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War with the Amalekites

15 Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to choose you to be king over His people Israel. Now listen to the Words of the Lord. This is what the Lord of All says. ‘I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel in standing against them on the way, when they came up from Egypt. Now go and destroy Amalek. Destroy all they have, and do not let them live. Kill both man and woman, child and baby, cattle and sheep, camel and donkey.’”

So Saul called the people together and numbered them in Telaim. There were 200,000 foot soldiers and 10,000 men of Judah. Saul came to the city of Amalek and hid, waiting in the valley. Saul said to the Kenites, “Go, leave the Amalekites, or I might destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up from Egypt.” So the Kenites left the Amalekites. Then Saul destroyed the Amalekites, from Havilah as far as Shur, east of Egypt. He took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and destroyed all the people with the sword. But Saul and the people did not kill Agag and the best of the sheep, the cattle, the fat animals ready to be killed, the lambs, and all that was good. They would not destroy them. But they destroyed everything that was hated and was of no worth.

Saul Is No Longer King

10 The Word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying, 11 “I am sorry that I have made Saul king. For he has turned away from following Me. He has not done what I told him to do.” Samuel was much troubled in his heart. He cried out to the Lord all night. 12 When Samuel got up early in the morning to meet Saul, he was told, “Saul came to Carmel and set up a stone in his honor. Then he turned and went down to Gilgal.” 13 Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “May the Lord bring good to you. I have done what the Lord told me to do.” 14 But Samuel said, “Then why do I hear the sounds of sheep and cattle?” 15 Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalekites. For the people saved the best of the sheep and cattle to give to the Lord your God. But we have destroyed all the rest.” 16 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me last night.” And Saul said to him, “Speak.”

17 Samuel said, “Is it not true that even when you were not important in your own eyes, you were made the head of the families of Israel? The Lord chose you to be king over Israel. 18 And the Lord sent you to go and destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they are no more. 19 Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? You rushed upon what was left after the battle and did what was sinful in the Lord’s eyes.”

20 Saul said to Samuel, “I did obey the voice of the Lord. I went where the Lord sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek. And I have destroyed the Amalekites. 21 But the people took some of their things that were left. They took sheep and cattle and the best of the things to be destroyed, to give to the Lord your God at Gilgal.” 22 Samuel said, “Is the Lord pleased as much with burnt gifts as He is when He is obeyed? See, it is better to obey than to give gifts. It is better to listen than to give the fat of rams. 23 To go against what you are told is like the sin of witchcraft. Not to obey is like the sin of worshiping false gods. You have turned away from the Word of the Lord. So He has turned away from you being king.”

24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I have sinned against the Word of the Lord and your words, because I was afraid of the people and listened to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” 26 But Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you. For you have turned away from the Word of the Lord. And the Lord has turned away from you being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned to go, Saul took hold of part of his clothing, and it tore. 28 So Samuel said to him, “Today the Lord has torn the rule of Israel away from you. He has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. 29 And the shining greatness of Israel will not lie or change His mind. For He is not a man that He should change His mind.” 30 Saul said, “I have sinned. But I beg you, honor me now in front of the leaders of my people and in front of Israel. Return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31 So Samuel returned with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord.

32 Then Samuel said, “Bring me Agag, the king of the Amalekites.” Agag was happy when he came to him. Agag said, “For sure the bad feelings of death are past.” 33 But Samuel said, “As your sword has killed the children of women, so will your mother have no children.” And Samuel cut Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal.

34 Then Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house at Gibeah of Saul. 35 Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death. But Samuel was filled with sorrow because of Saul. And the Lord was sorry that He had made Saul king over Israel.