1 Samuel 12: 21“You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. 22“For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way.
Samuel offers great direction for the Israelites, but adds for himself a most interesting statement. He would be in sin if he were to stop praying for the people. While prayer is critical, it was not specified in the Ten Commandments or other rules set down. Prayer would be used to honor God in worship or as part of an offering. And, this is a long time before Paul’s instruction to “pray without ceasing”. What Samuel may be telling us is that he considers prayer so important for himself that he would consider it a sin if he were to cease praying for them. This emphasizes the overall view of the importance of prayer. It sets an example that the Israelites need to follow more closely if they want to stop their wandering off their faith walk, just as it does for us today. It also encourages them in that any of Samuel’s words for the Israelites would be bathed in prayer before being spoken to them.
1 Samuel 10
Saul among Prophets
1Then Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, “Has not the LORD anointed you a ruler over His inheritance? 2“When you go from me today, then you will find two men close to Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. Now behold, your father has ceased to be concerned about the donkeys and is anxious for you, saying, “What shall I do about my son?’” 3“Then you will go on further from there, and you will come as far as the oak of Tabor, and there three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine; 4and they will greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. 5“Afterward you will come to the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre before them, and they will be prophesying. 6“Then the Spirit of the LORD will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man. 7“It shall be when these signs come to you, do for yourself what the occasion requires, for God is with you. 8“And you shall go down before me to Gilgal; and behold, I will come down to you to offer burnt offerings and sacrifice peace offerings. You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do.”
9Then it happened when he turned his back to leave Samuel, God changed his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10When they came to the hill there, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him mightily, so that he prophesied among them. 11It came about, when all who knew him previously saw that he prophesied now with the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12A man there said, “Now, who is their father?” Therefore it became a proverb: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.
14Now Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they could not be found, we went to Samuel.” 15Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16So Saul said to his uncle, “He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But he did not tell him about the matter of the kingdom which Samuel had mentioned.
Saul Publicly Chosen King
17Thereafter Samuel called the people together to the LORD at Mizpah; 18and he said to the sons of Israel, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19“But you have today rejected your God, who delivers you from all your calamities and your distresses; yet you have said, ‘No, but set a king over us!’ Now therefore, present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your clans.”
20Thus Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the Matrite family was taken. And Saul the son of Kish was taken; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22Therefore they inquired further of the LORD, “Has the man come here yet?” So the LORD said, “Behold, he is hiding himself by the baggage.” 23So they ran and took him from there, and when he stood among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!”
25Then Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book and placed it before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house. 26Saul also went to his house at Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27But certain worthless men said, “How can this one deliver us?” And they despised him and did not bring him any present. But he kept silent.
1 Samuel 11
Saul Defeats the Ammonites
1Now Nahash the Ammonite came up and besieged Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make a covenant with us and we will serve you.” 2But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “I will make it with you on this condition, that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, thus I will make it a reproach on all Israel.” 3The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Let us alone for seven days, that we may send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to deliver us, we will come out to you.” 4Then the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, and all the people lifted up their voices and wept.
5Now behold, Saul was coming from the field behind the oxen, and he said, “What is the matter with the people that they weep?” So they related to him the words of the men of Jabesh. 6Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul mightily when he heard these words, and he became very angry. 7He took a yoke of oxen and cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done to his oxen.” Then the dread of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out as one man. 8He numbered them in Bezek; and the sons of Israel were 300,000, and the men of Judah 30,000. 9They said to the messengers who had come, “Thus you shall say to the men of Jabesh-gilead, ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will have deliverance.’” So the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. 10Then the men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you.” 11The next morning Saul put the people in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp at the morning watch and struck down the Ammonites until the heat of the day. Those who survived were scattered, so that no two of them were left together.
12Then the people said to Samuel, “Who is he that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring the men, that we may put them to death.” 13But Saul said, “Not a man shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has accomplished deliverance in Israel.”
14Then Samuel said to the people, “Come and let us go to Gilgal and renew the kingdom there.” 15So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they also offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.
1 Samuel 12
Samuel Addresses Israel
1Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have listened to your voice in all that you said to me and I have appointed a king over you. 2“Now, here is the king walking before you, but I am old and gray, and behold my sons are with you. And I have walked before you from my youth even to this day. 3“Here I am; bear witness against me before the LORD and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you.” 4They said, “You have not defrauded us or oppressed us or taken anything from any man’s hand.” 5He said to them, “The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day that you have found nothing in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”
6Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the LORD who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. 7“So now, take your stand, that I may plead with you before the LORD concerning all the righteous acts of the LORD which He did for you and your fathers. 8“When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the LORD, then the LORD sent Moses and Aaron who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9“But they forgot the LORD their God, so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, captain of the army of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10“They cried out to the LORD and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken the LORD and have served the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11“Then the LORD sent Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel, and delivered you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.
The King Confirmed
12“When you saw that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon came against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king shall reign over us,’ although the LORD your God was your king. 13“Now therefore, here is the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked for, and behold, the LORD has set a king over you. 14“If you will fear the LORD and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the command of the LORD, then both you and also the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God. 15“If you will not listen to the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the command of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you, as it was against your fathers. 16“Even now, take your stand and see this great thing which the LORD will do before your eyes. 17“Is it not the wheat harvest today? I will call to the LORD, that He may send thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the LORD by asking for yourselves a king.” 18So Samuel called to the LORD, and the LORD sent thunder and rain that day; and all the people greatly feared the LORD and Samuel.
19Then all the people said to Samuel, “Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, so that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins this evil by asking for ourselves a king.” 20Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. 21“You must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile. 22“For the LORD will not abandon His people on account of His great name, because the LORD has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23“Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you; but I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24“Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you. 25“But if you still do wickedly, both you and your king will be swept away.”
Prayer for Deliverance from Enemies.
For the choir director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David, when Saul sent men and they watched the house in order to kill him.
1 Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
Set me securely on high away from those who rise up against me.
2 Deliver me from those who do iniquity
And save me from men of bloodshed.
3 For behold, they have set an ambush for my life;
Fierce men launch an attack against me,
Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O LORD,
4 For no guilt of mine, they run and set themselves against me.
Arouse Yourself to help me, and see!
5 You, O LORD God of hosts, the God of Israel,
Awake to punish all the nations;
Do not be gracious to any who are treacherous in iniquity.
6 They return at evening, they howl like a dog,
And go around the city.
7 Behold, they belch forth with their mouth;
Swords are in their lips,
For, they say, “Who hears?”
8 But You, O LORD, laugh at them;
You scoff at all the nations.