1 Samuel 15:24 MEANING

1 Samuel 15:24
(24) I have sinned.--The grave condemnation of the prophet appalled the king. The grounds of the Divine rejection evidently sank deep into Saul's heart. Such a thought as that, in the eyes of the Invisible and Eternal, he ranked with the idolators and heathen sinners around, was, even for one sunk so low as Saul, terrible.

Because I feared the people.--He, with stammering lips, while deprecating the Divine sentence, still seeks to justify himself; but all that he could allege in excuse only more plainly marked out his unfitness for his high post. He could, after all, only plead that he loved the praise of men more than the approval of his God; that he preferred--as so many of earth's great ones have since done--the sweets of transient popular applause to the solitary consciousness that he was a faithful servant of the Highest.

Verse 24. - The words of Samuel struck Saul with terror. The same authority which had first given him the kingdom now withdraws it from him, and pronounces his offence as equal in God's sight to crimes which Saul himself held in great abhorrence. He humbles himself, therefore, before Samuel, acknowledges his sin, and frankly confesses that the cause of it had been his unwillingness to act in a manner contrary to the wishes of the people; and we must fairly conclude that the sparing of the spoil had been the people's doing. But was it not the king's duty to make the people obedient to Jehovah's voice? As the theocratic king, he was Jehovah's minister, and in preferring popularity to duty he showed himself unworthy of his position. Nor can we suppose that his confession of sin arose from penitence. It was the result simply of vexation at having his victory crossed by reproaches and disapproval from the only power capable of holding him in check. It seems, too, as if it were Samuel whom he feared more than Jehovah; for he speaks of thy words, and asks Samuel to pardon his sin, and to grant him the favour of his public presence with him at the sacrifice which was about to be celebrated in honour of their triumph.

15:24-31 There were several signs of hypocrisy in Saul's repentance. 1. He besought Samuel only, and seemed most anxious to stand right in his opinion, and to gain his favour. 2. He excuses his fault, even when confessing it; that is never the way of a true penitent. 3. All his care was to save his credit, and preserve his interest in the people. Men are fickle and alter their minds, feeble and cannot effect their purposes; something happens they could not foresee, by which their measures are broken; but with God it is not so. The Strength of Israel will not lie.And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned,.... This confession of his sin does not appear to be ingenuous, cordial, and sincere, and was made chiefly for the sake of getting the sentence of rejecting him from being king reversed:

for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words; which last seems to be added to collogue with Samuel, and to ingratiate himself with him; and Abarbinel thinks that Saul suspected that Samuel had aggravated the matter of himself, and that he did not really transgress the words of the Lord, but as the words of Samuel; and therefore according to the words of Samuel he had sinned, but not according to the words of the Lord only:

because I feared the people; Doeg the Edomite, who was reckoned as all of them, Jarchi says: this was a mere excuse of Saul's, he stood in no fear of the people, he kept them in awe, and did as he would with them, as a sovereign prince:

and obeyed their voice; in sparing the best of the cattle; so be pretended, when it was his own will, and the effect of his covetousness.

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