to obey is better than sacrifice. Although Samuel clearly disbelieves Saul’s excuse (v. 19 note), he accepts it for the sake of argument, and makes the point that ritual performance is worthless when not accompanied by a sincere and submissive spirit. For similar denunciations of empty ritual by Israel’s later prophets, see Is. 1:10–17; Jer. 6:19, 20; 7:21–26; Hos. 6:6; Amos 5:21–24; Mic. 6:6–8; also Ps. 51:16, 17; Prov. 15:8; 21:3, 27.