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Reformation Study Bible – 1 Sam 12:3–15
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1 Sam 12:3–15

12:3–15 Samuel advances a three-pronged argument to compel the people to recognize their guilt for requesting a king. First, he invites agreement from the people that his leadership has been blameless (vv. 4, 5). Second, he points out that in the past it was always the Lord who appointed leaders (v. 6), and these proved fully adequate (vv. 7, 8). Third, he emphasizes that even when Israel “forgot the Lord their God,” the Lord was gracious to them. Although He subjected them to enemy oppression (v. 9), He heard their confessions of sin and cries for deliverance (v. 10) and raised up judges, among them Samuel himself (v. 11). Against this background of the sufficiency of the Lord’s provision, the people’s demand to have a human king, even though the Lord was their king (v. 12), can be seen for what it is (8:7). Nevertheless, kingship can succeed, if both king and people “fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice” (v. 14).