1Samuel 12

 

1Samuel 12:1–25

Samuel’s Address at Saul’s Inaugural


Outline of Chapter 12:

 

       vv.    1–5        Samuel Calls Upon the People to Witness His Faithfulness

       vv.    6–11      Samuel Reminds Israel of God’s Faithfulness to Them in the Past

       vv.   12–15      Samuel Gives the People of Israel Their Alternatives

       vv.   16–19      Samuel Calls For a Great Thunderstorm and God Provides One Frightening the People

       vv.   20–25      Samuel Instructs the People as to His Responsibilities and Their Responsibilities


Charts and Maps:

 

       Introduction    The Scope and Sequence of the Life of Samuel

       v.      9           The Book of the Judges—Domestic Issues (Judges 17–21)

       v.      9           The Book of the Judges—Foreign Relations (Judges 3–16)

       v.     10           Israel Under Discipline: Compare and Contrast

       v.     11           The Oppressors and the Deliverers of Israel

       v.     13           Did God Choose Saul or Did the People Choose Saul?

       v.     14           What the Problem is in v. 14 with the Hypothetical Particle

       v.     14           Six Interpretations of the Conditional of 1Samuel 12:14

       v.     15           The Protasis and the Apodosis

       v.     17           God’s Judgments of Severe Weather

       v.     21           The Results of Hate Crime Legislation

       v.     24           The Responsibilities of God, Samuel and the People

       v.     25           Warnings from Spiritual Atlas’s

       v.     25           A Summary of 1Samuel 12


Doctrines Covered

The Doctrine of êth


I ntroduction: 1Sam. 12 is simply a continuation of 1Sam. 11:14–15. Samuel has directed Israel to go to Gilgal to celebrate their victory over Nahash, king of the Ammonites, to thank God for what He has done, and to publically recognize Saul as king over all Israel. This is Samuel’s convocation speech. He will interact with the people and with God. Interestingly enough, Saul will be mentioned, but he will not speak, except for one word at the end of v. 5 (although, this is not what your Bible will say).


As I work through the exegesis of this chapter, two of my sources seem to be pretty much the antithesis of one another. J. Vernon McGee is down-home Southern; he speaks in a language that almost anyone understands; he rarely appears to get technical; and his homespun approach is even belied by his writing style (I think, actually, that his books are transcripts from his radio programs). On the opposite side of the fence, we have Keil and Delitzsch, whose vocabulary is extensive, difficult and sometimes abstruse. Their knowledge of languages is an integral part of their teaching, and rarely do they every put anything into layman’s terms. However, their writings are in almost full accord when it comes to theological matters. Furthermore, their approach is complementary rather than antagonistic. Therefore, I will quote from both commentaries extensively. God uses all kinds of men, with all kinds of backgrounds, with many different approaches. The reason that I bring this up is so that you recognize that God can and will use you. It does not matter what your personality is like; it does not matter what your background is. God can use anyone; however, two things: (1) you must be filled with the Holy Spirit (and I don’t mean in some Pentecostal, holy roller, speaking in tongues kind of way); and (2) you must know the Word of God. These are key to being successful in the Christian way of life.


You will recall how I have pointed out that Jewish thought tends to be more topical than chronological. These chapters are a perfect example of this. We have a consistent, chronological thread which runs through these chapters 11–13, but each chapter is more of a topical exposition which stands on its own. In 1Sam. 11, we have the attack of Nahash upon eastern Israel, their cry for help, and the response of Saul. Saul leads Israel in victory and is publically acclaimed as king over Israel. In 1Sam. 12, we have Samuel’s address to the people at the convocation that recognizes Saul as king. Samuel is barely mentioned in chapter 11; Saul is barely mentioned, by name, in chapter 12. In 1Sam. 13, we have Saul’s kingship, including Saul’s first big mistake.


As an aside, I have occasionally said that the author of much of this book (or, at least, the first portion of it) is Samuel. What we should expect of Samuel’s speech is that it be in fairly simple Hebrew. We would expect a lot of wâw consecutive, a lot of simply constructed phrases, and a lot of very common Hebrew words, as this is what we have found in most of this book so far. We will, on occasion, run into a word not used before in the book of Samuel. This does not mean that it is a different author, but that there was no reason to use those words before (there are examples of this increased vocabulary at the end of v. 4 and early in v. 5). Interestingly enough, although Samuel begins with fairly simple Hebrew connected with a bunch of wâw conjunction’s and wâw consecutive’s, his Hebrew becomes a bit more eloquent near the end. In fact, it is as though he is caught up in his own message, and his passion overtakes his limitations.


What would be helpful, at this time, would be a chart which would give us a rough idea as to the time frame, scope and sequence of the life of Samuel.

The Scope and Sequence of the Life of Samuel

Samuel’s Age

The Pertinent Events

Approximate Date

1–3

Samuel’s mother raises Samuel at home, with the intent of bringing him to Eli and the Tent of God to be raised up. 1Sam. 1:19–23

1125–1122 b.c.

4–25

Samuel is raised up by Eli in the Tent of God, with the likely result that he would succeed Eli (1Sam. 1:24–3:19).

1122–1101

25–30

Samuel replaces Eli, who dies at the capture of the Ark. It is clear that Samuel is the rightful successor to Eli and his authority is accepted. 1Sam. 3:19–4:1a, 14–18

1101–1096

30–50

Despite Samuel’s authority being accepted, Israel spiritually goes astray. The Ark remains in Kiriath Jearim, the Tent of God is moved, Shiloh is razed, the Philistines make great inroads into Israel’s territory, and the house of Israel begins to lament after Jehovah their God. Therefore, Samuel plays very little part in the history of Israel during this time. 1Sam. 4:1–7:4

1096–1076

50

Samuel holds a revival for the people and they respond. An unexpected war breaks out between Israel and the Philistines, and Israel enjoys a great victory (1Sam. 7:5–11).

1076

51–75

Israel enjoys an extended period of peace and Samuel’s ministry is active, recognized and productive (1Sam. 7:12–17).

1075–1051

75–76

Samuel has set up his sons as judges in Beersheba. Nahash the Ammonite threatens eastern Israel. The people of Israel demand that Samuel appoint a king over them. 1Sam. 8:1–22 (compare 1Sam. 12:12)

1051–1050

76

Samuel anoints Saul as king over Israel. Saul defeats the Ammonites. The people recognize Saul as their king. Samuel addresses the nation for what he expects to be his last message to the people. 1Sam. 9:15–12:25

1050 b.c.

In case you are wondering from whence I derived the ages of Samuel and the dates; I first of all set up what seemed to be reasonable ages for Samuel that corresponded with these various events in his life and in the history of Israel. I could be as far off as 20 years (although I suspect that I am within 10 years throughout the left hand side of this chart).

With regards to the approximate date—ZPEB has Saul’s kingship beginning in 1020 b.c. Footnote ; Reese Footnote (of Reese’s Chronological Bible) says 1065 b.c.; and the Narrated Bible Footnote and the Bible Almanac Footnote have it at 1043. 1050 b.c. was essentially an arbitrary average date that I began with and worked backwards.

The purpose of this chart is to simply give you some numbers and actions on which to hang your hat. Although I of course attempted to be accurate, the dates and ages in this chart are simply reasonable approximations.


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Samuel expects that this is going to be his last speech before Israel. For the previous 40 years, Footnote he has been the spiritual leader of Israel. For the 20 prior to that, he was a youth being raised up in the Tent of God with the intention of becoming a slave to God (that he would lead Israel spiritually was not immediately apparent). Footnote During this time, we would expect that Samuel has read and reread and read again the Scriptures which were available to him. He knows what the final speech of a spiritual leader should be, as he has read many times the final words of both Moses and Joshua. Therefore, we should not surprised that his final words are very similar to the final words of those two great men.


There are some who teach that these are different speeches which have been later put together in the same chapter as one speech. While this is not entirely out of the question, this theory is essentially based upon the fact that Samuel covers different topics. Just because a great man in his last words in a public speech covers more than one topic, it does not mean that we are looking at more than one speech. Furthermore, everything that Samuel says can be tied together. He begins by teaching Israel that their desire for a king was unwarranted. In this approach, he must put his integrity to the test (vv. 1–5) and God’s integrity to the test (vv. 6–11). That Israel required a king from Samuel was a mistake (vv. 12–13). However, this is not the sort of mistake which will sever the relationship of God and Israel (vv. 14–15). Samuel reaffirms God’s present and active power (vv. 16–18), causing the people to realize their great mistake (v. 19). Then, with all the cards on the table, Samuel tells the people what their responsibility is and what his responsibility will be. In other words, there is no way that we are looking at two different speeches because all of this is tied together. What we have (and I will spend more time with this later) is a Pauline approach to a complex situation. That is, Paul would lay everything out and then say, to what conclusion are we forced?, after which, he would state the logical conclusion.


Now, also throughout the first fifteen or so verses, there will be a half-dozen places where there is a significant difference between the Greek Septuagint and the Massoretic text. The Greek tends to smooth out some sentences and, in some cases, adds what appears to be missing in the Hebrew. This should not cause us any concern. Although we could stand upon the Hebrew text alone (although there are some places where we would run into translational difficulties), the Greek is quite helpful in providing what appears to have been lost. Throughout the years, I have struggled with how to translate the Hebrew into English, and I have faced exactly what thousands of translators have faced in the past—just how literal and just how understandable do I want the translation to be? The result of this has been three translations, an approach with which I am very satisfied. However, another issue is, what about the Greek? If there is reason to believe that the Greek insertions represent what was originally found in the autographs, then how do I deal with that? What I have done in my most literal of translations is that I have usually stayed with the Hebrew. Occasionally, if I decided to add a word or two which are not in the Hebrew, I place those words in brackets. If I believe the Greek to be undeniably correct, then I often will insert it into the most literal of my translation, but generally in brackets. In the less literal but still literal second rendering into the English, I have almost always included the Greek (when I believed it to be probably the best rendering of the original manuscripts), but I have still placed it in brackets to indicate that this is what is found in the Greek of the Septuagint (circa 200 b.c.), but not in the Masoretic texts (circa 900 a.d.), which are in the original Hebrew language.


To give you a bit more detail on what is to come: Samuel, Saul and the victorious army of Israel have gone to Gilgal to celebrate their victory and to renew the kingdom. What is occurring is that Saul is being received as king by popular acclaim. He will actually begin ruling Israel immediately after this assemblage, even though he had been chosen as king by God several months previous to this.


What Samuel will say in his address to these men is quite impressive. As I got half-way through his address, I realized that he reminded me of Paul. Now, this is a surprise to me, given Paul’s outstanding skills in the realm of debate and given Samuel’s fairly basic vocabulary. What Samuel has to say is essential, but subtle. First off, he cannot call this whole king thing off. That Saul is king over Israel is a given. His victory in the previous chapter gives him popular acclaim. That does not mean that these men were right from the beginning to demand a king. So Samuel first interacts with the men from a podium. He puts himself, his character and his ministry on trial before Israel. He demands to know whether Israel views him as having served honorably or not—the men in the crowd are forced to admit that Samuel has been honorable in all of his dealings with Israel. Then he cites Israel’s history as proof of God’s faithfulness to Israel. So, God is now on trial. Has God done anything or not done anything to indicate that He is no longer faithful to Israel? You see, Israel demanded a king because they felt militarily threatened. They felt that a king was necessary to organize them to fight their battles. This position would be valid if Samuel did not properly administer his government; or, this position would be valid if God did not properly protect and guide Israel. Samuel illustrates from history that God has always guided them, regardless of the circumstances. So, the fact that Nahash, the king of Ammon, threatened them, was nothing new. He was not some menace which God had not foreseen. Nevertheless, the people demanded and received a king and that king led them to victory (this latter point was not a part of Samuel’s recorded speech). Samuel’s point should have been well-taken: he had not been unfaithful in any way to Israel; and God had not been unfaithful in any way to Israel.


Next point that Samuel makes—is the God of Israel today the same God of the past? Samuel calls for a tremendous storm, and God provides a storm, even though this is the dry harvest time. This causes the people great concern and they ask that Samuel pray on their behalf so that they do not die the sin unto death. Samuel assures them that God will not forsake them, as He would never abandon His own people. He has not in the past; therefore, there is no reason to think that He would abandon them at that time. What is unsaid, but certainly a part of what should be considered—Israel has been faithless in its demand for a king. Does this mean that Samuel will desert Israel? Does this mean that the God of their fathers will desert Israel? At the end of his speech, Samuel indicates that he will continue to play a role in Israel’s future; furthermore, he assigns specific responsibilities to the population of Israel as well. And he concludes that God will also continue to play a part in Israel’s history. Their unfaithfulness does not mean that God would abandon them. If they now turn again toward God, God will lead and protect them. If they continue in faithlessness, then God will discipline them and their king. This is the summary of what is to come; now, onto the exegesis:


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Samuel Calls Upon the People to Witness His Faithfulness


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so says Samuel unto all of Israel, “Behold, I have hearkened in your voice, to all which you have said to me and so I have made king over you a king,...

1Samuel

12:1

Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Hear me! I have listened to your voice, to all that you have said to me, and therefore I have caused a king to rule over you.

Then Samuel spoke to all Israel: “Hear me! I have listened to all that you have said to me and have therefore caused a king to rule over you,...


First, what others have done:


Here is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Samuel unto all of Israel, “Behold, I have hearkened in your voice, to all which you have said to me and so I have made king over you a king,...

Septuagint                             And Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have hearkened to your voice in all things that you have said to me, and I have set a king over you.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Samuel told the Israelites: I have give you a king, just as you asked.

NLT                                        Then Samuel addressed the people again: “I have done as you asked and give you a king.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then Samuel said to all Israel, “I have listened to everything you have said to me and appointed a king over you.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Then Samuel said to all Israel, “I have yielded to you in all you have asked of me and have set a king over you.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, I have listened to your voice in all that you said to me, and I have appointed [lit., made] a king over you. .

Young's Updated LT              And Samuel says unto all Israel, “Lo, I have hearkened to your voice, to all that you [all] said to me, and I cause to reign over you a king,...


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel is speaking to Israel during the inauguration of Saul. He tells them that he has listened to all that they have said to him and he has placed a king over them.


1Samuel 12:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

el (לא) [pronounced el]

in, into, toward, unto, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

Yiserâêl (ל ֵא ָר  ׃  ̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975


Translation: Then Samuel said to all Israel... Vv. 14–15 of the previous verse have set up the situation or the scenario for Samuel’s speech. They are in Gilgal celebrating their victory, offering sacrifices to God and renewing the kingdom there.


1Samuel 12:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen, to hear, to listen intently, to listen and obey, to listen and act upon, to listen and give heed to, to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and take note of, to listen and be cognizant of

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular noun with a 3rd masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876


Translation: “Hear me! I have listened to your voice...” Samuel acknowledges that he has listened to what the Israelites have said to him. They requested a king and Samuel supplied them a king (see 1Sam. 8, particularly vv. 5, 7, 9, 20–22).


1Samuel 12:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to

preposition (with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix)

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: “...to all that you have said to me...” This tells us that a delegation did not simply approach Samuel at one time and tell him that they wanted a king. Certainly, this did occur in Ramah when he was approach by the elders of Israel. However, Samuel interacted a great deal with the people. He apparently was still on his judges circuit, as we find him in Ramah, in Gilgal and in Gibeah, which would mean that there would be a lot of interaction between himself and other Israelites. No doubt did he occasionally speak to individual Israelites and hear again and again that they all desired a king. The delegation which originally spoke to Samuel was a result of strong public support for a king.


1Samuel 12:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa or va (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity (with a 2nd person masculine plural suffix)

Strong’s #5921 BDB #752

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: “...and I have caused to rule over you a king.” The Israelites have approached Samuel for a king and he provided them with one. God chose Saul, clearly indicated this choice to Samuel, and Samuel presented Saul to the people as their king (1Sam. 10:1, 24 11:14–15).


...and now behold, your king is walking to your faces. And I, [even] I have aged and greyed and my sons behold them with you [all]. And I have walked to your faces from my youthful years until the day the this.

1Samuel

12:2

And now, look, your king walks before you. Furthermore, I have become old and gray and look, my sons [are] with you. And I have walked before you from my youth until this day.

...and right before you is your king. Furthermore, I am old and grey-headed and my sons are among you. And you know I have walked in your sight from my youth until now.


Next verse as others have rendered it:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       ...and now behold, your king is walking to your faces. And I, [even] I have aged and greyed and my sons behold them with you [all]. And I have walked to your faces from my youthful years until the day the this.

Septuagint                             And now, behold, the king goes before you; and I am grown old and I will rest, and, behold, my sons are among you. And, behold, I have gone about before you from my youth to this day.

 

Significant differences:          There is a minor difference whether Samuel says he has greyed (MT, Peshitta, Vulgate) or that he would rest (LXX). As mentioned in previous chapters, it is the norm for the Hebrew, Syriac and Latin to be in agreement.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You have seen how I have led you ever since I was a young man. I’m already old. My hair is gray, and my own sons are grown. Now you must see how well your king will lead you.

NLT                                        I have selected him ahead of my own sons, and I stand here, an old, gray-haired man. I have served as your leader since I was a boy.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         And now, here is the king who will lead you. I am old and gray, but my sons are with you. I have led you from my youth until this day.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Henceforth the king will be your leader. As for me, I have grown old and gray—but my sons are still with you—and I have been your leader from my youth to this day.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “And 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.

Young's Updated LT              ...and now, lo, the king is walking habitually before you, and I have become aged and gray-headed, and my sons, lo, they are with you, and I have walked habitually before you from my youth till this day.


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel points out that Saul is the king which will rule over them. Then he begins a personal message, telling Israel that he is old and his sons are known to all Israel; and he has been known by all Israel from his earliest youth.


1Samuel 12:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Hithpael participle

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

The Hithpael is the reflexive of the Piel. The Hithpael conveys the idea that one puts himself into the state or the action of the verb, which is an achieved state. Seow gives several uses: (1) Its primary use is reflexive—the verb describes action on or for oneself. That is, the subject of the verb is also the object of the verb. However, this does not completely convey the reflexive use, as there are examples where the verb takes on another object. These verbs are known as tolerative—the subject allows an action to affect himself or herself. (2) Reciprocal use: Occasionally, the Hithpael denotes reciprocity; that is, they worked with one another, they looked at one another. (3) The third use is known as iterative, which means that the Hithpael suggests repeated activity (he walked about, he walked to and fro, and turned back and forth). (4) The fourth use is known as estimative: the verb indicates how one shows himself or regards himself, whether in truth or by pretense (he pretended to be sick, they professed to be Jews). Footnote Here we have the continuative or the iterative use of the verb. Footnote

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נ ָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM

face, faces

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of.


Translation: “And, behold, your king walks before you.” Samuel, no doubt, looks off to the side toward Saul and gives a nod of the head in Saul’s direction.


1Samuel 12:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ânîy (י.נָא) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

zâqên (ן ֵק ָז) [pronounced zaw-KANE]

to become old, to become aged

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #2204 BDB #278

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

sîybv (בי.) [pronounced seebv]

to be hoary, to be old, to grow a lot of white hair

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7867 BDB #966


Translation: “And I, even I, have become old and I have grayed...” Interestingly enough, our knowledge of Samuel has been him in his youth and him as an old man. In 1Sam. 1–3, we get Samuel’s birth, his parents, and his youth. In 1Sam. 4–6, we follow the Ark of God, and Samuel’s name is never mentioned (recall that 1Sam. 4:1a belongs with chapter 3). In 1Sam. 7, we have our only exposition of Samuel during his prime, along with what he expected was to be his swan song. His leadership had obviously gone by the wayside for about 20 years and the people returned to him and to God for guidance. This led to the sound defeat of the Philistines. And then, for an extended period of time, there was peace in the land. The Philistines were kept within their borders; the Amorites did not encroach on the cities of Israel. Samuel had grown old and he felt as though he had come to the end of his useful life at the end of 1Sam. 7. He wrote that chapter as though he was completing the information about his life and service to God and Israel. With 1Sam. 8, it is as though Samuel is writing an epilogue (that is, if he wrote this a little at a time). At least twice in chapter 8, Samuel makes reference to his old age (vv. 1, 5). He is at the end of his life, he believes; Israel is desirous of a king, and Samuel records this information, as it is extremely important to the history of Israel. After all, Israel is now in the stage of changing from being a theocracy to being a monarchy.


1Samuel 12:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural noun (with the 1st person singular suffix)

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

hên (ן̤ה) [pronounced hayn]

lo!, behold, observe, look, look here, get this, listen, listen up

interjection (with a 3rd person masculine plural suffix)

Strong’s #2005 BDB #243

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object) (with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix)

Strong's #854 BDB #85


Translation: “...and my sons, behold them [they are] with you!” I think the implications of the CEV and the NLT are both apropos here. Samuel is going on about how he is old and gray, and he adds to this that his grown sons are among those listening to him. It is a further statement as to his age and his time of retirement. He has grown sons with whom Israel is familiar. The fact that his sons are worthless as leaders is not a part of what Samuel is saying (see 1Sam. 8:3). Now, Barnes incorrectly suggests that Samuel is again holding out his sons as possible leaders of Israel or that he is indicating some sort of disappointment that they have not been chosen by Israel to lead. This is silly. There is no possibility that his sons will lead Israel; Samuel himself does not want that. The little authority that he gave his sons was abused. Therefore, the only reason that he mentions his sons is a further illustration of his advanced age and their existence is a testimony to Saul’s personal integrity (that is, Samuel did not set things up so that one of his sons would rule over Israel). Samuel is passing the torch of leadership to Saul and not to his sons. This is probably on Samuel’s mind (as well as in the thoughts of his audience), but there is no direct statement in his recorded speech regarding that sentiment (i.e., that his integrity is also borne out by the fact that he does not appoint either of his sons as king of Israel). That Israel would go to Samuel and request him to appoint a king over them, and that he would not consider his own sons for this position is remarkable in itself (even given their corrupt behavior).


1Samuel 12:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ânîy (י.נָא) [pronounced aw-NEE]

I, me; in answer to a question, it means I am, it is I

1st person singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #589 BDB #58

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person singular, Hithpael perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נ ָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM

face, faces

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

ne׳ûrîym (םי̣רע׃נ) [pronounced neģoo-REEM]

youth (it is always found in the plural, so we might render it youthful years)

masculine plural noun with a 1st person singular suffix

Strong’s #5271 BDB #655

׳ad (ד ַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day, today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with a definite article

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260


Translation: “...and I have walked before you [all] from my youthful years until this day.” Israel has observed Samuel and his behavior up until this time period. They know that he is an honorable man. This is the focus of Samuel’s speech in vv. 2–5.


Behold me! Answer in me before Yehowah and before His anointed: an ox of whom have I taken? And a donkey of whom have I taken? And who have I exploited? Who have I oppressed? And from a hand of who have I taken a ransom and I conceal my [two] eyes in him? And I will restore [it] to you [all].”

1Samuel

12:3

Here I am! Testify against me before Yehowah and in front of His anointed: Whose ox have I taken and whose donkey have I taken? Furthermore, who have I exploited? Who have I oppressed? From whose hand have I taken a bribe—even a sandal [Hebrew: that I conceal my eyes (from judging correctly) because of it (the bribe]? [Testify against me] and I will restore [it] to you.”

Now that I am right here in front of you, tell me—in fact, testify before God and before His anointed: Have I taken anyone’s personal possessions? Have I exploited or oppressed anyone though a misuse of my authority? Have I taken a bribe—even a sandal—to blind my eyes to that which is just? Tell me and I will return the item or right the wrong.”


Here is what others have done with v. 3:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         Speak of me before the Lord, and before his anointed, whether I have taken any man's ox, or ass: if I have wronged any man, if I have oppressed any man, if I have taken a bribe at any man's hand: and I will despise it this day, and will restore it to you.

Masoretic Text                       Behold me! Answer in me before Yehowah and before His anointed: an ox of whom have I taken? And a donkey of whom have I taken? And who have I exploited? Who have I oppressed? And from a hand of who have I taken a ransom and I conceal my [two] eyes in him? And I will restore [it] to you [all].”

Peshitta                                 Behold, I am standing before you: testify against me before the Lord and before His anointed: whose ox have AI taken? Or whose ass have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Or whom have I oppressed? Or of whose hand have I taken a bribe to look upon him with favor? Tell me, and I will restore it to you.

Septuagint                             Behold, here am I—answer against me before the Lord and before His anointed: whose calf have I taken? Or whose ass have I taken? Or whom of you have I oppressed? Or whom have I been violent with? Or from whose hand have I taken a bribe, even a sandal? Bear witness against me, and I will make restitution to you.”

 

Significant differences:          You will note that the MT and the Peshitta are in almost full accord—Samuel is a judge, so the things which can impugned to a judge are dealt with: Saul has not exploited or defrauded anyone, despite the fact that he had the power to do so. Furthermore, he has not oppressed anyone—i.e., thrown them in jail, had them executed, or anything like this, without a reason. The Greek’s notion that Samuel has not been violent with anyone is fine, but not really in keeping with Samuel’s position. The Latin here is closer to the actual meaning—Samuel has not wronged any man.

 

The Peshitta also gives us a better idea as to what is the exchange for Samuel (or anyone) taking a bribe. An unjust judge would look upon a defendant with favor after receiving a bribe from the defendant. This is what we find in the Syriac and, more or less, in the Hebrew. What is found in this place in the Vulgate and in the Septuagint make little sense. My guess is, they were trying to interpret the meaning of the Hebrew, but only the Syriac seems to have gotten that correct.

 

Interestingly enough, both the Greek and Syriac ask for a testimony from the crowd, in case Samuel is guilty of not dispensing justice from his position as judge. Whether there is manuscript evidence for this, or whether they inserted this by implication, we do not know. In most similar cases, I lean toward the Greek translators having found this in the Hebrew manuscripts which they worked with. Equally interesting is that we do not find this phrase in the Latin.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Let me ask this. Have I ever taken anyone’s ox or donkey or forced you to give me anything? Have I ever hurt anyone or taken a bribe to give an unfair decision? Answer me so the Lord and his chosen king can hear you. And if I have done any of these things, I will give it all back.

NLT                                        Now tell me as I stand before the Lord and before his anointed one—whose ox or donkey have I stolen? Have I ever cheated any of you? Have I ever oppressed you? Have I ever taken a bribe? Tell me and I will take right whatever I have done wrong.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Here I am. Testify against me in front of the Lord and in front of his anointed king. Did I take anyone’s ox? Did I take anyone’s donkey? Did I cheat or oppress anyone? Did I take a bribe from anyone to look the other way? [if so,] I will give it all back.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        Here I am! Testify against me, in the presence of the Lord and in the presence of His anointed one: Whose ox have I taken, or whose ass have I taken? Whom have I defrauded or whom have I robbed? From whom have I taken a bribe to look the other way? I will return it to you.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “Here I am; bear witness against me before the Lord and His anointed. Whose ox 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.”

NRSV                                    Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and before 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? Testify against me and I will restore it to you.” [the second testify against me is found in the Greek but not the Hebrew].

Young's Updated LT              “Lo, here am I; testify against me, over-against Jehovah, and over-against His anointed; whose ox have I taken, and whose ass have I taken, and whom have I oppressed; whom have I bruised, and of whose hand have I taken ransom, and hide my eyes with it? —and I restore to you.”


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel is about to tell the people that if he has ever done anything illegal or immoral to them in his position as judge, and that it is time to let him know, as he stands right before them in this public forum, if they believe him to be guilty of these infractions.


1Samuel 12:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle (with the 1st person singular suffix)

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

׳ânâh (ה ָנ ָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

It is reasonable to render this speak [or, answer] loudly, speak up [in a public forum]. ׳ânâh occasionally has a very technical meaning of giving a response in court, and could be rendered testify.

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity (with the 1st person singular suffx)

Strong’s #none BDB #88

neged (דגנ) [pronounced NEH-ged]

what is conspicuous when it is a substantive and, as a preposition, in front of, in the sight of, opposite to, before (in the sense of being in front of)

preposition

Strong’s #5048 BDB #617

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3069 BDB #217

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

neged (דגנ) [pronounced NEH-ged]

what is conspicuous when it is a substantive and, as a preposition, in front of, in the sight of, opposite to, before (in the sense of being in front of)

preposition

Strong’s #5048 BDB #617

mâshîyach (-חי.שָמ) [pronounced maw--SHEE-ahkh]

anointed

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4899 BDB #603


Translation: “Here I am! Testify against me before Yehowah and before His anointed.” Anointed, in the Greek, is Christos. Although some might like to make this a reference to God the Father and God the Son, Yehowah and His anointed actually refer to Jehovah, the God of Israel (Jesus Christ) and to Saul, who is God’s anointed one (1Sam. 10:1 24:6 26:9, 11 2Sam. 1:14). This is the first instance of a king of Israel being called God’s anointed; however, the High Priest has been so designated in the past (see Lev. 4:3, 5 6:22 1Sam. 2:35). Footnote


Up until this time, Samuel has been the visible administrator of God’s government. Now Samuel gives examples of areas where one could have defrauded the people from his position.


1Samuel 12:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated

untranslated mark of a direct object with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

shôwr (רש) [pronounced shohr]

an ox, a bull, a head of cattle

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #7794 BDB #1004

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH

to take, to take from, to take in marriage, to seize

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

chămôwr (רמ ֲח) [pronounced khuh-MOHR]

ass, male donkey, he-ass

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2543 BDB #331

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH

to take, to take from, to take in marriage, to seize

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542


Translation: “Whose ox have I taken? And whose donkey have I taken?” Footnote In the ancient world, the ox and the donkey were two of the most valuable possessions that a person could own. Footnote Samuel has never decided a court case in such a way as to defraud some person of their possessions merely so that Samuel could take them.


There are, in the Houston area, neighborhood associations. Some of those who work for these associations are quite honorable and others behave like little Nazi’s. There have been neighborhood associations who have legally taken property from others for a piddling amount of fees. These men would not stand before a crowd of people like Samuel here and ask whom have they defrauded.


1Samuel 12:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated

untranslated mark of a direct object with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

׳âshaq (ק ַש ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SHAHK

to exploit, to oppress, to wrong, to extort

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6231 BDB #798


Translation: “And who have I exploited? Samuel is a judge in Israel. Men have stood before him day after day, some of whom face criminal charges and some of whom are being sued. Samuel, on numerous occasions, could have exploited this situation—could have asked for a bribe, could have sided with a friend against someone that he did not know. Samuel could have abused his position of power, but he did not.


Could you imagine a contemporary political figure taking such a stand before his constituents in a public forum? “If I have defrauded anyone or stolen anything, I am standing before you—you tell me what I have taken, and I will restore it.” There would be a mob. People would submit long lists of things taken from them. There would be hundreds and hundreds of people who were defrauded and stolen from in legal proceedings.


1Samuel 12:3d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

The Greek and Syriac both insert a conjunction at this point.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated

untranslated mark of a direct object with a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

râtsats (ץ-צָר) [pronounced raw-TSAHTS]

to crush, to bruise, to oppress

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7533 BDB #954


Translation: [And] who have I oppressed? This latter verb is a reference to an act of violence which a person in power might be able to get away with (which explains the translation of the LXX). The idea is, someone has come to court and Samuel did not like the way the looked, or their background, or they were enemies of Samuel’s friends, and so, for these reasons, he levied a heavy sentence or fine against the defendant. He oppressed the defendant not for justice, but for other considerations. Samuel asks this crowed, “Have I ever been guilty of doing this? Have I ever oppressed someone unjustly?”


I’ve been in court before, taken there by a neighborhood association. I did not think much of it at first, as the nearest judge in the nearest courtroom was a very just and honorable man. However, I later found out that we would go to court half way across town, which confused me. So, I went half way across town. The judge there had been very active in his own neighborhood association and had been president of his neighborhood association, so his mind was made up before we even walked into the courtroom. It made no difference what I said. Now, an honorable judge would have recused himself at this point. He should have said, “I am biased toward the neighborhood association, because I have been very actively involved with my own association.” This judge did not have that sort of personal integrity. Now, you may think that this is sour grapes on my part, but that is incorrect—this same judge was removed from the bench within two years of this court case for some sort of judicial impropriety. He was a man who oppressed others apart from the facts of the case put before him; Samuel, on the other hand, was not that sort of man.


1Samuel 12:3e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than, greater than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

mîy (י ̣מ) [pronounced mee]

who; occasionally rendered how, in what way

pronominal interrogative

Strong’s #4310 BDB #566

lâqach (ח ַק ָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH

to take, to take from, to take in marriage, to seize

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

kôpher (רפֹ) [pronounced KOH-fer]

price of a life, ransom

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3724 BDB #497

In this context, the idea that Samuel is expressing is a bribe. So, why do we interpret this as a bribe and not a ransom? Actually, in a way, we could interpret this as a ransom. If a criminal faces execution, he might try to give the judge money for his life, which would be both a bribe and a ransom. Of course, this could be further extended to any man who offered Samuel money for a favorable ruling. This would be different than a fine which might be levied against someone (e.g., Ex. 21:30).


Translation: And from whose hand have I taken a bribe... Samuel has been very honorable in his dealings with Israel. He has not taken a bribe from any man in his tenure as a judge over Israel. As a judge, one common temptation is to take a bribe in order to render this or that judgment. In fact, Samuel’s own sons did this (1Sam. 8:3).


When Jethro suggested to Moses that he delegate some of his work, one of the qualifications for a judge was a man who hated dishonest gain (Ex. 18:21). Of course, you recall Samuel’s sons who were not above taking bribes in order to influence their judicial decisions (1Sam. 8:3). The idea is that the bribe has caused Samuel to not look at what he is supposed to. He is blind to an infraction or to correct judgment because of this bribe.


In life, you are always going to find out that you just don’t seem to have enough money. Very few millionaires suddenly stop working, saying, “Hell, I’ve got more money than I know what to do with; I quit.” They continue to make money. People who are a lot richer than you or I defraud others, take money, and do so to increase their own personal wealth, even though millions of others look upon them as being incredibly rich already. The problem is not the money—it is legitimate to make money and it is legitimate for a wealthy person to continue to work and make more money each hour than others of us make in a lifetime. However, what is not legitimate is the lust one has for wealth—when one is willing to do a number of illegal things in order to gain wealth. It is the love of money which is the root of all evil.


By the way, just because you are poor, this does not mean that you can apply this verse to every rich person you come in contact with. Again, it is not the money, but the love of money which is sinful. You can be as poor as the proverbial church mouse, and suffer from a lust for money. You need to be able to trust God for what He has given you. As Paul said, I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself (Philip. 4:11b).


Application: Your focus should never be on wealth or on personal possessions, but upon God. God can provide the things which you need. Can you think of some item that you would like right now that you don’t have the money for? Certainly. Maybe a house that is three times larger than the one you live in now; or, simply for a house, because you are now renting an apartment. However, what you do and do not have should not be your primary focus—Bible doctrine should be your focus.


1Samuel 12:3f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳âlam (ם ַל ָע) [pronounced ah-LAWM]

to hide, to hide from the eyes, to turn away from

1st person singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5956 BDB #761

׳ayin (ן.י ַע) [pronounced ĢAH-yin]

spring, literal eye(s), spiritual eyes, spring

feminine dual noun (with the 1st person suffix)

Strong’s #5869 (and #5871) BDB #744

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, at, by, near, on, with, before, in the presence of, upon, against, by means of, among, within

a preposition of proximity; with the 3rd masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88


Translation: ...—even a sandal [Hebrew: that I conceal my eyes (from judging correctly) because of it (the bribe]? This describes what a judge might do for a bribe—instead of delivering a just sentence, he might look the other way, so to speak. That is the idea behind this statement. The Peshitta interprets this as looking upon a defendant with favor, which is a reasonable interpretation (although not exactly what we find here).


In the LXX, we have that Samuel has not taken a bribe, not even a sandal. Obviously, they either are dealing with a different text or have assumed that there was a minor mistake in the Hebrew text, which was thus corrected. The specific idea is quite different than what we find in the Hebrew; however, the general sentiment is the same: Samuel has not taken any bribes for any reason. In the Hebrew and Syriac, Samuel has not taken any bribes to affect the outcome of a judgment; and in the Greek, Samuel has not taken even the smallest of bribes.


The Greek, according to Brenton, reads: “...or from whose hand have I taken a bribe—even a sandal?” Obviously, there is some disagreement here, but nothing which dramatically changes the general meaning of the verse. There are also two different interpretations of this taking a sandal—Brenton, and others, indicate that such a bribe is insignificant, almost a gift. However, Samuel has not had his judgement impaired because someone has given him a gift or something relatively insignificant. The idea is that the bribe may have been something which flew beneath the radar; that is, was insignificant enough to be taken as an innocent gift or to not be noticed at all. The second interpretation is that a sandal could represent a token payment which is made in order to validate certain legal transactions. Footnote


However, neither reading nor interpretation should cause us any sort of problem. In either case, a man who would take a bribe or who would defraud someone of their personal property—such a person violates the tenth commandment: “You will not desire you neighbor’s house; you will not desire your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Ex. 20:17). And no one will accuse Samuel of such a thing.


As Xander might say, “That’s just crazy talking.” Samuel was extremely honorable and no one can fault him for his work or behavior.


1Samuel 12:3g

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

The Greek has an additional testify against me right here (which would be in keeping with the context and properly placed here). Footnote

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to cause to return, to bring, to be caused to turn back mentally, reminisce, to return something, to restore, to bring back, to regain, to recover, to make restitution, reconsider, think again, or to be caused to return

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #7725 BDB #996

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to, with reference to, as to, with regards to

preposition (with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix)

No Strong’s # BDB #510


Translation: [Testify against me] and I will restore [it] to you.” Samuel has been very honorable in his dealings with Israel.

 

Notice what Samuel has done: Whereas the tribal elders had used the venality of the prophet’s sons as a pretext for constitutional change, Samuel ensures that on this occasion the spotlight falls on himself and his record of probity in public affairs. Footnote


In reality, the human authority that the elders are replacing is Samuel. Therefore, Samuel focuses the attention on his own personal integrity. The sons could have been sorted out at the urging of the people. Samuel, since he vindicates himself before the people by his acknowledged character, would have dealt with his sons appropriately (or, so we would hope).


A reasonable question that might be asked right now is, why is Samuel justifying himself here? We are not told in Scripture to run to every person who has ever imagined that we have done something wrong and clear ourselves in their eyes. There is not enough time in our lives to do that. Plus, very often, someone will imagine that we have done some wrong and this will be a legitimate observation. There are times that we will slight one person or another. So our lives should not be centered on self-justification. However, Samuel is setting a high bar for Saul to meet. He has set up rules and regulations for the function of a king; however, he drives this home with his own life. From his youth to his old age, he has stood in a position of power before Israel. During those many years, Samuel did not abuse his power. Footnote Now, before Saul, who is about to assume power over Israel, Samuel makes public his spotless record of service. Saul is not to think that now that he is king, he can take advantage of this situation. Samuel holds himself out as an example as to the sort of conduct to which Saul should aspire.


There is a second reason that Samuel justifies himself publically. He does not want there to be any appearance of impropriety in the installation of Saul as king. It may have appeared to some that Saul was simply Samuel’s boy who Samuel hand-picked for this position, but that was clearly not the case. Samuel did not rig the choice of Saul in 1Sam. 10 to put in his own golden boy. Saul was God’s choice, not Samuel’s, and Samuel’s personal character which testified to this.


And so they say, “You have not exploited us and you have not oppressed us and you have not taken from a hand of a man anything.”

1Samuel

12:4

And they answered [him], “You have not exploited us and you have not oppressed us; you have not taken anything from [any] man’s hand.”

They answered him, “No, you have not exploited us or oppressed us in any way; nor have you taken anything from anyone.”


Here is what others have done with v. 4:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they say, “You have not exploited us and you have not oppressed us and you have not taken from a hand of a man anything.”

Septuagint                             And they said to Samuel, “You have not injured us, and you have not oppressed us, and you have not afflicted us, and you have not taken anything from anyone’s hand.”

 

Significant differences:          The LXX has a few additional words; the Syriac and Latin are, as is most often the case, in agreement with the Hebrew.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “No,” the Israelites answered, “You’ve never cheated us in any way!”

NLT                                        “No,” they replied, “you have never cheated or oppressed us in any way, and you have never taken even a single bribe.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         They answered, “You didn’t cheat us, oppress us, or take anything from anyone.”

JPS (Tanakh)                        They responded, “You have not defrauded us, and you have not robbed us, and you have taken nothing from anyone.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And they said, “You have not defrauded us, or oppressed us, or taken anything from any man’s hand.”

Young's Updated LT              And they say, “You have not oppressed us, nor have you crushed us, nor have you taken from the hand of anyone anything.”


What is the gist of this verse? The people respond to Samuel, saying, “You have not oppressed or exploited us; you have never taken a bribe in order to distort justice.”


1Samuel 12:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

׳âshaq (ק ַש ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SHAHK]

to exploit, to oppress, to wrong, to extort

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #6231 BDB #798

 

Translation: And they answered [him], “You have not exploited us... Again, you will note slight differences between the Hebrew and the Greek. The general meaning of the verse is unchanged. Obviously, there are different words and individual meanings, but the overall thrust of the verse is the same. The first verb is the 2nd person masculine singular, with the 1st person plural suffix, Qal perfect of ׳âshaq (ק ַש ָע) [pronounced ģaw-SHAHK] again, which means to exploit, to oppress, to wrong, to extort. With this verb is the negative. The elders present acknowledge that Samuel has not exploited them.


1Samuel 12:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

râtsats (ץ-צָר) [pronounced raw-TSAHTS]

to crush, to bruise, to oppress

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect; with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #7533 BDB #954


Translation: ...and you have not oppressed us;... Altogether, this gives us: And they said, “You have not exploited us and you have not oppressed us...” The response uses the exact same words that Samuel used, except with negatives. It is clear to those in this group that Samuel has never defrauded them in anyway.


1Samuel 12:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

to take, to take away, to take in marriage; to seize

2nd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

meûwmâh (הָמא מ) [pronounced me-oo-MAW]

 anything, and it is usually found in negative sentences; therefore, with the negative, it is often rendered nothing

indefinite singular pronoun/adverb

Strong’s #3972 BDB #548


Translation: ...you have not taken anything from [any] man’s hand.” The affirming testimony of the elders continues: “...and you have taken nothing from the hand of [any] man.” It is clear to the public that Samuel has been completely honest and fair with the Israelites. How many men could stand before their constituents or before their congregation and allow for such a public examination? How would you feel about all those who have known you standing before you judging you with respect to your character. You might be able to stand up to it, but quite frankly, I have known too many people and have made too many mistakes. I don’t know that I could survive such close public scrutiny. Samuel was a man of great faith and great integrity. He has lived his life in a glass house, so to speak. He has expressed the interests of his personal volition again and again from its earliest inklings. Still, he can stand before these men and ask them to come forward if he has cheated them in any way. What Samuel has achieved here is that he has gotten the men of Israel to acknowledge by oath that they had no grounds for dissatisfaction with Samuel’s administration, and, consequently, no well-founded reason for their request for a king. Footnote

 

As I have made clear, there are some exegetes who simply make my blood pressure rise because of the goofy things they say and the conclusions that they come to. And I have made no secret that Gnana Robinson is one of those. However, now and again he makes an observation which is unique and important. The religion of the Bible is a down-to-earth religion; it speaks about mundane things of the world here and now—stealing, defrauding, oppression, bribery, and corruption, and it does not speak about other-worldly eschatological things alone. Footnote


There are many times in the history of the church (and I am referring to any denomination now), where things would have been better if someone had simply stopped and said, “Is this moral? Is this righteous? Am I doing that which is right? Am I responding to this situation honorably?” The same questions which we should ask ourselves, those in the clergy should ask of themselves as well (and, quite obviously, there are pious men everywhere where such self-examination is at the forefront of their deliberations). Samuel is able to do this in a public forum and remain unscathed.


And he says to them, “Witness [is] Yehowah in you [all] and a witness [is] His anointed the day the this that you have not found in my hand anything.” And so he says, “Witness.”

1Samuel

12:5

And he said to them, “Yehowah [is] a witness against you and His anointed [is] a witness [against you] this day that you have not found anything in my hand.” And he [Saul] said, “Testimony [confirmed].” [or, “I am a witness to this.”]

Then he said to them, “Jehovah and His anointed are both witnesses against you that you have not found any illicit thing in my possession this day.” And they replied, “We are witnesses.” [or, Saul interjected, “I am a witness to this.”]


Here’s what has been done with v. 5:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And he says to them, “Witness [is] Yehowah in you [all] and a witness [is] His anointed the day the this that you have not found in my hand anything.” And so he says, “Witness.”

Septuagint                             And Samuel said to the people, “The Lord [is] a witness among you, and His anointed [is] a witness this day, that you [all] have not found anything in my hand.” And they said, “Witness.”

 

Significant differences: 


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Samuel said, “The Lord and his chosen king are witnesses to what you have said.” “That’s true,” they replied.

NLT                                        “The Lord and his anointed one are my witnesses,” Samuel declared, “that you can never accuse me of robbing you.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Samuel told them, “The Lord is a witness to what you’ve said, and his anointed king is a witness today that you’ve found nothing in my hands.” “He is a witness,” they answered.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He said to them, “The Lord then is witness, and His anointed is witness, to your admission [lit., against you] this day that you have found nothing in my possession.” They [Heb., he] responded, “He is!”



Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And he 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.”

Young's Updated LT              And he says unto them, “A witness is Jehovah against you; and a witness is His anointed this day, that you [all] have not found anything in my hand.” And they say, “A witness.”


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel says that Jehovah God is a witness to his testimony and to their mistake in demanding a king; also, even their king, God’s anointed, is a witness to this.


1Samuel 12:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied) with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳êd (דֵע) [pronounced ģayde]

witness, testimony, solemn testimony, evidence; a statement of truth, something which stands as a testimony or memorial to a fact (e

masculine singular noun

Strong's #5707 BDB #729

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88


Translation: And he said to them, “Yehowah [is] a witness against you... We have some minor discrepancies between the Greek and the Hebrew at first. However, what surprises me is that Young does not agree with the literal Hebrew (compare the JPS translation). We will sort that out when the time comes.


The first phrase, And he said to them, “Jehovah [is] a witness against you [all]...” does not mean that these people have done something wrong in their testimony to Samuel. Samuel is just saying that what they have said before God stands as a witness against them; his point is going to culminate in their mistaken notion that they need a king.


1Samuel 12:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳êd (דֵע) [pronounced ģayde]

witness, testimony, solemn testimony, evidence; a statement of truth, something which stands as a testimony or memorial to a fact (e

masculine singular noun

Strong's #5707 BDB #729

mâshîyach (-חי.שָמ) [pronounced maw-SHEE-ahkh]

anointed, anointed one, transliterated Messiah

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #4899 BDB #603

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260


Translation: ...and His anointed [is] a witness [against you] this day... The witness of God in heaven is supplemented by an earthly witness. Jehovah God is the heavenly witness to what these men have said; Saul is the earthly witness to what these men have said. The irony here is quite amusing—the people desire a king, which means that they have rejected Samuel and they have rejected God; and the earthly witness to all of this is the king they desire.


1Samuel 12:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

meûwmâh (הָמא מ) [pronounced me-oo-MAW]

 anything, and it is usually found in negative sentences; therefore, with the negative, it is often rendered nothing

indefinite singular pronoun/adverb

Strong’s #3972 BDB #548


Translation: ...that you have not found anything in my hand.” This is what God and Saul are witnesses to. The idea is, there is no evidence of any impropriety on Samuel’s part. Not finding something in Samuel’s hand means, there is no evidence of him doing anything which is unjust.


1Samuel 12:5d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

׳êd (דֵע) [pronounced ģayde]

witness, testimony, solemn testimony, evidence; a statement of truth, something which stands as a testimony or memorial to a fact (e

masculine singular noun

Strong's #5707 BDB #729


Translation: And he [Saul] said, “Testimony [confirmed].” [or, “I am a witness to this”]. Literally, this reads: And so he says, “Witness.” Witness, used by itself here, means an affirming testimony. Now, like everyone else, and as most have rendered this verse, I look at this and I am thinking that whatever group of people that Samuel is talking to (whether it is face to face with thousands of men or with a smaller delegation of men); whoever—these are the ones who respond to Samuel. They say, in so many words, “Our words are a witness to this.” However, the Hebrew has this as a masculine singular subject, Footnote which made me think, perhaps this is Saul’s contribution. He is affirming that he is a witness to this. Samuel just said, “And His anointed is witness this day...” That is a reference to Saul. Therefore, it is reasonable for Saul to interject, “I am a witness to this.” That is the gist of this latter portion of this verse. There are no contradictions of any sort. It is a simple matter of interpretation, and the Hebrew makes it more likely that Saul interjects that he is a witness, confirming what Samuel and the people have just said. The other alternatives are: (1) we have a spokesman for the men there answering Samuel. (2) There is an official who is making a transcript of what was said; or any other assistant of Samuel’s and he is the one who speaks. (3) The third option is that a copyist, at one time, went to write down what was here, but wrote down, by accident, the first and he says rather than and they said. This is a common error found in the Hebrew manuscripts. However, none of these alternatives ring as true as Saul simply affirming, as God’s anointed, what Samuel has said and the people have affirmed.


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Samuel Reminds Israel of God’s Faithfulness to Them in the Past


As we delve into the next several verses, we need to keep the following in the back of our minds: Israel, by asking for a king, has questioned God’s faithfulness. They have essentially said to Samuel that God was unable to continue to take care of them and therefore they needed a king to do what God was unable to do. Now, they certainly do not state their case like that—that would be the absolute wrong approach to take with Samuel. However, what they do is state why they need a king according to their human viewpoint, without making mention of God. What Samuel will do is give these men several illustrations of how God has faithfully taken care of Israel in the past; and then, to show them that this is the God Who is over them now, he will call for proof from God to let these men know that they have defied the Living God of Israel.


I must admit that I, as a young person, had very little interest in history. I was interested in the now; but mostly in myself and my own personal desires. As a young person, I had very little personal history; so history, I believed, did not concern me. As I have become older and just a little less egocentric, I recognize the importance and validity of history. In Samuel’s day and time, more people had a more profound respect for history; and Samuel—like Moses, like Joshua, and like Gideon—will now review Israel’s history so that they can get a clear understanding of God’s involvement in Israel’s history. The point is, the people can trust and depend upon their God. At the end of Samuel’s speaking, he will make it clear that, even though the people screwed up and required a king, still God was faithful to them and would remain faithful to them.


And so says Samuel unto the people, “Yehowah Who made Moses and Aaron and Who brought up your fathers out from a land of Egypt.

 1Samuel

12:6

Then Samuel said to the people, “Yehowah, Who fashioned Moses and Aaron and Who brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt.

Then Moses said, “Jehovah, Who appointed Moses and Aaron to their positions and brought your fathers up out of Egypt, also stands as a witness.


As we have seen several times before, Israel’s redemption history begins with the exodus (compare Acts 13:17). Here’s is how others have translated this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Samuel unto the people, “Yehowah Who made Moses and Aaron and Who brought up your fathers out from a land of Egypt.

Septuagint                             And Samuel spoke to the people, saying, The Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron [is] witness, who brought our fathers up out of Egypt.

 

Significant differences:          In the LXX, the idea is, Jehovah God is a witness as well; and in the Hebrew, this is not the emphasis. That Jehovah God is a witness is already found in v. 5. This begins a new section which deals with God’s faithfulness to Israel.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Then Samuel told them, The Lord brought your ancestors out of Egypt and chose Moses and Aaron to be your leaders.

NAB                                       Continuing, Samuel said to the people: “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron, and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt.

NLT                                        “It was the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron,” Samuel continued. “He brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt.

REB                                       Samuel said to the people, ‘The Lord is witness, the Lord who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your fathers up from Egypt. Footnote


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        Samuel said to the people, “The Lord [is witness], He who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           And Samuel said unto the people: ║Witness║ is Yahweh, who wrought with Moses and with Aaron, And who brought up your fathers out of the land of Egypt.

NASB                                     Then 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.

NRSV                                    Samuel said to the people, “The Lord is witness, who appointed Moses and Aaron and brought your ancestors up out of the land of Egypt.

Young's Updated LT              And Samuel says unto the people, “Jehovah—He who made Moses and Aaron, and who brought up your fathers out of the land of Egypt!


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel begins talking about Jehovah God, who sent Moses and Aaron to the people and brought them up out of Egypt.


1Samuel 12:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied) with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: Then Samuel said to the people,... As you may gather from the other translators, this appears to be a rather simple verse. There are some nuances, however. We begin with and so says Samuel unto the people.


1Samuel 12:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Mosheh (ה∵שֹמ) [pronounced moh-SHEH]

to draw out [of the water] and is transliterated Moses

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #4872 BDB #602

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Ahărôn (ןֹרֲה-א) [pronounced ah-huh-ROHN]

transliterated Aaron

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #175 BDB #14


Translation:...“Yehowah, Who fashioned Moses and Aaron... The confusing part of this verse is the relative pronoun (which will also occur once more in the second half of the verse). Here is what we have so far: And Samuel then said to the people, “Jehovah, Who fashioned Moses and Aaron...” We generally use a relative pronoun when we introduce a subordinate clause. We expect to have already had the main verb or to soon introduce the main verb. However, we do not have that here.


However, in the Greek, prior to the word Lord, we have the word witness. The Hebrew feels unfinished in this verse; the addition of the word witness completes this verse: “Jehovah, Who fashioned Moses and Aaron, [is] a witness,...” This does not mean that this word dropped out of the Hebrew by accident; there is enough inference in this and the previous verse for witness to be inserted by the principal of ellipsis—at least in the eyes of the translators of the Greek Septuagint. Footnote I see this instead as a new topic, one which deals with the faithfulness of God. However, the problem with my view is, the two relative pronouns which clamor for a main verb. Some deal with this by adding it is to beginning of this sentence: “It is Yehowah Who fashioned Moses and Aaron...”


1Samuel 12:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

Although this is written as a wâw consecutive in the Masoretic text (I checked two sources), Owen calls it a wâw conjunction. Furthermore, it is in a place where we would expect a wâw conjunction. The difference is the vowel point, which was added by the Masoretes long after the first advent of Christ.

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to cause to go up, to lead up, to take up, to bring up

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Mitzerayim (ם̣י-רצ̣מ) [pronounced mits-RAH-yim]

Egypt, Egyptians

proper noun

Strong’s #4714 BDB #595


Translation: ...and Who brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt, [is witness]. Or, “...and [it is Jehovah God] Who brought your fathers up out from the land of Egypt.” God, through Micah, testified to this many years later in Micah 6:4: “Indeed, I brought you up from the land of Egypt and ransomed you from the house of slaves. And I sent before you Moses, Aaron and Miriam.”

 

Barnes writes: Samuel’s purpose is to impress the people with the conviction that Jehovah 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 (v. 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 iv. 8, vi. 6). Footnote


If you read the correct translation of this verse from the Hebrew, it appears to be incomplete. Even with the addition of the word witness from the Greek, it appears to be discombobulated. This is because, in the English, we tend to place our participles first and our main verb last; this is because the action of the participle is coterminous with or precedes the action of the main verb. We need that main verb. Being the chronologically-oriented people that we are, we put our sentences together in that same way—the action which occurs first is the action which comes first in the sentence. Since we do not have a main verb, in either the Greek or the Hebrew, we will need to insert the verb to be. Furthermore, to place everything in the order that we would expect it to be, we need to move the word witness to the end of the verse. Therefore, in the English, the entire verse would read: And Samuel then said to the people, “Jehovah, Who fashioned Moses and Aaron, and Who brought your fathers up out from the land of Egypt—[it is He who stands as] a witness.”


Now, it may appear as though Samuel is repeating himself, but he is not. He is not simply re-emphasizing that Jehovah God is a witness to this testimony of his character. Samuel’s point is this: this is not the witness of some god who is represented by an idol, but this is the living Jehovah God who chose Moses and Aaron to lead the people out of Egypt. This is a God Who is alive and operates in the life of Israel. Later on in this chapter, Samuel will make it clear that this same God is still a part of the history and function of Israel.


Bear in mind, this is one interpretation of the meaning here. I think it more properly reads: And Samuel then said to the people, “It is Jehovah, Who fashioned Moses and Aaron, and Who brought your fathers up out from the land of Egypt.” Samuel is certainly going on to a different topic; the word witness simply allows us to relate this back to what has already been said. The addition of the words it is allows this verse to stand on its own, apart from what has gone before.


And now take a stand and I may be judged with you to faces of Yehowah with all [the] righteous acts of Yehowah which He has done with you and with your fathers.

1Samuel

12:7

Now, therefore, take a stand, that I may be judged with you before Yehowah [and I will declare] the righteous acts of Yehowah which He has done among you and among your fathers.

Now, therefore, take a stand, that I may be judged along with you before Jehovah in connection with the righteous acts which Jehovah has done before you and your fathers.


Here is how v. 7 is handled by others:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And now take a stand and I may be judged with you to faces of Yehowah with all [the] righteous acts of Yehowah which He has done with you and with your fathers.

Septuagint                             And now stand still, and I will judge you before the Lord; and I will relate to you all the righteousness of the Lord; the things which He has done among you and your fathers.

 

Significant differences:          The additional phrase found in the Greek is not found in the Hebrew, Syriac or Latin. However, it does not significantly change the meaning of this verse.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Now the Lord will be your judge. So stand here and listen, while I remind you how often the Lord has saved you and your ancestors from your enemies.

NLT                                        Now stand here quietly before the Lord as I remind you of all the great things the Lord has done for you and your ancestors.

REB                                       Now stand up, and here in the presence of the Lord I shall put the case against you and recite all the victories which he has won for you and for your forefathers.

TEV                                       Now stand where you are, and I will accuse you before the Lord by reminding you of all the mighty actions the Lord did to save you and your ancestors. [by reminding you is according to one ancient translation] Footnote


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Now, stand up while I put you on trial in front of the Lord and cite all the righteous things the Lord did for you and your ancestors.

JPS (Tanakh)                        Come, stand before the Lord while I cite against you all the kindnesses that the Lord has done to you and your fathers.

NIV                                        Now then, stand here, because I am going to confront you with evidence before the Lord, as to all the righteous acts performed by the Lord for you and your fathers.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           ║Now║ therefore take your stand and let me plead with you, before Yahweh,—and tell you all the righteous acts of Yahweh, which he wrought with you and with your fathers;... [Rotherham sticks with the Septuagint here, saying that the Masoretic text is difficult]

NASB                                     “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.

NRSV                                    Now therefore take your stand, so that I may enter into judgment with you before the Lord, and I will declare to you all the saving deeds of the Lord that he performed for you and for your ancestors.

Owen                                     Now therefore stand still that I may plead with you before Yahweh concerning all the saving deeds of Yahweh which He performed for you and for your fathers.

Young's Updated LT              And now, station yourselves, and I judge you before Jehovah, with all the righteous acts of Jehovah, which He did with you and with your fathers.


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel tells the people to listen while he puts forth the case of Jehovah as their proper ruler and king; Samuel will recount the faithfulness of Jehovah in all that He has done for Israel.


The NIV (and to a lesser extent, the REB and the NRSV) have captured the gist of this verse. Samuel wants these men to take a moment and concentrate one what he is about to say. He is going to present evidence to prove that the God of their fathers is the God Who is taking care of them today. Now, we will set the gist of the verse aside for a moment and delve into the exegesis of it.


This may appear to be a fairly simple verse, but it is one of the most difficult that we will run into in this book of Samuel. The key, I believe to this verse, is Samuel’s limited vocabulary and his emotional involvement in what he is saying. We have him using one particular word in three different ways, which causes a translator some problems (the Greek may help to partially straighten this out). Since the word êth is found four times in this verse, we ought to first take a careful look at the word in question; therefore, you need to examine The Doctrine of êth.


1Samuel 12:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

yâtsab (בַצָי) [pronounced yaw-TSAHBV]

to set oneself [in a place], to take a stand

2nd person masculine plural, Hithpael imperative

Strong’s #3320 BDB #426

The Hithpael imperative is translated variously as station yourselves, stand still, take your stand, stand up, stand here.


Translation: Now, therefore, take a stand,... Although Samuel has just finished justifying his own authority and integrity in the past, he still has more to say. Perhaps the crowd began to get a little restless, thinking that Samuel was done speaking, I don’t know. But here, Samuel tells them to stand still for a moment and he will explain to them their own history.


1Samuel 12:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâphaţ (טַפָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT]

to be judged; to litigate, to contend; to enter into controversy [with], to plead [a case, or with]

1st person singular, Niphal imperfect; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #8199 BDB #1047

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 2nd person plural suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of.

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

 

Translation: ...that I may be judged with you before Yehowah... In this portion of v. 7, we have the 1st person singular, Niphal imperfect (with a voluntative hê) of shâphaţ (ט ַפ ָש) [pronounced shaw-FAHT], which means to judge, to govern. The Niphal can (1) indicate that the verb is to be used in the passive sense (to be judged); however,

What Samuel is asking them to do is to stand with him before God as if they were on trial, and Samuel will review the evidence of God’s faithfulness, which they doubt.

the Niphal can also (2) refer to an action in a state of progress or development; therefore we add in the word being. Finally, the Niphal (3) can express adjectival ideas and, in plural forms, stress the individual effect upon each member of the group. According to Gesenius, shâphaţ in the Niphal, means to litigate. According to BDB, in the Niphal, shâphaţ means to enter into controversy, to plead. This gives us: “Now, therefore, take a stand and I will be judged with you before Jehovah...” Interestingly enough, none of the translators render this verb in its most simple passive form. The reason that they do not will become more clear as we move along in this verse. Samuel is still a bit miffed that the Israelites have demanded a king. Here, they will have a king, but he sets them up to be judged along with himself before God. What Samuel is asking them to do is to stand with him before God as if they were on trial, and Samuel will review the evidence of God’s faithfulness, which they doubt.


1Samuel 12:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

with a plural noun, it is rendered all of, all; any of

masculine singular construct with a plural noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

tsedâqâh (ה ָק ָד  ׃צ) [pronounced tsedaw-KAW]

righteousnesses, executed righteousnesses and justice, righteous acts, righteous vindication

feminine plural construct

Strong’s #6666 BDB #842

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation:...[and I will declare] the righteous acts of Yehowah... Or, “...[along] with all the righteous acts of Jehovah...” Note that in the Greek (which is followed by the NRSV and the REB), we have something along the lines of “Now, therefore, take a stand and I will be judged with you before Jehovah, and I will declare all the righteous acts of Jehovah...” With the insertion of this verb of declaration, we are no longer troubled by the sign of the direct object, which would naturally follow such a verb. You see, the direct object calls out for a main verb somewhere.


1Samuel 12:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ăsher (רשֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳âsâh (הָָע) [pronounced ģaw-SAWH]

to do, to make, to construct, to fashion, to form, to prepare

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #6213 BDB #793

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 2nd person plural suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object)

Strong's #854 BDB #85

âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3


Translation: ...which He has done among you and among your fathers. The NIV Study Bible comments: These righteous acts (see vv. 8–11) demonstrate the constancy of the Lord’s covenant faithfulness toward his people in the past and, by way of contrast, serve as an indictment of their present apostasy. Footnote


Essentially, Samuel is telling those present to stop for a moment and take stock of what has occurred. They have admitted to the integrity of Samuel. Here, Samuel says, “Stop, now lets allow ourselves to be judged together before God in view of the righteous acts of God.” In the desert wilderness and in the times of the judges, the fathers of those standing there witnessed God’s faithfulness. At this point in time, these men themselves had witnessed their own victory over the Ammonites, of whom they would have been afraid had Saul not led them into battle. Samuel will now give these men examples, but most of his examples will deal with the judges who have delivered Israel. His point is that, God is still in charge; given the Ammonite situation, God would have still provided a judge and deliverer for Israel (which would have been Saul) and there was no reason for them to have gotten panicked to the point of demanding a king.


The NIV Study Bible points out an important shift in these verses. Samuel, in the first several verses, stood before the people and suggested several areas where he could have been remiss in his duties to Israel and he asked the people to judge him before God. In these verses, there is a role reversal. Now he asks them to judge God’s faithfulness to Israel. If he, Samuel, was not unfaithful to Israel, then perhaps Jehovah God has been unfaithful to Israel. Then Samuel covers a very abbreviated history of God’s dealings with Israel. Footnote The idea is thus: “You people have requested a king? Is this because I have been unfaithful or unethical in my dealings with you? Then, how about God—do you have evidence that He has been unfaithful in His dealings with you?”


What will follow in vv. 8–11 will be a list of historical reasons why Israel cannot fault God for being unfaithful or inattentive. In these verses, Samuel will give two sets of reasons to affirm God’s faithfulness. (1) The most commonly cited indication that God functions with His great power on behalf of Israel is the exodus. God took a large handful of Israelites (i.e., the sons of Israel) to Egypt, and, when Egypt exploited them by slavery, God sent Moses and Aaron to take them out of Egypt and to bring them to the Land of Promise (which story is the bulk of the narrative found in Exodus through Joshua). (2) Cited less often is God’s involvement with Israel post-inhabitation of Palestine. However, Samuel names several examples from the times of the judges (which is continuing even until now, in the context of our chapter, as Samuel is a judge—1Sam. 7:15–17). What we will find in vv. 9–11 is proof positive that God remains active in the life of Israel.


According as went Jacob [and his sons] [into] Egypt [and so Egypt oppressed them] and so cries our [Heb., your] fathers unto Yehowah and so sends Yehowah Moses and Aaron and so they bring forth our [Heb., your] fathers from Egypt and so they cause them to dwell in the place the this.

1Samuel

12:8

For example, Jacob went down to Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, then our fathers cried out to Yehowah so [that] Yehowah sent Moses and Aaron to bring [lit., and they bring] our fathers out of Egypt and to cause them to live [lit., and they cause them to dwell] in this place.

For example, after Jacob went down to Egypt, your fathers later cried out to Jehovah because of their hardships and Egyptian oppression. Jehovah, therefore, sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out from Egypt and brought them to this place.


Let’s see how others have dealt with this verse:


Ancient texts:


 

Masoretic Text                       According as went Jacob [into] Egypt and so cries your fathers unto Yehowah and so sends Yehowah Moses and Aaron and so they bring forth your fathers from Egypt and so they cause them to dwell in the place the this. In the most literal text above, I included the Greek text in brackets.

Septuagint                             When Jacob and his sons went into Egypt, and Egypt humbled them, then our fathers cried to the Lord, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron; and they brought our fathers out of Egypt, and He made them to dwell in this place.

 

Significant differences:          In the MT, it is your fathers as verses our fathers in the Greek. Furthermore, the Greek adds a few details—that Jacob went into Egypt with his sons and that Egypt humbled them. As usual, the Syriac and Latin are in agreement with the Hebrew. However, the Greek has important details, albeit minor, which appear to better hold this verse together.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       After Jacob went to Egypt, your ancestors cried out to the Lord for help, and he sent Moses and Aaron. They led your ancestors out of Egypt and had them settle in this land.

NLT                                        “When the Israelites were in Egypt and cried out to the Lord, he sent Moses and Aaron to rescue them from Egypt and to bring them into this land.

REB                                       After Jacob and his sons had gone down to Egypt and suffered at the hands of the Egyptians, your forefathers appealed to the Lord for help, and he sent Moses and Aaron, who brought them out of Egypt and settled them in this place.

TEV                                       When Jacob and his family went to Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, your ancestors cried to the Lord for help, and he sent Moses and Aaron, who brought them out of Egypt and settled them in this land. [and the Egyptians oppressed them comes from an ancient translation—it is not found in the Hebrew]


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         When you ancestors went with Jacob to Egypt [and were oppressed], they cried out to the Lord, who sent Moses and Aaron to bring them our of Egypt. The Lord settled them in this place.

JPS (Tanakh)                        “When Jacob came to Egypt, your fathers cried out to the Lord, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           How that <when Jacob had come into Egypt,—and your fathers had made outcry unto Yahweh> then Yahweh sent Moses and Aaron and they brought forth your fathers’ out of Egypt, and he caused them to dwell in this place.

NASB                                     “When Jacob went into Egypt and your fathers cried out to the Lord, then the Lord sent Moses and Aaron who brought [lit., and they brought] your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place.

NRSV                                    When Jacob went into Egypt and the Egyptians oppressed them, then your ancestors cried to the Lord and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who brought forth your ancestors out of Egypt, and settled them in this place.

Young's Updated LT              “When Jacob had come in to Egypt, and your fathers cry to Jehovah, then Jehovah sends Moses and Aaron, and they bring out your fathers from Egypt, and cause them to dwell in this place,...



What is the gist of this verse? Samuel now reminds Israel of God’s faithfulness to them. He begins by telling them about their predecessors who lived in Egypt, whom the Lord brought out by the hand of Moses and Aaron.


1Samuel 12:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kaăsher (ר ש ֲא ַ) [pronounced kah-uh-SHER] means as which, as one who, as, like as, just as; because; according to what manner. I’ve rendered this for example.

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Ya׳ăqôb (בֹקֲע-י) [pronounced yah-ģuh-KOHBV]

supplanter; insidious, deceitful; to circumvent and is transliterated Jacob

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3290 BDB #784

The Greek adds here and the sons of his (or, and his sons).

Mitzerayim (ם̣י-רצ̣מ) [pronounced mits-RAH-yim]

Egypt, Egyptians

proper noun; pausal form

Strong’s #4714 BDB #595


Translation: For example, Jacob went down to Egypt... Or, more precisely: “According as, Jacob went to Egypt...” Now, in my opinion, what Samuel is doing now is giving an example. He’s emotionally stirred up and it is possible that the words here are not used with complete linguistic correctness. We might better understand this as reading: “For example, Jacob went to Egypt...”


The Greek adds and his sons after the word Jacob. “For example, Jacob and his sons went to Egypt...” This is probably the correct text. Most of this verse cannot be read in the Dead Sea Scrolls; however, there is enough space where the text should be to indicate that the expanded version that we find in the Greek is the more accurate text.


We do not know how much detail Samuel will go into here. Samuel is famous in his recollections for leaving out a great deal of detail, particularly when it comes to what he has said. Therefore, it would not be out of character for Samuel to spend 10 minutes on God’s faithfulness in the exodus while speaking to these men, but to record just the barest outline of what he said here in Scripture. Furthermore, since the exodus is mentioned so many times throughout Scripture, including several descriptions in the psalms, God the Holy Spirit knows that we do not need a full dissertation right here.


1Samuel 12:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

The Greek adds in here: ...and humbles them Egypt... or ...and Egypt humbled them...

Although we do not find this verse fully reproduced in the Dead Sea Scrolls, there is enough spacing found in the damaged manuscript to indicate that the expanded text of the Greek is probably the correct text.

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

zâ׳aq (ק ַע ָז) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out, to call, to cry

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

This reads our fathers in the Greek.

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...and the Egyptians oppressed them, then our fathers cried out to Yehowah...


At this point, the Greek also adds and the Egyptians oppressed them or and Egypt humbled them. Again, this is likely the most accurate text.


Both the Greek and Hebrew then read: “...and then your fathers cried out to Yehowah...” This is one of the most commonly quoted incidents from the early history of the Jews. The Jews were in a hopeless, helpless situation. They were slaves to the Egyptians and forced to work impossible hours under impossible circumstances. The idea that anything could take them out of this seemed improbable. However, with God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:26).


1Samuel 12:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Mosheh (ה∵שֹמ) [pronounced moh-SHEH]

to draw out [of the water] and is transliterated Moses

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #4872 BDB #602

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Ahărôn (ןֹרֲה-א) [pronounced ah-huh-ROHN]

transliterated Aaron

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #175 BDB #14


Translation: ...so [that] Yehowah sent Moses and Aaron... Nothing gets done apart from leadership. You may hate the authority over you or dislike authority in general, but Israel was not going anywhere apart from God leading them through Moses and Aaron.


One indication that a nation is going down is that they begin to lose authority orientation as a whole. Now, there are always some who have problems with authority orientation (I will admit that this is certainly not one of my strong points); however, when a significant portion of a nation’s youth lacks this authority orientation, then that nation is in for a fall.


God does not operate through mobs. God does not gather together a group of people and inspire them to do what is in their hearts. Satan does that. God organizes a group of people and places them under authority in order to guide them into His will. Without the authority figures Moses and Aaron, there would be no exodus. Now, Israel may have rioted, and there may have been a great loss of life on both sides, and the Jews might have destroyed a great deal of property; but God would not have been in it. There must be authoritative leadership.


1Samuel 12:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to cause to go out, to lead out, to bring out, to carry out, to draw out, to take out; [of money:] to put forth, to lay out, to exact; to promulgate; to produce

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

This reads our fathers in the Greek.

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Mitzerayim (ם̣י-רצ̣מ) [pronounced mits-RAH-yim]

Egypt, Egyptians

proper noun

Strong’s #4714 BDB #595


Translation: ...to bring [lit., and they bring] our fathers out of Egypt... Literally, “...and they brought your fathers out of Egypt...” This is the story of the first half of the book of Exodus, edited somewhat here. Again, I suspect that Samuel went into much greater detail than we see here.


1Samuel 12:8e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to cause to remain [stay, inhabit, sit, dwell]; to cause [a woman] to live [with someone]; to cause [a land] to be inhabited

3rd person masculine plural, Hiphil imperfect; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

mâqôwm (םקָמ) [pronounced maw-KOHM]

place, situated; for a soldier, it may mean where he is stationed; for people in general, it would be their place of abode (which could be their house or their town)

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4725 BDB #879

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective with the definite article

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260


Translation: ...and to cause them to live [lit., and they cause them to dwell] in this place. Literally, “...and they caused them to dwell in this place.” This is principally the books of Exodus, Numbers and Joshua (there is some movement in the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, but not as much).


The theme of what Samuel will say to the people is that when the Jews called out to God, God answered them and provided for them. Now, although what God did in the exodus is often recounted, and it is likely that the Israelites have heard this illustration many times. In fact, some of them might be rolling their eyes right now, saying, yeah, I just want to hear about Moses and Aaron one more time. But then Samuel takes this further and gives Israel a more up-to-date accounting of God’s provisions. He continues with God’s provision into the time of the judges. In fact, the next three verses will be a summary of the book of Judges (or, at least the first 16 chapters).


And so they forget Yehowah their God and so He sells them in a hand of Sisera commander of [the] army of [Greek inserts, Jabin, king of] Hazor and in a hand of Philistines and in a hand of a king of Moab. And so they fight in them.

1Samuel

12:9

But they forgot Yehowah their God so that He sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Jabin, king of Hazor; and into the hand of the Philistines; and into the hand of the king of Moab. Therefore, they engaged in war with them.

They had forgotten Jehovah their God so that he finally sold them into the hands of Sisera, the commander-in-chief for the army of King Jabin of Hazor; the Philistines; and the king of Moab. Therefore, they were forced to go to war with them.


First, let’s see what others have done with this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they forget Yehowah their God and so He sells them in a hand of Sisera commander of [the] army of Hazor and in a hand of Philistines and in a hand of a king of Moab. And so they fight in them.

Septuagint                             And they forgot the Lord their God, and He sold them into the hands of Sisera, captain of the host of Jabis, king of Asor, and into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the king of Moab; and He fought with them.

 

Significant differences:          Who Sisera is the commander of the army for is different in the Hebrew and Greek. The Syriac and Latin are in agreement with the Hebrew. Note that there is not actually a difference here, except that, apparently some of the words dropped out of the Hebrew manuscript. Hazor = Azor. Jabin’s name simply was lost in the Hebrew.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       But your ancestors forgot the Lord, so he let them be defeated by the Philistines, the king of Moab, and Sisera, the commander of Hazor’s army.

NLT                                        But the people soon forgot about the Lord their God, so he let them be conquered by Sisera, the general of Hazor’s army, and by the Philistines and the king of Moab.

REB                                       But they forgot the Lord their God, and he abandoned them to Sisera, commander-in-chief of King Jabin of Hazor, to the Philistines, and to the eking of Moab, and they had to fight against them.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         But they forgot the Lord their God. So he handed them over to Sisera, who was the commander of the army of Hazor, to the Philistines, and to the king of Moab. All of them fought against you ancestors.

JPS (Tanakh)                        But they forgot the Lord their God; so He delivered them into the hands of Sisera the military commander of Hazor, into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the king of Moab; and these made war upon them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           And <when they forgat Yahweh their God> he sold them into the hand of Sisera, prince of the host of Jabin, king of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them;...

NASB                                     “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.

NRSV                                    But they forgot the Lord their God; and he sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of King Jabin of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab; and they fought against them.

Young's Updated LT              ...and they forget Jehovah their God, and He sells them into the hand of Sisera, head of the host of Hazor, and into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fight against them,...


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel, a judge, begins to remind these Israelites of God delivering them when they were a true theocracy under various judges. He first mentions how Israel was under the thumb of Sisera, the Philistines and the king of Moab.


1Samuel 12:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâkach (ח ַכ ָש) [pronounced shaw-KAHKH]

to forget; to forget and leave

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7911 BDB #1013

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: But they forgot Yehowah their God... This is the story of the Israelites in a nutshell. They forgot Jehovah their God. Throughout the book of the Judges, this was the repeated theme. Actually, there are two interrelated themes. Most of the book of Judges deals with Israel’s international relations, whereas, the final few chapters deals with domestic issues. In the final few chapters of the book of Judges (not in view here), we read the phrase and the people did what was right in their own eyes. However, in the bulk of this book, God allowed Israel to be oppressed again and again by this or that foreign power, because they continually forgot the Lord their God.


Before we examine Samuel’s recollection of the incidents from the book of the Judges, we should get a brief overview of this book ourselves:

The Book of the Judges—Domestic Issues (Judges 17–21)

The book of the Judges only records two historical incidents, both of which indicate the state of degeneracy within the nation Israel. Both of these incidents probably took place during the early portion of Israel’s history.

Israel was to conquer the land which God gave them, and the tribe of Dan was smack dab in the middle of Israel on the western side of west Israel. This made them prime targets for Philistine aggression. In fact, time and time again, we see the Philistines push through the territory of Dan in order to drive a wedge between northern and southern Israel (which was possibly one of the causes for the split in the nation Israel).

Instead of rising to the occasion; instead of banding with his brothers; Dan moved northward and destroyed a peaceful people far in the north of Israel and took their land. They also fell into idolatry up there, taking a graven image from a degenerate Levite in Judges 17.

The second incident recorded in the book of the Judges is about the degenerate tribe of Benjamin. They were a sexually charged people (some of them, anyway) who often preyed on innocent victims who traveled through their land. They first wanted to violate a Levite male who was spending the night there, but settled for his mistress, whom they repeatedly raped until she died (Judges 19).

This incident so horrified the rest of Israel, yet caused the tribe of Benjamin to stand behind these degenerate perverts. Israel brought in troops against Benjamin and almost completely wiped them out. When they realized what they had almost done, and when they knew that no woman from any of their cities should be involved with the tribe of Benjamin, the other tribes knew they had to do something to preserve the tribe of Benjamin. One city did not participate in this attack: Jabesh Gilead (do you recall 1Sam. 11?). So, Israel destroyed the male population of this city for not joining them, and then put their females with the few remaining males of the tribe of Benjamin in order to preserve the tribe of Benjamin (Judges 20–21).

Of course, you the reader, should be thinking, none of this makes any sense; their actions seem to be so mixed up. This is because every man did what was right in his own eyes. That is the theme of the final 5 chapters of the book of the Judges—the domestic issues.

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However, what is in view in Samuel’s message is God’s dealing with the faithlessness of Israel throughout the time of the Judges.

The Book of the Judges—Foreign Relations (Judges 3–16)

And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals. And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt. They went after other gods, from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them. And they provoked the LORD to anger. They abandoned the LORD and served the Baals and the Ashtaroth. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies. Whenever they marched out, the hand of the LORD was against them for harm, as the LORD had warned, and as the LORD had sworn to them. And they were in terrible distress. Then the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they whored after other gods and bowed down to them. They soon turned aside from the way in which their fathers had walked, who had obeyed the commandments of the LORD, and they did not do so. Whenever the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them. But whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he said, "Because this people have transgressed my covenant that I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not." So the LORD left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua (Judges 2:11–23).

Or, to summarize:

1.    Israel did that which was wrong in the sight of God and began to worship other gods.

2.    God allowed surrounding nations to come in and plunder and oppress Israel, the idea being, if you want to serve their gods, then maybe you should serve the people of those gods.

3.    Israel would cry out to God for deliverance. Here is what we should focus on: the Jews were completely unworthy and undeserving, yet God, time after time, would come and deliver them.

4.    God would raise up a judge to lead Israel in war. This judge would throw off the shackles of the nation who oppressed them.

5.    Often Israel would enjoy a time of spiritual refreshment, both during and after this deliverance.

6.    Then, this cycle would begin all over again.

This will be Samuel’s topic for the next couple verses. He is going to mention what the Jews faced by way of international threats, and the judges which God raised in order to quell these threats. His point is, God always was faithful; God always raised up a man to deliver Israel. This was very recent history and all of the elders standing there listening to Samuel knew these things were true.

I believe that Samuel went into much greater detail than what we find here in 1Sam. 12:9–11.

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What is not in view here is the Book of Ruth, which took place during the time of the Judges. This is one of the very few bright spots of this degenerate age, and so, this book is separate from the book of the Judges.


1Samuel 12:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

mâkar (ר-כ ָמ) [pronounced maw-KAHR]

to sell, to sell [betroth] [a daughter]; to sell [deliver over] [a people]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4376 BDB #569

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

Çîyçerâ (אָר סי .ס) [pronounced seese-RAW]

battle array [according to BDB]; and is transliterated Sisera

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5516 BDB #696

sar (ר ַ) [pronounced sar]

chieftain, chief, ruler, official, captain, prince, leader, commander

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8269 BDB #978

tsâbâ (א ָב ָצ) [pronounced tsawb-VAW]

army, war, or warfare

masculine singular construct

Strong's #6635 DB #838

Iabis (Ίαβὶς) [pronounced ee-ah-BEECE]

which is translated Jabis, Jabin

indeclinable proper noun

Strong’s #none

basileus (βασιλεύς) [pronounced bahs-ee-loose]

leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king

masculine singular noun; genitive/ablative case

Strong’s #935

This makes more sense for these couple words to be found in the original text. It gives us a more complete background.

Châtsôr (רֹצ ָח or רצ ָח) [pronounced khaw-SOHR]

enclosure, court, settled abode, settlement, village; transliterated Hazor

proper noun; location

Strong’s #2674 BDB #347

Châtsôr comes from an Hebrew word meaning enclosure, court, settled abode, settlement, village; therefore, we should expect to see this particular name in several places referring to several different cities, which is the way the find it; transliterated Hazor


Translation: ...so that He sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Jabin, king of Hazor;... In the Hebrew, this reads: “...so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor;...” The Septuagint mentions both of the leaders who menaced Israel. In the Greek, we have: “...so He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of King Jabin of Hazor;...” What Samuel will do is list several powerful men and/or countries who menaced Israel. We studied Sisera and Jabin back in Judges 4.


Hazor was a city in northern Naphtali, 12 miles north of the Sea of Chinnereth (later known as the Sea of Galilee). The Canaanites lived side by side the Israelites in the land, because they had not been completely destroyed and because God chose to leave them in the land to test and discipline Israel (Judges 1:27–36 2:20–23). Hazor was one of their many strongholds and King Jabin was looking to expand his land holdings and increase his slave labor. He ruled over northern Israel for 20 years and eventually he and his commander-in-chief Sisera were defeated by Deborah and Barak (see Judges 4–5).


1Samuel 12:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

Pelishetîy (י. ש ̣ל) [pronounced pe-lish-TEE]

transliterated Philistines

masculine plural gentilic adjective (acts like a proper noun)

Strong’s #6430 BDB #814


Translation: ...and into the hand of the Philistines;... The Philistines were a continual thorn in the side of Israel. They lived along the western coast of the Land of Promise, along the Mediterranean Sea, and they continually encroached upon the land which was held by the Israelites. Interestingly enough, God did not put a savior in Israel to drive out the Philistines, but He gave them someone who became a thorn in their side. The Philistines are mentioned in Judges 3:31 10:7 13:1–16:31. Their presence was felt even to the time of Samuel (1Sam. 4–7 13–14 17) and beyond (1Sam. 27–29 31). Their mention catches the attention of even the most hardened of heart.


1Samuel 12:9d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

Môâb (בָאֹמ) [pronounced moh-AWBV]; also Môwâb (בָאמ) [pronounced moh-AWBV]

transliterated Moab

Masculine proper noun; gentis and territory

Strong’s #4124 BDB #555


Translation: ...and into the hand of the king of Moab. As these conquerors of Israel come to Samuel, he names them. They are not in any particular order. Recall the Moab and Ammon are the incest-begotten sons of Lot through his two daughters. Moab was located directly below Reuben, east of the southern half of the Dead Sea. Eglon, the King of Moab, collected tribute from eastern and central Israel early in the time of the judges (see Judges 3:12–30). Israel has just defeated Ammon, and now Samuel looks back and mentions Moab.


These three groups mentioned by Samuel—Sisera and his army, the Philistines, and the king of Moab—are examples of the various nations which persecuted Israel from without and within. Barnes discusses the time frame of these groups, saying that the oppression of Sisera appears to have occurred prior to that of Eglon, despite their order in Judges. Footnote However, there is no reason to assume that Samuel is naming these various nations in order of their aggressions against Israel. Again, recall that Jews of that time thought thematically rather than chronologically. Given the time frames alluded to several times in the book of Judges, we would more reasonably conclude that the book of the Judges was in chronological order (although the wars with the Ammonites and Philistines appear to be coterminous).


1Samuel 12:9e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

lâcham (םַחָל) [pronounced law-KHAHM]

to engage in battle, to engage in war, to wage war; to fight, to battle

3rd person masculine plural, Niphal imperfect

Strong’s #3898 BDB #535

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity; with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #none BDB #88


Translation: Therefore, they engaged in war with them. The book of judges is a witness to God’s faithfulness to Israel at a time when Israel was faithless. This illustrates the point that Samuel is making. Samuel simply names three groups of people who attacked Israel during the Israel’s most recent history.


And so they cry unto Yehowah and so they say, ‘We have sinned for we have forsaken Yehowah and so we serve the Baalim and the Ashtaroth—and now deliver us from a hand of our enemies and we will serve You.’

1Samuel

12:10

So they cried out to Yehowah and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken Yehowah and have served the Baalim and the Ashtaroth. Therefore, deliver us from the hand of our enemies and we will serve You.’

So they cried out to Jehovah, saying, ‘We have sinned in that we forsook Jehovah God and instead serve the Baals and the Ashtaroth. Therefore, please deliver us from the hand of our enemies and we will return to serving You.’


Here is what others have done with this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they cry unto Yehowah and so they say, ‘We have sinned for we have forsaken Yehowah and so we serve the Baalim and the Ashtaroth—and now deliver us from a hand of our enemies and we will serve You.’

Septuagint                             And they cried to the Lord, and said, “We have sinned, for we have forsaken the Lord and have serve Baalim and the groves. And now deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.”

 

Significant differences:          None.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       And again your ancestors cried out to the Lord for help. They said, “We have sinned! We stopped worshiping you, our Lord, and started worshiping Baal and Ashtarte. But now, if you rescue us from our enemies, we will worship you.”

NLT                                        “Then they cried to the Lord again and confessed, ‘We have sinned by turning away from the Lord and worshiping the images of Baal and Ashtoreth. But we will worship you and you alone if you will rescue us from our enemies.’

TEV                                       Then they cried to the Lord for help and said, ‘We have sinned, because we turned away from you, Lord, and worshiped the idols of Baal and Astarte. Rescue us from our enemies, and we will worship you!’



Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         Then they cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned. We have abandoned the Lord and served other gods and goddesses—the Baals and the Astartes. But rescue us from our enemies now, and we will serve you.’

JPS (Tanakh)                        They cried to the Lord, ‘We are guilty, for we have forsaken the Lord and worshiped the Baalim and the Ashtaroth. Oh, deliver us from our enemies and we will serve You.’


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “And they cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken the Lord and have serve the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve Thee.’

Young's Updated LT              “...and they cry unto Jehovah, and say, ‘We have sinned, because we have forsaken Jehovah, and serve the Baalim and Ashtaroth, and now, deliver us out of the hand of our enemies, and we will serve You.”


What is the gist of this verse? Samuel is still speaking and he remind Israel of what she has promised God, “Deliver us from our enemies and we will serve you, and forsake our religious idolatry.”


1Samuel 12:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

zâ׳aq (ק ַע ָז) [pronounced zaw-ĢAHK]

to cry out, to call, to cry

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2199 BDB #277

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: So they cried out to Yehowah... This happened over and over again. One question which many people have is, why is there pain and suffering in this world? Of course, the most basic reason is, we have old sin natures and we manage to bring much of this upon ourselves; a second reason is, the earth is the primary battleground for the angelic conflict, so we should expect casualties to litter the landscape. However, even more important than these two reasons is, some people will not turn to God apart from suffering. From the standpoint of adoration, fame, power and material blessings, there are a few people in this world which possess all or some of these things. Many times, they even think that they had something to do with it—that is, their great talent, ability, intelligence and hard work (or any combination of these attributes) brought their great blessings upon them. And, because they are the reason for their success and prosperity, they often will not look to God for anything. Sometimes, the only way to reach a person is to knock them down, and then knock them down again. Only then, will that person actually look up. My salvation experience is similar to many others—I was in a low point in my life, and blamed God to some degree (when we are successful, we see ourselves as the cause; when we are brought low, we then see God as the cause); and so, I, with much reservation, looked to God for his guidance and direction. This led to my eventual salvation. However, had I not been knocked down, I don’t know if I would have looked to God for deliverance.


This was Israel. Israel would continually, even as God’s people, stray from Him and stray from the truth, and God had to allow other nations to knock them down in order to get them to depend upon Him again. Now, you may think, “How stupid can these people be? God showed them great signs and delivered them time and time again, beginning with the Egypt and working forward.” Well, first off, that is the point which Samuel is making here. But secondly, just look at the United States—we are a nation which has been greatly blessed by God, and delivered by God on a number of occasions. However, again and again, we stray from God. How far will God have to knock us down in order for us to see Him again?


1Samuel 12:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

châţâ (א ָט ָח) [pronounced khaw-TAW]

to sin, to miss, to miss the mark, to violate the law, to err; to do wrong; to deviate [from], to stray from, to go astray from [with an object]

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #2398 BDB #306


Translation: ...and said, ‘We have sinned... The pain and suffering which Israel suffered brought them to the realization that they had sinned against God. Altogether, this reads, So they cried to Yehowah and said, “We have sinned...”


1Samuel 12:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

׳âzab (בַזָע) [pronounced ģaw-ZABV]

to loosen ones bands; to let go [one from being in bonds]; to leave [forsake, desert]; to leave off, to cease from [anything]

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #5800 BDB #736

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...because we have forsaken Yehowah... Then we have the explanation as to why or how they had sinned. Their problem was, basically, that they had moved away from God; they had forsaken God; they had deserted God. For them, in that day, that meant to ignore His feast days, to ignore His sacrifices, to ignore the teaching of the Law and to ignore gathering in the place which God designated for gathering (which was primarily in Shiloh and Bethel during the time of the Judges). Instead, these Israelites worshipped Baal and Molech and the other false gods of those who surrounded them. Again, it was poetic justice: if Israel decided to serve the gods of the surrounding nations, then God let Israel served the surrounding nations as well.


1Samuel 12:10d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ba׳al (ל ַע ַ) [pronounced BAH-ģahl]

owner, lord, husband; transliterated Baal when referencing the heathen god

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #1167 BDB #127

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

׳ashetârôwth (תרָ ׃שָע) [pronounced ģahsh-taw-ROHTH]

transliterated Ashtaroth, Ashtartes, Ashtaroths

Feminine proper noun; with the definite article

Strong’s #6252 BDB #800


Translation: ...and have served the Baalim and the Ashtaroth. We have here the masculine plural noun Baalim, which could refer to a single god, as the term Elohim, or to a plethora of gods. This is followed by the proper noun Ashtaroth. Often, these are the figurines which represent the goddess Ashtoreth, although that may not be always be the case(see 1Sam. 7:3). This gives us: So they cried to Yehowah and said, “We have sinned because we have forsaken Yehowah and we serve the Baalim [or, if you would rather, the Baals] and the Ashtaroth.” The perfect tense of to forsake indicates that in a point of time, they forsook God; the imperfect tense of to serve indicates that they continue to serve the heathen gods and figurines. I think that Samuel here uses the term generally applied to figurines in order to emphasize that they worshiped that which was made by the hand of men.


Samuel has spent a great deal of his life studying the Word of God. Generally speaking—and I have made mention of this on several occasions—Samuel’s vocabulary is limited. He is not a naturally brilliant man (for instance, his vocabulary is nothing like that of Moses or Job, whose writings were presumably available to him). However, Samuel was a solid B student who worked for what he got. He read and reread the Word of God. When necessary, however, he is able to make logical and irrefutable arguments as he does in vv. 3–12. It is a passage like this (along with his knowledge of history revealed in vv. 9–11) which tells us that Samuel has spent long and fruitful hours studying the Word of God. This portion of 1Sam. 12:10 is almost a direct quotation from Judges 10:10 (Then the sons of Israel cried out to Jehovah, saying, “We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals”).


Application: The application to us is short and simple: study and know the Word of God. Our lives are often centered around making money or buying things or giving our children as much as we possibly can. These things should never be priorities in our lives. The Word of God should be the priority in our lives.


1Samuel 12:10e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

nâtsal (ל ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAHL]

to snatch away, to deliver, to rescue, to snatch out of danger, to preserve, to recover

2nd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperative; with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #5337 BDB #664

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

âyab (בַי ָא) [pronounced aw-YABV]

enemy, the one being at enmity with you; enmity, hostility

masculine plural, Qal active participle; with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #340 BDB #33


Translation: Therefore, deliver us from the hand of our enemies... Samuel is giving what was standard back in the day. The Israelites would forsake God; they would serve the gods of other nations; and they would fall prey to attacks from their enemies. Then, of course, they would cry out to their God for deliverance. This is the typical cycle given in much greater detail in Judges 2:11–20, quoted previously.


campus1.jpg

http://www.tenbasicsteps.org/english/images/illustration-self-directed-life2.gif

Application: I believe strongly in the teaching of the Old Testament. Even though we do not find Church Age doctrine in these pages, we do find a great deal of important information which serves to guide us. Whereas, we do not participate in the same time of idolatry as Israel, we still place things before God. I recall visiting with a gal who gave me her list of priorities, and God was there at the top. However, she still lived with a man outside of wedlock. This is not placing God first. In our priorities, we have millions of people who put their jobs, money, home, career, school, sports, hobbies, various interests, vacations, marriage, certain people, entertainment, television, sex, family, self-righteousness and a whole host of other things before God. We have a great many more options in the United States than the Israelites had in the ancient world. They placed other things before God, but generally speaking, as a nation, this was the worship of other gods (as we will see in the life of Solomon, what got him in the realm of idolatry was his wives—they were foreign women who worshipped other gods, and this lured him away from the True God of Israel). God comes first. Now, this does not mean that, at every opportunity we blather on and on about God to people who are not the least bit interested. It means that our focus is upon God—i.e., we keep filled with the Holy Spirit and we study His Word. It is His Word which is our life and guidance. We do not do these things apart from what else life offers, but they are the first priority and everything else comes second. Although I was never too thrilled with some of the evangelizing of Campus Crusade, they had a picture which often accompanied their literature. This would be a throne surrounded by all these dots, which represented the various details of life (called interests in the pamphlet). When we placed ourselves on the throne, these interests were in discord and competed for our attention, resulting in personal frustration. When God was on the throne, these interests are balanced and in harmony.


campus2.jpghttp://www.tenbasicsteps.org/english/images/illustration-christ-directed-life1.gif

Application: One of the difficult issues that we face at the time that I write this is time. There are so many families who are good Christian families where both parents work and they keep their kids involved in many activities in order to keep them away from the greatest distractions of this time (premarital sex, drugs and drinking). However, in all of this, what is lost is time. There is never enough time to lead a balanced life; even good Christian families have a difficult time finding the time to do what is right. It is simple: you need to focus on the Word of God. That needs to be first and foremost the priority in your lives. Then you worry about the other things. Doctrine guides you and gets you balanced and keeps you balanced. It is like that drawing above. We do not set up some chair in the living room, put God on poster board and set that on the chair and then hang around and look at it. That is not putting God first. We know God through His Word; so we put God first by putting His Word first.


Application: Please do not think that you are responsible to go through the Bible and dig out everything for yourself. All that will get you is confused. You need an excellent pastor-teacher to guide you at this point. Now, I don’t mean someone who is well-liked by everyone in your family; I don’t even mean someone who is generally well-respected. I mean someone who teaches the Word of God carefully in church several times a week (3 times, by the way, is too few times; messages which are less than 30 minutes in length are far too short). If you have a pastor and he puts this off on you (“Hey, why don’t you host a young couples fellowship in your home on Thursday nights?”) then you are in the wrong church. If you do not see your church as a classroom where you learn the Word of God, then you are in the wrong place. If the teaching of the Word of God is moderately important, and right up there with giving or with singing, then you are in the wrong church. There is nothing more important than the teaching of the Word of God; and any church which indicates otherwise, either in their doctrine or practice, is the wrong church.


1Samuel 12:10f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

1st person plural, Qal imperfect; with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #5647 BDB #712


Translation: ...and we will serve You.’ You will note the similarities and differences: in the past, Israel had forsaken God and served other gods. Prior to this invasion by Ammon, we are not really told of flagrant idolatry. In the past, Israel turned to God for deliverance, forsaking the gods of their enemies. This time, the elders of Israel went to Samuel and demanded a king; they did not go to him and ask him to request from God a deliverer to lead them against Ammon. What Samuel has done is given them a pattern which Israel had always followed in the past and God’s faithfulness is revealed. However, this time they seek a human solution. Let’s look at this as a chart:


Israel Under Discipline: Compare and Contrast

 

In the Book of Judges

During the Latter Time of Samuel

Israel’s Sin

Israel turned from God and worshiped heathen gods. Judges 2:11–13, 17, 19 3:7, 12 4:1 6:1 10:6 13:1

It is not clearly stated that Israel fell into idolatry. My thinking is that was the problem some times, and at others, they chose to depend upon man rather than upon God. 1Sam. 8:5–6 12:12, 19

Israel’s Crisis

God would send a nation against them. Judges 2:14–15, 20 3:8, 14 4:2–3 6:2–5 10:7–8

Nahash and the Ammonites had invaded Israel and were decimating everyone in their path. 1Sam. 11:1–2 12:12

Israel’s Request

They turned to God and asked for deliverance. Judges 3:9, 15a 6:6 10:10, 15

Israel requested that Samuel place a king over them, so that they could be like other nations and so that the king could deliver them in times of national disaster. 1Sam. 8:5–6 19–20

God’s Response

God would send Israel a deliverer who would deliver Israel from their most recent woe. Judges 2:16, 18 3:10, 15b–16 4:4–10 7:1–22. Occasionally, God sent Israel a prophet to tell them how they had gone astray (Judges 6:7–10).

God sent Israel Saul, to rule over them as a king and to deliver them from the hand of the Ammonites. 1Sam. 9:27–10:1 11:6–11 12:13

God’s Expectation of Israel

Israel was to forsake other gods and to serve the God of Israel (Judges 10:10–16). Sometimes this would be the work of one man (Judges 6:27–28). He often would send them into war against these enemies. Judges 3:28–30

Israel was to turn toward God and serve Him. 1Sam. 12:14, 20–21

God’s Deliverance

The savior would always deliver Israel from the hands of their enemies and then often he would often rule over them for a time. Judges 3:16–29 4:14–24

Saul organized the armies of Israel and defeated the people of Ammon. (1Sam. 11:6–11). God would not abandon His people (1Sam. 12:22).

The Epilogue

There would be a time of peace and independence from the other nations. Judges 3:30 5:31b 8:28

Israel continued to have almost continual conflicts with the surrounding nations. 1Sam. 13:1–14:52 (see especially 14:47–52).


Return to Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


And so sends Yehowah Jerubbaal and Barak [Bedan in the Hebrew] and Jephthah and Samuel [Samson in some ancient versions] and so he delivered you [all] from a hand of your enemies from round about and you dwell safely.

1Samuel

12:11

So Yehowah send Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel [possibly, Samson] and [thereby] delivered you from the hand of your enemies from every side [with the result] that you dwelt in safety.

So Jehovah sent you Gideon, Barak, Jephthah and Samson and by them, delivered you from the control of your enemies who surrounded you. Therefore, you would then live in safety.


Here is what others have done with this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Latin Vulgate                         And the LORD sent Jerubbaal and Barak and Jephthah and Samuel and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies on every side, and you lived in safety.

Masoretic Text                       And so sends Yehowah Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel and so he delivered you [all] from a hand of your enemies from round about and you dwell safely.

Peshitta                                 And the Lord sent Deborah and Barak and Gideon and Jephthah and Samson, and delivered you out of the hand of your enemies round about you, and you dwell in safety.

Septuagint                            And He sent Jerobaal and Barac and Jephthæ and Samuel [Samson?] and rescued us out of the hand of our enemies round about and you all dwell in security. [another version of the Septuagint has Samson instead of Samuel]. Apparently, the Syriac codex has Jerubbaal, Deborah, Barak and Simson; Footnote although my Peshitta (which I assumed was the Syriac codex lists 5 names—see above).

 

Significant differences:          The primary difference is exactly who is placed in this list. However, this is not a big problem as any of them could be cited as sent by God (apart from Bedan, as we don’t know who he is). When Israel called out to God, He sent them a judge-deliverer.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       The Lord sent Gideon, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel to rescue you from your enemies, and you didn’t have to worry about being attacked.

NAB                                       Accordingly, the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samson; he delivered you from the power of your enemies on every side, so that you were able to live in security.

NLT                                        Then the Lord sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel to save you, and you lived in safety.

REB                                       The Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barak, Jephthah and Samson, and delivered you from your enemies on every side; and you lived in security.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Then the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Bedan, Jephthah, and Samuel and rescued you from your enemies on every side so that you could live securely.

JPS (Tanakh)                        And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel , and delivered you from the enemies around you; and you dwelt in security.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “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.

NRSV                                    And the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barak, and Jephthah, and Samson, and rescued you out of the hand of your enemies on every side; and you lived in safety.

Young's Updated LT              “And Jehovah sends Jerubbaal and Bedan and Jephthah and Samuel and delivers you out of the hand of your enemies round about, and you all dwell confidently.


What is the gist of this verse? God has faithfully sent the people of Israel judge/deliverers whenever they called out to Him.


1Samuel 12:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

shâlach (ח ַל ָש) [pronounced shaw-LAKH]

to send, to send for [forth, away], to dismiss, to deploy, to put forth, to stretch out

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7971 BDB #1018

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yerubba׳al (ל-ע-ֻר י) [pronounced ye-roob-bah-AHL]

let Baal contend with him; and is transliterated Jerubbaal

proper noun; masculine

Strong’s #3378 BDB #937


Translation: So Yehowah sent Jerubbaal,... Then we have the wâw consecutive followed by the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect of to send followed by the subject of the verb, Yehowah. Then we have the sign of the direct object and the proper noun Jerubbaal. You will note that the Peshitta and the New Living Translation have Gideon instead and you may recall that Gideon was also known as Jerubbaal (see Judges 8:35).


Israel had been oppressed by Midian, who would come into Israel in great numbers and destroy their crops. It appears that some of these attacks were often done in conjunction with Amalekites and other tribes east of Israel. Jesus Christ (the Angel of God) spoke to Gideon and you may recall that Gideon put Him through some tests, to make certain that He was really the God of Israel. After Gideon puts Jesus Christ through a few tests, then He puts Gideon to the test and pared his army from 22,000 to 300 to go against the Midianites. By the way, you may want to bear this in mind the next time you put God to the test. Their battle against the Midianites was unconventional and extremely successful. Judges 6–8.


1Samuel 12:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Bedân (ןָד) [pronounced beDAWN]

transliterated Bedan

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #917 BDB #95

The Greek reads instead...

Barak (Βαράκ) [pronounced bah-RAHK]

lightning and is transliterated Barak

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #913

This is also in agreement with the Arabic, Syriac and the Latin.

BDB assumes that the reading here should be Barak.

 

Translation: ...Barak,... Then we have the proper noun Bedan, or, more properly Bedân, which is, in the Hebrew, ןָד [pronounced beDAWN]. We only find this name twice in the Old Testament—here and in 1Chron. 7:17 (which refers to a different Bedan). Some believe this to be equivalent to Abdon ben Hillel who was a judge in Israel for eight years (Judges 12:13). However, Abdon is barely a footnote in the book of the Judges, and certainly not one to whom Samuel would make reference to in a public speech like this (unless, of course, he was discussing the nearly nobodies from Scripture). In the Latin, Syriac and Greek we have the name Barak, a man whom we know from the book of the Judges (Judges 4–5). In the Hebrew, Barak is bârâq (ק ָר ָ) [pronounced baw-RAWK]. Some degradation of the manuscript could result in a confounding of this name. If Samuel (or anyone after Samuel) misspelled Barak, using the more common word bârake ( ַר ָ) [pronounced baw-RAHKe] (which means to bless, to make happy, to prosper), it is even easier to see how ןָד, with a degraded manuscript, might be mistaken for  ַר ָ. This opinion is supported by both the Syriac and Arabic codices. The upshot of all this is that the name here should be Barak. Footnote


Barak and Deborah’s story is found in Judges 4–5. Jabin, the king of Canaan reigned in Hazor, which is far northern Israel. His general is Sisera, both of whom are mentioned back in 1Sam. 12:9. They came from the north with their chariots and oppressed Israel for 20 years. When Israel turned to God, God sent them Barak, who demanded that Deborah, a prophetess-judge, accompany him. They routed Sisera’s chariots and defeated his army. All of this is covered in Judges 4, and Deborah appears to have written the psalm which is Judges 5, which recounts their victory.


The Syriac Peshitta, by the way, lists Deborah and Barak as the first two names in this list, and then Gideon.


1Samuel 12:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Yiphetâch (ח ָפ̣י) [pronounced yif-TAWHKH]

he [God] opens and is transliterated Jephthah

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #3316 BDB #836


Translation: ...Jephthah... Again, Israel falls into idolatry and they are afflicted by both the Philistines and the Ammonites (Judges 10:7–8). My thinking is that these were coterminous but uncoordinated attacks which are dealt with separately. The man who stood in the gap against the Ammonites is Jephthah, the ninth judge over Israel. Interestingly enough, Jephthah first attempted to negociate with the Ammonites, rather than launching into a full-scale war against them. Since this did not work, Jephthah made a vow to God which resulted in his victory over the Ammonites, but was tragically linked to his daughter, who, because of his vow, remained a virgin to her death. Judges 11.


1Samuel 12:11d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

In the Peshitta and in Lucian’s Edition of the Septuagint, we find here instead...

Sampsôn (Σαμψών) [pronounced sam-PSOHN]

like the sun and is transliterated Samson or Sampson

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #4546

Although it is unlikely that one name was confounded with the other, what likely happened was a copyist began to write Samson and wrote Samuel instead, possibly looking up at one of the many previous verses with the name Samuel in it. This is not an uncommon type of error in the Hebrew manuscripts. Footnote

 

Translation: ...and Samuel [possibly, Samson]... In the Hebrew and Latin (as well as in most of the manuscripts), this is Samuel. However, in one Greek manuscript (Lucian’s Edition of the Septuagint), we have Samson instead, which, in the Hebrew, would have been Shîmeshôwn (ןש מ ̣ש) [pronounced shim-SHOHN], which is transliterated Samson. Although it is unlikely that one name was confounded with the other, what likely happened was a copyist began to write Samson and wrote Samuel instead, possibly looking up at one of the many previous verses with the name Samuel in it. This is not an uncommon type of error in the Hebrew manuscripts. Footnote Samson’s name is found in the Arabic and Syriac codices as well as in one manuscript of the Septuagint. Footnote This gives us: “Then Yehowah sent Jerubbaal [Gideon], Barak [Bedan in the Hebrew], Jephthah and Samson [Samuel in the Hebrew]...”


We could also muse, maybe some scribe just did not feel that Samuel would be so conceited as to place his own name into this mix and changed Scripture. This seems highly unlikely as the scribes had a great respect for the Scripture which they copied. The consistency of Scripture (which is remarkable when compared to any other ancient manuscript). We may not have much of an appreciation for it while going through this book, as Samuel probably has more variant readings per chapter than any other book in the Bible.


Obviously, with the differences found in the Syriac codex, the Hebrew manuscripts and the Greek manuscripts, it would be difficult to determine definitely who is found in this verse, as most versions of the LXX have Samuel rather than Samson; and the Vulgate, Chaldean and Hebrew versions are in agreement with this. This could indicate a very early error in manuscript transmission. However, which names are found here is immaterial. Samuel is teaching a principle, which is, when Israel called out to God for help, God always sent them a deliverer.


In any case, God did send Israel deliverers, and those named by Samuel are among them. And if Samuel had placed his own name into this group, there is nothing wrong with that. He will always stand in history as one of the great judges of Israel. Recall that he was the catalyst which led Israel to overthrow and push back the Philistines (1Sam. 7:10–14). Listing himself as an example of God sending a deliverer to Israel is particularly reasonable from a logical standpoint—this would indicate that God was still, up until that day, delivering Israel through various judges. So, who belongs there, Samuel or Samson? I don’t know. It is easy to see how a copyist could have made the mistake, accidentally writing Samuel when he should have written Samson; it is also easy to see why a later copyist might choose to replace Samuel with Samson on purpose. I would actually like to see both of their names here. So that my preference does not seem completely without merit, the writer of Hebrews gives us a similar, but slightly more extensive list: Time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, [and] of David and Samuel and the prophets (Heb. 11:32b). In our context, it really does not make any difference whether Samson or Samuel is named—Samuel’s point remains the same.

 

Allow me to insert the arguments of Keil and Delitzsch, who believe that Samuel is the name which should be found in this passage: There is not critical ground for rejecting Samuel...[asserting] that Samuel would not have mentioned himself...Samuel could very well class himself with the deliverers of Israel, for the simple reason that it was by him that the people were delivered from the forty years’ tyranny of the Philistines, while Samson merely commenced their deliverance and did not bring it to completion. Samuel appears to have deliberately mentioned his own name along with those of the other judges who were sent by God, that he might show the people in the most striking manner...that they had no reason whatever for saying to him, “No, but a king will reign over us,” as soon as the Ammonites invaded Gilead...Jehovah your God...has [consistently] proven Himself to be your King by sending judges to deliver you. Footnote


Before we go on, it would be instructive to have the oppressors and the saviors of Israel from the days of the judges listed. Surprisingly enough, the middle of the book of Judges, which is the heart of this book, consists of a relatively small number of judges and oppressors:

The Oppressors and the Deliverers of Israel

The Passage

The Oppressors of Israel

The Delivers of Israel

Judges 3:1–11

Cushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia

Othniel ben Kenaz

Judges 3:12–30

Eglon, king of Moab*

Ehud

Judges 3:30

The Philistines

Shamgar ben Anath

Judges 4–5

Jabin, king of Canaan who ruled in Hazor and his general Sisera

Deborah and Barak (along with Jael, the wife of Heber)

Judges 6:1–8:28

Midian

Gideon (also known as Jerubbaal)

Judges 10:6–12:7

Ammonites

Jephthah

Judges 10:6–7 13–16

Philistines

Samson

*Obviously, the ones emboldened are those mentioned by Samuel in this speech.


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What we have is a listing of a representative group of oppressors in 1Sam. 12:9: ”But they forgot Yehowah their God so that He sold them into the hand of Sisera, the commander of the army of Hazor; and into the hand of the Philistines; and into the hand of the king of Moab. Therefore, they engaged in war with them.” We have the eventual response of the oppressed Israelites, who realize their mistakes, in the next verse: “So they cried out to Jehovah and said, ‘We have sinned because we have forsaken Jehovah and served the Baalim and the Ashtaroth; but now deliver us from the hand of our enemies and we will serve You.’ ” In v. 11, we have a representative sampling of the saviors/judges of Israel: “Therefore, Jehovah sent Gideon, Barak, Jephthah and Samuel and He delivered you from the hand of your enemies on every side with the result that you lived in safety.” What we have here is a short, simple lesson of God’s faithfulness to Israel. Very likely, Samuel went into more detail than what we read here.


1Samuel 12:11e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

nâtsal (ל ַצ ָנ) [pronounced naw-TSAHL]

to snatch away, to deliver, to rescue, to snatch out of danger, to preserve, to recover

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #5337 BDB #664

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular construct

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

âyab (בַי ָא) [pronounced aw-YABV]

enemy, the one being at enmity with you; enmity, hostility

masculine plural, Qal active participle; with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #340 BDB #33

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

çâbîyb (בי̣בָס) [pronounced sawb-VEEBV]

around, surrounding, circuit, round about, encircle

adverb

Strong’s #5439 BDB #686

The min preposition and çâbîyb mean from round about, from every side.


Translation: ...and [thereby] delivered you from the hand of your enemies from every side [with the result]... This portion of the verse gives us the general conclusion: because Israel called out to God, God sent them deliverer judges and these men, in the power of God, delivered Israel from her enemies all around her.


It might be instructive to think of Israel then much like Israel is today—surrounded by several different nations, all which do not like the Jews living in their midst. They want the land that these Jews sit upon and periodically, they attack Israel and attempt to take it (or, they attempt to enslave or subjugate Israel). Today, God also protects Israel, although He no longer sends them judge-deliverers, as one who judged and deliver Israel was one who was a shadow of Jesus Christ to come.


It is also important to recognize the two-fold character of those who delivered Israel. We often like to over-emphasize one aspect of God’s character over another. People love the love of God—to them, this is the greatest thing. However, they are not nearly so thrilled over the justice of God. They may concentrate on all of those passages which speak of God’s love and the love of Jesus, and ignore the many more passages which deal specifically with God’s perfect righteousness and justice. After all, most Christians know all about the healings which Jesus did and how much He spoke of love; but then, they do not realize that the person who spoke more about eternal burning than anyone else is Jesus Christ. You cannot overemphasize one prominent characteristic over another. Therefore, those who were shadows of Jesus to come were both judges and deliverers. They would deliver Israel from her sin and from her enemies; but the same person would judge Israel as well—a more complete view of the Christ Who is to come.


1Samuel 12:11f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

Although Owen lists this as a wâw conjunction, it is actually a wâw consecutive.

yâshab (בַשָי) [pronounced yaw-SHAHBV]

to remain, to stay; to dwell, to live, to inhabit; to sit

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #3427 BDB #442

beţach (ח ַט∵) [pronounced BEH-tahkh]

 as an adverb, safely, without fear, securely, confidently

adverb

Strong’s #983 BDB #105


Translation: ...that you dwelt in safety. The adverb which we find here, which describes how they live means, safely, without fear, securely, confidently.


I had mentioned in the introduction how much this portion of Samuel’s address reminded me of the Apostle Paul. Samuel’s argument is cogent and irrefutable. His mental organization is tremendous, despite his limited vocabulary (which, given that I am translating, is not a problem for me). Samuel first has the people and their newly-appointed king affirm that he, Samuel, has not illegally taken advantage of his position of authority. That is, the people cannot later say, “Well, we had to have a king because of how crooked Samuel was.” All affirm that Samuel exhibited great integrity in the administration of his duties. So, from that standpoint, the people had no reason to demand a king. Then Samuel launches into his second argument, which concerns the involvement of God in Israel’s political life. First, all present can agree that God brought Israel out of Egypt with great power, which power he channeled through His servants, Moses and Aaron. In part B of this argument, Samuel provides more recent proof that God has continued in Israel’s history to provide protection and deliverance. In fact, Samuel is very careful to note, the only reason that Israel required deliverance in the first place was that they became unfaithful to God, not vice versa. I hope you recognize that Samuel has very carefully and cleverly argued that Israel had absolutely no reason to require from Samuel a king. Samuel doesn’t stop there—this allows him make it absolutely clear that Israel has sinned and has failed by requesting that a king be put over them.


What we need in the pulpit are men who are trained in the original languages of Scripture and in mathematical logic; after they are given these tools, then they may be trained in theological doctrines.

Application: Now, allow me to digress: two of the great men of Scripture, Samuel and Paul, both used logical proofs and sensible arguments to state theological viewpoints. It is truly unfortunate that I rarely have observed this sort of approach from the pulpit. There are many who give great devotionals, but provide very little thought to go with them. There are many who use this Scripture or that from which to springboard into some pet topic of theirs. And then there are those who absolutely abuse logic by taking preconceived doctrines or views and then prove said tenets via proof texts. In case you did not realize, anyone can prove anything by first making a statement, and then citing a Scripture out of context which appears to prove their point. This is like the evil step-sister of the logic employed by Samuel and Paul. Or, more accurately, this is a Satanic distortion of the logic that we see in Paul’s writings. What we need in the pulpit are men who are trained in the original languages of Scripture and in mathematical logic; after they are given these tools, then they may be trained in theological doctrines. Unfortunately, too many pastors are first trained in their denomination’s dogma, then they are given the proof texts, and then, they get a little exposure to the languages. A congregation needs a pastor who can think logically and sequentially like Paul or Samuel, so that their teachings from Scripture can be unlocked. You need the correct key to unlock any given door; you need training in logical thinking and thought progression in order to unlock the arguments of Paul and Samuel. And let me give you my standard example. I have never, ever seen anyone properly exegete I Cor. 13:1 because they all approach it from their preconceived notions. If you approach this passage from the standpoint of a Greek logician, its meaning becomes very clear and is very different from that presented from any pulpit or in any exegetical study. Footnote


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Samuel Gives the People of Israel Their Alternatives


And so you see that Nahash, a ruler of [the] sons of Ammon has come upon you and so you say to me, ‘No, for a ruler will rule upon us’ and Yehowah your Elohim [is] your Ruler!

1Samuel

12:12

So when you saw Nahash, the king of the sons of Ammon come upon you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king will rule over us!’ when Yehowah your God [is] your King!

When you saw that Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, was coming against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king will rule over us!’ when Jehovah God is your King!


Here is how others treated v. 12:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so you see that Nahash, a ruler of [the] sons of Ammon has come upon you and so you say to me, ‘No, for a ruler will rule upon us’ and Yehowah your Elohim [is] your Ruler!

Septuagint                             And you saw that Naas, king of the children of Ammon, came against you, and you [all] said, ‘No, none but a king will reign over us;’ whereas the Lord our God [is] our king.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Then you saw that King Nahash of Ammon was going to attack you. And even though the Lord your God is your king, you told me, “This time it’s different. We want a king to rule us!”

NLT                                        “But when you were afraid of Nahash, the king of Ammon, you came to me and said that you wanted a king to reign over you, even though the Lord your God was already your king.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         But when you saw King Nahash of Ammon coming to attack you, you told me, ‘No, a king should rule over us,’ though the Lord your God was your king.

JPS (Tanakh)                        But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No, we must have a king reigning over us’—although the Lord your God is your King.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “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.

Young's Updated LT              “And you [all] see that Nahash king of the sons of Ammon has come against you, and you say to me, ‘No, but a king does reign over us;’ and Jehovah your God is your king!


What is the gist of this verse? When the people saw that Nahash was attacking east Israel, they came to Samuel and asked for a king to reign over them, when Jehovah God is their true king.


1Samuel 12:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

to see, to look, to look at, to view, to behold; to perceive, to understand, to learn, to know

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #7200 BDB #906

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

Nâchâsh (שָחָנ) [pronounced naw-KHAWSH]

serpent and is transliterated Nahash

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5176 BDB #638

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

bânîym (םי.נָ) [pronounced baw-NEEM]

sons, descendants; sometimes rendered men

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

׳Ammôwn (ן-ע) [pronounced ģahm-MOHN]

transliterated Ammon

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #5983 BDB #769

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752


Translation: So when you saw Nahash, the king of the sons of Ammon come upon you,... Or, “And now you see that Nahash, the king of the sons of Ammon, has come upon you...” The Qal perfect of to come here indicates that this is a past, completed event. And now indicates that just recently the Israelites made this decision (which decision is to follow). In the previous few chapters, it was not clear what was going on—that is, it was not clear how Nahash’s attack fit in with the people’s request for a king. However, here, it is clear that Nahash’s attack was a motivating factor. When Nahash invaded eastern Israel, then the children of Israel began to become extremely concerned, and went to Samuel requesting that he install a king over them.


1Samuel 12:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and; so, that, yet, therefore

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MAHR]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition; with the 1st person singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...you said to me, ‘No, but a king will rule over us!’... This verse helps us with a time line. Recall that the Hebrew mind is one which views things thematically rather than sequentially. So various clumps of Scripture will have a general theme, although portions of it may not be in exact chronological order. Such as, we find out here in this speech of Samuel that the Israelites began demanding a king when Nahash was moving towards them. He had devastated the Israelites in Transjordanian Israel, and Israelites on the other side of the river had begun to panic and they approached Samuel in a group demanding a king. Now, when we exegeted this passage (1Sam. 8), nothing about the Ammonites or Nahash was mentioned. All we saw was this delegation coming to Samuel demanding a king. Then we have the process of finding this king. What led up to the selection of Saul is left out of the narrative of 1Sam. 8—however, in this passage, which deals with the attack of Nahash upon Israel, we find that his original troop movement was the basis for Israel requesting a king from Samuel. This is why, no matter what Samuel said, the response was “No, but there will be a king over us, so that we may be like all the nations, that our king may judge us and go out before us and right our battles (1Sam. 8:19b–20). The actual threat of Nahash, although very real at that time, and chronologically appropriate was not thematically appropriate, so that detail was left out until now. Footnote As we continue to exegete the Word of God, bear in mind that it was written by Jewish men who approached their subject matter thematically. Therefore, some of the niceties of chronology will be missing and sometimes they will double-back and add details which were not there before. In no way does that indicate that we have two separate traditions whose stories are woven together by some editor years later. It is simply a difference in theme. Israel’s political response, a desire for a king, was a separate issue thematically from the attack of Nahash, even though the latter was a precursor for the former. Therefore, the advance and eventual defeat of Nahash is handled apart from Israel’s whining for a king. However, when Samuel speaks of Israel’s request for a king, the basis for Israel’s request is now pertinent to the theme, so Nahash is mentioned.


Allow me another tangent here: because of this particular quirk of Hebrew writing, some scholars believe that what we find is various accounts of the same incidents woven together by a later redactor (read editor). This is silly. Just because the general writing style of the Hebrew mind is different than that of the modern Gentile mind, this does not mean that these are several documents which were gathered and then carefully woven together by some ancient, unnamed editor. Whereas, I do not have a problem with there being several authors of the book of Genesis and the book of Samuel, I do not believe that these original documents were shuffled together like a deck of cards, but rather placed end-to-end and possibly held together by a verse here or a verse there (e.g., Gen. 10:1 11:10). Nor do I think it unlikely that occasionally a geographical point might be updated or clarified (e.g., Gen. 14:3, 7). What we do not have are various documents, some true and some false, some accurate, some mythological, all woven together as some patchwork quilt, with the editor making factual changes here and there to suit his own sensibilities (which is actually taught by some, hypothesized by others, and assumed to be true by some believers and unbelievers). To the point, there is no reason to suppose that one author wrote 1Sam. 8–11 and another 1Sam. 12 because there is an additional detail in 1Sam. 12 which was not found in the previous 4 chapters. That detail of what the delegation went to Samuel in the first place was not thematically pertinent, and was therefore left out of 1Sam. 8–11. However, here this fact is a part of Samuel’s speech to Israel, and therefore is very pertinent.


1Samuel 12:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #430 BDB #43

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: ...when Yehowah your God [is] your King! What Samuel has said is quite clever, from a linguistic standpoint, although even with a literal rendering, it loses most of its punch: “And so you see that Nahash, a ruler of [the] sons of Ammon has come upon you and so you say to me, ‘No, for a ruler will rule upon us’ and Yehowah your Elohim [is] your Ruler!” However, the cleverness is lost when we give this a less literal, but more powerful rendering, e.g.: “When you saw that Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, was coming against you, you said to me, ‘No, but a king will rule over us!’ when Jehovah God is your King!” That Jehovah Elohim ruled over Israel is a sentiment which is repeated throughout Scripture (Judges 8:23 1Sam. 8:7 Psalm 59:13). We have the Ammonites moving on Israel from the east and the Philistines in the west and the Israelites felt quite uneasy with the fact that their status quo could be so easily shaken.

 

The NIV Study Bible: The Israelite desire for and trust in a human leader constituted a rejection of the kingship of the Lord and betrayed a loss of confidence in his care, in spite of his faithfulness during the time of the exodus, conquest and judges. Footnote

 

Keil and Delitzsch summarize these past few verses: Samuel closed this solemn confirmation of Saul as king with an address to all Israel, in which he handed over the office of judge, which he had hitherto filled, to the king, who had been appointed by God and joyfully recognized by the people. The good however, which Israel expected from the king depended entirely upon both the people and their king maintaining that proper attitude towards the Lord with which the prosperity of Israel was ever connected. This truth the prophet felt impelled to impress most earnestly upon the hearts of all the people on this occasion. To this end he reminded them, that neither he himself, in the administration of his office, nor the Lord in His guidance of Israel thus far, had given the people any reason for asking [for] a king when the Ammonites invaded the land. Footnote Samuel makes two points here: (1) nothing that Samuel has done as a spiritual leader and nothing that God has done has given Israel reason to ask for a king (this point was made in the previous verses); and (2) Israel’s blessing is still dependent upon their behavior and (now) the behavior of their king (this point will be made vv. 13–15 and v. 25).


What should be understood here is that Samuel is thinking, you stupid idiots. After all, why clamor for a king when the God of the Universe is your king? And Samuel did more than merely state this as a doctrine—he proved this assertion with a recollection of agreed upon historical facts, bringing his argument from past history right into the present time.

 

Keil and Delitzsch summarize what is to come in the next half-dozen verses: After the prophet had thus held up before the people their sin against the Lord, he bade them still further consider, that the king would only procure for them the anticipated deliverance if they would fear the Lord, and give up their rebellion against God. Footnote


And now behold, the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked [for]; and, behold, has set Yehowah over you a king.

1Samuel

12:13

Therefore, look up here, the king whom you have chosen [and the king] for whom you petitioned! Furthermore, Yehowah has set over you [this] king!

Jehovah God has placed this man over you, the king whom you have chosen and the office for which you have petitioned.


Here is how 1Sam. 12:13 has been translated:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And now behold, the king whom you have chosen, whom you have asked [for]; and, behold, has set Yehowah over you a king.

Septuagint                            And now behold the king whom you have chosen; and behold, the Lord has set a king over you. The Alexandrian Septuagint reads: And now behold the king whom you have chosen and for whom you have asked; and behold, the Lord has set a king over you.

 

Significant differences:          There is one missing phrase in one version of the LXX. That short phrase (for whom you have asked) is found in the Alexandrian LXX, the MT, the Latin and the Syriac.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       You asked for a king, and you chose one. Now he stands here where all of you can see him. But it was really the Lord who made him your king.

NLT                                        All right, here is the king you have chosen. Look him over. You asked for him, and the Lord has granted your request.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         “Now, here is the king you have chosen, the one you asked for. See, the Lord has put a king over you.

JPS (Tanakh)                        “Well, the Lord has set a king over you! Here is the king that you have chosen, that you have asked for.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “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.

Young's Updated LT              And now, lo, the king whom you [all] have chosen—whom you [all] have asked! And, lo, Jehovah has placed over you a king.


What is the gist of this verse? The Israelites requested a king from God, so Samuel at this point presents to them their king.


1Samuel 12:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

bâchar (ר ַח ָ) [pronounced baw-KHAHR]

to choose; Gesenius also lists to prove, to try, to examine, to approve, to choose, to select; to love, to delight in [something], to desire

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #977 BDB #103


Translation: Therefore, look up here, the king whom you have chosen... The Israelites are taken with Saul. He has led them to victory against the man whom they fear—Nahash. Therefore, the Israelites are ready to see Saul as their ruler. Saul as king had to be chosen by God and by the people.


1Samuel 12:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

In the Alexandrian Septuagint as well as the Vulgate and the Syriac codices, there is an additional conjunction prior to ...whom you have petitioned.

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

shâal (לַאָש) [pronounced shaw-AHL]

to ask [petition, request, inquire]; to demand; to question, to interrogate; to ask [for a loan]; to consult; to salute

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #7592 BDB #981


Translation: ...[and the king] for whom you petitioned! This gives us: “Therefore, look, the king whom you have chosen [and] whom you have petitioned for...” They had petitioned Samuel to place a king over them, without having any particular person in mind. The Israelites did not really choose Saul until now. They wanted a king to insure their security and his victory over the Ammonites was what sealed the deal for them (although they ratified God’s choice of Saul back in 1Sam. 10:24). It was, of course, back in 1Sam. 8:5 where the people first requested a king.


1Samuel 12:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, note, take note; pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572


Translation: Furthermore, Yehowah has set over you [this] king! The entire verse reads: Therefore, look up here, the king whom you have chosen [and the king] for whom you petitioned! Furthermore, Yehowah has set over you [this] king! Note that there is no chronological order in this particular verse. The king whom you have chosen refers to the popular acceptance of Saul, which sentiments were expressed after the defeat of Nahash and his Ammonite horde (1Sam. 11:12–13). ...and whom you have petitioned for... goes back before this time when Nahash had just begun to attack eastern Israel (1Sam. 8:15–20 12:12). ...and Yehowah has placed a king over you. actually refers to four points of time: (1) eternity past, when God chose Saul to begin with; (2) when God informed Samuel that Saul was coming to his city and had Samuel anoint him as king over Israel (1Sam. 9:15–10:1); (3) when Saul was chosen king over Israel by lot (1Sam. 10:20–23); and (4) right at this time, when Saul will actually assume the duties of his office with great popular acclaim.


Now, just exactly who chose Saul and who set Saul as a king over Israel? At first, it appears as though Saul is God’s choice as a response to what the people of Israel required of Him. Then it appears as though Saul is simply the popular choice. If Saul is God’s choice, where exactly does Samuel get off reprimanding the people? And if Saul is God’s choice, how did he end up being such a crappy king? Let me explain:

Did God Choose Saul or Did the People Choose Saul?

1.    The people demanded a king when God was actually their king. This was a mistake.

2.    In retrospect, it is clear that Saul would have made an outstanding short-term leader. Had he gone to war against the Ammonites and the Philistines and then served for a few years as judge, that would have been God’s ideal choice.

3.    God, allowing the Israelites their negative volition (this is God’s permissive will), chose a man who was the proper and correct choice for king over all Israel. Requiring a king in the first place was a bad choice; however, if Israel demanded a king, God was willing to provide the best one who was alive at that time.

4.    God first had Samuel anoint Saul as king over Israel, where Saul was a guest of honor at a banquet.

5.    Then, by lots presumably, or, in an elaborate ceremony, Samuel showed the people that Saul was the choice of God for them.

6.    However, apart from popular acceptance, Saul was not going to be the ruler over anything.

7.    It is after his victory over the Ammonites that Israel, as a whole, recognizes Saul as their king; and that is the point at which he begins his rulership.

8.    Therefore, understand exactly what God had to do: He had to choose a man who was a great military leader and a man who would reveal this leadership within the near future. God also had to make it clear that Saul was His choice. God had to make it clear to Samuel, before anyone else, that Saul was His choice. In other words, all of these things had to be considered in order for the result to be Saul to be made king over Israel. God, Who knows the end from the beginning and knows the hearts of all men, was the only One able to make such a choice.

9.    Why was Saul eventually such a big failure? Did God make a mistake? Certainly not. Israel should not have demanded a king in the first place. Given this demand, and given that God would choose to acquiesce to their demand, Saul was the best choice at that time. There was no natural leader of Israel in the realm of the military like Saul. The fact that he was the best choice does not mean that we could expect for him to have an unblemished reign. Given the fact that he was the best choice, this does not mean that we should expect perfection from him.


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If you [all] fear/respect Yehowah and you have served Him and you have hearkened in His voice and you do not rebel [against] [the] mouth of Yehowah and you [all] have been, both you [all] and your ruler who has ruled over you, after Yehowah your Elohim [then you have done well].

1Samuel

12:14

If you fear [and respect] Yehowah and [if] you serve Him and [if] you listen to [and obey] His voice; and [if] you do not rebel against the word of Yehowah, and [if] you and your king who rules over you will follow after Yehowah your God [then the hand of Yehowah will be with you]. Footnote [see alternate renderings below]

If you have a healthy fear and respect for Jehovah; and if your serve Him and listen to His voice; and if you do not resist His commands; and if you and your king follow after Jehovah your God, then the strength of Jehovah will be with you.


Here is what others have done with v. 14:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       If you [all] fear/respect Yehowah and you have served Him and you have hearkened in His voice and you do not rebel [against] [the] mouth of Yehowah and you [all] have been, both you [all] and your ruler who has ruled over you, after Yehowah your Elohim [then you have done well].

Septuagint                             If you should fear the Lord, and serve him, and listen to his voice, and not resist the mouth of the Lord, and you and your king that reigns over you should follow the Lord.

 

Significant differences:          The Hebrew, Latin and Syriac all add your God at the end of this verse.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       If you and your king want to be followers of the Lord, you must worship him and do what we says. Don’t be stubborn!

NLT                                        “Now if you will fear and worship the Lord and listen to his voice, and if you do not rebel against the Lord’s commands, and if you and your king follow the Lord your God, then all will be well.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         If you fear the Lord, serve him, obey him, and don’t rebel against what he says, then you and your king will follow the Lord your God.

JPS (Tanakh)                        “If you will revere the Lord, worship Him, and obey Him, and will not flout the Lord’s command, if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, [well and good].


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “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.

NRSV                                    If you will fear the Lord and serve him and heed his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well;...

Owen                                     “If you will fear Yahweh and serve him and hearken to his voice and not rebel against the commandment of Yahweh and will follow (be) both you and the king who reigns over you after Yahweh your God...”

Young's Updated LT              “If you [all] fear Jehovah, and have served Him, and hearkened to His voice, then you [all] do not provoke the mouth of Jehovah, and you [all] have been—both you [all] and the king who has reigned over you—after Jehovah your God.


What is the gist of this verse? If the people and their king fear Jehovah, serve Him and listen to His voice; and do not rebel against Him, then they will be following the Lord.


1Samuel 12:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îm (ם ̣א) [pronounced eem]

if, though; lo, behold; oh that, if only; when, since, though when (or, if followed by a perfect tense which refers to a past event)

primarily an hypothetical particle

Strong's #518 BDB #49

The particle îm (ם ̣א) can be used as a demonstrative (lo, behold), an interrogative (usually expecting a negative response and often used with other particles and rhetorically), and as a conditional particle (if, though); an indication of a wish or desire (oh that, if only; this is a rare usage).

When following an oath, either stated or implied, îm, by itself, functions as an emphatic negative.

yârê (א ֵר ָי) [pronounced yaw-RAY]

to fear, to fear-respect, to reverence, to have a reverential respect

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #3372 BDB #431

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: If you fear [and respect] Yehowah... You would think that this is reasonably simple. That is, Samuel is beginning with a very simple, If you fear [and respect] Jehovah. What could be more simple than that, right? Well, it just is not that simple. We have a problem here in this verse, and that is determining where the protasis and apodosis belong. This is discussed below in much greater detail than you might expect:


The hypothetical particle found here is problematic, which is evident if you carefully compare the various English translations above.

What the problem is in v. 14 with the Hypothetical Particle

When we find an if, then we expect to find a then. In the Hebrew, this is not so easy as we do not have a specific word for then, but we simply follow with a wâw consecutive. In fact, the standard is to begin a sentence with a hypothetical particle and then follow it with a imperfect verb (this is called the protasis, or the if portion of the conditional). The apodosis (the then portion) is continued with a wâw consecutive and a perfect tense. The problem here is threefold: (1) we cannot expect a standard in the Hebrew when it comes to a conditional (you would not believe the various points of view expressed in my many texts on this); (2) the difference between a wâw consecutive and a wâw conjunction is simply a vowel point, which was added millenniums later; and, (3) even if there were a fairly standard and predictable set up for a conditional, remember that this is Samuel, whose Hebrew is rather weak and limited. Rotherham, the NASB and God’s Word™ all set up the if...then... in the same place. Their translations are, essentially: If you fear Jehovah and serve Him and obey His voice and do not rebel against the commandments of Jehovah, then both you and the king who reigns over you will follow after Jehovah your God.” The wâw consecutive (the then) followed by a main verb (will follow) in the conclusion (or the apodosis) are not actually there in the Hebrew. There is no wâw consecutive and the main verb is to be when we would expect something like to follow. Now, to follow is reasonably implied (to some), but, given that we find a plethora of verbs in this verse, it is amazing that Samuel cannot muster up the strength to give us just one more final verb that makes sense for his apodosis.

However, even though these are three translations who lean toward being very literal, there are other literal translations which disagree: The Amplified Bible, Owen, the NRSV and the JPS. Even Brenton who gives us an English translation of the Septuagint disagrees. These five sources (along with the less literal NLT) assert that the apodosis is completely implied. If you and your king do all this stuff [fear Jehovah, obey, et al], [then all will be well and good].” Everything’s cool, if you are a part of all the conditions in this verse. Now, both positions are valid. Because an if expects a then, and because Samuel is not linguist-extraordinaire, we would expect a fairly simple and straightforward construction. But, because Samuel is not a scholar of the Hebrew language, and because this is public speaking, he may not give us the perfect example of Hebrew grammar.

The upshot of all this is, there are two basic interpretations: (1) Samuel has a not-so-simple if...then statement here or (2) he has an if statement when an implied then statement.

Bear in mind, this is not necessarily a problem with the particle îm, but possibly the greater problem is the verb which we find and the verb we expect to find. We do not have the perfect set up: if + an imperfect verb followed by the wâw consecutive + a perfect verb. Furthermore, the final verb (to be) is not what we expect to find either.

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In fact, given the two main viewpoints, let me give you a list of six interpretations of this conditional statement (there are way more than two interpretations here and the most common two interpretations I believe are the worst):

Six Interpretations of the Conditional of 1Samuel 12:14

Interpretation

Explanation and Translation

Problems with this Interpretation

The most common interpretation:

The apodosis is completely inferred. If you fear Jehovah and serve Him and obey His voice and do not rebel against the commandments of Jehovah, and both you and the king who reigns over you [follow] after Jehovah your God, [then you have done well].” When we have a conditional with no clear result, could we not assume that the outcome of obeying the conditional (or the conditions laid down in the conditional) as being positive or beneficial?

This conditional is filled with imperfect and perfect verbs in the protasis (perfect verbs belong in the apodosis). Also, this verse is followed by an almost normal conditional, with a relatively clear if...then format.

The protasis of the first conditional is inferred by the second conditional.

The apodosis is inferred by the second conditional. If you fear Jehovah and serve Him and obey His voice and do not rebel against the commandments of Jehovah, and both you and the king who reigns over you follow after Jehovah your God, [then the hand of Jehovah will be with you].” One may take this approach based upon the next verse, where we have a more clear apodosis. The idea is that the apodosis of v. 15 implies the apodosis for v. 14. The protasis of v. 14 is the opposite of that in v. 15, so we should expect the same of their apodoses (i.e., we should expect them to also be the opposite). I am not aware of any translation which takes this approach, but I consider it to be the best interpretation.

Apart from the mixture in vv. 14–15 of perfect and imperfect verbs in the apodosis, this is a reasonable and unfortunately unused rendering.

The second most common interpretation:

There is an apodosis in this verse; one needs to properly interpret the verse to identify it. If you fear Jehovah and serve Him and obey His voice and do not rebel against the commandments of Jehovah, then both you and the king who reigns over you will [follow] after Jehovah your God.” V. 15 is a conditional and it does not follow the exact expected form either.

We do not find the wâw consecutive that we expect (which is indicated by a vowel point, added much later into the text) and we find perfect verb tenses in the apodosis (which is the case in the verse which follows).

îm (ם̣א) [pronounced eem] is mistranslated if.

The hypothetical particle is not an hypothetical particle; Gesenius claims that its most common use is as a demonstrative; i.e., it should be rendered lo! behold! Listen you will fear Jehovah and serve Him and obey His voice and you will not rebel against the commandments of Jehovah, and both you and the king who reigns over you will follow after Jehovah your God.”

Given that the Israelites chose Saul as king, a choice which is against God, this is a less reasonable translation. That it is reasonably rendered if in the next verse is in keeping with Samuel’s limited vocabulary.

îm (ם̣א) [pronounced eem] should be translated as an interrogative.

The particle îm can be used as an interrogative, which would make sense here. Will you fear Jehovah and serve Him and obey His voice and will you not rebel against the commandments of Jehovah, and will both you and the king who reigns over you [follow] after Jehovah your God?” Samuel, in other words, asks them, “Is this what you have in mind for your future relationship with God now that you have a king?” This is the third mostly likely interpretation, in my opinion.

Bear in mind that, even though this is a reasonable interpretation, the if which follows in the next verse will not be interpreted in this way.

There are two conditionals in this verse. That is, we should let the verbs tell us how to construct this sentence.

If we go by the tenses, we could take the imperfect tenses as the protoses and the perfect as the apodoses. Then the second if would be implied. The resultant verse would be rendered: If you fear Jehovah then you will serve Him and obey His voice and [if] you do not rebel against the commandments of Jehovah, then both you and the king who reigns over you will [follow] after [or, pursue] Jehovah your God.” Although I have not found any translation which gives this approach to this verse, I see no reason why it is not any less valid than the previous interpretations. In fact, I believe this to be the second most reasonable interpretation.

The strongest argument against this is that an actual îm is found once again in the next verse; however, that if...then construction is the negative approach, whereas, this verse is the positive approach.

Notice, in the final interpretation, Samuel is explaining to these men of Israel how they demonstrate their fear/respect for God: by serving Him and obeying His voice. Therefore, if they do not rebel against God’s commandments (which implies, they must know His commandments), then that means they are following after (or, pursuing) Jehovah.

I need to admit that, I am not sure of any of my interpretations, even though I essentially ranked them.

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Fearing Jehovah indicates that one trusts God and His power, and recognizes God’s fierce justice. Maybe we simply like making God more palatable to others, so our churches emphasize God’s love. But bear in mind, even though Jesus spoke often of God’s love and how we should emulate it, He also spoke of God’s perfect righteousness: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matt. 10:28).


Application: A child who has good parents who are attempting to guide him in this life will occasionally fear his parents. He will fear making his parents mad; he will fear disappointing them; and he will fear being disciplined by them. These are normal responses to good parents. Now, if you, as a parent, want to always play the good guy, then your children are going to grow up to be both miserable and disappointing (as well as being a handful once you get into the teen years).


1Samuel 12:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳âbad (ד ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHD]

to work, to serve, to labor; to be a slave to

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #5647 BDB #712

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84


Translation: ...and [if] you serve Him... Recall the several interpretations above—this either begins the apodosis or it continues the protasis (I have translated this in the latter sense). Altogether, this gives us: “If you fear Yehowah and serve Him,...”


Please understand what serving God means: God would tell Israel to do specific things—at times, this would be to wipe out a degenerate group of people who practiced child sacrifice (and, there were times when all of their possessions were to be destroyed as well). There were commandments found throughout the Law: about the sacrifices the people were to bring, about how often they were to gather at the Tabernacle of God—following these commands were serving God (although, quite frankly, I doubt that the Tabernacle was completely functioning and I doubt that all of the rituals were being followed). God, even in the time of Israel, was very particular about His Word. Portions of the Word of God were to be memorized. Then, as now, there is nothing which is more important than knowing and obeying the Word of God.


1Samuel 12:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shâma׳ (ע ַמ ָש) [pronounced shaw-MAHĢ]

to listen [intently], to hear, to listen and obey, [or, and act upon, give heed to, take note of], to hearken to, to be attentive to, to listen and be cognizant of

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #8085 BDB #1033

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

qôwl (לק) [pronounced kohl]

sound, voice, noise; loud noise, thundering

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6963 BDB #876


Translation: ...and [if] you listen to [and obey] His voice;... Then we have the wâw conjunction and the 2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect of to listen, to listen [and obey] followed by in his voice (which we would render to His voice). “...and listen [and obey] His voice...”


1Samuel 12:14d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

mârâh (ה ָר ָמ) [pronounced maw-RAWH]

to resist, to oppose, to rebel, to rebel against, to be contentious

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #4784 BDB #598

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

peh (ה) [pronounced peh]

mouth [of man, animal; as an organ of speech]; opening, orifice [of a river, well, etc.]; edge; extremity, end

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #6310 BDB #804

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217


Translation: ...and [if] you do not rebel against the word of Yehowah,... This gives us: “If you fear Yehowah and serve Him, and you do not rebel [against] the mouth of Yehowah...” The mouth of Jehovah is the Word of God. It is in our nature to rebel against the truth, and yet Samuel is telling those before him not to rebel against the Word of God. Bear in mind, this is just as applicable to Saul as to anyone else. Saul’s problem, at least to begin with, is that he will disobey the Word of God on several occasions.


1Samuel 12:14e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

2nd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

Since the verb to be is not exactly what we would have expected to find here, please allow me to give you a rundown on the basic meanings of this verb. BDB breaks this down into 3 categories (1) to fall out, to come to pass, to become, to be; (2) to come into being, to become; (3) to be. Under the second category, BDB lists to meanings to come, to go, to follow. Footnote

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

both...and, furthermore...as well as, also...also, that...so; either...or (but not used disjunctively)

when gam is repeated

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

attem (ם∵-א) [pronounced aht-TEM]

you all, you guys, you (often, the verb to be is implied)

2nd person masculine plural, personal pronoun

Strong’s #859 BDB #61

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

gam (ם ַ) [pronounced gahm]

both...and, furthermore...as well as, also...also, that...so; either...or (but not used disjunctively)

when gam is repeated

Strong’s #1571 BDB #168

meleke ( ל מ) [pronounced MEH-lek]

king, ruler, prince

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #4428 BDB #572

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who, whom

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

mâlake ( ַל ָמ) [pronounced maw-LAHKe]

to reign, to become king or queen

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4427 BDB #573

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...and [if] you and your king who rules over you will follow after Yehowah your God [then the hand of Yehowah will be with you]. Footnote Altogether, this gives us: If you fear Yehowah and serve Him, and you do not rebel [against] the mouth of Yehowah and [if] you and your king who rules over you will follow after Yehowah your God [then the hand of Yehowah will be with you]. [see alternate renderings above] As has been discussed, it is difficult to determine how we are to properly interpret the conditional here, as conditionals in the Hebrew are not as well-defined as they are in the English. I lean toward the conclusion of the second if of a double conditional as implying the conclusion to the first conditional. By reading ahead, and taking this as being the proper interpretation, our implied conclusion would be: “...[then the hand of Yehowah will be with you].” This makes the most sense, as all of the things mentioned in v. 14 are things which the Israelites have the power to do from their own volition. Therefore, we should not view any of these things as results but as mandates for their personal and collective behavior. The only action which is outside the realm of their volition is the final clause of v. 15, the opposite of which I have added to this verse.


Interestingly enough, this is very similar to Joshua’s last few words to Israel: Footnote “Now, therefor, fear Yehowah and serve Him in sincerity and in truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt and serve Yehowah.” (Joshua 24:14). In both cases, Joshua and Samuel had figured that their time as leaders was over and these were to be their last words of advice to Israel (compare Ex. 19:5–6 Deut. 8:19 11:13–15, 22–28 28 30:17–20). This final passages was one of the last from Moses as well: “But if your heart turns away and you do not obey, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you will certainly perish. You will not prolong your days in the land wherein you are crossing to possess. I call upon heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Therefore, choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving Jehovah your God and by obeying His voice and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which Jehovah swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give to them.”


Application: I should hope that it would be obvious that you cannot obey the voice of God and you cannot do what God wants you to do without knowing the Word of God. You cannot function in this spiritual life apart from knowledge. You cannot get knowledge of the Word of God by reading it or studying for yourself, nor can you get this by listening to a pastor for 20 minutes at a time, 1–3 times per week. That just won’t cut it.


And if you do not hearken in a voice of Yehowah and you have rebelled [against] a mouth of Yehowah and has been a hand of Yehowah against you [all] and against your fathers.

1Samuel

12:15

And if you do not listen to the voice of Yehowah and if you rebel against the commands of Yehowah, then Yehowah’s hand will be against you, [as it was] against your fathers [or, as per the Greek, ...against you and against your king].

And if you do not listen to the voice of Jehovah and continue to rebel against His commands, then the hand of Jehovah will be against you, just as it was against your fathers.


Let’s see what has been done with this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And if you do not hearken in a voice of Yehowah and you have rebelled [against] a mouth of Yehowah and has been a hand of Yehowah against you [all] and against your fathers.

Septuagint                             But if you should not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and you should resist the mouth of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be upon you and upon your king.

 

Significant differences:          The Latin, Hebrew and Syriac are all in agreement here that this should read ...against your fathers. However, it would make more sense to read, Jehovah’s hand will be against you as it was against your fathers. Given the construction that we find, the Greek appears to make the most sense, where God’s hand would be against the Israelites gathered there as well as against their newly appointed king. We will discuss this in greater detail in the actual exegesis.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       If you’re stubborn and refuse to obey the Lord, he will turn against you and your king.’

NLT                                        But if you rebel against the Lord’s commands, and refuse to listen to him, then his hand will be as heavy upon you as it was upon your ancestors.

REB                                       ...but if you do not obey the Lord, and if you rebel against his commands, then his hand will be against you and against your king.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word                         But if you don’t obey the Lord, if you rebel against what he says, then the Lord will be against you as he was against your ancestors.

JPS (Tanakh)                        But if you do not obey the Lord and your flout the Lord’s command, the hand of the Lord will strike you as it did your fathers.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “And if you will not listen to the voice of the Lord<