1 Samuel 15

1˻One day˼ Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel. Now listen to the Lord’s message. 2The Lord All-Powerful says: 'When the Israelites came out of Egypt, the Amalekites tried to stop them from going to Canaan. I saw what the Amalekites did. 3Now, go fight against the Amalekites. You must completely destroy the Amalekites and everything that belongs to them. Don’t let anything live; you must kill all the men and women and all of their children and little babies. You must kill all of their cows and sheep and all of their camels and donkeys.’” 4Saul gathered the army together at Telaim. There were 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 other men. That includes the men from Judah. 5Then Saul went to the city of Amalek and waited in the valley. 6Saul said to the Kenite people, “Go away, leave the Amalekites. Then I won’t destroy you with the Amalekites. You showed kindness to the Israelites when they came out of Egypt.” So the Kenite people left the Amalekites. 7Saul defeated the Amalekites. He fought them and chased them all the way from Havilah to Shur, at the border of Egypt. 8Agag was the king of the Amalekites. Saul captured Agag alive. Saul let Agag live, but he killed all the men in Agag’s army. 9Saul and the Israelite soldiers felt bad about destroying everything. So they let Agag live. They also kept the fat cows, the best sheep, and the lambs. They kept everything that was worth keeping. They didn’t want to destroy those things. They destroyed only the things that were not worth keeping. 10Then Samuel received a message from the Lord. 11The Lord said, “Saul has stopped following me. So I am sorry that I made Saul king. He is not doing what I tell him.” Samuel became angry and cried to the Lord all night. 12Samuel got up early the next morning and went to meet Saul. But the people told Samuel, “Saul went to ˻the town in Judah named˼ Carmel. Saul went there to set up a stone monument to honor himself. Saul is traveling around to several places and will finally go down to Gilgal.” So Samuel went to the place where Saul was. Saul had just offered the first part of the things he took from the Amalekites. Saul was offering them as a burnt offering to the Lord. 13Samuel went to Saul. Saul greeted him. Saul said, “Lord bless you! I obeyed the Lord’s commands.” 14But Samuel said, “Then what is that sound I hear? Why do I hear sheep and cattle?” 15Saul said, “The soldiers took them from the Amalekites. The soldiers saved the best sheep and cattle to burn as sacrifices to the Lord your God. But we destroyed everything else.” 16Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” Saul answered, “Fine, tell me what he said.” 17Samuel said, “In the past, you thought you were not important. But then you became the leader of the family groups of Israel. The Lord chose you to be king over Israel. 18The Lord sent you on a special mission. The Lord said, 'Go and destroy all of the Amalekites. They are evil people. Destroy them all! Fight them until they are completely finished!’ 19But you didn’t listen to the Lord! Why? You wanted to keep those things, so you did what the Lord said is bad!” 20Saul said, “But I did obey the Lord! I went where the Lord sent me. I destroyed all the Amalekites! I brought back only one person—their king Agag. 21And the soldiers took the best sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal!” 22But Samuel answered, “Which pleases the Lord more: burnt offerings and sacrifices or obeying the Lord’s command? It is better to obey God than to offer sacrifices to him. It is better to listen to God than to offer the fat from rams. 23Refusing to obey is as bad as the sin of sorcery. Being stubborn and doing what you want is like the sin of worshiping idols. You refused to obey the Lord’s command. For this reason, the Lord now refuses to accept you as king.” 24Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I did not obey the Lord’s commands, and I did not do what you told me. I was afraid of the people, and I did what they said. 25Now I beg you, forgive me for doing this sin. Come back with me, so I may worship the Lord.” 26But Samuel said to Saul, “I won’t go back with you. You refused the Lord’s command, and now the Lord refuses you as king of Israel.” 27When Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught Samuel’s robe. The robe tore. 28Samuel said to Saul, “˻You tore my robe. In the same way,˼ the Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today. The Lord has given the kingdom to one of your friends. This man is a better person than you. 29The Lord is the God of Israel. The Lord lives forever. The Lord does not lie or change his mind. The Lord is not like a man who changes his mind.” 30Saul answered, “All right, I sinned! But please come back with me. Show me some respect in front of the leaders and the people of Israel. Come back with me so I may worship the Lord your God.” 31Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord. 32Samuel said, “Bring Agag, the king of the Amalekites, to me.” Agag came to Samuel. Agag was tied with chains. Agag thought, “Surely he won’t kill me.” 33But Samuel said to Agag, “Your sword took babies from their mothers. So now, your mother will have no children.” And Samuel cut Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal. 34Then Samuel left and went to Ramah. And Saul went up to his home in Gibeah. 35After that Samuel never saw Saul again all his life. Samuel was very sad for Saul. And the Lord was very sorry that he had made Saul king of Israel.

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