1 Samuel 12

1Samuel said to all Israel: “I have done everything you wanted me to do. I have put a king over you. 2Now you have a king to lead you. I am old and gray, but my sons are here with you. I have been your leader since I was a young boy. 3Here I am. If I have done anything wrong, you must tell those things to the Lord and his chosen king. Did I steal anyone’s cow or donkey? Did I hurt or cheat anyone? Did I ever take money, or even a pair of shoes, to do something wrong? If I did any of these things, then I will make it right.” 4The Israelites answered, “No! You never did anything bad to us. You never cheated us or took things from us!” 5Samuel said to the Israelites, “The Lord and his chosen king are witnesses today. They heard what you said. They know that you could find nothing wrong with me.” The people answered, “Yes! The Lord is witness!” 6Then Samuel said to the people, “The Lord has seen what happened. The Lord is the One who chose Moses and Aaron. And he is the one who brought your ancestors out of Egypt. 7Now, stand there and I will tell you about the good things the Lord did for you and your ancestors. 8“Jacob went to Egypt. Later, the Egyptians made life hard for his descendants. So they cried to the Lord for help. The Lord sent Moses and Aaron. Moses and Aaron took your ancestors out of Egypt and led them to live in this place. 9“But your ancestors forgot the Lord their God. So the Lord let them become the slaves of Sisera. Sisera was the commander of the army at Hazor. Then the Lord let them become the slaves of the Philistines and the king of Moab. They all fought against your ancestors. 10But your ancestors cried to the Lord for help. They said, 'We have sinned. We left the Lord, and we served the false gods Baal and Ashtoreth. But now save us from our enemies, and we will serve you.’ 11“So the Lord sent Jerub Baal ˻(Gideon)˼, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel. The Lord saved you from your enemies around you. And you lived in safety. 12But then you saw Nahash king of the Ammonites coming to fight against you. You said, 'No! We want a king to rule over us!’ You said that, even though the Lord your God was already your king! 13Now, here is the king you chose. The Lord put this king over you. 14You must fear and respect the Lord. You must serve him and obey his commands. You must not turn against him. You and the king ruling over you must follow the Lord your God. If you do those things, then God will save you. 15But if you don’t obey the Lord and if you turn against him, then he will be against you. The Lord will destroy you and your king! 16“Now stand still and see the great thing the Lord will do before your eyes. 17Now is the time of the wheat harvest. I will pray to the Lord. I will ask him to send thunder and rain. Then you will know you did a very bad thing against the Lord when you asked for a king.” 18So Samuel prayed to the Lord. That same day the Lord sent thunder and rain. And the people became very afraid of the Lord and Samuel. 19All the people said to Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for us, your servants. Don’t let us die! We have sinned many times. And now we have added to those sins—we have asked for a king.” 20Samuel answered, “Don’t be afraid. It is true! You did all those bad things. But don’t stop following the Lord. Serve the Lord with all your heart. 21Idols are only statues—they can’t help you! So don’t worship them. Idols can’t help you or save you. They are nothing! 22“But the Lord won’t leave his people. No, the Lord was pleased to make you his own people. So, for his own good name, he won’t leave you. 23And as for me, I would never stop praying for you. If I stopped praying for you, then I would be sinning against the Lord. I will continue to teach you the right way to live a good life. 24But you must honor the Lord. You must truly serve the Lord with all your heart. Remember the wonderful things he did for you! 25But if you are stubborn and do evil, then God will throw you and your king away—like sweeping dirt out with a broom.”

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