Saul wins a great victory over the Amalekites. These people seem to be the rulers of the Sinai Peninsula and even Egypt – they have Egyptian slaves. The only people like them in present understanding of Egyptian history are the Hyksos – one of the most brutal peoples in history. Once again, Saul shows his heart – he follows his feelings, not God’s word. If Jesus followed His feelings first (take this cup from me), would He have gone to the cross?
“But Saul and the people …”
This is a hard reading.
There is much to wrestle with in these verses. The command to wipe out the Amalekites root and stem. Samuel hacking Agag to pieces. The Lord regretting making Saul king twined with Samuel saying the Lord is not a man that He should regret.
We see the bad decision-making of both Saul and the people.
In verse 8 we read,
“But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best …”
The author makes it clear that they were in it together.
And we see again the truth of Saul’s character as he tries to pull one over Samuel (and the Lord). In verse 13 we read,
“I have performed the commandment of the Lord.”
Samuel has none of that, so Saul tries to throw the people under the bus in verse 15,
“… For the people spared the best of the sheep …”
And further, in verse 20, Saul keeps pleading his innocence in the matter, his obedience. He is bone-headed in his disobedient obstinacy.
Which means we need to be careful, because we can be as Saul. Bone-headed and obstinate in our disobedience.
Saul is a sorry character, and so are the people of Israel here.
When the king goes bad, so too do the people. When the king is wise and follows the Lord, so too do the people.
Praise God that in Jesus we have THE king.
* Father God,
Thank You for Jesus, the king of kings, a better king than any by far.
Please continue to work with us, Your Spirit writing Your word on our hearts, that we might listen and do, trust and obey.