1 Samuel 13:13
And Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly: you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which he commanded you: for now would the LORD have established your kingdom on Israel for ever.
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1 Samuel 13:13. The Lord would have established thy kingdom for ever — The phrase, for ever, in Scripture, often signifies only a long time. And this declaration would have been abundantly verified, if the kingdom had been enjoyed by Saul, and by his son, and by his son’s son; after whom the kingdom might have come to Judah.13:8-14 Saul broke the order expressly given by Samuel, see ch.Thou hast done foolishly ... - Motives of worldly expediency were not to be weighed against the express commandment of God. All the circumstances and all the dangers were as well known to God as they were to Saul, and God had bidden him wait until Samuel came. Here was exactly the same sin of willful disobedience which broke out again, and was so severely reproved 1 Samuel 15:17-23. 1Sa 13:9-16. Saul, Weary of Waiting for Samuel, Sacrifices.

9-14. Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings—Saul, though patriotic enough in his own way, was more ambitious of gaining the glory of a triumph to himself than ascribing it to God. He did not understand his proper position as king of Israel; and although aware of the restrictions under which he held the sovereignty, he wished to rule as an autocrat, who possessed absolute power both in civil and sacred things. This occasion was his first trial. Samuel waited till the last day of the seven, in order to put the constitutional character of the king to the test; and, as Saul, in his impatient and passionate haste knowingly transgressed (1Sa 13:12) by invading the priest's office and thus showing his unfitness for his high office (as he showed nothing of the faith of Gideon and other Hebrew generals), he incurred a threat of the rejection which his subsequent waywardness confirmed.

Thou hast done foolishly in that very thing wherein thou thinkest thou hast done wisely and politicly, in disobeying my express command upon a pretended necessity, or reason of state.

The Lord thy God; not only upon common grounds, as thou art his creature, and one of his people; but in a special manner, who hath conferred peculiar favours and honours upon thee; which is an aggravation of thy sin.

Now would the Lord have established thy kingdom on Israel for ever.

Quest. How could this be true, when the kingdom was promised to Judah, Genesis 49:10, and consequently must necessarily be taken away from Saul, and from his tribe?

Answ. First, The phrase for ever, in Scripture use, ofttimes signifies only a long time, as Genesis 43:9 Exodus 21:6 1 Samuel 28:2. So this had been abundantly verified, if the kingdom had been enjoyed by Saul, and by his son, and by his son’s son; after whom the kingdom might have come to Judah. Secondly, Though the kingdom had been promised to Saul and to his posterity for ever in a larger sense, yet that was upon condition of his obedience. And therefore God might well promise the kingdom to Judah, because at that time, and before, he foresaw that Saul would by his disobedience forfeit that promise, and that he would take the forfeiture, and transfer the kingdom to Judah. And Samuel said to Saul, thou hast done foolishly,.... Not by intruding himself into the priest's office, with that he is not charged, but not waiting the full time till Samuel came; which showed his impatience, disregard to Samuel, and distrust of God; and though he thought he had acted wisely, and taken the proper precautions in his circumstances, yet he acted foolishly; and though a king, Samuel being a prophet of the Lord, and in his name, spared not to tell him so:

thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee; by his prophet, that he should wait seven days for his coming, who would then offer sacrifices, and tell him what he should do; and not to keep the commandment of God was acting a foolish part:

for now would the Lord have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever; that is, for a long time, on his son, and son's son; and then, according to promise and prophecy, it would come to one of the tribe of Judah; but now seeing he had acted such a part, it should not continue long in his family, no longer than his own life, and quickly come into other hands.

And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy {i} God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever.

(i) Who willed you to obey him, and rest on the words spoken by his prophet.

13. Thou hast done foolishly] Saul’s sin seems excusable and scarcely deserving of so heavy a punishment. But it involved the whole principle of the subordination of the theocratic king to the Will of Jehovah as expressed by His prophets. On the one hand it shewed a distrust of God, as though God after choosing him for this work could forsake him in the hour of need: on the other hand it shewed a spirit of self-assertion, as though he could make war by himself without the assistance and counsel of God communicated through His prophet. Such a character was unfit for the office of king.

for ever] i.e. permanently, not of course absolutely without end. Cp. the use of the word in 1 Samuel 1:22.Verse 13. - Thou hast done foolishly. Saul had not only received an express command to wait seven days, but it had been given him under special circumstances, and confirmed by the fulfilment of the appointed signs. He knew, moreover, how much depended upon his waiting, and that obedience to the prophet's command was an essential condition of his appointment. Nevertheless, in his impatience and distrust of Jehovah, he cannot bide the set time; not really because of any wish to propitiate God, but because of the effect to be produced upon the mind of the people. It was tedious to remain inactive; his position in the plains was. untenable; at any moment his retreat to the mountains might be cut off; and so he prefers the part of a prudent general to that of an obedient and trustful servant of God. And we may notice that there is no confession of wrong on his part. His mind rather seems entirely occupied with his duty as a king, without having regard to the higher King, whom it ought to have been his first duty to obey. When the Israelites saw that they had come into a strait (צר־לו), for the people were oppressed (by the Philistines), they hid themselves in the caves, thorn-bushes, rocks (i.e., clefts of the rocks), fortresses (צרחים: see at Judges 9:46), and pits (which were to be found in the land); and Hebrews also went over the Jordan into the land of Gad and Gilead, whilst Saul was still at Gilgal; and all the people (the people of war who had been called together, v. 4) trembled behind him, i.e., were gathered together in his train, or assembled round him as leader, trembling or in despair.

The Gilgal mentioned here cannot be Jiljilia, which is situated upon the high ground, as assumed in the Comm. on Joshua, pp. 68f., but must be the Gilgal in the valley of the Jordan. This is not only favoured by the expression ירדוּ (the Philistines will come down from Michmash to Gilgal, 1 Samuel 13:12), but also by ויּעל (Samuel went up from Gilgal to Gibeah, 1 Samuel 13:15), and by the general attitude of Saul and his army towards the Philistines. As the Philistines advanced with a powerful army, after Jonathan's victory over their garrison at Geba (to the south of Michmash), and encamped at Michmash (1 Samuel 13:5); and Saul, after withdrawing from Gilgal, where he had gathered the Israelites together (1 Samuel 13:4, 1 Samuel 13:8, 1 Samuel 13:12), with Jonathan and the six hundred men who were with him when the muster took place, took up his position at Geba (1 Samuel 13:15, 1 Samuel 13:16), from which point Jonathan attacked the Philistine post in the pass of Michmash (1 Samuel 13:23, and 1 Samuel 14:1.): Saul must have drawn back from the advancing army of the Philistines to the Gilgal in the Jordan valley, to make ready for the battle by collecting soldiers and presenting sacrifices, and then, after this had been done, must have advanced once more to Gibeah and Geba to commence the war with the army of the Philistines that was encamped at Michmash. If, on the other hand, he had gone northwards to Jiljilia from Michmash, where he was first stationed, to escape the advancing army of the Philistines; he would have had to attack the Philistines from the north when they were encamped at Michmash, and could not possibly have returned to Geba without coming into conflict with the Philistines, since Michmash was situated between Jiljilia and Geba.

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