|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 29. - The Strength - better, as in the margin, the Victory or Triumph - of Israel. He who is Israel's Victory, or He in whom Israel has victory, will not repent. In ver. 11 God was said to repent, because there was what appeared to be a change in the Divine counsels. "God gave Israel a king in his anger, and took him away in his wrath" (Hosea 13:11). But such modes of speaking are in condescension to human weakness. Absolutely with God there is no change. He is the Eternal Present, with whom all things that were, and are, and shall be are one. But even looked at from below, as this finite creature man looks at his Maker's acts, there is no change in the Divine counsels, because, amidst all the vicissitudes of human events, God's will moves calmly forward without let or hindrance. No lower or secondary motives influence him, no rival power thwarts him. One instrument may be laid aside, and another chosen, because God ordains that the instruments by which he works shall be beings endowed with free will. Saul was the very counterpart of the Jewish people - highly endowed with noble qualities, but headstrong, self-willed, disobedient. Nevertheless, he laid the foundation for the throne of David, who in so many points was the ideal of the theocratic king; and Israel in like manner prepared the way for the coming of the true Messianic King, and gave mankind the one Catholic, i.e. universal, religion. "He who is Israel's Victory does not repent."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent,.... Neither of the evil which he had threatened to Saul in taking away the kingdom from him; nor of the good which he had promised to David in giving it to him; nor of his purpose and promise to Israel to protect and defend them, save and deliver them from the Philistines, and continue them a nation and kingdom: and for the confirmation of all this, this title or character of the Lord is given, "the Strength of Israel"; hence he cannot lie, which is the effect of weakness; nor repent or change his mind, as men do, when something unforeseen arises, which hinders the execution of their first design, and which through weakness they cannot surmount: and hence God would support Israel as a nation, and strengthen them against their enemies, and work deliverance and salvation for them: or "the victory of Israel" (q); the author of Israel's victories, and to whom they are to be ascribed, and who is able to give them more, and would; and as he did especially by David, to whom the kingdom is promised: or "the eternity of Israel" (r); that gives firmness, permanency, and duration to them; all which is true of Israel in a spiritual sense; he gives them spiritual strength, victory over their enemies, sin, Satan, and the world, permanent duration, everlasting salvation, immortality, and eternal life:
for he is not a man, that he should repent; men are weak and feeble, and cannot perform what they purpose or promise, and therefore repent; but God, the Strength of Israel, is able to perform whatever he has purposed or promised, and therefore repents not; men are changeable in their minds, and repent of their first thoughts and designs; but God is unchangeable, and never alters his counsels, breaks his covenant, reverses his blessings, repents of his gifts, nor changes his affections to his Israel. Abarbinel says this may be understood of Saul, and so be given as a reason why God would not repent of the evil he had threatened him with, because he was a man that repented not of his sin; but the first sense is best, and agrees with and is confirmed by Numbers 23:19.
(q) "victoria Israel", Montanus, Vatablus, Piscator; "victor Israelis", Tigurine version. (r) "Aeternitas Israelis", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29. the Strength of Israel will not lie—Hebrew, "He that gives a victory to Israel," a further rebuke of his pride in rearing the Carmel trophy, and an intimation that no loss would be sustained in Israel by his rejection.
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