Summary of 1 Samuel 12:
Samuel, having found a king the people asked for and served the people of Israel faithfully, retires. Samuel warns God will be against them if they do not obey like it was against their forefathers.
Samuel called out thunder and rain as a sign the people did evil by asking for a king. The people were afraid then, but Samuel reassures them that if they obey, serve God faithfully, and fear Him and remember the great things the Lord has done for them, then the Israelites will prosper.
Summary of 1 Samuel 13:
Saul was 30 when he became king of Israel. He reigned 42 years. Saul’s son, Jonathan, took 3000 men and attacked the Philistines at Geba. The Philistines then prepared to counter-attack with 3000 chariots and soldiers as numerous as sand on the seashore at Micmash. The Israelites then hid in caves and thickets, afraid of the Philistines. Saul remained at Gilgal and waited 7 days for Samuel to show up. When Samuel didn’t show up, the men began to scatter. So Saul offered up his own burnt offerings.
Samuel shows up, sees the impatience in Saul, and rebukes Saul for not keeping the Lord’s command. This cost him his kingship for all time. Now, the Lord has sought a man after His own heart to be leader of the Israelites.
Samuel departs, leaving Saul and his son, Jonathan, and a few men. The Philistines attacked in raiding parties. The Israelites had no weapons because the the Philistines had outlawed blacksmiths so the Israelites couldn’t get weapons. Hence, on the day of battle, no one was armed but Saul and Jonathan.
BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1: Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel :12-13:
9) Samuel said he has never cheated nor oppressed the people of Israel nor has he accepted a bribe. He told all of what God has done for the people, and he said if the people turn from God to evil, they will have God’s hand against them. He told them it was an evil thing to ask for a king and God confirmed this by sending thunder and rain.
10) The people stood in awe of the Lord and of Samuel and were afraid. Samuel told them as long as they obeyed the Lord and served Him and no others, God will be with them. Samuel said he would pray for them and teach them good from bad and that God would not reject them.
11) Saul disobeyed Samuel’s commands because he was impatient, and he was afraid. When his men got antsy and began fleeing, Saul panicked. Instead of praying to God for guidance, he took matters into his own hands. He felt like he needed to do something when, in fact, the something was praying and waiting for Samuel who wouldn’t break his word. How often do we do this?
The consequences were severe: God was going to use Saul to establish His kingdom for all time. Now, he’s choose another man after His own heart.
12) Personal Question. My answers: Society pressures us all the time with “Everything else is doing it and don’t you want to fit in?” crap. Friends pressure us as well (peer pressure). To compromise your own morals and values. Consequences are mostly delays or prolonged suffering.
Conclusions: BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4 : 1 Samuel 12-13:
Great lesson in waiting on God and seeking God. We do feel like we need to be taking action when often as not we need to be waiting on God.
End Notes BSF Study Questions People of the Promised Land 1 Lesson 9, Day 4: 1 Samuel 12-13:
1 Samuel 12:
Samuel takes the opportunity of Saul’s coronation to speak to the people.
Here he helped Israel make the transition from Samuel’s leadership to Saul’s leadership. Samuel made this clear when he said, “now here is the king” and “I am old and gray headed.” Samuel told Israel that his day was over, and Saul’s day was beginning.
Samuel’s life of Godly-devotion and Leadership
Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life (1 Samuel 7:15), but now that a king was raised up, his role would change and diminish. Samuel never officially “stepped down” from leading Israel as a judge but didn’t allow his shadow to eclipse Saul.
Samuel showed himself as a truly godly man. He was willing to pass from the scene when God brought up another leader. Samuel did not grasp onto a position when God wanted to change it.
Samuel wanted it clearly known that it was not his idea to appoint a king over Israel. This idea began in the hearts of Israel, not in the heart and mind of God.
In 1 Samuel 8:1-5, Samuel was challenged to take his sons out of leadership in Israel because they were not godly men. Though it must have been difficult, he did it. The words my sons are with you are proof; Samuel’s sons were simply a part of the assembly of Israel and not “up on the platform” with Samuel.
Unlike some political and religious leaders who get caught up in financial scandals, Samuel considered himself publicly accountable.
All parties agreed Samuel had led Israel well. This is the second time Samuel mentioned His anointed in this passage, and the phrase refers to Saul, because he was anointed as king (1 Samuel 10:1). Samuel deliberately included Saul in all this to make the idea of a transition between his leadership and Saul’s clear.
How could the Lord witness against them?
Samuel was covering all his bases. If he were ever accused of wrongdoing, he could call the Israelites back to this moment where they said no. Furthermore, if Israel ever tried to blame Saul’s problems on Samuel, what they said here would be a witness against them.
What are the righteous acts performed by the Lord?
- Israel was saved from slavery and given a new life by God in the Promised Land.
- God allowed a disobedient Israel to be dominated by their enemies (Sisera), as a chastisement intending to bring them to repentance.
- When Israel cried out to God, confessed their sin, and humbled themselves in repentance before Him, He delivered them.
- Samuel linked together the story of God’s deliverance for Israel from the time of the Exodus to the God’s routing of the Ammonites.
Jerub-Baal was another name for Gideon (Judges 6:32). There is no mention of Bedan in the Book of Judges. Perhaps he was a deliverer known in their history, but not recorded in the Book of Judges. Or, Bedan may be a variant spelling or name for Barak, mentioned in Judges 4:6. The Septuagint, an ancient translation of the Old Testament, translates the name as Barak. Other ancient translations have Samson, and some commentators believe Jair is intended.
As Israel made the transition into monarchy, they must remember the righteous acts of the LORD. Everything the LORD will do is in the setting of what He has already done in our lives.
The LORD was a good king for Israel, but an earthy king was for carnal and fleshly reasons only.
Even with one bad choice (earthly king) God would still bless Israel if they obeyed. The choice was theirs.
Why did Samuel ask for a sign from God now instead of earlier?
- Because God had a purpose in allowing the “people’s king,” Saul, to come first.
- Because if it had happened in the first days of Saul’s reign, the people would have cast Saul off just as quickly and just as wrongly as they asked for him. Now, that his reign has been confirmed by the victory of 1 Samuel 11 and accepted by the people, they can be more directly confronted with their sin.
- Because Samuel might have been accused of reproving the people out of a personal sense of hurt. By waiting until now, everyone knew that Samuel wasn’t saying, “Get rid of Saul so I can lead the nation again.”
- Because Israel rejoiced greatly (1 Samuel 11:15). They were perhaps a little too excited about their new king, and Samuel wants them to have a more spiritual perspective.
Thunder and rain were unusual during the wheat harvest. This was a remarkable sign from God and a sign of judgement (Prov. 26:1). Heavy rain during the harvest could destroy all their crops.
Finally, Israel saw their sin of wanting a king. They saw it too late; if only they had realized it in 1 Samuel 8, when Samuel first warned them! Now they are stuck with a king, yet God can still turn it for good if Israel will repent and seek the LORD.
What do we learn from the sin of Israel asking for a king?
- God still loves Israel despite their sin. They could still serve the LORD and still see His blessing because God loves them. His favor towards Israel was for His great name’s sake because it pleased the LORD to do it. The reasons were in Him, not in Israel.
- God still loves us despite all the mistakes we’ve done. It’s all in the past. Move forward in His name.
Samuel will not forsake Israel; he will still pray and teach them.
We serve God because of the great things He has done for us. We tend to focus on our problems instead of remembering His greatness.
Sad warning became the legacy of Israel when they were conquered and taken from the land in captivity as they persisted in doing evil.
Bible scholar Clarke says it best: “Never was a people more fully warned, and never did a people profit less by the warning.”
1 Samuel 13:
This was the first regular army for Israel. Remember Israel has been operating an army only during times of war.
Fun Fact: This is the first mention of Saul’s son Jonathan. He will be a prominent and wonderful part of 1 Samuel.
Jonathan was a remarkable military leader, leading one successful attack after another. This attack awakened the Philistines who thought Israel was just another one of their subjects. They were wrong.
Archaeologists have found this Philistine fortress at Geba (also known as Gibeah).
Saul took credit for Jonathan’s bold attack on the Philistines — not a good reflection of Saul’s character.
What do we learn from the Israelites being afraid and scattering?
- A king doesn’t solve the Israelites problems. God solves problems.
Saul was afraid too. He wanted to strike before the Philistines could assemble.
Why couldn’t Saul offer a burnt offering?
- Only priests could offer sacrifices.
- Saul didn’t wait on Samuel.
When you combine civic duties with religious duties, you often get a conflict of interest that just doesn’t ever work out. In 2 Chronicles 26 King Uzziah tried to do the work of priest and God struck him with leprosy.
The last minutes of waiting are the hardest and where we face the most temptation. If Saul had only waited an hour more, history would be different.
The Hebrew says that Saul wanted to bless Samuel – perhaps as a priest blesses the people. Saul apparently saw nothing wrong with what he had done as his ego is beginning to overinflate.
Saul spouts excuse after excuse when confronted by Samuel.
- Saul felt he had to do something
- Saul blames Samuel for his actions since he was late
- The Philistines were about to attack
- He had to do it (because a gun was to his head)
Classic excuses man always makes instead of taking responsibility for your actions. Given the fact he didn’t ask what he had done wrong, we know Saul knew he had done wrong. He willfully sinned.
A fool in the Bible is no light term. Samuel here is calling Saul morally and spiritually lacking.
Excuses don’t get you out of consequences. The whole point of having a king was to establish a dynasty where one’s sons sat on the throne afterwards. Saul messed that one up big time~
The punishment was harsh for seemingly a little sin. But like Moses who would die before stepping foot in the Promised Land for breaking faith with God (Deuteronomy 32:51-52), a sin is a sin in God’s eyes. Perhaps if Saul had repented, God might have relented. But he didn’t.
God rejected Saul, not Israel. He would provide a new king — a king after His own heart. Saul was clearly not a man after God’s own heart.
Who is someone after God’s own heart?
- He or she honors the Lord. Saul was more concerned with his will than God’s will. David knew God’s will was most important. Even when David didn’t do God’s will, he still knew God’s will was more important. All sin is a disregard of God, but David sinned more out of weakness and Saul more out of a disregard for God.
- He or she puts God as king. For Saul, Saul was king. For David, the LORD God was king. Both David and Saul knew sacrifice before battle was important. But David thought it was important because it pleased and honored God. Saul thought it was important because it might help him win the battle. Saul thought God would help him achieve his goals. David thought that God was the goal.
- He or she has a repentant heart. When Saul was confronted with his sin, he offered excuses. When David was confronted with his sin, he confessed his sin and repented (2 Samuel 12:13).
- He or she loves others. Saul became increasingly bitter against people and lived more and more unto himself, but David loved people. When David was down and out he still loved and served those who were even more down and out (1 Samuel 22:1-2).
Saul’s army had shrunk from 3000 to 600. God was testing Saul, and Saul failed.
The Philistines had superior military technology and they wanted to keep it that way. Since they were a seafaring people, the Philistines traded with the technologically sophisticated cultures to the west, especially the Greeks. They imported weapons and know-how from those distant lands. By carefully guarding their military technology, the Philistines kept the Israelites in a subservient place.
Lessons We Learn from the Philistines
God has concluded 1 Samuel 13 with an army of nothing but their bare hands to fight with. He has taken everything away from them, forcing them to completely rely on Him to win and save their lives. How often does God do this to us?