15:1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee
to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken
thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek
did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came
up from Egypt.
15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they
have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant
and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Saul had been king for a time, the Lord sent Samuel to him
commanding him to carry out the prophecy which God had given
Moses centuries before this. This was during the time when
Israel came out of Egypt and dwelled in the wilderness. The
desert tribes of Amalek had attacked Israel and tried to claim
the water which the Lord had given Israel. If you remember,
Moses struck the rock on Mount Horeb and water gushed forth.
17:8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.
17:9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out,
fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill
with the rod of God in mine hand.
17:10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with
Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the
17:11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that
Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek
17:12 But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and
put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed
up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the
other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of
17:13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge
of the sword.
account of Joshua leading the Israelites against Amalek in the
valley of Rephidim is good. When Moses held up his hands, Israel
would win, but when they came down the enemy would win. Aaron
and Hur stood on each side of Moses to keep his hands up so that
Joshua could lead the children of Israel in victory over the
Amalekites. Because Amalek had defied God and struck His people
his people, God wore a perpetual enmity until Amalek was
destroyed. Samuel is given instruction to go and smite Amalek.
He was to destroy all the men, women and children as well as all
their cattle, sheep, and camels. They were in effect to utterly
destroy the nation. This shows the judgment that comes on the
world when it rejects God and defies His very commandments.
15:4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in
Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of
15:5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the
15:6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down
from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye
showed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up
out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
gathered his army at Telaim which was near the southern border
of Judah next to the desert. There were gathered 200,000 foot
solders out of Israel, and another 10,000 out of Judah. He came
to one of their cities and encamped against it. Saul sent word
to the Kenites who lived among the Amalekites that they should
get out from among them or else they would be destroyed also.
The Kenites were the descendants of Mosesí father-in-law and had
befriended the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.
15:7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou
comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
15:8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and
utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the
sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and
all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every
thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
fell on the Amalekites and smote them from Havilah to Shur.
Havilah was the wilderness area eastward to the Euphrates River
and the Arabian Sea. Shur was the wilderness area on the
entrance to Egypt, a very large area. The instructions Samuel
gave Saul was to destroy everyone including the animals, but in
verse 9 we see that he spared the king Agag and some of the best
of the animals. Agag, king of the Amalekites was taken prisoner
and brought back to Israel alive. As had been the case earlier,
Saul did not seem to take the command of the Lord seriously. He
thought he could interpret what the instructions were to suit
himself. Many churches today are using this same logic. They
ignore clear commands and axioms laid down in the Bible, and do
what they feel is right. Our righteousness in comparison to God
is as filthy rags. What may sound so good may be a horrible
thing in Godís sight. We need to just trust God, and obey his
commands. We wonít go wrong if we do.
15:10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,
15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he
is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my
commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD
of the Lord came to Samuel. God told Samuel that it repented Him
that he had made Saul king over Israel. God help us to never be
so disobedient that God would wish negative things against us.
God effectively despised Saulís kingship. This really touched
Samuel, and it says that he was grieved and cried unto the Lord
all the night. I believe he was beseeching the Lord to forgive
Saul of his failures. But when someone sins, that person needs
to be the one who comes humbly to God and seeks forgiveness. We
can pray for others, but it is the sinner who must seek Godís
face for forgiveness.
Samuel Confronts Saul
15:12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it
was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he
set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone
down to Gilgal.
15:13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed
be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the
15:14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the
sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15:15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites:
for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to
sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly
Samuel met Saul, Saul says that he had performed the
commandments of the Lord. Saul had first come to Carmel and then
went down to Gilgal. I believe Saul was waiting to hear praise
from Samuel for him doing such a great job. Saul is much like
many today who think the Lord is pleased with us in partial
obedience to His Word. What God said He means, and He says it
clearly in the Word. If we want Godís blessings and acceptance
in our life, we must do all the commandments of the Lord. Samuel
questions Saul in verse 14 and asks ďWhat meaneth then this
bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen
which I hear?Ē Saul has a quick response, and says he brought
them down to offer as a sacrifice unto God. All the bad animals
he said were destroyed as commanded.
15:16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee
what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him,
15:17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight,
wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the
LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
15:18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and
utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against
them until they be consumed.
15:19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD,
but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the
15:20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of
the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have
brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the
15:21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the
chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to
sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
tells Saul to stay and hear what the Lord had said to him the
night before. Samuel in verse 17 talks of Saulís humility when
he was anointed the king of Israel. At this point, this seems
like a long time ago. Rather than being humble and following
Godís commands, Saul was now doing what seemed right to him.
Rather than destroying the Amalekites as he was commanded, he
saved King Agag alive. Because of this, he had committed evil in
his actions. Saul again explains how that he had good intentions
in bringing back the excellent animals. He again affirms that he
had obeyed the voice of the Lord. While he did do some of the
Lordís commands, he certainly did not follow all of them. We
have to fight the tendency in our Christian lives to not do just
part of the work the Lord commands us to do. Notice how in verse
21 Saul tries to share some of the blame when he says Ďthe
people took of the spoil to bring it back to make a sacrifice.í
This is probably true, but as leader he should have seen this
was not done.
6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten
thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my
transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
6:8 He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the
LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and
to walk humbly with thy God?
wants obedience, not sacrifice. He wants us to do justly, love
mercy, and walk humbly with God. Note what Samuel says to Saul
in verse 22. Saul had come far short of doing the perfect will
15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt
offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than
the fat of rams.
15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and
stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast
rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from
Matthew Henry said this about Saul
Saul repeats his vindication of
himself, as that which, in defiance of conviction, he resolved
to abide by, v. 20, 21. He denies the charge (v. 20): "Yea, I
have obeyed, I have done all I should do;íí for he had done all
which he thought he needed to do, so much wiser was he in his
own eyes than God himself. God bade him kill all, and yet he
puts in among the instances of his obedience that he brought
Agag alive, which he thought was as good as if he had killed
him. Thus carnal deceitful hearts think to excuse themselves
from Godís commandments with their own equivalents. He insists
upon it that he has utterly destroyed the Amalekites themselves,
which was the main thing intended; but, as to the spoil, he owns
it should have been utterly destroyed; so that he knew his
Lordís will, and was under no mistake about the command. But he
thought that would be wilful waste; the cattle of the Midianites
was taken for a prey in Mosesís time (Num. 31:32, etc.), and why
not the cattle of the Amalekites now? Better it should be prey
to the Israelites than to the fowls of the air and the wild
beasts; and therefore he connived at the peopleís carrying it
away. But it was their doing and not his; and, besides, it was
for sacrifice to the Lord here at Gilgal, whither they were now
bringing them. See what a hard thing it is to convince the
children of disobedience of their sin and to strip them of their