1 Samuel 12: Addressing Sin


  • The remembrance of sin
  • The exposure of sin
  • The forgiveness of sin


We all know what a party-pooper is, a kill joy, a wet-blanket. In the portion that we have before us Saul has just had his first victory and the nation is finally united under their new king. It is in the midst of this victory that Samuel stands up and ruins the mood. As unwelcome as an evangelistic sermon at a wedding or a funeral Samuel fulfilling his role as prophet speaks about the sins of the people and leads them in a covenant renewal. We saw at the end of chapter 11 that Samuel took the people to Gilgal to renew the covenant, and it all ended with rejoicing. This chapter provides more detail.

This is a very important chapter, it is the beginning of a new era in Israel. Samuel has been functioning as both a prophet and judge. Saul has been anointed king but there is still an ambiguity about who is really leading the nation. We have Samuel standing up in this section and officially stepping down as judge, though he will continue to function as a prophet. He uses his last speech to convict the nation of Israel of their sin and seek to help them recommit that they might do better under Saul.