15 Samuel told Saul, “The Lord sent me to anoint you as king over his people Israel. Now, listen to the words of the Lord. 2 This is what the Lord of Armies says: ‘I witnessed[a] what the Amalekites did to the Israelites when they opposed them along the way as they were coming out of Egypt. 3 Now go and attack the Amalekites and completely destroy everything they have. Do not spare them. Kill men and women, infants and nursing babies, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”4 Then Saul summoned the troops and counted them at Telaim: two hundred thousand foot soldiers and ten thousand men from Judah. 5 Saul came to the city of Amalek and set up an ambush in the wadi. 6 He warned the Kenites, “Since you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they came out of Egypt, go on and leave! Get away from the Amalekites, or I’ll sweep you away with them.” So the Kenites withdrew from the Amalekites.7 Then Saul struck down the Amalekites from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is next to Egypt. 8 He captured King Agag of Amalek alive, but he completely destroyed all the rest of the people with the sword. 9 Saul and the troops spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, goats, cattle, and choice animals,[b] as well as the young rams and the best of everything else. They were not willing to destroy them, but they did destroy all the worthless and unwanted things.10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel, 11 “I regret that I made Saul king, for he has turned away from following me and has not carried out my instructions.” So Samuel became angry and cried out to the Lord all night.12 Early in the morning Samuel got up to confront Saul, but it was reported to Samuel, “Saul went to Carmel where he set up a monument for himself. Then he turned around and went down to Gilgal.” 13 When Samuel came to him, Saul said, “May the Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.”14 Samuel replied, “Then what is this sound of sheep, goats,[c] and cattle I hear?”15 Saul answered, “The troops brought them from the Amalekites and spared the best sheep, goats, and cattle in order to offer a sacrifice to the Lord your God, but the rest we destroyed.”16 “Stop!” exclaimed Samuel. “Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night.”“Tell me,” he replied.17 Samuel continued, “Although you once considered yourself unimportant, have you not become the leader of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel 18 and then sent you on a mission and said: ‘Go and completely destroy the sinful Amalekites. Fight against them until you have annihilated them.’ 19 So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?”20 “But I did obey the Lord!” Saul answered.[d] “I went on the mission the Lord gave me: I brought back King Agag of Amalek, and I completely destroyed the Amalekites. 21 The troops took sheep, goats, and cattle from the plunder—the best of what was set apart for destruction—to sacrifice to the Lord your God at Gilgal.”22 Then Samuel said:Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the Lord?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and defiance is like wickedness and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
he has rejected you as king.24 Saul answered Samuel, “I have sinned. I have transgressed the Lord’s command and your words. Because I was afraid of the people, I obeyed them. 25 Now therefore, please forgive my sin and return with me so I can worship the Lord.”26 Samuel replied to Saul, “I will not return with you. Because you rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 When Samuel turned to go, Saul grabbed the corner of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The Lord has torn the kingship of Israel away from you today and has given it to your neighbor who is better than you. 29 Furthermore, the Eternal One of Israel does not lie or change his mind, for he is not man who changes his mind.”30 Saul said, “I have sinned. Please honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel. Come back with me so I can bow in worship to the Lord your God.” 31 Then Samuel went back, following Saul, and Saul bowed down to the Lord.32 Samuel said, “Bring me King Agag of Amalek.”Agag came to him trembling,[e] for he thought, “Certainly the bitterness of death has come.”[f][g]33 Samuel declared:As your sword has made women childless,
so your mother will be childless among women.Then he hacked Agag to pieces before the Lord at Gilgal.34 Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his home in Gibeah of Saul. 35 Even to the day of his death, Samuel never saw Saul again. Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord regretted he had made Saul king over Israel.
Samuel Anoints David
16 The Lord said to Samuel, “How long are you going to mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem because I have selected a king from his sons.”2 Samuel asked, “How can I go? Saul will hear about it and kill me!”The Lord answered, “Take a young cow with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the Lord.’ 3 Then invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will let you know what you are to do. You are to anoint for me the one I indicate to you.”4 Samuel did what the Lord directed and went to Bethlehem. When the elders of the town met him, they trembled[h] and asked, “Do[i] you come in peace?”5 “In peace,” he replied. “I’ve come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves and come with me to the sacrifice.”[j] Then he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice. 6 When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and said, “Certainly the Lord’s anointed one is here before him.”7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or his stature because I have rejected him. Humans do not see what the Lord sees,[k] for humans see what is visible,[l] but the Lord sees the heart.”8 Jesse called Abinadab and presented him to Samuel. “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either,” Samuel said. 9 Then Jesse presented Shammah, but Samuel said, “The Lord hasn’t chosen this one either.” 10 After Jesse presented seven of his sons to him, Samuel told Jesse, “The Lord hasn’t chosen any of these.” 11 Samuel asked him, “Are these all the sons you have?”“There is still the youngest,” he answered, “but right now he’s tending the sheep.” Samuel told Jesse, “Send for him. We won’t sit down to eat until he gets here.” 12 So Jesse sent for him. He had beautiful eyes and a healthy,[m] handsome appearance.Then the Lord said, “Anoint him, for he is the one.” 13 So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully on David from that day forward. Then Samuel set out and went to Ramah.
David in Saul’s Court
14 Now the Spirit of the Lord had left Saul, and an evil spirit sent from the Lord began to torment him, 15 so Saul’s servants said to him, “You see that an evil spirit from God is tormenting you. 16 Let our lord command your servants here in your presence to look for someone who knows how to play the lyre. Whenever the evil spirit from God comes on you, that person can play the lyre, and you will feel better.”17 Then Saul commanded his servants, “Find me someone who plays well and bring him to me.”18 One of the young men answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is also a valiant man, a warrior, eloquent, handsome, and the Lord is with him.”19 Then Saul dispatched messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.” 20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a wineskin, and one young goat and sent them by his son David to Saul. 21 When David came to Saul and entered his service, Saul loved him very much, and David became his armor-bearer. 22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse: “Let David remain in my service, for he has found favor with me.” 23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would pick up his lyre and play, and Saul would then be relieved, feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
David versus Goliath
17 The Philistines gathered their forces for war at Socoh in Judah and camped between Socoh and Azekah in Ephes-dammim. 2 Saul and the men of Israel gathered and camped in the Valley of Elah; then they lined up in battle formation to face the Philistines.3 The Philistines were standing on one hill, and the Israelites were standing on another hill with a ravine between them. 4 Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches[n][o] tall 5 and wore a bronze helmet[p] and bronze scale armor that weighed one hundred twenty-five pounds.[q] 6 There was bronze armor on his shins, and a bronze javelin was slung between his shoulders. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s beam, and the iron point of his spear weighed fifteen pounds.[r] In addition, a shield-bearer was walking in front of him.8 He stood and shouted to the Israelite battle formations: “Why do you come out to line up in battle formation?” He asked them, “Am I not a Philistine and are you not servants of Saul? Choose one of your men and have him come down against me. 9 If he wins in a fight against me and kills me, we will be your servants. But if I win against him and kill him, then you will be our servants and serve us.” 10 Then the Philistine said, “I defy the ranks of Israel today. Send me a man so we can fight each other!” 11 When Saul and all Israel heard these words from the Philistine, they lost their courage and were terrified.12 Now David was the son of the Ephrathite from Bethlehem of Judah named Jesse. Jesse had eight sons and during Saul’s reign was already an old man. 13 Jesse’s three oldest sons had followed Saul to the war, and their names were Eliab, the firstborn, Abinadab, the next, and Shammah, the third, 14 and David was the youngest. The three oldest had followed Saul, 15 but David kept going back and forth from Saul to tend his father’s flock in Bethlehem.16 Every morning and evening for forty days the Philistine came forward and took his stand. 17 One day Jesse had told his son David: “Take this half-bushel[s] of roasted grain along with these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. 18 Also take these ten portions of cheese to the field commander.[t] Check on the well-being of your brothers and bring a confirmation from them. 19 They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah fighting with the Philistines.”20 So David got up early in the morning, left the flock with someone to keep it, loaded up, and set out as Jesse had charged him.He arrived at the perimeter of the camp as the army was marching out to its battle formation shouting their battle cry. 21 Israel and the Philistines lined up in battle formation facing each other. 22 David left his supplies in the care of the quartermaster and ran to the battle line. When he arrived, he asked his brothers how they were. 23 While he was speaking with them, suddenly the champion named Goliath, the Philistine from Gath, came forward from the Philistine battle line and shouted his usual words, which David heard. 24 When all the Israelite men saw Goliath, they retreated from him terrified.25 Previously, an Israelite man had declared: “Do you see this man who keeps coming out? He comes to defy Israel. The king will make the man who kills him very rich and will give him his daughter. The king will also make the family of that man’s father exempt from paying taxes in Israel.”26 David spoke to the men who were standing with him: “What will be done for the man who kills that Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Just who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”27 The troops told him about the offer, concluding, “That is what will be done for the man who kills him.”28 David’s oldest brother Eliab listened as he spoke to the men, and he became angry with him. “Why did you come down here?” he asked. “Who did you leave those few sheep with in the wilderness? I know your arrogance and your evil heart—you came down to see the battle!”29 “What have I done now?” protested David. “It was just a question.” 30 Then he turned from those beside him to others in front of him and asked about the offer. The people gave him the same answer as before.31 What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, so he had David brought to him. 32 David said to Saul, “Don’t let anyone be discouraged by[u] him; your servant will go and fight this Philistine!”33 But Saul replied, “You can’t go fight this Philistine. You’re just a youth, and he’s been a warrior since he was young.”34 David answered Saul: “Your servant has been tending his father’s sheep. Whenever a lion or a bear came and carried off a lamb from the flock, 35 I went after it, struck it down, and rescued the lamb from its mouth. If it reared up against me, I would grab it by its fur,[v] strike it down, and kill it. 36 Your servant has killed lions and bears; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God.” 37 Then David said, “The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”Saul said to David, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”38 Then Saul had his own military clothes put on David. He put a bronze helmet on David’s head and had him put on armor. 39 David strapped his sword on over the military clothes and tried to walk, but he was not used to them. “I can’t walk in these,” David said to Saul, “I’m not used to them.” So David took them off. 40 Instead, he took his staff in his hand and chose five smooth stones from the wadi and put them in the pouch, in his shepherd’s bag. Then, with his sling in his hand, he approached the Philistine.41 The Philistine came closer and closer to David, with the shield-bearer in front of him. 42 When the Philistine looked and saw David, he despised him because he was just a youth, healthy[w] and handsome. 43 He said to David, “Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?” [x] Then he cursed David by his gods. 44 “Come here,” the Philistine called to David, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts!”45 David said to the Philistine: “You come against me with a sword, spear, and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord of Armies, the God of the ranks of Israel—you have defied him. 46 Today, the Lord will hand you over to me. Today, I’ll strike you down, remove your head, and give the corpses[y] of the Philistine camp to the birds of the sky and the wild creatures of the earth. Then all the world will know that Israel has a God, 47 and this whole assembly will know that it is not by sword or by spear that the Lord saves, for the battle is the Lord’s. He will hand you over to us.”48 When the Philistine started forward to attack him, David ran quickly to the battle line to meet the Philistine. 49 David put his hand in the bag, took out a stone, slung it, and hit the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown to the ground. 50 David defeated the Philistine with a sling and a stone. David overpowered the Philistine and killed him without having a sword. 51 David ran and stood over him. He grabbed the Philistine’s sword, pulled it from its sheath, and used it to kill him. Then he cut off his head. When the Philistines saw that their hero was dead, they fled. 52 The men of Israel and Judah rallied, shouting their battle cry, and chased the Philistines to the entrance of the valley and to the gates of Ekron.[z] Philistine bodies were strewn all along the Shaaraim road to Gath and Ekron.53 When the Israelites returned from the pursuit of the Philistines, they plundered their camps. 54 David took Goliath’s[aa] head and brought it to Jerusalem, but he put Goliath’s weapons in his own tent.55 [ab] When Saul had seen David going out to confront the Philistine, he asked Abner the commander of the army, “Whose son is this youth, Abner?”“Your Majesty, as surely as you live, I don’t know,” Abner replied.56 The king said, “Find out whose son this young man is!”57 When David returned from killing the Philistine, Abner took him and brought him before Saul with the Philistine’s head still in his hand. 58 Saul said to him, “Whose son are you, young man?”“The son of your servant Jesse of Bethlehem,” David answered.
It’s easy for us to put ourselves in David’s place against “our giants” that are holding us back. However, I don’t think that’s the point of the story here. The Israelites had an unconquerable obstacle that was surely going to destroy them all. They couldn’t save themselves, they were scared to death, powerless. They need someone to save them.
You see, that’s where we are in this story. We have the obstacle of sin that divides us from God. we are powerless over it. We need someone to save us. Jesus is a greater David, because he didn’t defeat a giant for us, he defeated our sin! He is our saviour! Remember where your hope comes from, Jesus has taken our sin and shame, live like that is true! Because it is.
In 15:35 it says God regretted making Saul king over Israel. I am always confused when I read that God regretted something. I always thought he knew what the outcome would be beforehand and this statement makes it sound like he made a mistake. And yes I am behind in my reading…