Samuel’s Final Public Speech
1Then Samuel said to all Israel, “I have carefully listened to everything you said to me and placed a king over you. 2Now you can see that the king is leading you. As for me, I’m old and gray, and my sons are here with you. I have led you from my youth until now. 3Here I am. Bring charges against me before the Lord and his anointed: Whose ox or donkey have I taken? Who have I wronged or mistreated? Who gave me a bribe to overlook something? I will return it to you.”
4“You haven’t wronged us, you haven’t mistreated us, and you haven’t taken anything from anyone,” they responded.
5He said to them, “The Lord is a witness against you, and his anointed is a witness today that you haven’t found anything in my hand.”
“He is a witness,” they said.
6Then Samuel said to the people, “The Lord, who appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your ancestors up from the land of Egypt, is a witness. 7Now present yourselves, so I may confront you before the Lord about all the righteous acts he has done for you and your ancestors.
8“When Jacob went to Egypt, your ancestors cried out to the Lord, and he sent them Moses and Aaron, who led your ancestors out of Egypt and settled them in this place. 9But they forgot the Lord their God, so he handed them over to Sisera commander of the army of Hazor, to the Philistines, and to the king of Moab. These enemies fought against them. 10Then they cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned, for we abandoned the Lord and worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths. Now rescue us from the power of our enemies, and we will serve you.’ 11So the Lord sent Jerubbaal, Barak, Jephthah, and Samuel. He rescued you from the power of the enemies around you, and you lived securely. 12But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was coming against you, you said to me, ‘No, we must have a king reign over us’ — even though the Lord your God is your king.
13“Now here is the king you’ve chosen, the one you requested. Look, this is the king the Lord has placed over you. 14If you fear the Lord, worship and obey him, and if you don’t rebel against the Lord’s command, then both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. 15However, if you disobey the Lord and rebel against his command, the Lord’s hand will be against you as it was against your ancestors.
16“Now, therefore, present yourselves and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes. 17Isn’t the wheat harvest today? I will call on the Lord, and he will send thunder and rain so that you will recognize what an immense evil you committed in the Lord’s sight by requesting a king for yourselves.” 18Samuel called on the Lord, and on that day the Lord sent thunder and rain. As a result, all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.
19They pleaded with Samuel, “Pray to the Lord your God for your servants so we won’t die! For we have added to all our sins the evil of requesting a king for ourselves.”
20Samuel replied, “Don’t be afraid. Even though you have committed all this evil, don’t turn away from following the Lord. Instead, worship the Lord with all your heart. 21Don’t turn away to follow worthless things that can’t profit or rescue you; they are worthless. 22The Lord will not abandon his people, because of his great name and because he has determined to make you his own people.
23“As for me, I vow that I will not sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you. I will teach you the good and right way. 24Above all, fear the Lord and worship him faithfully with all your heart; consider the great things he has done for you. 25However, if you continue to do what is evil, both you and your king will be swept away.”