1 Samuel 15:13-31

15:13 When Samuel came to him, 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, then what is this sound of sheep in my ears and the sound of cattle that I hear?” 15:15 Saul said, “They were brought 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! 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.” 10 

15:20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed 11  the Lord! I went on the campaign 12  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? 13 

Certainly, 14  obedience 15  is better than sacrifice;

paying attention is better than 16  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 17  king.”

15:24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have disobeyed what the Lord commanded 18  and what you said as well. 19  For I was afraid of the army, and I followed their wishes. 20  15:25 Now please forgive my sin! Go back with me so I can worship 21  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, Saul 22  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 One 23  of Israel does not go back on his word 24  or change his mind, for he is not a human being who changes his mind.” 25  15:30 Saul 26  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.


tn Heb “to Saul.”

tn The words “if that is the case” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

tn Heb “they brought them.”

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.”

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

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

12 tn Heb “journey.”

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

14 tn Heb “look.”

15 tn Heb “listening.”

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

17 tn Or “from [being].”

18 tn Heb “the mouth of the Lord.”

19 tn Heb “and your words.”

20 tn Heb “and I listened to their voice.”

21 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose/result.

22 tn Heb “he,” but Saul is clearly the referent. A Qumran ms and the LXX include the name “Saul” here.

23 tn Heb “splendor,” used here by metonymy as a title for the Lord.

24 tn Or perhaps “does not lie.”

25 sn This observation marks the preceding statement (v. 28) as an unconditional, unalterable decree. When God makes such a decree he will not alter it or change his mind. This does not mean that God never deviates from his stated intentions or changes his mind. On the contrary, several passages describe him as changing his mind. In fact, his willingness to do so is one of his fundamental divine attributes (see Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:2). For a fuller discussion see R. B. Chisholm, Jr., “Does God Change His Mind?” BSac 152 (1995): 387-99.

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