1 Samuel 12:1-25

Samuel speaks for the last time

1 Samuel said to all the Israelites, ‘I have done everything that you asked me to do. I have given you a king to rule over you. 2 Listen! You now have a king to be your leader, instead of me. I am old and my hair is grey. My sons are here with you. I have been your leader from the time when I was young until now. 3 Look at me. I stand here where the Lord and his chosen king can see me. Speak now if I have done any wrong thing against you. Have I taken anyone's cow or anyone's donkey? Have I cheated anyone? Have I been cruel to anyone? Have I received bribes from anyone to say that they are not guilty? If I have done any of those things, tell me! Then I will pay back my debt.’

4 The Israelites answered, ‘You have not cheated us. You have not been cruel to us. You have not robbed any of us.’

5 Samuel said to them, ‘The Lord and his chosen king have heard what you have said today. They know that I have not done a wrong thing against any of you.’

The people replied, ‘Yes, the Lord knows what we have said.’

6 Then Samuel said to the people, ‘The Lord chose Moses and Aaron to lead his people. He brought your ancestors out from Egypt. 7 You must stand up now for the Lord to judge you. You need to remember all the great things that the Lord has done to help you and your ancestors. 8 After Jacob and his family went to Egypt, your ancestors called to the Lord for help. The Lord sent Moses and Aaron to help them. They led your ancestors out of Egypt. They brought them to live here in this land. 9 But your ancestors forgot about the Lord their God. So he let their enemies win against them. Sisera led an army from Hazor to attack the Israelites. The Philistines and the king of Moab also attacked them. 10 Then the Israelites called out to the Lord for help. They said, “We have done bad things. We have turned away from the Lord and we have worshipped idols of Baal and images of Ashtoreth. Please save us from our enemies and we will worship you.” 11 So the Lord sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel to help you. The Lord saved you from all your enemies so that you could live safely.

12:10Baal and Ashtoreth were false gods that the Canaanite people worshipped.

12 But then you saw that Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, was coming to attack you. So you said to me, “Now we want a king to rule over us.” You forgot that the Lord your God is your king. 13 Look! Here is the king that you chose. He is the man that you asked to have. The Lord has made him your king. 14 You must respect the Lord with fear. You must obey what he commands you to do. You and the king who rules over you must serve only the Lord your God. If you do that, everything will go well for you. 15 But the Lord will punish you and your king if you do not obey him. You must not turn against him again.

16 Now stand where you are and watch! The Lord will do a great thing and you will see it. 17 This is the time of the wheat harvest. I will ask the Lord to send thunder and rain. Then you will understand that you have done an evil thing against the Lord. You asked for a king to rule over you.’

12:17They cut down the wheat in the months of May and June. They did not have storms or rain in Israel at that time of the year.

18 Samuel prayed to the Lord. That same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. All the people became afraid of the Lord and of Samuel. 19 They said to Samuel, ‘Please pray to the Lord your God for us. We do not want to die! We realize that we have done many bad things in past times. Now we have added to those sins when we asked to have a king.’

20 Samuel said to the people, ‘Do not be afraid. It is true that you have done an evil thing. But do not turn away from the Lord. Instead, serve him with all your strength. 21 Do not worship idols. They are useless things. They cannot help you. They will never save you. 22 The Lord was pleased to choose you to be his own people. He will show that he is faithful and he will not leave you alone. 23 As for me, I will not stop praying for you. That would be a sin against the Lord. I will teach you how to live in the right way. 24 But you must respect and obey the Lord. You must serve him faithfully with all your strength. Remember the great things that he has done for you. 25 If you continue to do evil things, that will be the end of you and your king.’