Saul Rejected as King

15 Samuel told Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over his people Israel.(A) Now, listen to the words of the Lord. This is what the Lord of Armies says: ‘I witnessed[a] what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt.(B) Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have.(C) Do not spare them. Kill men and women, infants and nursing babies, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”(D)

Then Saul summoned the troops and counted them at Telaim: two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. Saul came to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the wadi. He warned the Kenites,(E) “Since you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came out of Egypt,(F) go on and leave! Get away from the Amalekites, or I’ll sweep you away with them.” So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites.

Then Saul struck down the Amalekites(G) from Havilah(H) all the way to Shur,(I) which is next to Egypt. He captured King Agag(J) of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with the sword.(K) Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and choice animals,[b] as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.

10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, 11 “I regret that I made Saul king,(L) for he has turned away from following me and has not carried out my instructions.”(M) So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.(N)

12 Early in the morning Samuel got up to confront Saul, but it was reported to Samuel, “Saul went to Carmel(O) where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and went down to Gilgal.”(P) 13 When Samuel came to him, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you.(Q) I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”

14 Samuel replied, “Then what is this sound of sheep, goats, and cattle I hear?”

15 Saul answered, “The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep, goats, and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God,(R) but the rest we destroyed.”(S)

16 “Stop!” exclaimed Samuel. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”

“Tell me,” he replied.

17 Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant,(T) haven’t you become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel 18 and then sent you on a mission and said, ‘Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.’ 19 So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder(U) and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”

20 “But I did obey the Lord!” Saul answered.[c] “I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back King Agag of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. 21 The troops took sheep, goats, and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”(V)

22 Then Samuel said:

Does the Lord(W) take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.(X)
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,(Y)
and defiance is like wickedness(Z) and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.(AA)

24 Saul answered Samuel, “I have sinned.(AB) I have transgressed the Lord’s command(AC) and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. 25 Now therefore, please forgive my sin(AD) and return with me so I can worship the Lord.”

26 Samuel replied to Saul, “I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the Lord,(AE) the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 When Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the corner of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today(AF) and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you.(AG) 29 Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel(AH) does not lie or change his mind, for he is not man who changes his mind.”(AI)

30 Saul said, “I have sinned. Please honor me(AJ) now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me so I can bow in worship to the Lord your God.”(AK) 31 Then Samuel went back, following Saul, and Saul bowed down to the Lord.

32 Samuel said, “Bring me King Agag of Amalek.”

Agag came to him trembling,[d] for he thought, “Certainly the bitterness of death has come.”[e][f]

33 Samuel declared:

As your sword has made women childless,
so your mother will be childless among women.(AL)

Then he hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal.

34 Samuel went to Ramah,(AM) and Saul went up to his home in Gibeah(AN) of Saul. 35 Even to the day of his death, Samuel never saw Saul again.(AO) Samuel mourned for Saul,(AP) and the Lord regretted he had made Saul king over Israel.

Samuel Anoints David

16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul,(AQ) since I have rejected him as king over Israel?(AR) Fill your horn with oil(AS) and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem(AT) because I have selected for myself a king from his sons.”

Samuel asked, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me!”

The Lord answered, “Take a young cow with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’(AU) Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do.(AV) You are to anoint for me the one I indicate to you.”(AW)

Samuel did what the Lord directed and went to Bethlehem.(AX) When the elders of the town met him, they trembled[g] and asked, “Do[h] you come in peace?” (AY)

“In peace,” he replied. “I’ve come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves(AZ) and come with me to the sacrifice.”[i] Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab(BA) and said, “Certainly the Lord’s anointed one is here before him.”

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees,[j] for humans see what is visible, but the Lord sees the heart.”(BB)

Jesse called Abinadab(BC) and presented him to Samuel. “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either,” Samuel said. Then Jesse presented Shammah,(BD) but Samuel said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either.” 10 After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, “The Lord hasn’t chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel asked him, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,”(BE) he answered, “but right now he’s tending the sheep.” Samuel told Jesse, “Send for him. We won’t sit down to eat until he gets here.” 12 So Jesse sent for him. He had beautiful eyes and a healthy,[k] handsome appearance.(BF)

Then the Lord said, “Anoint him, for he is the one.”(BG) 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him(BH) in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David from that day forward.(BI) Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.

David in Saul’s Court

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul,(BJ) and an evil spirit sent from the Lord began to torment him, 15 so Saul’s servants said to him, “You see that an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command your servants here in your presence to look for someone who knows how to play the lyre. Whenever the evil spirit from God comes on you, that person can play the lyre, and you will feel better.”(BK)

17 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Find me someone who plays well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the young men answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is also a valiant man,(BL) a warrior, eloquent, handsome, and the Lord is with him.”(BM)

19 Then Saul dispatched messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a wineskin, and one young goat and sent them by his son David to Saul.(BN) 21 When David came to Saul(BO) and entered his service, Saul loved him very much, and David became his armor-bearer. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse: “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor with me.” 23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul,(BP) David would pick up his lyre and play, and Saul would then be relieved, feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.


  1. 15:2 LXX reads I will avenge
  2. 15:9 Lit and the second ones
  3. 15:20 Lit answered Samuel
  4. 15:32 Hb obscure
  5. 15:32 LXX reads “Is death bitter in this way?”
  6. 15:32 Lit turned
  7. 16:4 LXX reads were astonished
  8. 16:4 DSS, LXX read “Seer, do
  9. 16:5 LXX reads and rejoice with me today
  10. 16:7 LXX reads God does not see as a man sees
  11. 16:12 Or ruddy

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