1 Samuel 15

Saul fights against the Amalekites

1 Samuel said to Saul, ‘The Lord sent me to anoint you as king to rule his people, the Israelites. So now listen to this message from the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “It is time to punish the Amalekites! When the Israelites came out of Egypt, the Amalekites attacked them. 3 Now go and attack the Amalekites. Completely destroy everything that they have. Do not save anything. Kill the men and women, as well as their children and babies. Kill their cows, sheep, camels and donkeys.” ’

4 So Saul called his army to come together. The men met at Telaim and Saul counted them. There were 200,000 soldiers from Israel and another 10,000 men from Judah's tribe. 5 Saul and his army went to the city of the Amalekites. They waited in a small valley to attack their enemy. 6 Saul said to the Kenite people, ‘Go away from here! I will kill the Amalekites, but I do not want to kill you. You were kind to the Israelites when they came out from Egypt.’ So the Kenites moved away from the Amalekites.

15:6The Kenite tribe probably lived among the Amalekites.

7 Then Saul attacked the Amalekites. He fought them all the way from Havilah to Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 Saul caught their king, Agag, while he was still alive. Saul's soldiers used their swords to kill all of Agag's people. 9 But Saul and the army let King Agag live. Also, they did not kill the best sheep, lambs, cows and fat calves. They kept all the good things and they did not agree to destroy them. But they killed everything that was weak and useless.

Samuel tells Saul God's message

10 Then the Lord gave this message to Samuel: 11 ‘I am sorry that I chose Saul to be king. He has turned away from me. He has not obeyed my commands.’

When Samuel heard that, he was very upset. He prayed aloud to the Lord all that night.

12 Samuel got up early the next morning. He went to meet Saul. Someone told Samuel, ‘Saul went to Carmel. He has put up a tall stone to give himself honour. Now he has left there and he has gone to Gilgal.’

13 Samuel went and he found Saul. Saul said to Samuel, ‘I pray that the Lord will bless you. I have obeyed the Lord's command.’ 14 But Samuel said, ‘If that is true, why can I hear the noise of sheep and cows?’

15 Saul answered, ‘My soldiers took them from the Amalekites. They saved the best sheep and cows. They will offer them to the Lord your God as sacrifices. We killed all the other animals.’

16 Samuel said to Saul, ‘Listen to me! I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.’ Saul said, ‘Tell me.’

17 Samuel said, ‘At one time, you thought that you were not an important person. Now you have become the leader of all the tribes of Israel. The Lord chose you to be king of Israel. 18 He gave you a job to do. He told you, “Go and kill all those wicked Amalekites. Fight against them until you have destroyed them all.” 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Instead you have been greedy. You have hurried to take things for yourself. You have done something evil that does not please the Lord.’

20 Saul said to Samuel, ‘I did obey the Lord! I did the job that the Lord told me to do. I killed all the Amalekites and I brought back Agag, their king. 21 But the army did not kill all the sheep and cows that they took from the Amalekites. They brought the best animals to offer as a sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.’

22 But Samuel said, ‘What makes the Lord happy? Which is better? Is he more pleased when people offer burnt offerings and sacrifices to him? Or is he more pleased when people obey him? Listen! It is better to obey the Lord than to offer sacrifices to him. That is true even if you offer to him the best animals that you have.

23 You have turned against God. That is worse than using magic. You think that you know what is right better than God does. That is as bad as worshipping idols. You decided not to obey the Lord's command. Now the Lord has decided that you will not be king any longer.’

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, ‘It is true, I have done a bad thing. I did not obey the Lord's command. I did not do what you told me to do. I was afraid of the army. I agreed to do what they wanted. 25 Please forgive my sin. Return with me so that I can worship the Lord.’

26 But Samuel said to Saul, ‘I will not return with you. You refused to obey the Lord's command. So now the Lord has decided that you will no longer be king of Israel.’

27 Samuel turned away to leave Saul. But Saul pulled the edge of Samuel's coat and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, ‘The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel away from you today. He has given it to a man who is better than you. 29 The great God who rules over Israel always does what he says he will do. He does not change his mind. People may change their minds, but he does not!’

30 Saul said again, ‘I have done a bad thing. But please show Israel's leaders and people that you respect me. Please return with me so that I can worship the Lord your God.’

31 So Samuel went back with Saul. Saul worshipped the Lord.

32 Then Samuel said, ‘Bring Agag, king of the Amalekites, to me.’

Agag came to Samuel. Agag was happy because he thought, ‘I am sure that now I will not have to die a painful death.’

33 But Samuel said to Agag, ‘You have used your sword to kill the children of many mothers. Now your own mother will have no children that are still alive.’ Then Samuel cut Agag into pieces at the Lord's altar in Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel left Gilgal and he went to his home in Ramah. Saul went to his home in Gibeah. 35 Until Samuel died, he never saw Saul again. Samuel was very sad about Saul. But the Lord was sorry that he had chosen Saul to be king of Israel.