Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
Rejection of King Saul
I Samuel xv: 1 to
the great victory over the Philistines, Saul led his
men against the enemies of Israel on every side of
the land. He drove back the Moabites to their
country east of the Dead Sea, and the Ammonites to
the desert regions across the Jordan. He fought the
Edomites on the south and the kings of Zobah in the
far north. For a time the land of Israel was free
from its oppressors.
On the south of the land, in the desert where the
Israelites had journeyed for forty years, were
living the wild and wandering Amalekites, a people
who had sought to harm the Israelites soon after
they came out of Egypt, and had killed many of their
people when they were helpless on their journey. For
this God had said that Israel should have war
against the Amalekites until they were destroyed.
The time had now come for God's word against the
Amalekites to be fulfilled, and Samuel said to Saul,
"Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, go down and
make war against the Amalekites, and destroy them
Then Saul called out the men of war in all the
tribes, and they marched southward into the desert
where many years before their fathers had lived for
forty years. There Saul made war on the Amalekites,
and took their city and destroyed it. But he did not
do what God had commanded him. He brought Agag, the
king of the Amalekites, and many of his people as
prisoners, and a great train of their sheep and
oxen, intending to keep them.
Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying,
"It would have been better never to have chosen Saul
as king, for he does not obey my commands."
All that night Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the
next day he went to meet Saul. When Saul saw him, he
said, "May the blessing of the Lord be upon you. I
have done what the Lord commanded me to do."
Then said Samuel, "If you have obeyed God's command
and destroyed all the Amalekites and all that they
possessed, what is the meaning of this bleating of
the sheep and the bellowing of the oxen which I
"They have bought them from the Amalekites,"
answered Saul, "for the people spared the best of
the sheep and of the oxen, to offer in sacrifice to
the Lord your God. All the rest we have utterly
destroyed." This he said to excuse his wrong-doing
and to put the blame for his disobedience to God's
command on the people.
Then Samuel said, "I will tell you what God said to
me last night. When you were humble in your own
sight, God chose you to be king over Israel. He sent
you on a long journey to the southward into the
desert and said to you, 'Go and utterly destroy the
Amalekites and leave nothing of them.' Why did you
not obey God's word but did seize their oxen and
sheep and save many of their people alive,
disobeying God's voice?"
And Saul said, "I have done as God commanded, and
have destroyed the Amalekites. But the people took
some things that should have been destroyed, to
offer in sacrifice to the Lord."
And Samuel said, "Is the Lord as well pleased with
offerings as he is with obeying his words? To obey
is better than sacrifice, and to listen to God's
word is more precious than to place offerings on his
altar. To disobey God's word is as evil as to
worship idols. You have refused to obey the voice of
the Lord, and the Lord will take away your kingdom
Saul saw now how great was the harm that he had
done, and he said, "I have sinned in not obeying
God's word; but I was afraid of the people, and
yielded to them. Now forgive my sin. Come with me,
and I will worship the Lord."
"No," said Samuel, "I will not go with you, for God
will refuse you as king."
As Samuel turned away, Saul took hold of his
garment, and it tore in his hand. And Samuel said,
"Even so has God torn the kingdom away from you; and
he will give it to a man that is better than you
are. And God is not like a man, to say one thing and
do another. What God has said shall surely come to
Saul begged Samuel so hard not to leave him, but to
give him honor in presence of the people, that
Samuel went with Saul, and Saul worshipped the Lord
After this Samuel went to his house at Ramah, and he
never again met Saul as long as he lived; but he
mourned and wept for Saul, because he had disobeyed
the Lord, and the Lord had rejected him as king.
Rejection of King Saul