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CHAPTER 15 Jul. 3 
Saul Defeats the Amalekites
Samuel said to Saul, Yahweh sent me to anoint you to be king over His people Israel. Now therefore, listen to the words of Yahweh. 2Thus says Yahweh of Armies, ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel, opposing them when they came up out of Egypt. 3Now go and attack Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have; don’t spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and nursing baby, ox and sheep, camel and donkey’. 4Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5Saul went to the city of Amalek and laid wait in the valley. 6Saul said to the Kenites, Go away from among the Amalekites so that I don’t destroy you with them, for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7Saul attacked the Amalekites from Havilah to Shur east of Egypt. 8He took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, cattle, fat calves and lambs and all that was good, and wouldn’t utterly destroy them; everything that was bad and worthless they destroyed utterly.

Saul Rejected as King
10Then the word of Yahweh came to Samuel saying, 11It grieves Me that I have set up Saul to be king, for he has turned back from following Me and has not obeyed My commandments. Samuel was troubled and he cried out to Yahweh all night. 12Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, and he was told: Saul came to Carmel and he set up a monument for himself, then went down to Gilgal. 13Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, Yahweh bless you! I have obeyed the commandment of Yahweh. 14Samuel said, Then what is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What does this lowing of cattle mean? 15Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to Yahweh your God. We have utterly destroyed the rest. 16Then Samuel said to Saul, Stop! I will tell you what Yahweh said to me last night. He said to him, Tell me. 17Samuel said, When you were once little in your own sight, weren’t you made the head of the tribes of Israel? Yahweh anointed you king over Israel, 18and Yahweh sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go, and utterly destroy those sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are destroyed’. 19Why then didn’t you obey the voice of Yahweh, but took the spoils and did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh? 20Saul said to Samuel, But I have obeyed the voice of Yahweh, and have gone on the mission which Yahweh gave me and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21But the people took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of the devoted things, to sacrifice to Yahweh your God in Gilgal. 22Samuel said, Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of Yahweh, He has also rejected you from being king. 24Saul said to Samuel, I have sinned; I have transgressed the commandment of Yahweh and your words because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25Now therefore, please pardon my sin and come back with me so that I may worship Yahweh. 26Samuel said to Saul, I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of Yahweh, and Yahweh has rejected you from being king over Israel. 27As Samuel turned to go away, Saul grabbed the skirt of his robe and it tore. 28Samuel said to him, Yahweh has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbour of yours who is better than you. 29The Strength of Israel will not lie nor change His mind, for He is not a man that He should change His mind. 30Then he said, I have sinned, yet please honour me now before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me so that I may worship Yahweh your God. 31So Samuel went back with Saul and Saul worshipped Yahweh. 32Then Samuel said, Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalekites! Agag came to him confidently, thinking, Surely the bitterness of death is past. 33Samuel said, As your sword has made women childless, so your mother will be childless among women! Samuel cut Agag in pieces before Yahweh in Gilgal. 34Then Samuel went to Ramah and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death, yet Samuel mourned for Saul, and Yahweh grieved that He had made Saul king over Israel.


15:6 Guilt by association isn’t a Biblical idea; in fact the very opposite is taught, and we should be careful not to practice this.
15:11 God tells Samuel of His rejection of Saul, and Samuel cries to Him all night. The implication is that Samuel was pleading with God to consider another future with Saul (see too :35; 16:1). Having stated His intentions, God is open to persuasion before He carries them out; that gap period is intended to inspire intense prayer and dialogue with God on our part.
15:17 Notice the links between Saul and Paul. "Is Saul also among the prophets?" (10:11) was directly matched by 'Is Saul of Tarsus also among the Christians?'. The way Paul was let down through a window to escape persecution (Acts 9:25; 2 Cor. 11:33) was surely to remind him of what King Saul had done to David (see on 19:12). They were both Benjamites, and perhaps his parents saw him as following in Saul's footsteps. And it seems Paul was aware of this. The implication is that Paul consciously changed his name from Saul to Paul ('the little one'), consciously alluding to this statement that when Saul was little (Heb. 'the littlest one') in his own sight , God anointed Saul and made him therosh, the chief, over Israel. Maybe Paul's parents intended him to be the rosh over Israel; and it seems he would have made it had he not been converted. Paul saw how he had persecuted Christ, as Saul had David. He saw the self-will within him as it was in Saul. Yet he went on to see how pride had destroyed a man who could have achieved so much for God. And he determined that he would learn the lesson from Saul's failure; so he changed his name to Paul, the little one. What influence his sustained meditation on one Old Testament verse had upon him! It affected some basic decisions in his life; e.g. the decision to change his name. There was a time when Saul felt he was 'the littlest one' (as demonstrated in 9:21; 10:22). Paul alludes to it when he says he is less than the least of all saints, least of the apostles, chief of sinners (1 Cor. 15:9; Eph. 3:8; 1 Tim. 1:15). He earnestly resolved to be like Saul was at the beginning. "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision" (Acts 26:19) is surely a reference back to Saul's disobedience (:22). What Bible characters are we trying to consciously learn from? For the Bible is largely history, and the range of characters and situations recorded are chosen so that we can always find some Biblical precedent and guidance for whatever situation we are in (Rom. 15:4).
15:23 Because you have rejected the word of Yahweh, He has also rejected you- Our attitude to God’s word is our attitude to Him; as we treat God’s word, so He will treat us.
15:35 Samuel mourned for Saul- Any condemnation of the wicked by God or occasional separation from them which we are asked to make must be the result of much sorrow (see too Lev. 10:6; 1 Cor. 5:2; Phil. 3:17-19). The idea of 'block disfellowship'- the cutting off of whole groups of believers because of their association with some more questionable ones -  hardly enables 'mourning' and pleading with individuals as is required.