Israel Defeats the Amalekites
1Then Samuel said to Saul, “Yahweh sent me to anoint you as king over his people Israel. So then, listen to the words#Literally “listen to the voice of the words” of Yahweh! 2Thus says Yahweh of hosts: ‘I have observed what Amalek did to Israel, how he opposed him#Literally “what he placed against him in the way” when he went up from Egypt. 3So then, go and attack Amalek and utterly destroy all that is his! You must not spare him, but kill both man and woman, both child and nursing infant, both ox and sheep, both camel and donkey.’ ”
4Saul summoned the army and mustered them at Telaim; two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah. 5Then Saul came up to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the wadi.#A valley that is usually dry but contains a stream during the rainy season 6Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, leave! Withdraw from among the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you with them. You have shown loyal love to all the Israelites#Literally “sons/children of Israel” when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites left from among the Amalekites. 7Then Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as one goes to Shur which is east of#Literally “upon the face of” Egypt. 8He captured Agag the king of Amalek alive, but all the people he utterly destroyed with the edge#Literally “mouth” of the sword. 9However, Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and the cattle and the second best of the young fatlings and all that was valuable;#Literally “all the good things” they were not willing to utterly destroy them. But all the possessions that were despised or worthless, they utterly destroyed.
Samuel Announces the Downfall of Saul
10Then the word of Yahweh came to Samuel, saying, 11“I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not kept my word.” Samuel became angry,#Literally “it became hot for Samuel” and he cried out to Yahweh all night. 12Then Samuel got up early in the morning to meet Saul. Samuel was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel, and look, he is setting up a monument for himself.” Then he turned around and crossed over and went down to Gilgal.
13When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him, “May you be blessed by Yahweh! I have kept the word of Yahweh.” 14But Samuel said, “Then what is this bleating of the sheep that I hear in my ears and the lowing of the cattle that I am hearing?” 15Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites; the troops spared the best of the sheep and the cattle in order to sacrifice them to Yahweh your God. But the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop and let me tell you what Yahweh said to me last night.” So he said to him, “Speak.”
17Samuel said, “Even though you are small in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? Yahweh has anointed you as king over Israel. 18When Yahweh sent you on your way, he said to you: ‘Go! You must utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and you must fight against them until you#The Masoretic Hebrew text reads “they”; LXX, Peshitta, and Targum read “you” have destroyed them.’ 19Why did you not listen to the voice of Yahweh and fall with shouting on the plunder? You have done evil in the sight of Yahweh!” 20Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have listened to the voice of Yahweh, and I have gone on the way that Yahweh sent me! I brought Agag the king of Amalek, and the Amalekites I have utterly destroyed. 21The troops took from the plunder, sheep and cattle, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to Yahweh your God at Gilgal.”
22Then Samuel said,
“Is there as much delight for Yahweh in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as there is in obeying#Literally “listening to the voice of” Yahweh?
Look! To obey#Literally “Listening” is better than sacrifice;
to give heed than the fat of rams.
23For rebellion is like the sin of divination;
arrogance is like iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of Yahweh,
he has rejected you from being king!”
24Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned because I have transgressed the commandment of Yahweh#Literally “the mouth of Yahweh” and your words, for I feared the troops and I listened to their voice. 25So then, please pardon my sin and return with me so that I can worship#Literally “so that I can bow down to” Yahweh.” 26But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of Yahweh, and he has rejected you from being king over Israel!”
27As Samuel turned around to go, he#That is, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28Then Samuel said to him, “Yahweh has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.#Literally “the better than you” 29Moreover, the Glory of Israel will not break faith and will not regret, for he is not a human that he should regret.” 30Then he#That is, Saul said, “I have sinned! Now please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me so that I can worship#Literally “so that I can bow down to” Yahweh your God.” 31So Samuel returned after Saul, and Saul worshiped#Literally “bowed down to” Yahweh.
32Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag the king of Amalek out to me!” Agag came to him confidently,#Or “trembling”; literally “in chains/bonds” (HALOT 609 s.v. 2); the meaning here is uncertain (LXX has “trembling”) for Agag thought, “Surely the bitterness of death is over.”#Literally “has turned aside”; other English versions follow the LXX and Peshitta and omit “has turned aside,” reading “Surely the bitterness of death!”
“Just as your sword bereaved women,
so will your mother be bereaved among women!”
Then Samuel hacked Agag to pieces in the presence of Yahweh at Gilgal.
34Then Samuel went to Ramah and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul. 35Samuel did not see Saul again#Literally “did not add to see Saul” until the day of his death, but Samuel mourned over Saul, and Yahweh regretted that he made Saul king over Israel.