Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 15

Why did Samuel change his mind?

1 Samuel 15:30-31

Saul had chosen not to obey God, so God was removing Saul’s authority to rule Israel. In 1 Samuel 15:24-26, Samuel had refused to go with Saul when Saul worshipped God.

However, when Saul asked again in 1 Samuel 15:30, Samuel agreed.

Between Saul’s two requests in 1 Samuel 15:24-25 and 1 Samuel 15:30, Saul’s attitude changed. It was not a complete change: Saul still did not want to obey God. However, Saul had begun to realise his responsibility for his own evil deeds. In 1 Samuel 15:24, Saul made an excuse; he blamed other people. In 1 Samuel 15:30, he did not do that. He also respected the fact that God would not still support his rule. So, in 1 Samuel 15:30, he called God ‘your (Samuel’s) God’ and not ‘my God’.

Probably, there was also a change in how Saul intended to worship God. ‘To worship’ means to give honour to God. In the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible), people did that by means of sacrifices. Their sacrifices were the animals that they gave to God. However, there were different kinds of sacrifices.

Originally, Saul wanted to give burnt offerings and peace offerings. The burnt offering was the kind of sacrifice where the priest burned the whole animal as a gift to God (Leviticus chapter 1). Its purpose was to show that a person was giving his life completely to God. The peace offering was the sacrifice where a person shared the meat with the priests and his family and friends (Leviticus chapter 3). It showed friendship between that person and God.

Saul could not sincerely give either of those kinds of sacrifices. He was not giving his life to God, and he had ruined his relationship with God.

However, Saul could still give sacrifices to confess that he was guilty. There are rules for such sacrifices in Leviticus 4:1 to 5:13 and Leviticus 5:14 to 6:7. So probably those were the sacrifices that Samuel agreed to attend.

Next part: Samuel kills King Agag (1 Samuel 15:32-33)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.