Samuel Speaks About the King
Samuel said to all Israel: “I have done everything you wanted me to do. I have put a king over you. Now you have a king to lead you. I am old and gray, but my sons are here with you. I have been your leader since I was young. Here I am. If I have done anything wrong, you must tell these things to the LORD and his chosen king.* Did I steal anyone’s ox or donkey? Did I hurt or cheat anyone? Did I ever take money, or even a pair of sandals, to do something wrong? If I did any of these things, I will make it right.”
The Israelites answered, “No, you never did anything bad to us. You never cheated us or took things from us.”
Samuel said to the Israelites, “The LORD and his chosen king are witnesses today. They heard what you saidthat you found nothing wrong with me.” The people answered, “Yes, the Lord is witness!”
Then Samuel said to the people, “The LORD has seen what happened. He is the one who chose Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors out of Egypt. Now, stand there. I will accuse you before the LORD and I will tell you about the good things the LORD did for you and your ancestors.
Jacob went to Egypt. Later, the Egyptians made life hard for his descendants. So they cried to the LORD for help. The LORD sent Moses and Aaron, and they took your ancestors out of Egypt and led them to live in this place.
But your ancestors forgot the LORD their God. So he let them become the slaves of Sisera, the commander of the army at Hazor. Then the Lord let them become the slaves of the Philistines and the king of Moab. They all fought against your ancestors. 10 But your ancestors cried to the LORD for help. They said, ‘We have sinned. We left the LORD, and we served the false gods Baal and Ashtoreth. But now save us from our enemies, and we will serve you.’
11 So the LORD sent Gideon, Barak,§ Jephthah, and Samuel.* He saved you from your enemies around you, and you lived in safety. 12 But then you saw King Nahash of the Ammonites coming to fight against you. You said, ‘No, we want a king to rule over us!’ You said that, even though the LORD your God was already your king. 13 Now, here is the king you chose. The LORD put this king over you. 14 You must fear and respect the LORD. You must serve him and obey his commands. You must not turn against him. You and the king ruling over you must follow the LORD your God. If you do, God will save you. 15 But if you don’t listen to the LORD, if you refuse to do what the LORD says, he will be against you. The LORD will destroy you and your king.
16 Now stand still and see the great thing the LORD will do before your eyes. 17 Now is the time of the wheat harvest. I will pray to the LORD and ask him to send thunder and rain. Then you will know you did a very bad thing against the LORD when you asked for a king.”
18 So Samuel prayed to the LORD. That same day the LORD sent thunder and rain. And the people became very afraid of the LORD and Samuel. 19 All the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the LORD your God for us, your servants. Don’t let us die! We have sinned many times. And now we have added to these sinswe have asked for a king.”
20 Samuel answered, “Don’t be afraid. It is true that you did all these bad things, but don’t stop following the LORD. Serve the LORD with all your heart. 21 Idols are only statues—they can’t help you. So don’t worship them. Idols can’t help you or save you. They are nothing!
22 But the LORD won’t leave his people. No, the LORD was pleased to make you his own people. So for his own good name, he won’t leave you. 23 And as for me, I would never stop praying for you. If I stopped praying for you, I would be sinning against the LORD. I will continue to teach you the right way to live a good life. 24 But you must honor the LORD. You must serve him sincerely with all your heart. Remember the wonderful things he has done for you. 25 But if you are stubborn and do evil, God will throw you and your king away, like dirt swept out with a broom.”
* 12:3 chosen king Literally, “anointed one.” Also in verse 5. 12:7 and I will tell you about This is from the ancient Greek version. 12:11 Gideon Literally, “Jerub-Baal,” a nickname given to Gideon earlier. (See Judges 6:32). § 12:11 Barak This is found in the ancient Greek and Syriac versions. The Hebrew has “Bedan.” * 12:11 Samuel The Syriac version and some copies of the Greek version have “Samson.” 12:14 If you do, God will save you This is from the ancient Greek version. 12:17 time of … harvest This was the dry time of year when no rains fell.