Old Testament

1 Samuel 15
Saul Is Rejected
151Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you to be king over his people Israel. Therefore, listen to the voice of the Lord. 2This is what the Lord of Armies says. I will repay Amalek for what they did to Israel when they blocked Israel's way as it was coming up out of Egypt. 3Go and strike Amalek. Devote everything they have to destruction. Do not spare them. Kill both men and women, infants and nursing babies, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
4So Saul summoned the troops and organized them for battle at Telaim. There were two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. 5Then Saul came to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the ravine. 6Saul said to the Kenites, “Go! Leave! Get away from the Amalekites, so that I do not destroy you along with them, because you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.
7Saul struck the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which borders Egypt. 8He took Agag, the king of the Amalekites, alive, and he devoted all the people to destruction with the edge of the sword. 9But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the cattle, the fattened calves, and the lambs, along with everything else that was good, because they were not willing to devote them to destruction. But everything that was undesirable and worthless, that they devoted to destruction.
10Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11“I regret[] that I have set up Saul to be king, for he has turned back from following me, and he has not carried out my words.” Samuel was angry, and he cried to the Lord all night.
12Samuel got up to meet Saul early in the morning, but Samuel was told, “Saul went to Carmel, and he set up a monument for himself there. Then he turned and continued down to Gilgal.”
˻So Samuel went to Saul, and there he saw Saul, offering a burnt offering to the Lord from the best of the spoils that he had brought from the Amalekites.˼[]
13When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him, “You are blessed by the Lord! I have carried out the word of the Lord.”
14Samuel said, “Then what does this mean—this bleating of sheep in my ears and the lowing of cattle that I hear?”
15Saul said, “They have been brought here from the Amalekites, because the people spared the best of the sheep and the cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God. But we have completely destroyed the rest.”
16Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop right there! Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”
He said to him, “Tell me.”
17Samuel said, “Though you were insignificant in your own sight, you were made the head of the tribes of Israel. The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18Then the Lord sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go and devote the Amalekites, that sinful people, to destruction. Fight against them until they are exterminated.’ 19Why didn't you listen to the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop down on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord's sight?”
20Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the voice of the Lord and have completed the mission that the Lord gave me. I have captured Agag king of Amalek, and I have completely destroyed the Amalekites. 21But the people took some of the plunder: sheep, cattle, and the best of what was devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.”
22Samuel said, “Does the Lord take as much pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obedience to the voice of the Lord? Know this! To obey is better than sacrifice, and to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is the same as the sin of witchcraft, and arrogance is like having useless idols or consulting household gods. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you as king.”
24Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have transgressed against the command[] of the Lord, as well as against your words, because I was afraid of the people, so I listened to their voice. 25But now, please pardon my sin and come back with me again, so that I may worship the Lord.”
26But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you, because you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.”
27As Samuel turned to leave, Saul grabbed the edge of his robe, and it tore. 28Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today, and he has given it to a neighbor of yours who is better than you. 29The Splendor of Israel will not lie or change his mind, because he is not a man, who changes his mind.”
30Then Saul said, “I have sinned, but please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshipped the Lord.
32Then Samuel said, “Bring Agag the king of the Amalekites here to me!”
Agag came to him confidently. He said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.”[]
33Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so your mother will be childless among women!” Then Samuel cut Agag to pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.
34Samuel then went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul. 35Until the day of his death Samuel never again came to see Saul. Samuel did, however, mourn for Saul, but the Lord regretted that he had made Saul king over Israel.


  • 15:11 Or it grieves me. In reference to God, the word regret or grief means he is going to change his course of action.
  • 15:12 The line in the half-brackets is not in the Hebrew text but is present in the Greek Old Testament. An accidental omission from the Hebrew text may have been triggered by the repetition of the words Samuel went/came to Saul.
  • 15:24 Literally the mouth
  • 15:32 The meaning of this verse is uncertain. The translation follows the Hebrew text. According to this interpretation, Agag thought that this old prophet certainly would not kill him, so he expected a reprieve. The ancient versions read: Agag came to him fearfully. Agag said, “Surely death is bitter.” According to this interpretation, Agag realized that Samuel would not waver like Saul, so he was doomed. According to another reading, Agag came in chains.