1 Samuel
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Dwindling in Unbelief
-1 Samuel

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SAB: 1 Samuel

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1 Samuel 15

God Commands Amalekite Genocide
15:1 Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD.
15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt.
(15:2-3) "Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."
God orders Saul to kill all of the Amalekites: men, women, infants, sucklings, ox, sheep, camels, and asses. Why? Because God remembers what Amalek did hundreds of years ago.
To kill or not to kill
Is God merciful?
What the Bible says about genocide, family values, and God
God's 65th Killing
15:3 Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
15:4 And Saul gathered the people together, and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand men of Judah.
15:5 And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley.
15:6 And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites.
15:7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. (15:7-26)
"Saul ... destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword."
Saul killed everyone but Agag (the king) and the best of the animals. But still God was furious with Saul for not killing everything as he had been told to do. He said, "it repenteth me that I have set Saul up to be king."
Did Saul and Samuel kill all the Amalekites?
15:8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.
15:9 But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.
15:10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, (15:10-11, 35)
"It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king."
These verses say that God repented of making Saul king. But just a few verses later (15:29) it says that God never repents.
Does God repent?
15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
15:12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal. Saul Rejected for Incomplete Genocide
15:13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
15:14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15:15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
15:16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
15:17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
15:18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. (15:18-19)
"The LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites."
Saul is rebuked by Samuel for "doing evil in the sight of the Lord" by failing to kill all of the Amalekites.
15:19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
15:20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
15:21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
15:22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (15:23-26)
"Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king."
Because Saul didn't kill everyone as God commanded, God changes his mind about him being king.
Why did God reject Saul as king?
15:24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
15:25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.
15:26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
15:27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent. (15:27) "Samuel ... laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle, and it rent."
Samuel was so upset that Saul left one Amalekite alive (instead of killing everyone like God commanded) that he tore his skirt.
They rent their clothes
15:28 And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent. (15:29) "The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent."
Does God repent?
Does God lie?
15:30 Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.
15:31 So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD. (15:32-34)
"Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD."
To please God, Samuel hacks Agag in pieces "before the Lord." (I bet God enjoyed that!) -- after Agag pleads with him saying, "surely the bitterness of death has past."
Was Haman an Agagite?
Did Saul and Samuel kill all the Amalekites?
God's 66th killing

(15:35)
"Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death."
When was the last time that Samuel saw Saul?

15:32 Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.
15:33 And Samuel said, As the sword hath made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women. And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the LORD in Gilgal.
15:34 Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house to Gibeah of Saul.
15:35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel. Samuel Anoints David

Previous Chapter| Next Chapter

Dwindling in Unbelief
God's 65th Killing: The Amalekite Genocide (1 Samuel 15:1-3)
America's favorite book (1 Samuel 15:3)
God on Trial: The Rabbi Speaks (15:2-3, 6, 9, 23, 32)
Holy War and the Holy Father: the Bible vs the Quran (15:2-3)
Forget Amalek: What the Bible really says about terrorism (15:2-3)
The Heroes of Faith (15:2-3, 22-23, 32-33)
Suggested Bible stories for the next Barna survey (15:2-3)
Top 50 Bible stories for kids (15:2-3)
Saul has killed his thousands and David his tens of thousands (15:2-3)
Mr. Deity and the Promised Land (The Annotated Version) (15:3)
How many animals has God killed? (15:2-19)
God's 66th killing: Samuel hacks Agag to pieces before the Lord (15:32-33)
What if we could edit the Bible? (Opening Karl Giberson's can of worms) (15:2-3)

American Humanist Association Videos
Consider Humanism - Ambassador Carl Coon (15:3)

YouTube: Theologikos
Christians: Stop quoting the bible out of context!

Slate Blogs the Bible by David Plotz
Why God Picked Such an Incompetent Wretch as the Israelites' First Monarch

Bill Mayer: Is God a racist?

Christian Responses
Annotated Skeptic's Annotated Bible
The Agagite, the Jews enemy (1 Sam 15)

SAB Author Answered
15:2-3
GotQuestions.org
Bible.org

Here is Pat Robertson's rationalization for the genocide of the early Israelites ("The 700 Club" television program. May 6, 1985):

The wars of extermination have given a lot of people trouble unless they know what was going on. The people in the land of Palestine were very wicked. They were given over to idolatry; they sacrificed their children; they had all kinds of abominable sex practices; they were having sex, apparently, with animals; they were having sex men with men, and women with women; they were committing adultery, fornication; they were worshipping idols, offering their children up; and they were forsaking God. God told the Israelites to kill them all - men, women and children, to destroy them. And that seems to be a terrible thing to do. Is it? Or isn't it? Well, let us assume there were 2,000 of them, or 10,000 of them living in the land, or whatever number there was of them. I don't have the exact number. Pick a number. God said, 'Kill them all.' Well, that would seem hard, wouldn't it? That would be 10,000 people who would probably go to Hell. But, if they stayed and reproduced, in 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 100 more years, they could conceivably be - 10,000 would go to a 100,000 - 100,000 could conceivably go to a million. And then, there would be a million people who would have to spend eternity in Hell! And it's far more merciful to take away a few than to see in the future a 100 years down the road, and say, 'Well, I have to take away a million people that would forever be apart from God,' because the abomination was there like a contagium. God saw that there was no cure for it. It wasn't going to change; their hearts weren't going to change; and all they would do is cause trouble for the Israelites, and pull the Israelites away from God, and prevent the truth of God from reaching the Earth. So, God, in love, took away a small number that he might not have to take away a large number.