Saul Disobeys the Lord
1 Samuel told Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king of his people Israel. Now listen to the Lord’s words. 2 This is what the Lord of Armies says: I will punish Amalek for what they did to Israel. They blocked Israel’s way after the Israelites came from Egypt. 3 Now go and attack Amalek. Claim everything they have for God by destroying it. Don’t spare them, but kill men and women, infants and children, cows and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
4 Saul organized the troops, and he counted them at Telaim: 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men from Judah. 5 Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, “Get away from the Amalekites so that I won’t destroy you with them. You were kind to all the Israelites when they came from Egypt.” So the Kenites left the Amalekites.
7 Saul attacked the Amalekites from Havilah to Shur, east of Egypt. 8 He captured King Agag of Amalek alive. But he claimed all the people for God by destroying them. 9 Saul and the army spared Agag and the best sheep and cows, the fattened animals, the lambs, and all the best ⌊property⌋. The army refused to claim them for God by destroying them. But everything that was worthless and weak the army did claim for God and destroy.
The Lord Rejects Saul
10 Then the Lord spoke to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I made Saul king. He turned away from me and did not carry out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he prayed to the Lord all night. 12 Early in the morning he got up to meet Saul. Samuel was told, “Saul went to Carmel to set up a monument in his honor. Then he left there and went to Gilgal.”
13 Samuel came to Saul, who said, “The Lord bless you. I carried out the Lord’s instructions.”
14 However, Samuel asked,
“But what is this sound of sheep in my ears
and this sound of cows that I hear?”
15 Saul answered, “The army brought them from the Amalekites. They spared the best sheep and cows to sacrifice to the Lord your God. But the rest they claimed for God and destroyed.”
16 “Be quiet,” Samuel told Saul, “and let me tell you what the Lord told me last night.”
“Speak,” Saul replied.
17 Samuel said, “Even though you don’t consider yourself great, you were the head of Israel’s tribes. The Lord anointed you king of Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you on a mission. He said, ‘Claim those sinners, the Amalekites, for me by destroying them. Wage war against them until they’re wiped out.’ 19 Why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why have you taken their belongings and done what the Lord considers evil?”
20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul told Samuel. “I went where the Lord sent me, brought ⌊back⌋ King Agag of Amalek, and claimed the Amalekites for God. 21 The army took some of their belongings—the best sheep and cows were claimed for God—in order to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
22 Then Samuel said,
“Is the Lord as delighted with burnt offerings and sacrifices
as he would be with your obedience?
To follow instructions is better than to sacrifice.
To obey is better than sacrificing the fat of rams.
23 The sin of black magic is rebellion.
Wickedness and idolatry are arrogance.
Because you rejected the word of the Lord,
he rejects you as king.”
24 Then Saul told Samuel, “I have sinned by not following the Lord’s command or your instructions. I was afraid of the people and listened to them. 25 Now please forgive my sin and come back with me so that I may worship the Lord.”
26 Samuel told Saul, “I will not go back with you because you rejected what the Lord told you. So the Lord rejects you as king of Israel.” 27 When Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel told him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today. He has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. 29 In addition, the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind, because he is not a mortal who changes his mind.”
30 Saul replied, “I have sinned! Now please honor me in front of the leaders of my people and in front of Israel. Come back with me, and let me worship the Lord your God.” 31 Then Samuel turned and followed Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
32 “Bring me King Agag of Amalek,” Samuel said.
Agag came to him trembling.#Or “Agag came to him in shackles.” “Surely, the bitterness of death is past,” #Hebrew meaning uncertain. Agag said.
33 But Samuel said, “As your sword made women childless, so your mother will be made childless among women.” And Samuel cut Agag in pieces in the presence of the Lord at Gilgal.
34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went to his home at Gibeah. 35 Samuel didn’t see Saul again before he died, though Samuel mourned over Saul. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king of Israel.