The First Book of Samuel

Chapter 15

Samuel sends Saul to destroy Amalek, 1-5. Saul favors the Kenites, 6. He spares Agag and the best of the plunder, 7-9. Samuel denounces to Saul God's rejection of him for his disobedience, 10-23. Saul's humiliation, 24-31. Samuel kills Agag, 32, 33. Samuel and Saul part, 34, 35.

1 Samuel also said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you to be king over his people, over Israel. Now therefore, listen to the voice of the words of the LORD. 2 Thus says the LORD of hosts: 'I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way when he came up from Egypt. 3 Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them, but slay both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"

4 And Saul assembled the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek and laid wait in the valley. 6 And Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart, withdraw yourselves from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them, for you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up from Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah, as far as Shur, that is over against Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, of the oxen, of the fattened calves, the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. But everything that was vile and refuse, that they utterly destroyed.

10 Then the word of the LORD came to Samuel, saying, 11 "I repent that I have set up Saul to be king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments." And it grieved Samuel and he cried to the LORD all night. 12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told to Samuel, saying, "Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set himself up a place, then has turned around and passed on and gone down to Gilgal." 13 And Samuel came to Saul. And Saul said to him, "Blessed are you of the LORD. I have performed the commandment of the LORD." 14 And Samuel said, "What then does this bleating of the sheep in my ears and the lowing of the oxen which I hear mean?" 15 And Saul said, "They have brought them from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen to sacrifice to the LORD your God, and the rest we have utterly destroyed." 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, "Stay, and I will tell you what the LORD has said to me this night." And he said to him, "Say on."

17 And Samuel said, "When you were little in your own sight, were you not made the head of the tribes of Israel and the LORD anointed you king over Israel? 18 And the LORD sent you on a journey and said, 'Go, and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites and fight against them until they are consumed.' 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the LORD, but flew upon the plunder and did evil in the sight of the LORD?"

20 And Saul said to Samuel, "Indeed, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD. I have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and I have brought Agag the king of Amalek and utterly destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took some of the plunder, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice to the LORD your God in Gilgal." 22 And Samuel said,

"Has the LORD as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices/
as in obeying the voice of the LORD?/
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice/
and to listen than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft/
and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry./
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,/
he has also rejected you from being king."

24 And Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25 Now therefore, I pray you, pardon my sin and turn back with me so that I may worship the LORD." 26 And Samuel said to Saul, "I will not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel." 27 And as Samuel turned around to depart, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle and it rent. 28 And Samuel said to him, "The LORD has rent the kingdom of Israel from you this day and has given it to a neighbor of yours who is better than you. 29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent, for he is not a man that he should repent." 30 Then he said, "I have sinned. Yet honor me now, I pray you, before the elders of my people and before Israel, and turn back with me so that I may worship the LORD your God." 31 So Samuel turned back after Saul, and Saul worshiped the LORD.

32 Then Samuel said, "Bring Agag the king of the Amalekites here to me." And Agag came to him delicately. And Agag said, "Surely the bitterness of death is past." 33 And Samuel said, "As your sword has made women childless, so your mother shall be childless among women." And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul. 35 And Samuel no longer came to see Saul until the day of his death. Nevertheless, Samuel mourned for Saul. And the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 1st Samuel, Chapter 15[➚]


[v.1] - "The LORD sent me to anoint you to be king" - Reference, 1st Samuel 9:17, 10:1, 24.

[v.2] - "that which Amalek did to Israel" - Reference, Exodus 17:8.

[v.11] - "has not performed my commandments" - Reference, verse 9 and also 1st Samuel 13:13.

[v.17] - Reference, 1st Samuel 9:21.

[v.18] - Reference, verse 9.

[v.22] - Reference, Psalm 40:6, 51:16; Proverbs 21:3; Hosea 6:6.

[v.26] - Reference, 1st Samuel 13:14.

[v.28] - The kingdom would soon be given to David, as told in the next chapter. Reference, 1st Samuel 28:17.

[v.29] - "the Strength of Israel will not lie" - Reference, Titus 1:2.