King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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1 Samuel 12

Samuel testifies his integrity. (1-5) Samuel reproves the people. (6-15) Thunder sent in harvest time. (16-25)

1 Samuel 12 Audio:

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Samuel testifies his integrity

1 And Samuel said unto all Israel, Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you.

2 And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and, behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day.

3 Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.

4 And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand.

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.

Samuel reproves the people

6 And Samuel said unto the people, It is the LORD that advanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt.

7 Now therefore stand still, that I may reason with you before the LORD of all the righteous acts of the LORD, which he did to you and to your fathers.

8 When Jacob was come into Egypt, and your fathers cried unto the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron, which brought forth your fathers out of Egypt, and made them dwell in this place.

9 And when they forgat the LORD their God, he sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them.

10 And they cried unto the LORD, and said, We have sinned, because we have forsaken the LORD, and have served Baalim and Ashtaroth: but now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve thee.

11 And the LORD sent Jerubbaal, and Bedan, and Jephthah, and Samuel, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and ye dwelled safe.

12 And when ye saw that Nahash the king of the children of Ammon came against you, ye said unto me, Nay; but a king shall reign over us: when the LORD your God was your king.

13 Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you.

14 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 following the LORD your God:

15 But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.

Thunder sent in harvest time

16 Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes.

17 Is it not wheat harvest to day? I will call unto the LORD, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the LORD, in asking you a king.

18 So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.

19 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 all our sins this evil, to ask us a king.

20 And Samuel said unto the people, Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart;

21 And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.

22 For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.

23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:

24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.

25 But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. You. He speaks with the authority of a prophet, (C.) and takes this opportunity to draw from the whole people a confession of his integrity, that the kings might follow the pattern which he had set them. H.

Ver. 2. Goeth, as your leader, according to your request. I am like a private man, (C.) willing to submit to his and the people’s judgment, (H.) though it could not be required. M. — Grey-headed. This he might be at the age of sixty, which most chronologers allow him, (H.) as he had been at the head of affairs from his early years, in most difficult times. T. — With you. As soon as I heard of your complaints, I deprived them of their power, so that you cannot blame me from their misconduct. If they were guilty, they may stand their trial before the king. C.

Ver. 3. Anointed, “Christ,” as the anointing of kings prefigured that of the Messias, which, in Hebrew, has the same import as the word christos has in Greek. C. — Wronged. Lit. “by calumny,” or by any other mode of oppression. H. — Despise. Heb. “hide my eyes,” through confusion. C. — Prot. “to blind my eyes therewith.” H. — Sept. have read nalim, “shoes,” instead of anlim. C. — “Have I taken from the hand of any one a preset, to render me favourable, so much as a shoe? (upodema, or latchet) answer against me,” &c. H.

Ver. 6. Made, and appointed them to rule the people. Jerem. xxxvii. 15. Le Clerc. — Egypt. Sept. add, “is witness;” and some Latin copies have, “is present.” C.

Ver. 7. Stand up, like people cited to the bar. Having undergone his own trial with applause, Samuel shews that the people will not come off so well at the tribunal of God, whom they had treated with greater disrespect, injustice, and ingratitude than they had himself, as he convinced them by an astonishing and terrible storm. H. — Kindness. Sept. “justice,” as the same Heb. word implies both. God had treated his people with mercy and with justice (C.) alternately. H.

Ver. 9. Hasor. See Judg. iv. 1. — Moab. Jephte delivered the people from the hands of the Ammonites, who claimed all that country. Judg. xi. 15. Eglon had been slain by Aod, before the Chanaanites enslaved Israel. C.

Ver. 11. Jerobaal and Badan. That is, Gedeon and Samson, called here Badan or Bedan, because he was of Dan. Ch. Chald. &c. W. — Others think that Jair, (Judg. x. 3. Junius, Usher,) or, according to the Sept. “Barac,” are designated. Jair was a descendant of one Bedan, 1 Par. ii. 21. C. — But we do not read that Jair performed any great exploit. H. — Samuel. He speaks of himself as of any other man: as the interests of God were not to be betrayed by an unseasonable modesty. C. — Josephus only specifies Jephte and Gedeon. H. — The Israelites thought that they could dispose things better than God had done under the judges; and hence their sin is so often repeated. S. Greg. W.

Ver. 13. Desired. S. Aug. (in Ps. li.) considers this as a kind of sarcasm. C. — You will see what advantages you will derive from your choice. M.

Ver. 14. Of the Lord, causing him to look upon you and treat you with indignation. C. — Sept. “and do not contend with the mouth,” or against the orders of the Lord, which cannot fail to excite his displeasure. M. — If you prove faithful under this new form of government, though it be less agreeable to God, he will still protect you. H.

Ver. 15. Fathers. Sept. “king,” v. 25. Superiors (W.) are often styled fathers. Syr. &c. “as upon your fathers,” (C.) which is adopted by the Prot. “as it was against,” &c. H.

Ver. 17. Wheat-harvest. At which time of the year it never thunders or rains in those countries. Ch. — The wheat-harvest is towards the end of June. The usual seasons for rain are only spring and autumn. S. Jerom in Amos iv. 7, &c. — Thunder. Lit. “voices.” Ps. xvii. 14. C. — See. Being fully convinced by the miracle, which declares the will of God in the clearest manner. Though God was pleased thus to manifest his displeasure, at the people’s assuming to themselves the right of changing the established form of government, by insisting so much upon having a king at this time, we cannot hence infer, as Paine and some late seditious writers have done, that the regal power is in itself an evil. It might be contrary to a theocracy, and still might suit the manners of some nations better than any other form. To determine precisely what sort of government is best, would be an arduous task. We admire our own constitution; yet our ally, the prince of the Brazils, has lately forbidden any panegyric of it to be printed in his dominions. All innovations are, generally, attended with the most serious inconveniences. H.

Ver. 19. And Samuel, at whose prayer the Lord had sent such a storm, lest he should punish them as they deserved. But the prophet alleviates their fears, and teaches them to refrain from idolatry, and he will still continue to perform his duty in praying for them, and giving them good advice. Salien. — The fear of God is increased by that which the people shew for his servants.

Ver. 20. Following, as that would imply despair. To come boldly before him would argue presumption. Therefore, S. Mary Magdalene keeps at the feet of Jesus Christ. W.

Ver. 21. Vain and wicked idols. Heb. thohu, full of “confusion” and disorder.

Ver. 22. Sake. This motive often proved the salvation of Israel. Ex. xxxii. 12. The Scriptures wholly tend to impress upon our minds, a sense of our own weakness, and of God’s infinite glory and perfection. C. — We may all say, “Our hope to rise is all from Thee—our ruin’s all our own.” Austin.

Ver. 23. The Lord. For a pastor to neglect instruction, is not only detrimental to the people, but injurious to God. H. — Way. None contributed more than Samuel to keep the people within due bounds, during the reign of Saul. C.

Ver. 25. Together. Sept. “shall be rejected.” Saul soon experienced the effect of this prophetic menace; and the Jews were, at last, also cast away. H.