1 Samuel 12:19
And all the people said to Samuel, Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we die not: for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1 Samuel 12:19-21. The Lord thy God — Whom thou hast so great an interest in, while we are ashamed and afraid to call him our God. Fear not — With a desponding fear, as if there are no hope left for you. But turn not ye aside — After idols, as they had often done before, and, notwithstanding this warning, did afterward. Vain things — So idols are called Deuteronomy 32:21, Jeremiah 2:5; and so they are, being mere nothings, having no power in them, no influence upon us, nor being of any use or benefit to us.12:16-25 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.Wheat harvest - Between May 15 and June 15. Jerome's testimony (that of an eye-witness) "I have never seen rain in the end of June, or in July, in Judaea" is borne out by modern travelers. 1Sa 12:17-25. He Terrifies Them with Thunder in Harvest-time.

17-25. Is it not wheat harvest to-day?—That season in Palestine occurs at the end of June or beginning of July, when it seldom or never rains, and the sky is serene and cloudless. There could not, therefore, have been a stronger or more appropriate proof of a divine mission than the phenomenon of rain and thunder happening, without any prognostics of its approach, upon the prediction of a person professing himself to be a prophet of the Lord, and giving it as an attestation of his words being true. The people regarded it as a miraculous display of divine power, and, panic-struck, implored the prophet to pray for them. Promising to do so, he dispelled their fears. The conduct of Samuel, in this whole affair of the king's appointment, shows him to have been a great and good man who sank all private and personal considerations in disinterested zeal for his country's good and whose last words in public were to warn the people, and their king, of the danger of apostasy and disobedience to God.

Pray for thy servants; for so we shall still own ourselves to be, though we have got another master.

Unto the Lord thy God, whom thou hast so great an interest in, and canst so easily prevail with for any mercy, whilst we are ashamed and afraid to call him our God, because we have so highly offended him.

That we die not; that this terrible storm may be taken away, lest our persons and the fruits of the earth be all destroyed.

To ask us a king: so horribly were they biassed with their prejudices and passions, that nothing but a miracle could convince them of this particular sin. And all the people said unto Samuel, During the tempest, and in the midst of it; it was the general cry of the people, they were unanimous in it:

pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not; though they had rejected him as their judge and supreme governor in desiring a king, now they were his humble servants, at least feignedly; and knowing what interest he had with God in prayer, they entreat him to make use of it on their behalf, who having sinned so greatly, had not the assurance to call the Lord their God, though they had no doubt of his being the God of Samuel, whose prayers he had heard, of which this tempest was a full proof; and was so violent, that if it continued, they were afraid they should be destroyed by the thunder and lightning, or they and their cattle, with the fruits of the earth, be washed away with the prodigious rain:

for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king; though Samuel had laid before them the evils and inconveniences of having a king, and had in the name of the Lord charged them with rejecting God as their king; yet nothing convinced them of their evil till this storm came, and then all their sins came fresh to their minds; and this added to the weight of them, and lay heaviest on them, that they had rejected the Lord, and slighted his prophets, and, notwithstanding all remonstrances, resolved on having a king.

And all the people said unto Samuel, Pray for thy servants unto the LORD thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto {l} all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.

(l) Not only at other times, but now chiefly.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
19. Pray for thy servants] See note on 1 Samuel 7:5.

this evil] Wickedness: the same word as in 1 Samuel 12:17; 1 Samuel 12:20.Verse 19. - Pray for thy servants. On Samuel's mediatorial office see 1 Samuel 7:5, 8. After the prophet had thus held up before the people their sin against the Lord, he bade them still further consider, that the king would only procure for them the anticipated deliverance if they would fear the Lord, and give up their rebellion against God.

1 Samuel 12:13

"But now behold the king whom ye have chosen, whom ye have asked for! behold, Jehovah hath set a king over you." By the second והנּה, the thought is brought out still more strongly, that Jehovah had fulfilled the desire of the people. Although the request of the people had been an act of hostility to God, yet Jehovah had fulfilled it. The word בּהרתּם, relating to the choice by lot (1 Samuel 10:17.), is placed before שׁאלתּם אשׁר, to show that the demand was the strongest act that the people could perform. They had not only chosen the king with the consent or by the direction of Samuel; they had even demanded a king of their own self-will.

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