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1And Samuel said to Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the Lord. 2Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I will punish what Amʹalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. 3Now go and smite Amʹalek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.’ ”

4So Saul summoned the people, and numbered them in Telaʹim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5And Saul came to the city of Amʹalek, and lay in wait in the valley. 6And Saul said to the Kenʹites, “Go, depart, go down from among the Amalʹekites, lest I destroy you with them; for you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt.” So the Kenʹites departed from among the Amalʹekites. 7And Saul defeated the Amalʹekites, from Havʹilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8And he took Agag the king of the Amalʹekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. 9But 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; all that was despised and worthless they utterly destroyed.

10The word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11“I repent that I have made Saul king; for he has turned back from following me, and has not performed my commandments.” And Samuel was angry; and he cried to the Lord all night. 12And Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning; and it was told Samuel, “Saul came to Carmel, and behold, he set up a monument for himself and turned, and passed on, and went down to Gilgal.” 13And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, “Blessed be you to the Lord; I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” 14And Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” 15Saul said, “They have brought them from the Amalʹekites; for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” 16Then Samuel said to Saul, “Stop! I will tell you what the Lord said to me this night.” And he said to him, “Say on.”

17And Samuel said, “Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, ‘Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalʹekites, and fight against them until they are consumed.’ 19Why then did you not obey the voice of the Lord? Why did you swoop on the spoil, and do what was evil in the sight of the Lord?” 20And Saul said to Samuel, “I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, I have gone on the mission on which the Lord sent me, I have brought Agag the king of Amʹalek, and I have utterly destroyed the Amalʹekites. 21But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22And Samuel said,

“Has 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.

23For rebellion is as the sin of divination,

and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

he has also rejected you from being king.”

24And Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. 25Now therefore, I pray, pardon my sin, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord.” 26And Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27As Samuel turned to go away, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28And Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. 29And also the Glory of Israel will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent.” 30Then he said, “I have sinned; yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship the Lord your God.” 31So Samuel turned back after Saul; and Saul worshiped the Lord.

32Then Samuel said, “Bring here to me Agag the king of the Amalʹekites.” And Agag came to him cheerfully. Agag said, “Surely the bitterness of death is past.” 33And Samuel said, “As your sword has made women childless, so shall your mother be childless among women.” And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.

34Then Samuel went to Ramah; and Saul went up to his house in Gibʹe-ah of Saul. 35And Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, but Samuel grieved over Saul. And the Lord repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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