1 Samuel 12:22
For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it has pleased the LORD to make you his people.
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(22) It hath pleased the Lord to make you his people.—The simple doctrine of election—as far as we can see, based alone on the arbitrary will of God (though, no doubt, unseen by us, deep reasons exist for every seemingly arbitrary choice)—is here enunciated. The analogy of every-day life teaches the same truth. “He maketh one vessel to honour and another to dishonour.” These things are to us inscrutable.

1 Samuel 12:22. His name’s sake — That is, for his own honour, which would suffer much among men, if he should not preserve and deliver his people in imminent dangers. And this reason God allegeth, to take them off from all conceit of their own merit; and to assure them, that if they did truly repent of all their sins, and serve God with all their hearts, yet even in that case their salvation would not be due to their merits, but the effect of God’s free mercy. To make you his people — Out of his own free grace, without any desert of yours, and therefore he will not forsake you, except you thrust him away.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.

For his great name’s sake, i.e. for his own honour, which would seem to suffer much among men, if he should not preserve and deliver people in eminent dangers; as if he were grown feeble, or forgetful, or inconstant, or unfaithful, or regardless of human affairs, or unkind to those who own and worship him, when all the rest of the world forsake him. Hence this argument hath been oft pleaded with God, not without good success, as Exodus 32:12 Numbers 14:13, &c. And this reason God here allegeth to take them off from all conceit of their own merit; and to assure them, that if they did truly repent of all their sins, and served God with all their heart, which is here supposed, yet even in that case their salvation would not be due to their merits, but only the effect of God’s free mercy.

It hath pleased the Lord, to wit, out of his own free grace, without any desert of yours, as he saith, Deu 7:7 9:5; and therefore he will not easily forsake you, except you thrust him away. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake. For the sake of himself, his honour and glory; should he forsake his people, and suffer them to come to ruin, his name would be blasphemed among the Heathens; he would be charged either with want of power to help them, or with want of faithfulness to his promise to them, and with inconstancy to himself, or want of kindness and affection for them; all which would reflect upon his honour and glory:

because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people; it was not owing to any worth or worthiness in them that they became his people, but to his own sovereign good will and pleasure; and therefore, as it was nothing in them that was the cause of their being taken by him for his people, so nothing in them could be the cause of their being rejected by him as such; it was of free grace and favour that they were taken into covenant with him, and by the same would be retained: the Vulgate Latin version is,"the Lord hath sworn to make you a people for himself;''so Jarchi interprets it, he swore, and takes it to have the same sense as in 1 Samuel 14:24.

For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you {n} his people.

(n) Of his free mercy, and not of your merits, and therefore he will not forsake you.

22. for his great name’s sake] Lest He should seem in the eyes of the heathen not to be such as He declares Himself to be, Almighty, True, Faithful. Compare the use of this plea by Moses (Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:13 ff.), and Joshua (Joshua 7:9). See also Romans 11:1-2.

it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people] God’s free choice of Israel to be his people is dwelt upon at length in Deuteronomy 7:6-11.Verse 22. - For his great name's sake. Though Samuel in ver. 14 had described their well being as dependent upon their own conduct, yet in a higher light it depended upon God's will. He had chosen Israel not for its own sake (Deuteronomy 7:7, 8), but for a special purpose, to minister to the Divine plan for the redemption of all mankind, and so, though individuals might sin to their own ruin, and the nation bring upon itself severe chastisements, yet it must continue according to the tenor of God's promises (see on 1 Samuel 2:30), and through weal and woe discharge the duty imposed upon it. In order to give still greater emphasis to his words, and to secure their lasting, salutary effect upon the people, Samuel added still further: Even now ye may see that ye have acted very wickedly in the sight of Jehovah, in demanding a king. This chain of thought is very clearly indicated by the words גּם־עתּה, "yea, even now." "Even now come hither, and see this great thing which Jehovah does before your eyes." The words גּם־עתּה, which are placed first, belong, so far as the sense is concerned, to את־הד ראוּ; and התיצּבוּ ("place yourselves," i.e., make yourselves ready) is merely inserted between, to fix the attention of the people more closely upon the following miracle, as an event of great importance, and one which they ought to lay to heart. "Is it not now wheat harvest? I will call to Jehovah, that He may give thunder (קלוה, as in Exodus 9:23, etc.) and rain. Then perceive and see, that the evil is great which ye have done in the eyes of Jehovah, to demand a king." The wheat harvest occurs in Palestine between the middle of May and the middle of June (see by Bibl. Arch. i. 118). And during this time it scarcely ever rains. Thus Jerome affirms (ad Am. c. 4): "Nunquam in fine mensis Junii aut in Julio in his provinciis maximeque in Judaea pluvias vidimus." And Robinson also says in his Palestine (ii. p. 98): "In ordinary seasons, from the cessation of the showers in spring until their commencement in October and November, rain never falls, and the sky is usually serene" (see my Arch. i. 10). So that when God sent thunder and rain on that day in answer to Samuel's appeal to him, this was a miracle of divine omnipotence, intended to show to the people that the judgments of God might fall upon the sinners at any time. Thunderings, as "the voice of God" (Exodus 9:28), are harbingers of judgment.
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