15:1 Then Samuel said to Saul, “I was the one the Lord sent to anoint you as king over his people Israel. Now listen to what the Lord says.1 15:2 Here is what the Lord of hosts says: ‘I carefully observed how the Amalekites opposed2 Israel along the way when Israel3 came up from Egypt. 15:3 So go now and strike down the Amalekites. Destroy everything that they have. Don’t spare4 them. Put them to death—man, woman, child, infant, ox, sheep, camel, and donkey alike.’ ”
15:4 So Saul assembled5 the army6 and mustered them at Telaim. There were 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. 15:5 Saul proceeded to the city7 of Amalek, where he set an ambush8 in the wadi.9 15:6 Saul said to the Kenites, “Go on and leave! Go down from among the Amalekites! Otherwise I will sweep you away10 with them! After all, you were kind to all the Israelites when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites withdrew from among the Amalekites.
15:7 Then Saul struck down the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to11 Shur, which is next to Egypt. 15:8 He captured King Agag of the Amalekites alive, but he executed all Agag’s people12 with the sword. 15:9 However, Saul and the army spared Agag, along with the best of the flock, the cattle, the fatlings,13 and the lambs, as well as everything else that was of value.14 They were not willing to slaughter them. But they did slaughter everything that was despised15 and worthless.
15:10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 15:11 “I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned away from me and has not done what I told him to do.” Samuel became angry and he cried out to the Lord all that night.
15:12 Then Samuel got up early to meet Saul the next morning. But Samuel was informed, “Saul has gone to Carmel where16 he is setting up a monument for himself. Then Samuel left17 and went down to Gilgal.”18 15:13 When Samuel came to him,19 Saul said to him, “May the Lord bless you! I have done what the Lord said.”
15:14 Samuel replied, “If that is the case,20 then what is this sound of sheep in my ears and the sound of cattle that I hear?” 15:15 Saul said, “They were brought21 from the Amalekites; the army spared the best of the flocks and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord our God. But everything else we slaughtered.”
15:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait a minute!22 Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” Saul23 said to him, “Tell me.” 15:17 Samuel said, “Is it not true that when you were insignificant in your own eyes, you became head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord chose24 you as king over Israel. 15:18 The Lord sent you on a campaign25 saying, ‘Go and exterminate those sinful Amalekites! Fight against them until you26 have destroyed them.’ 15:19 Why haven’t you obeyed27 the Lord? Instead you have greedily rushed upon the plunder! You have done what is wrong in the Lord’s estimation.”28
15:20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed29 the Lord! I went on the campaign30 the Lord sent me on. I brought back King Agag of the Amalekites after exterminating the Amalekites. 15:21 But the army took from the plunder some of the sheep and cattle—the best of what was to be slaughtered—to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
“Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as he does in obedience?31
Certainly,32 obedience33 is better than sacrifice;
paying attention is better than34 the fat of rams.
15:23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and presumption is like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as35 king.”
15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have disobeyed what the Lord commanded36 and what you said as well.37 For I was afraid of the army, and I followed their wishes.38 15:25 Now please forgive my sin! Go back with me so I can worship39 the Lord.”
15:26 Samuel said to Saul, “I will not go back with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel!”
15:27 When Samuel turned to leave, Saul40 grabbed the edge of his robe and it tore. 15:28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to one of your colleagues who is better than you! 15:29 The Preeminent One41 of Israel does not go back on his word42 or change his mind, for he is not a human being who changes his mind.”43 15:30 Saul44 again replied, “I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel. Go back with me so I may worship the Lord your God.” 15:31 So Samuel followed Saul back, and Saul worshiped the Lord.
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