifest reproach against God.12:6-15 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.Bedan - No such name occurs among the Judges who delivered Israel. Some versions and commentators read "Barak," the form of the letters of both words being in Hebrew somewhat similar.

And Samuel - There is nothing improper or out of place in Samuel mentioning his own judgeship. It had supplied a remarkable instance of God's deliverance 1 Samuel 7:12-15; and, as it was the last as well as one of the very greatest deliverances, it was natural he should do so. The passage in Hebrews 11:32 is quite as favorable to the mention of Samuel here as to that of "Samson," which some propose to read instead of "Samuel."

11. Bedan—The Septuagint reads "Barak"; and for "Samuel" some versions read "Samson," which seems more natural than that the prophet should mention himself to the total omission of the greatest of the judges. (Compare Heb 11:32). A king shall reign over us: See Poole "1 Samuel 11:1". When the Lord your God was your king, i.e. when God was your immediate King and Governor, who was both able and willing to deliver you, if you had cried to him, whereof you and your ancestors have had plentiful experience; so that you did not at all need any other king; and your desire of another was a manifest reproach against God, as if he were either grown impotent, or unfaithful, or unmerciful to you. And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you,.... Or "but yet" (k); however, notwithstanding though the Lord had been so kind and gracious to them, as to raise up judges one after another to deliver them, when they cried unto him, yet when they perceived that Nahash the Ammonite was preparing to make war with them, instead of applying to the Lord for his protection, they desired to have a king to go before them, and fight their battles, as follows: nay,

but a king shall reign over us; though Samuel told them they had no need of one:

when the Lord your God was your King; and would protect and defend them, if they applied to him, and would put their trust in him; and he himself Samuel was their judge, and would be their general and commander, and they had experience of success under him to the utter destruction of their enemies, 1 Samuel 7:10 and yet, notwithstanding all this, they insisted upon it to have a king. According to Abarbinel, this preparation of Nahash to war with them was after they had asked for a king, and was a punishment of them for their request; and yet they repented not of it, but in effect said, though Nahash, and all the enemies in the world come against us, we will not go back from our request, but insist on it, that we have a king to reign over us; such was their obstinacy and perverseness.

(k) "videntes autem", V. L. "sed", Tigurine version; "et tamen", Vatablus, Piscator.

And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, {g} Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king.

(g) Leaving God to seek the help of man, 1Sa 8:5.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. And when ye saw] As the demand for a king preceded the invasion of Nahash recorded in ch. 11, the reference must be to earlier inroads, or to a threatened attack. This reason for desiring a king is hinted at in 1 Samuel 8:20.

Nay] Refusing to listen to my expostulations (1 Samuel 8:6; 1 Samuel 8:19).

when the Lord your God was your king] Cp. Jdg 8:23.Verse 12. - Nahash the king of the children of Ammon. This makes it probable that there had been threats of war, and even incursions into the Israelite territory, by Nahash before his attack on Jabesh-Gilead. We thus, too, should be able to account for the rancour displayed in his wish so to treat the men of that town as to make them a reproach to all Israel; for his hatred of Israel may have grown in intensity in the course of a harassing war, or he may have learnt to despise a people incapable of offering a regular resistance. At all events, Samuel describes Nahash as giving the final impetus to the desire of the nation for a king. When Jehovah your God was your king. See Judges 8:23. But in order to bring the people to a still more thorough acknowledgment of their sin, Samuel strengthened still more their assent to his solemn appeal to God, as expressed in the words "He is witness," by saying, "Jehovah (i.e., yea, the witness is Jehovah), who made Moses and Aaron, and brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt." The context itself is sufficient to show that the expression "is witness" is understood; and there is no reason, therefore, to assume that the word has dropped out of the text through a copyist's error. עשׂה, to make, in a moral and historical sense, i.e., to make a person what he is to be; it has no connection, therefore, with his physical birth, but simply relates to his introduction upon the stage of history, like ποιεῖν, Hebrews 3:2. But if Jehovah, who redeemed Israel out of Egypt by the hands of Moses and Aaron, and exalted it into His own nation, was witness of the unselfishness and impartiality of Samuel's conduct in his office of judge, then Israel had grievously sinned by demanding a king. In the person of Samuel they had rejected Jehovah their God, who had given them their rulers (see 1 Samuel 8:7). Samuel proves this still further to the people from the following history.
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