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1 Samuel 15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 15[a]

Disobedience of Saul. Samuel said to Saul: “It was I the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel. Now, therefore, listen to the message of the Lord. Thus says the Lord of hosts: I will punish what Amalek did to the Israelites when he barred their way as they came up from Egypt. Go, now, attack Amalek, and put under the ban[b] everything he has. Do not spare him; kill men and women, children and infants, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

Saul alerted the army, and at Telaim reviewed two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men of Judah.[c] Saul went to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the wadi. He warned the Kenites: “Leave Amalek, turn aside and come down so I will not have to destroy you with them, for you were loyal to the Israelites when they came up from Egypt.”[d] After the Kenites left, Saul routed Amalek from Havilah to the approaches of Shur, on the frontier of Egypt. He took Agag, king of Amalek, alive, but the rest of the people he destroyed by the sword, putting them under the ban. He and his troops spared Agag and the best of the fat sheep and oxen, and the lambs. They refused to put under the ban anything that was worthwhile, destroying only what was worthless and of no account.

Samuel Rebukes Saul. 10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 I regret having made Saul king, for he has turned from me and has not kept my command. At this Samuel grew angry and cried out to the Lord all night. 12 Early in the morning he went to meet Saul, but was informed that Saul had gone to Carmel, where he set up a monument in his own honor, and that on his return he had gone down to Gilgal. 13 When Samuel came to him, Saul greeted him: “The Lord bless you! I have kept the command of the Lord.” 14 But Samuel asked, “What, then, is this bleating of sheep that comes to my ears, the lowing of oxen that I hear?” 15 Saul replied: “They were brought from Amalek. The people spared the best sheep and oxen to sacrifice to the Lord, your God; but the rest we destroyed, putting them under the ban.” 16 Samuel said to Saul: “Stop! Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” “Speak!” he replied. 17 Samuel then said: “Though little in your own eyes, are you not chief of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king of Israel 18 and sent you on a mission, saying: Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction. Fight against them until you have exterminated them. 19 Why then have you disobeyed the Lord? You have pounced on the spoil, thus doing what was evil in the Lord’s sight.” 20 Saul explained to Samuel: “I did indeed obey the Lord and fulfill the mission on which the Lord sent me. I have brought back Agag, the king of Amalek, and, carrying out the ban, I have destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But from the spoil the army took sheep and oxen, the best of what had been banned, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 But Samuel said:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obedience to the Lord’s command?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
    to listen, better than the fat of rams.[e]
23 For a sin of divination is rebellion,
    and arrogance, the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    the Lord in turn has rejected you as king.”

Rejection of Saul. 24 Saul admitted to Samuel: “I have sinned, for I have transgressed the command of the Lord and your instructions. I feared the people and obeyed them. 25 Now forgive my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” 26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, because you rejected the word of the Lord and the Lord has rejected you as king of Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul seized a loose end of his garment, and it tore off. 28 So Samuel said to him: “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29 The Glory of Israel neither deceives nor repents,[f] for he is not a mortal who repents.” 30 But Saul answered: “I have sinned, yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Return with me that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 And so Samuel returned with him, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

Samuel Executes Agag. 32 Afterward Samuel commanded, “Bring Agag, king of Amalek, to me.” Agag came to him struggling and saying, “So it is bitter death!” 33 And Samuel said,

“As your sword has made women childless,
    so shall your mother be childless among women.”

Then he cut Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal. 34 Samuel departed for Ramah, while Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Never again, as long as he lived, did Samuel see Saul. Yet he grieved over Saul, because the Lord repented that he had made him king of Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. 15:1–35 The rejection of Saul sets the stage for the remainder of 1 Samuel. The audience knows that, in the ensuing struggle between David and Saul, David will triumph as king.
  2. 15:3 Put under the ban: this terminology mandates that all traces of the Amalekites (people, cities, animals, etc.) be exterminated. No plunder could be seized for personal use. In the light of Dt 20:16–18, this injunction would eliminate any tendency toward syncretism. The focus of this chapter is that Saul fails to execute this order.
  3. 15:4 The numbers here are not realistic; compare 14:2.
  4. 15:6 The Kenites honored the terms of an alliance with Israel.
  5. 15:22 Samuel’s reprimand echoes that of the prophets. Cultic practice is meaningless, even hypocritical, unless accompanied by an attentiveness to God’s will.
  6. 15:29 Nor repents: the apparent contradiction between this verse and vv. 11, 35 leads some scholars to consider it a gloss (cf. Nm 23:19). However, this phrase can be understood to underscore the definitive character of Samuel’s declaration that Saul has lost the kingship.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 Samuel 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Lord Rejects Saul as King

15 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the Lord sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

So Saul summoned the men and mustered them at Telaim—two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand from Judah. Saul went to the city of Amalek and set an ambush in the ravine. Then he said to the Kenites, “Go away, leave the Amalekites so that I do not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, near the eastern border of Egypt. He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves[b] and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions.” Samuel was angry, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.

12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, “Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.”

13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, “The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

14 But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest.”

16 “Enough!” Samuel said to Saul. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” Saul replied.

17 Samuel said, “Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’ 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?”

20 “But I did obey the Lord,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”

22 But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    he has rejected you as king.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the Lord’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the men and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord.”

26 But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!”

27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors—to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.”

30 Saul replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag king of the Amalekites.”

Agag came to him in chains.[c] And he thought, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”

33 But Samuel said,

“As your sword has made women childless,
    so will your mother be childless among women.”

And Samuel put Agag to death before the Lord at Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel left for Ramah, but Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Until the day Samuel died, he did not go to see Saul again, though Samuel mourned for him. And the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Footnotes:

  1. 1 Samuel 15:3 The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verses 8, 9, 15, 18, 20 and 21.
  2. 1 Samuel 15:9 Or the grown bulls; the meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  3. 1 Samuel 15:32 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
New International Version (NIV)

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