I - Chapter 12

1Then Shmuel said to all Yisrael, “I have yielded to you in all you have asked of me and have set a king over you.

אוַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־כָּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל הִנֵּה שָׁמַעְתִּי בְקֹלְכֶם לְכֹל אֲשֶׁר־אֲמַרְתֶּם לִי וָאַמְלִיךְ עֲלֵיכֶם מֶלֶךְ׃

2Henceforth the king will be your leader. “As for me, I have grown old and gray—but my sons are still with you—and I have been your leader from my youth to this day.

בוְעַתָּה הִנֵּה הַמֶּלֶךְ מִתְהַלֵּךְ לִפְנֵיכֶם וַאֲנִי זָקַנְתִּי וָשַׂבְתִּי וּבָנַי הִנָּם אִתְּכֶם וַאֲנִי הִתְהַלַּכְתִּי לִפְנֵיכֶם מִנְּעֻרַי עַד־הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה׃

3Here I am! Testify against me, in the presence of Hashem and in the presence of His anointed one: Whose ox have I taken, or whose ass have I taken? Whom have I defrauded or whom have I robbed? From whom have I taken a bribe to look the other way? I will return it to you.”

גהִנְנִי עֲנוּ בִי נֶגֶד יְהֹוָה וְנֶגֶד מְשִׁיחוֹ אֶת־שׁוֹר מִי לָקַחְתִּי וַחֲמוֹר מִי לָקַחְתִּי וְאֶת־מִי עָשַׁקְתִּי אֶת־מִי רַצּוֹתִי וּמִיַּד־מִי לָקַחְתִּי כֹפֶר וְאַעְלִים עֵינַי בּוֹ וְאָשִׁיב לָכֶם׃

4They responded, “You have not defrauded us, and you have not robbed us, and you have taken nothing from anyone.”

דוַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹא עֲשַׁקְתָּנוּ וְלֹא רַצּוֹתָנוּ וְלֹא־לָקַחְתָּ מִיַּד־אִישׁ מְאוּמָה׃

5He said to them, “Hashem then is witness, and His anointed is witness, to your admission this day that you have found nothing in my possession.” They responded, “He is!”

הוַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם עֵד יְהֹוָה בָּכֶם וְעֵד מְשִׁיחוֹ הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה כִּי לֹא מְצָאתֶם בְּיָדִי מְאוּמָה וַיֹּאמֶר עֵד׃

6Shmuel said to the people, “Hashem [is witness], He who appointed Moshe and Aharon and who brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt.

ווַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־הָעָם יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶת־אַהֲרֹן וַאֲשֶׁר הֶעֱלָה אֶת־אֲבֹתֵיכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם׃

7Come, stand before Hashem while I cite against you all the kindnesses that Hashem has done to you and your fathers.

זוְעַתָּה הִתְיַצְּבוּ וְאִשָּׁפְטָה אִתְּכֶם לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה אֵת כָּל־צִדְקוֹת יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה אִתְּכֶם וְאֶת־אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם׃

8“When Yaakov came to Egypt,…your fathers cried out to Hashem, and Hashem sent Moshe and Aharon, who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place.

חכַּאֲשֶׁר־בָּא יַעֲקֹב מִצְרָיִם וַיִּזְעֲקוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם אֶל־יְהֹוָה וַיִּשְׁלַח יְהֹוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה וְאֶת־אַהֲרֹן וַיּוֹצִיאוּ אֶת־אֲבֹתֵיכֶם מִמִּצְרַיִם וַיֹּשִׁבוּם בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה׃

9But they forgot Hashem their God; so He delivered them into the hands of Sisera the military commander of Hazor, into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the kind of Moab; and these made war upon them.

טוַיִּשְׁכְּחוּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וַיִּמְכֹּר אֹתָם בְּיַד סִיסְרָא שַׂר־צְבָא חָצוֹר וּבְיַד־פְּלִשְׁתִּים וּבְיַד מֶלֶךְ מוֹאָב וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ בָּם׃

10They cried to Hashem, ‘We are guilty, for we have forsaken Hashem and worshiped the Baalim and Ashtaroth. Oh, deliver us from our enemies and we will serve You.'

יוַיִּזְעֲקוּ אֶל־יְהֹוָה ויאמר [וַיֹּאמְרוּ] חָטָאנוּ כִּי עָזַבְנוּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה וַנַּעֲבֹד אֶת־הַבְּעָלִים וְאֶת־הָעַשְׁתָּרוֹת וְעַתָּה הַצִּילֵנוּ מִיַּד אֹיְבֵינוּ וְנַעַבְדֶךָּ׃

11And Hashem sent Yerubaal and Bedan and Yiftach and Shmuel, and delivered you from the enemies around you; and you dwelt in security.

יאוַיִּשְׁלַח יְהֹוָה אֶת־יְרֻבַּעַל וְאֶת־בְּדָן וְאֶת־יִפְתָּח וְאֶת־שְׁמוּאֵל וַיַּצֵּל אֶתְכֶם מִיַּד אֹיְבֵיכֶם מִסָּבִיב וַתֵּשְׁבוּ בֶּטַח׃

12But when you saw that Nahash king of the Ammonites was advancing against you, you said to me, ‘No, we must have a king reigning over us'—though Hashem your God is your King.

יבוַתִּרְאוּ כִּי־נָחָשׁ מֶלֶךְ בְּנֵי־עַמּוֹן בָּא עֲלֵיכֶם וַתֹּאמְרוּ לִי לֹא כִּי־מֶלֶךְ יִמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ וַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם מַלְכְּכֶם׃

13“Well, Hashem has set a king over you! Here is the king that you have chosen, that you have asked for.

יגוְעַתָּה הִנֵּה הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר בְּחַרְתֶּם אֲשֶׁר שְׁאֶלְתֶּם וְהִנֵּה נָתַן יְהֹוָה עֲלֵיכֶם מֶלֶךְ׃

14“If you will revere Hashem, worship Him, and obey Him, and will not flout Hashem's command, if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow Hashem your God, [well and good].

im tee-r'-U et a-do-NAI va-a-vad-TEM o-TO u-sh'-ma-TEM b'-ko-LO v'-LO tam-RU et PEE a-do-NAI vih-yi-TEM gam a-TEM v'-GAM ha-ME-lekh a-sher ma-LAKH a-lay-KHEM a-KHAR a-do-NAI e-lo-hay-KHEM

ידאִם־תִּירְאוּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֹתוֹ וּשְׁמַעְתֶּם בְּקֹלוֹ וְלֹא תַמְרוּ אֶת־פִּי יְהֹוָה וִהְיִתֶם גַּם־אַתֶּם וְגַם־הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר מָלַךְ עֲלֵיכֶם אַחַר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם׃

 12:14   If you will revere Hashem, worship Him, and obey Him

The prophet Shmuel clarifies to the people that the key to their success will not be their king, but rather their observance of Hashem’s commandments. As Rashi explains, observance of the laws will mean that the People of Israel and its king all live to ripe, old ages. This theme is repeated frequently in the Tanakh. In order for the Children of Israel to be able to live as a free nation in the Land of Israel, they must observe God’s Torah. This is a reminder that their goal is not merely to be free, but rather to be a holy and free nation in Eretz Yisrael. If they do not aspire to this objective, the land will not tolerate their sins and will eventually spit them out (Leviticus 18:26-30)..

15But if you do not obey Hashem and you flout Hashem's command, the hand of Hashem will strike you as it did your fathers.

טווְאִם־לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה וּמְרִיתֶם אֶת־פִּי יְהֹוָה וְהָיְתָה יַד־יְהֹוָה בָּכֶם וּבַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם׃

16“Now stand by and see the marvelous thing that Hashem will do before your eyes.

טזגַּם־עַתָּה הִתְיַצְּבוּ וּרְאוּ אֶת־הַדָּבָר הַגָּדוֹל הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר יְהֹוָה עֹשֶׂה לְעֵינֵיכֶם׃

17It is the season of the wheat harvest. I will pray to Hashem and He will send thunder and rain; then you will take thought and realize what a wicked thing you did in the sight of Hashem when you asked for a king.”

יזהֲלוֹא קְצִיר־חִטִּים הַיּוֹם אֶקְרָא אֶל־יְהֹוָה וְיִתֵּן קֹלוֹת וּמָטָר וּדְעוּ וּרְאוּ כִּי־רָעַתְכֶם רַבָּה אֲשֶׁר עֲשִׂיתֶם בְּעֵינֵי יְהֹוָה לִשְׁאוֹל לָכֶם מֶלֶךְ׃

18Shmuel prayed to Hashem, and Hashem sent thunder and rain that day, and the people stood in awe of Hashem and of Shmuel.

יחוַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־יְהֹוָה וַיִּתֵּן יְהֹוָה קֹלֹת וּמָטָר בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא וַיִּירָא כָל־הָעָם מְאֹד אֶת־יְהֹוָה וְאֶת־שְׁמוּאֵל׃

19The people all said to Shmuel, “Intercede for your servants with Hashem your God that we may not die, for we have added to all our sins the wickedness of asking for a king.”

יטוַיֹּאמְרוּ כָל־הָעָם אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵל הִתְפַּלֵּל בְּעַד־עֲבָדֶיךָ אֶל־יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְאַל־נָמוּת כִּי־יָסַפְנוּ עַל־כָּל־חַטֹּאתֵינוּ רָעָה לִשְׁאֹל לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ׃

20But Shmuel said to the people, “Have no fear. You have, indeed, done all those wicked things. Do not, however, turn away from Hashem, but serve Hashem with all your heart.

כוַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־הָעָם אַל־תִּירָאוּ אַתֶּם עֲשִׂיתֶם אֵת כָּל־הָרָעָה הַזֹּאת אַךְ אַל־תָּסוּרוּ מֵאַחֲרֵי יְהֹוָה וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֶת־יְהֹוָה בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם׃

21Do not turn away to follow worthless things, which can neither profit nor save but are worthless.

כאוְלֹא תָּסוּרוּ כִּי אַחֲרֵי הַתֹּהוּ אֲשֶׁר לֹא־יוֹעִילוּ וְלֹא יַצִּילוּ כִּי־תֹהוּ הֵמָּה׃

22For the sake of His great name, Hashem will never abandon His people, seeing that Hashem undertook to make you His people.

כבכִּי לֹא־יִטֹּשׁ יְהֹוָה אֶת־עַמּוֹ בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל כִּי הוֹאִיל יְהֹוָה לַעֲשׂוֹת אֶתְכֶם לוֹ לְעָם׃

23“As for me, far be it from me to sin against Hashem and refrain from praying for you; and I will continue to instruct you in the practice of what is good and right.

כגגַּם אָנֹכִי חָלִילָה לִּי מֵחֲטֹא לַיהֹוָה מֵחֲדֹל לְהִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעַדְכֶם וְהוֹרֵיתִי אֶתְכֶם בְּדֶרֶךְ הַטּוֹבָה וְהַיְשָׁרָה׃

24Above all, you must revere Hashem and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; and consider how grandly He has dealt with you.

כדאַךְ יְראוּ אֶת־יְהֹוָה וַעֲבַדְתֶּם אֹתוֹ בֶּאֱמֶת בְּכָל־לְבַבְכֶם כִּי רְאוּ אֵת אֲשֶׁר־הִגְדִּל עִמָּכֶם׃

25For if you persist in your wrongdoing, both you and your king shall be swept away.”

כהוְאִם־הָרֵעַ תָּרֵעוּ גַּם־אַתֶּם גַּם־מַלְכְּכֶם תִּסָּפוּ׃