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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

1 Samuel 15



1Samuel sends Saul to destroy Amalek.
6Saul favours the Kenites.
7He spares Agag and the best of the spoil.
10Samuel denounces unto Saul God's rejection of him for his disobedience.
24Saul's humiliation.
32Samuel kills Agag.
34Samuel and Saul part.

Verse 1
Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
A. M. 2925. B.C. 1079. An. Ex. Is. 412. The Lord
17,18; 9:16; 10:1
16; 12:14; 13:13; 2 Samuel 23:2,3; 1 Chronicles 22:12,13; Psalms 2:10,11

Verse 2
Thus saith 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.
I remember
Jeremiah 31:34; Hosea 7:2; Amos 8:7
Exodus 17:8-16; Numbers 24:20; Deuteronomy 25:17-19

Verse 3
Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Now go
The Amalekites, a people of Arabia Petræa, who inhabited a tract of country on the frontiers of Egypt and Canaan, had acted with great cruelty towards the Israelites on their coming out of Egypt, and God then purposed that Amalek, as a nation, should be blotted out from under heaven; but it had been spared till it had filled up the measure of its iniquities, and now this purpose is carried into effect by Saul, upwards of 400 years afterwards! Nothing could justify such an exterminating decree but the absolute authority of God; and this was given: all the reasons of it we do not know; but this we know well, the Judge of all the earth doeth right.
utterly destroy
Leviticus 27:28,29; Numbers 24:20; Deuteronomy 13:15,16; 20:16-18; Joshua 6:17-21
Exodus 20:5; Numbers 31:17; Isaiah 14:21,22
ox and sheep
Genesis 3:17,18; Romans 8:20-22

Verse 4
And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
Joshua 15:24
11:8; 13:15

Verse 5
And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.
laid wait
or, fought.

Verse 6
And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
the Kenites
27:10; Numbers 24:21,22; Judges 1:16; 4:11; 5:24; 1 Chronicles 2:55
Go, depart
Genesis 18:25; 19:12-16; Numbers 16:26,27,34; Proverbs 9:6; Acts 2:40; 2 Corinthians 6:17; Revelation 18:14
ye shewed
Exodus 18:9,10,19; Numbers 10:29-32; 2 Timothy 1:16

Verse 7
And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt.
14:48; Job 21:30; Ecclesiastes 8:13
This Havilah was probably situated in Arabia, and the district of Chaulon may mark the spot. It seems different from that encompassed by the river Pison, one of the rivers of Eden.
Genesis 2:11; 25:18
27:8; Genesis 16:7

Verse 8
And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
3; Numbers 24:7; 1 Kings 20:30,34-42; Esther 3:1
27:8; 30:1; Joshua 10:39; 11:12

Verse 9
But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
the best
3,15,19; Joshua 7:21
the fatlings
or, the second sort.
2 Samuel 6:13

Verse 11
It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
repenteth me
35; Genesis 6:6; 2 Samuel 24:16; Psalms 110:4; Jeremiah 18:7-10; Amos 7:3; Jonah 3:10; 4:2
Joshua 22:16; 1 Kings 9:6; Psalms 36:3; 78:41,57; 125:5; Zephaniah 1:6; Matthew 24:13; Hebrews 10:38
hath not performed
3,9; 13:13
it grieved
35; 16:1; Psalms 119:136; Jeremiah 9:1,18; 13:17; Luke 19:41-44; Romans 9:1-3
he cried
12:23; Psalms 109:4; Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:12

Verse 12
And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
25:2; Joshua 15:55; 1 Kings 18:42
he set him
7:12; Joshua 4:8,9; 2 Samuel 18:18
a place
Yad. Literally as the LXX. render [cheira] a hand; probably because the trophy or monument of victory was in the shape of a large hand, the emblem of power, erected on a pillar. These memorial pillars were anciently much in use; and the figure of a hand, by its emblematical meaning, was well adapted to preserve the remembrance of a victory. Niebuhr, speaking of the Mesjed Ali, or Mosque of Ali, says that, "at the top of the dome, where one generally sees on the Turkish mosques a crescent, or only a pole, there is here a hand stretched out, to represent that of Ali." Another writer informs us, that at the Alhamra, or red palace of the Moorish kings in Grenada, "on the key-stone of the outward arch [of the present principal entrance] is sculptured the figure of an arm, the symbol of strength and dominion."

Verse 13
And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
13:10; Genesis 14:19; Judges 17:2; Ruth 3:10
I have performed
9,11; Genesis 3:12; Proverbs 27:2; 28:13; 30:13; 31:31; Luke 17:10; 18:11

Verse 14
And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
What meaneth
Psalms 36:2; 50:16-21; Jeremiah 2:18,19,22,23,34-37; Malachi 3:13-15; Luke 19:22; Romans 3:19; 1 Corinthians 4:5

Verse 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 unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
9,21; Genesis 3:12,13; Exodus 32:22,23; Job 31:33; Proverbs 28:13
Matthew 2:8; Luke 10:29

Verse 16
Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
9:27; 12:7; 1 Kings 22:16

Verse 17
And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
When thou
9:21; 10:22; Judges 6:15; Hosea 13:1; Matthew 18:4
the Lord
1-3; 10:1

Verse 18
And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
the sinners
Genesis 13:13; 15:16; Numbers 16:38; Job 31:3; Proverbs 10:29; 13:21
they be consumed
Heb. they consume them.

Verse 19
Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
fly upon
Proverbs 15:27; Jeremiah 7:11; Habakkuk 2:9-12; 2 Timothy 4:10
didst evil
2 Chronicles 33:2,6; 36:12

Verse 20
And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
13; Job 33:9; 34:5; 35:2; 40:8; Matthew 19:20; Luke 10:29; 18:11; Romans 10:3
have brought

Verse 21
But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
the people
15; Genesis 3:13; Exodus 32:22,23

Verse 22
And Samuel said, Hath 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 hearken than the fat of rams.
Hath the Lord
Psalms 50:8,9; 51:16,17; Proverbs 21:3; Isaiah 1:11-17; Jeremiah 7:22,23; Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 9:13; 12:7; 23:23; Hebrews 10:4-10
Exodus 19:5; Ecclesiastes 5:1; Jeremiah 7:23; 11:4,7; 26:13; Hosea 6:6; Matthew 5:24; Mark 12:33

Verse 23
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
12:14,15; Numbers 14:9; Deuteronomy 9:7,24; Joshua 22:16-19; Job 34:37; Psalms 107:11; Jeremiah 28:16; 29:32; Ezekiel 2:5-8
Heb. divination.
Exodus 22:18; Leviticus 20:6,27; Deuteronomy 18:10,11; Isaiah 8:19; 19:3; Revelation 22:15
2 Corinthians 6:16; Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8
thou hast rejected
2:30; 13:14; 16:1; 2 Kings 17:15-20; 1 Chronicles 28:9

Verse 24
And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
I have sinned
30; Exodus 9:27; 10:16; Numbers 22:34; 2 Samuel 12:13; Matthew 27:4
I feared
9,15; Exodus 23:2; Job 31:34; Proverbs 29:25; Isaiah 51:12,13; Luke 23:20-25; Galatians 1:10; Revelation 21:8
2:29; Genesis 3:12,17; Jeremiah 38:5

Verse 25
Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.
Exodus 10:17

Verse 26
And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
I will not
31; Genesis 42:38; 43:11-14; Luke 24:28,29; 2 John 1:11
for thou
23; 2:30; 13:14; 16:1; Jeremiah 6:19; Hosea 4:6

Verse 28
And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
The Lord
28:17,18; 1 Kings 11:30,31
hath given
2:7,8; Jeremiah 27:5,6; Daniel 4:17,32; John 19:11; Romans 13:1
a neighbour
13:14; 16:12; Acts 13:22

Verse 29
And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
or, Eternity, or, Victory.
Deuteronomy 33:27; Psalms 29:11; 68:35; Isaiah 45:24; Joel 3:16; 2 Corinthians 12:9; Philippians 4:13
will not lie
Numbers 14:28,29; 23:19; Psalms 95:11; Ezekiel 24:14; 2 Timothy 2:13; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18

Verse 30
Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.
honour me now
Habakkuk 2:4; John 5:44; 12:43
that I may worship
Isaiah 29:13; Luke 18:9-14; 2 Timothy 3:5

Verse 32
Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
Agag said
Jeremiah 48:44; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Revelation 18:7

Verse 33
And Samuel said, As thy sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
As thy sword
Genesis 9:6; Exodus 17:11; Numbers 14:45; Judges 1:7; Matthew 7:2; James 2:13; Revelation 16:6; 18:6
It has been a matter of wonder to many, how Samuel could thus slay a captive prince, even in the presence of Saul, who from motives of clemency had spared him; but it should be remarked, that what Samuel did here, he did in his magisterial capacity; and that Agag had been a cruel tyrant, and therefore was cut off for his merciless cruelties. Farther, it is not likely that he did it by his own sword, but by that of the executioner. What kings, magistrates, and generals do, in an official way, by their subjects, servants, or soldiers, they are said to do themselves:--qui facit per alterum, facit per se.
Numbers 25:7,8; 1 Kings 18:40; Isaiah 34:6; Jeremiah 48:10

Verse 34
Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.

Verse 35
And Samuel came no more 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.
Samuel mourned
11; 16:1; Psalms 119:136,158; Jeremiah 9:1,2; Romans 9:2,3; Philippians 3:18
11; Genesis 6:6


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 15:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge".

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