23 Taking his rightful place among such giants of intercession as Moses (Ex 32:30–32), Daniel (Da 9:4–20), Paul (Ro 1:9–10; Col 1:9; 2 Th 3:10; 2 Ti 1:3), and Jesus (Isa 53:12; Ro 8:34; Heb 7:25), Samuel declares his unwillingness to sin against God (cf. Saul’s command in 14:33–34) by failing to pray for Israel (cf. also v. 19; 7:5, 8–9; 8:6; 15:11; Jer 15:1). To help the people live a life pleasing to God, Samuel promises to “teach” (the Heb. root is yrh, the same as in tôrâ, “instruction, law”) them “the way that is good and right” (cf. also 1 Ki 8:36 = 2 Ch 6:27; Pss 25:8; 32:8; Pr 4:11).
12:23 — “Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you .… ”
Samuel considered it a sin against the Lord if he should stop praying for his fellow Israelites. We are all in this together; we need each other, especially in prayer (Col. 4:3; Heb. 13:18).
12:23 Praying (intercession) and instruction are two of Samuel’s major roles as the prophet of the Lord, even after the inauguration of kingship.
12:23 ceasing to pray for you Part of Samuel’s role as prophet and priest was to pray for the nation.
12:23 pray for you … instruct you. Samuel’s responsibilities in the kingdom will include intercession and instruction (12:1 note; for other duties of Samuel see 10:8).
12:23 Samuel was clearly in sorrow because of the people’s insistence upon a king. To his credit, Samuel allowed neither personal hurt nor the knowledge of Israel’s future sorrow to deter him from two overwhelming spiritual tasks: (1) a continued life of intercession, since failure to pray for God’s people is sin against God; and (2) the teaching of a good and right way. Those two tasks continue to be the spiritual tasks of God’s shepherds in any era.
12:23 The words I vow could also be translated “far be it from me.” Samuel’s assurance to the people was expressed in the strongest terms. Samuel had been the people’s shepherd leader, and ceasing to pray on their behalf was sin in his eyes.
 Youngblood, R. F. (2009). 1, 2 Samuel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: 1 Samuel–2 Kings (Revised Edition) (Vol. 3, p. 130). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
 Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (1 Sa 12:23). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 395). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.
 Criswell, W. A., Patterson, P., Clendenen, E. R., Akin, D. L., Chamberlin, M., Patterson, D. K., & Pogue, J. (Eds.). (1991). Believer’s Study Bible (electronic ed., 1 Sa 12:23). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.