1 Samuel 12:5
And he said unto them, The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.
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(5) The Lord is witness.—Then Samuel again, with increased solemnity, called the Eternal in the heavens above and His anointed king then standing by his side to witness what the people had just acknowledged concerning his scrupulously just rule.

And they answered, He is witness.—And the assembly of Israel, again with one voice, shouted, Yes, He is witness.

1 Samuel 12:5. The Lord is witness — There cannot be a stronger or more amiable picture of integrity than we have in this speech of Samuel. Who can read it without feeling his heart touched with admiration of his character? Happy Samuel, who could thus call a whole kingdom to bear witness to his uprightness! Strange, infatuated people, that could wish to change such a governor for a king possessed of absolute power!

12:1-5 Samuel not only cleared his own character, but set an example before Saul, while he showed the people their ingratitude to God and to himself. There is a just debt which all men to their own good name, especially men in public stations, which is, to guard it against unjust blame and suspicions, that they may finish their course with honour, as well as with joy. And that we have in our places lived honestly, will be our comfort, under any slights and contempt that may be put upon us.His anointed - i. e., king Saul. The title Messiah, Χριστὸς Christos, unctus, or anointed, had been given to the High Priests (Leviticus 4:3 : compare also 1 Samuel 2:10, 1 Samuel 2:35); but this is the earliest instance of an actual king of Israel bearing the title of God's Christ, and thus typifying the true Messiah or Christ of God.

Any bribe - literally, a "ransom," the fine paid by a criminal in lieu of bonds or death Exodus 21:30, applied to the bribe paid to an unjust judge to induce him to acquit the guilty. (Compare Amos 5:12.)

To blind ... - See the margin. The phrase is used of one who averts his eyes, as refusing assistance, or as showing contempt, or, as here, as winking at what is wrong.

5. the Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness—that, by their own acknowledgment, he had given them no cause to weary of the divine government by judges, and that, therefore, the blame of desiring a change of government rested with themselves. This was only insinuated, and they did not fully perceive his drift. The Lord is witness against you, to wit, if you shall at any time hereafter reproach my government or memory. Or rather, against you, that I gave you no cause to be weary of God’s government of you by judges, or to desire a change of the government; and thereby the blame of it wholly rests upon yourselves. But this was only insinuated, and therefore the people did not fully understand his drift in it.

Ye have not found ought, i.e. any thing which I have gotten by bribery or oppression.

They answered, Heb. he answered, i.e. the whole people, who are here spoken of as one person, because they answered thus with one consent.

And he said unto them, the Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day,.... Should they hereafter reproach and vilify him, and charge him with any acts of corruption, injustice, and violence:

that ye have not found ought in my hand; that they had nothing to accuse him of and charge him with throughout his whole administration, but had asserted his innocence and integrity, had honourably acquitted him, and given him a fair character: and they answered, he is witness; the omniscient God is a witness against us, should we depart from this testimony, and Saul, the Lord's anointed, is a witness that we have fully cleared thee from any imputations of maladministration. The word is singular, he "said" or answered (g), that is, Israel said, the whole body of the people, they all replied as one man: the reason why Samuel made such a speech at this time, when he resigned his government to Saul, was not only to secure his own character, but to suggest to Saul how he should rule and govern according to his example; and that having established his own character, he could the more freely, and with the better grace, reprove the people for their sin, as in some following verses.

(g) "et dixit", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; Drusius.

And he said unto them, The LORD is witness against you, and his {d} anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness.

(d) Your King, who is anointed by the commandment of the Lord.

1 Samuel 12:5To confirm this declaration on the part of the people, he then called Jehovah and His anointed as witnesses against the people, and they accepted these witnesses. כּל־ישׂראל is the subject to ויּאמר; and the Keri ויּאמרוּ, though more simple, is by no means necessary. Samuel said, "Jehovah be witness against you," because with the declaration which the people had made concerning Samuel's judicial labours they had condemned themselves, inasmuch as they had thereby acknowledged on oath that there was no ground for their dissatisfaction with Samuel's administration, and consequently no well-founded reason for their request for a king.
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