1 Samuel 15:16-23

15:16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Wait a minute! Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” Saul 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 chose you as king over Israel. 15:18 The Lord sent you on a campaign saying, ‘Go and exterminate those sinful Amalekites! Fight against them until you have destroyed them.’ 15:19 Why haven’t you obeyed the Lord? Instead you have greedily rushed upon the plunder! You have done what is wrong in the Lord’s estimation.”

15:20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the Lord! I went on the campaign 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.”

15:22 Then Samuel said,

“Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices

as much as he does in obedience? 10 

Certainly, 11  obedience 12  is better than sacrifice;

paying attention is better than 13  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 as 14  king.”

tn Or perhaps “be quiet.”

tc The translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew mss in reading the singular (“he said”) rather than the plural (“they said”) of the Kethib.

tn Heb “he”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

tn Heb “anointed.”

tn Heb “journey.”

tc The translation follows the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and the Targum in reading the second person singular suffix (“you”) rather than the third person plural suffix of the MT (“they”).

tn Heb “listened to the voice of the Lord.”

tn Heb “you have done what is evil in the eyes of the Lord.”

tn Heb “listened to the voice of the Lord.”

tn Heb “journey.”

10 tn Heb “as [in] listening to the voice of the Lord.”

11 tn Heb “look.”

12 tn Heb “listening.”

13 tn The expression “is better” is understood here by ellipsis (see the immediately preceding statement).

14 tn Or “from [being].”