The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
But Samuel reminded Saul, It was the Lord that gave me commission to anoint thee king of his people Israel; to his voice thou must needs listen.
And this is the message that comes to thee from the Lord of hosts: I have not forgotten how Amalec treated the Israelites, standing in their path when they were on the way here from Egypt.
This, then, is thy errand, to destroy Amalec and all his domains, granting no pardon, coveting no plunder, but slaying man and woman, child and infant at the breast, camel and ass.
Whereupon Saul summoned all his men to arms, and counted their muster as closely as a shepherd counts his lambs; two hundred thousand warriors, besides ten thousand from Juda.
With these, Saul marched to Amalec’s capital, and laid an ambush in the ravine there;
but first of all he warned the Cinites, Up, move your camping ground clear of the Amalecites; I would not involve you in their ruin; the men of Israel, on their way here from Egypt, had nothing but kindness from you. So the Cinites separated from Amalec,
and Saul routed the Amalecites, driving them before him all the way from Hevila to Sur, on the confines of Egypt.
He captured Agag, the Amalecite king, but although he put all the common folk to the sword,
he and his army spared Agag; spared, too, the best of the flocks and herds, the choicest garments, the fattest rams; they would not destroy anything that was precious. All that was mean and worthless they destroyed readily enough.
And the Lord’s word came to Samuel,
I repent, now, of having made Saul king of Israel; he has played me false, and left my command unfulfilled. At this, Samuel was greatly moved, and all night long he pleaded with the Lord.
At early dawn he rose up, resolved to find Saul that same morning; Saul, he was told, upon reaching the town of Carmel,✻ had set up a monument there in his own honour, but had passed on now and made his way to Galgala. When Samuel reached it, he found Saul offering the Lord burnt-sacrifice, out of the first-fruits of the plunder taken from Amalec.
The Lord’s blessing on thee, was Saul’s greeting to him; I have fulfilled the divine command.
And this bleating of sheep, Samuel asked, that comes to my ears, this lowing of oxen that I hear?
Why, answered Saul, these are what they brought back from Amalec; my men saved the best out of flock and herd, to be offered in sacrifice to the Lord; all the rest we have destroyed.
May I tell thee, asked Samuel, the message the Lord has given me in the night? and when Saul bade him speak out,
he went on, It was little conceit thou hadst of thyself, when the tribes of Israel were committed to thy leadership. And the Lord anointed thee king of Israel,
and sent thee on an errand; Up, he said, destroy the sinful men of Amalec, smiting them down till none is left.
How is it thou didst not obey the Lord’s command? Why didst thou fall to plundering, in defiance of the Lord’s will?
Nay, protested Saul, obey the Lord I did; I went where the Lord’s errand took me, and brought back Agag, king of Amalec, in chains, and destroyed Amalec utterly.
If my men carried off sheep and oxen, these were but first-fruits that were saved from the slaughter of all the rest, to be offered up to the Lord their God here in Galgala.
What, said Samuel, thinkest thou the Lord’s favour can be won by offering him sacrifice and victim, instead of obeying his divine will? The Lord loves obedience better than any sacrifice, the attentive ear better than the fat of rams.
Rebellion is sin as witchcraft is sin, all one with idolatry is the unsubmissive heart. Thou hast revoked thy loyalty to the Lord, and he thy kingship.
Then Saul confessed to Samuel, I have sinned; I have transgressed the Lord’s will and thy command; I was afraid of my own people, and humoured their desire.
Grant that sin forgiveness; let me have thy company, while I go back to pay the Lord worship.
Nay, answered Samuel, thou shalt have no company of mine; the Lord has revoked thy kingship over Israel, since thou hast revoked thy loyalty to him.
With that, Samuel turned to go, and the other caught him by the border of his cloak, which tore in his hand.
This day, Samuel told him, the Lord has torn away the kingship of Israel from thee, and given it to another and a better man than thyself.
He who wins victories for Israel does not spare, does not relent; not his to alter his purpose like mortal men.✻
But Saul still pleaded with him, Guilty though I be, at least give me countenance before the elders of my people and before the men of Israel, by bearing me company as I go to worship.
Thereupon Samuel turned back and went with him, and worship he did.
Then Samuel would have Agag, king of Amalec, brought into his presence; and he was brought in, gross of body and trembling with fear; A bitter parting, said he, is this of death.✻
But Samuel told him, Many a woman that sword of thine has made childless, and now a childless woman thy own mother shall be; and he cut Agag to pieces, there in the Lord’s presence at Galgala.
So Samuel went back to Ramatha, and Saul to his home at Gabaa,
nor did Samuel, long as he lived, meet Saul again. But ever he lamented over him, that the Lord should have made him king of Israel, and afterwards revoked his kingship.
The Holy Bible