1 Samuel 12:13
Now therefore behold the king whom you have chosen, and whom you have desired! and, behold, the LORD has set a king over you.
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(13) Now therefore, behold the king whom ye have chosen.—The seer now turns from the story of the past and its sad lessons to the present. “You now have your wish—behold your king. The Eternal has seen fit to grant your petition. His—again pointing to Saul—election rests on the will of the invisible King, whom virtually you have rejected.”

1 Samuel



1 Samuel 12:13 - 1 Samuel 12:25

Samuel’s office as judge necessarily ended when Saul was made king, but his office of prophet continued. This chapter deals with both the cessation and the continuance, giving at first his dignified, and somewhat pained, vindication of his integrity, and then passing on to show him exercising his prophetic function in exhortation, miracle, and authoritative declaration of Jehovah’s will.

I. The first point is the sign which Samuel gave. Usually there is no rain in Palestine from about the end of April till October. Samuel was speaking during the wheat harvest, which falls about the beginning of June. We note that he volunteered the sign, and, what is still more remarkable, that he is sure that God will send it in answer to his prayer. Why was he thus certain? Because he recognised that the impulse to proffer the sign came from God. We know little of the mental processes by which a prophet could discriminate between his own thinkings and God’s speech, but such discrimination was possible, or there could have been no ring of confidence in the prophet’s ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ Not even a ‘Samuel among them that call upon His name’ had a right to assume that every asking would certainly have an answer. It is when we ask ‘anything according to His will’ that we know that ‘He heareth us,’ and are entitled to predict to others the sure answer.

It seems a long leap logically from hearing the thunder and seeing the rain rushing down on the harvest field, to recognising the sin of asking for a king. But the connecting steps are plain. Samuel announced the storm, he asked God to send it, it came at his word; therefore he was approved of God and was His messenger; therefore his words about the desire for a king were God’s words. Again, God sent the tempest; therefore God ruled the elemental powers, and wielded them so as to affect Israel, and therefore it had been folly and sin to wish for another defender. So the result of the thunder-burst was twofold-they ‘feared Jehovah and Samuel,’ and they confessed their sin in desiring a king. They were but rude and sense-bound men, like children in many respects; their religion was little more than outward worship and a vague awe; they needed ‘signs’ as children need picture-books. The very slightness and superficiality of their religion made their confession easy and swift, and neither the one nor the other went deep enough to be lasting. The faith that is built on ‘signs and wonders’ is easily battered down; the repentance that is due to a thunderstorm is over as soon as the sun comes out again. The shallowness of the contrition in this case is shown by two things,-the request to Samuel to pray for them, and the boon which they begged him to ask, ‘that we die not.’ They had better have prayed for themselves, and they had better have asked for strength to cleave to Jehovah. They were like Simon Magus cowering before Peter, and beseeching him, ‘Pray ye for me to the Lord, that none of the things which ye have spoken may come upon me.’ That is not the voice of true repentance, the ‘godly sorrow’ which works healing and life, but that of the ‘sorrow of the world which worketh death.’ The real penitent will press the closer to the forgiving Father, and his cry will be for purity even more than for pardon.

II. Samuel’s closing words are tender, wise, and full of great truths. He begins with encouragement blended with reiteration of the people’s sin. It is not safe for a forgiven man to forget his sin quickly. The more sure he is that God has forgotten, the more careful he should be to remember it, for gratitude, humility and watchfulness. But it should never loom so large before him as to shut out the sunshine of God’s love, for no fruits of goodness will ripen in character without that light. It is a great piece of practical wisdom always to keep one’s forgiven sin in mind, and yet not to let it paralyse hopefulness and effort. ‘Ye have indeed done all this evil, . . . yet turn not aside from following Jehovah.’ That is a truly evangelical exhortation. The memory of past failures is never to set the tune for future service. Again, Samuel based the exhortation to whole-hearted service of Jehovah on Jehovah’s faithfulness and great benefits {1 Samuel 12:22 - 1 Samuel 12:24}, It is suicidal folly to turn away from Him who never turns away from us; it is black ingratitude, as well as suicidal folly, to refuse to serve Him whose mercies encompass us. That divine good pleasure, which has no source but in Himself, flows out like an artesian well, unceasing. His ‘nature and property’ is to love. His past is the prophecy of His future. He will always be what He has been, and always do what He has done. Therefore we need not fear, though we change and are faithless. ‘He cannot deny Himself.’ His revealed character would be dimmed if He abandoned a soul that clung to Him. So our faith should, in some measure, match His faithfulness, and we should build firmly on the firm foundation.

III. Samuel answers the people’s request for his prayers with a wise word, full of affection, and also full of dignity and warning, all the more impressive because veiled. He promises his continued intercession, but he puts it as a duty which he owes to God rather than to them only, and he thus sufficiently asserts his God-appointed office. He promises to do more than pray for them; namely, to continue as their ethical and religious guide, which they had not asked him to be. That at once makes his future position in the monarchy clear. He is still the prophet, though no longer the judge, and, as the future was to show, he has to direct monarch as well as people. But it also hints to the people that his prayers for them will be of little avail unless they listen to his teaching. Whether a Samuel prays for us or not, if we do not listen to the voices that bid us serve God, we ‘shall be consumed.’1 Samuel 12:13. Behold the king whom ye have chosen — Though God chose him by lot, yet the people are said to choose him; either generally, because they chose that form of government; or particularly, because they approved of God’s choice, and confirmed it. The Lord hath set a king ever you — He hath yielded to your inordinate desire.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). Whom ye have chosen: though God chose him by lot, yet the people are said to choose him; either generally, because they chose that form of government, or particularly, because they approved of God’s choice, 1 Samuel 10:24, and confirmed it, 1 Samuel 11:15.

The Lord hath set a king over you; he hath yielded to your inordinate desire. Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired,.... For though God chose their king for them, it was at their request; they chose to have a king, and desired one, and they approved of and consented to, and confirmed the choice he had made, and so it was in effect their own:

and, behold, the Lord hath set a king over you; he gratified them in their desires; though he did not suffer them to make themselves a king, he suffered them to have one, and he gave them one; this power he reserved to himself of setting up and pulling down kings at his pleasure.

Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you.
13. whom ye have desired] Asked, as in 1 Samuel 12:17; 1 Samuel 12:19. The word however is omitted by the Sept., and may possibly be an addition to the original text.Verse 13. - Behold the king whom ye have chosen!... behold, Jehovah hath set a king over you. We have here the two sides of the transaction. The people had desired a king, chosen and appointed by themselves, to represent the nation in temporal matters; Jehovah gave them a king to represent himself, with authority coming from God, and limited by God. Most, too, of the kings of Judah were as truly representatives of Jehovah as any of the judges had been, and David even more so. Desired is rather "demanded," "required." They had done much more than desire a king. "And now come hither, and I will reason with you before the Lord with regard to all the righteous acts which He has shown to you and your fathers." צדקות, righteous acts, is the expression used to denote the benefits which Jehovah had conferred upon His people, as being the results of His covenant fidelity, or as acts which attested the righteousness of the Lord in the fulfilment of the covenant grace which He had promised to His people.
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