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Barnes' Notes on the Bible
1And 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.
2And 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.
My sons are with you - Possibly, however, a tinge of mortified feeling at the rejection of himself and his family, mixed with a desire to recommend his sons to the favor and goodwill of the nation, is at the bottom of this mention of them.
3Behold, 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.
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.
4And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man's hand.
5And 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.
6And 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.
Advanced - In the sense of appointing them to their office. It is, literally, "made" (see the margin; 1 Kings 12:31; Hebrews 3:2). Samuel's purpose is to impress the people with the conviction that Yahweh was their God, and the God of their fathers; that to Him they owed their national existence and all their national blessings, and that faithfulness to Him, to the exclusion of all other worship 1 Samuel 12:21 was the only safety of the newly-established monarchy. Observe the constant reference to the Exodus as the well-known turning-point of their national life (see 1 Samuel 4:8; 1 Samuel 6:6).
7Now 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.
8When 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.
9And 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.
According to the present arrangement of the Book of Judges, and the common chronology, the oppression of Sisera must have occurred about 200 years after the entrance into Canaan. But Samuel here places it as the first great servitude, before that under Eglon king of Moab, or that from which Shamgar delivered them. And this is in accordance with the internal evidence of the Book of Judges itself. It is also the order of Judges 10:11, except that there the Ammonites Judges 3:13 are placed before the Philistines.
10And 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.
11And 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.
Bedan - No such name occurs among the Judges who delivered Israel. Some versions and commentators read "Barak," the form of the letters of both words being in Hebrew somewhat similar.
And Samuel - There is nothing improper or out of place in Samuel mentioning his own judgeship. It had supplied a remarkable instance of God's deliverance 1 Samuel 7:12-15; and, as it was the last as well as one of the very greatest deliverances, it was natural he should do so. The passage in Hebrews 11:32 is quite as favorable to the mention of Samuel here as to that of "Samson," which some propose to read instead of "Samuel."
12And 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.
13Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you.
14If 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:
15But 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.
16Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the LORD will do before your eyes.
17Is 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.
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.
18So Samuel called unto the LORD; and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
19And 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.
20And 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;
21And turn ye not aside: for then should ye go after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain.
22For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people.
23Moreover 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:
24Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
25But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king.