1 Samuel 12:14
If you will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both you and also the king that reigns over you continue following the LORD your God:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) If ye will fear the Lord . . .—The English Version has missed the point of the original Hebrew of this passage. It should run, “If ye will fear the Lord, &c., . . . and if both ye and the king that reigneth over you will follow the Lord your God, it shall be well with you.” Dean Payne Smith has well caught the spirit of the passage in his note: “Samuel piled up one upon another the conditions of their happiness, and then from the depth of his emotion breaks off, leaving the blessed consequences of their obedience unsaid.” The intense wish, “O that you would only fear the Lord! O that you and your king would only continue following!” is contained in the Hebrew particle which introduces these ejaculatory sentences. A similar unfinished sentence will be found in St. Luke 19:42, where the apodosis is left to be supplied.

Samuel, with mournful earnestness, would drive home to the hearts of the people and their new king the great truth that the past, full of sin and sorrow, was forgiven—that even their present act, which seemed to border on ingratitude to that Mighty One who deigned to concern Himself with the interests of this fickle people, would bring no evil consequences in its track, if only the people and their king would in the future obey the glorious voice of the Eternal.

1 Samuel 12:14. Then, &c. — Hebrew, then shall ye be (that is, walk, or go) after the Lord; that is, God shall still go before you, as he hath hitherto done, as your leader or governor, to direct, protect, and deliver you; and he will not forsake you, as you have given him just cause to do. Sometimes this phrase of going after the Lord, signifies a man’s obedience to God; but here it is otherwise to be understood, and denotes not a duty to be performed, but a privilege to be received upon the performance of their duty; because it is opposed to a threatening denounced in case of disobedience, in the next verse.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). Heb. Then shall ye be (i.e. walk, or go) after the Lord, i.e. God shall still go before you, as he hath hitherto done, as your Leader or Governor, to direct, protect, and deliver you; and he will not forsake you, as you have given him just cause to do. Sometimes this phrase of going after the Lord signifies a man’s obedience to God; but here it is otherwise to be understood; (as it is no new thing for the same phrase in several places to be understood in quite different senses;) and it notes not a duty to be performed, but a promise of a privilege to be received upon the performance of their duty, because it is opposed to a threatening denounced in case of disobedience in the next verse. If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice,.... All worship and service of God, and obedience to his word and ordinances, should spring from fear and reverence of him; and therefore the whole of worship, both external and internal, is sometimes expressed by the fear of the Lord:

and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord; break it, and thereby exasperate him, and provoke him to wrath and bitterness:

then shall both ye, and also the king that reigneth over you, continue following the Lord your God; the Targum is,"after the worship of the Lord your God;''which was their duty to do, and is expressed in the preceding clauses; and this therefore is rather a promise of some benefit and privilege to their duty, and to encourage them to it, since it stands opposed to the threatening of punishment in the next verse; and the words in the original are, "then shall ye &c. be after the Lord your God" (l): that is, though they had in effect rejected the Lord from being their King, by asking and having one; yet notwithstanding, if they and their king were obedient to the commands of the Lord, he would not cast them off; but they should follow him as their guide, leader, and director, and he would protect and defend them as a shepherd does his sheep that follow after him; so Jarchi takes it to be a promise of long life and happiness to them and their king,"ye shall be established to length of days, both ye and the king.''

(l) "eritis post Dominum", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Piscator.

If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue {h} following the LORD your God:

(h) You shall be preserved as they that follow the Lord's will.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. If ye will fear, &c.] Better, “If ye will fear Jehovah, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of Jehovah, and both ye and also the king who reigneth over you continue following after Jehovah your God, [it shall be well with you]: but if, &c.” The apodosis must be supplied from the context, as in Exodus 32:32.Verse 14. - If ye will fear, etc. This verse, like Luke 19:42, is left unfinished, and we must supply well, as in Exodus 32:32. For the verse cannot be translated as in the A.V., but is as follows: "If ye will fear Jehovah, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment (Hebrew, the mouth) of Jehovah, and if both ye and the king that reigneth over you will follow Jehovah your God, it shall be well." Samuel piles up one upon another the conditions of their happiness, and then from the depth of his emotion breaks off, leaving the blessed consequences of their obedience unsaid. "To follow Jehovah" implies willing and active service as his attendants, going with him where he will, and being ever ready to obey his voice. The first proof of this was furnished by the deliverance of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and their safe guidance into Canaan ("this place" is the land of Canaan). The second was to be found in the deliverance of the people out of the power of their foes, to whom the Lord had been obliged to give them up on account of their apostasy from Him, through the judges whom He had raised up for them, as often as they turned to Him with penitence and cried to Him for help. Of the hostile oppressions which overtook the Israelites during this period of the judges, the following are singled out in 1 Samuel 12:9 : (1) that by Sisera, the commander-in-chief of Hazor, i.e., that of the Canaanitish king Jabin of Hazor (Judges 4:2.); (2) that of the Philistines, by which we are to understand not so much the hostilities of that nation described in Judges 3:31, as the forty years' oppression mentioned in Judges 10:2 and Judges 13:1; and (3) the Moabitish oppression under Eglon (Judges 3:12.). The first half of Judges 13:10 agrees almost word for word with Judges 10:10, except that, according to Judges 10:6, the Ashtaroth are added to the Baalim (see at 1 Samuel 7:4 and Judges 2:13). Of the judges whom God sent to the people as deliverers, the following are named, viz., Jerubbaal (see at Judges 6:32), i.e., Gideon (Judges 6), and Bedan, and Jephthah (see Judges 11), and Samuel. There is no judge named Bedan mentioned either in the book of Judges or anywhere else. The name Bedan only occurs again in 1 Chronicles 7:17, among the descendants of Machir the Manassite: consequently some of the commentators suppose Jair of Gilead to be the judge intended. But such a supposition is perfectly arbitrary, as it is not rendered probable by any identity in the two names, and Jair is not described as having delivered Israel from any hostile oppression. Moreover, it is extremely improbable that Samuel should have mentioned a judge here, who had been passed over in the book of Judges on account of his comparative insignificance. There is also just as little ground for rendering Bedan as an appellative, e.g., the Danite (ben-Dan), as Kimchi suggests, or corpulentus as Bttcher maintains, and so connecting the name with Samson. There is no other course left, therefore, than to regard Bedan as an old copyist's error for Barak (Judges 4), as the lxx, Syriac, and Arabic have done, - a conclusion which is favoured by the circumstance that Barak was one of the most celebrated of the judges, and is placed by the side of Gideon and Jephthah in Hebrews 11:32. The Syriac, Arabic, and one Greek MS (see Kennicott in the Addenda to his Dissert. Gener.), have the name of Samson instead of Samuel. But as the lxx, Chald., and Vulg. all agree with the Hebrew text, there is no critical ground for rejecting Samuel, the more especially as the objection raised to it, viz., that Samuel would not have mentioned himself, is far too trivial to overthrow the reading supported by the most ancient versions; and the assertion made by Thenius, that Samuel does not come down to his own times until the following verse, is altogether unfounded. Samuel could very well class himself with the deliverers of Israel, for the simple reason that it was by him that the people were delivered from the forty years' tyranny of the Philistines, whilst Samson merely commenced their deliverance and did not bring it to completion. Samuel appears to have deliberately mentioned his own name along with those of the other judges who were sent by God, that he might show the people in the most striking manner (1 Samuel 12:12) that they had no reason whatever for saying to him, "Nay, but a king shall reign over us," as soon as the Ammonites invaded Gilead. "As Jehovah your God is your king," i.e., has ever proved himself to be your King by sending judges to deliver you.
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