1 Samuel 15:12
And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) And when Samuel rose early . . .—After the revelations of that sad night, the prophet rose, and at once went to seek the guilty king. He was told Saul was come to Carmel, identical with Kurmul in Judah, to the south-east of Hebron; there the victorious monarch had erected a monument of his victory, literally, a hand. In 2Samuel 18:18, Absalom’s Pillar is styled Absalom’s Hand (yad), not “place,” as in the English Version. It has been suggested that very likely these victory cairns or columns erected by the Hebrews had a hand engraved upon them.

1 Samuel 15:12-13. Behold, he set him up a place — That is, a monument or trophy of his victory; perhaps a column, or barely a large heap of stones, as was the custom of those early ages. I have performed the commandment of the Lord — He makes so little account of the fault he had committed, that he even boasts of his performance.15:10-23 Repentance in God is not a change of mind, as it is in us, but a change of method. The change was in Saul; He is turned back from following me. Hereby he made God his enemy. Samuel spent a whole night in pleading for Saul. The rejection of sinners is the grief of believers: God delights not in their death, nor should we. Saul boasts to Samuel of his obedience. Thus sinners think, by justifying themselves, to escape being judged of the Lord. The noise the cattle made, like the rust of the silver, Jas 5:3, witnessed against him. Many boast of obedience to the command of God; but what means then their indulgence of the flesh, their love of the world, their angry and unkind spirit, and their neglect of holy duties, which witness against them? See of what evil covetousness is the root; and see what is the sinfulness of sin, and notice that in it which above any thing else makes it evil in the sight of the Lord; it is disobedience: Thou didst not obey the voice of the Lord. Carnal, deceitful hearts, like Saul, think to excuse themselves from God's commandments by what pleases themselves. It is hard to convince the children of disobedience. But humble, sincere, and conscientious obedience to the will of God, is more pleasing and acceptable to him than all burnt-offering and sacrifices. God is more glorified and self more denied, by obedience than by sacrifice. It is much easier to bring a bullock or lamb to be burned upon the altar, than to bring every high thought into obedience to God, and to make our will subject to his will. Those are unfit and unworthy to rule over men, who are not willing that God should rule over them.A place - Rather, "a monument." The Hebrew word יד yâd means a "hand," but is used in the sense of "monument," or "trophy," in 2 Samuel 18:18, where we are told that the marble pillar which Absalom set up in his lifetime, was called "Yad Absalom."

Carmel - (see the marginal reference) would be on Saul's line of march on his return from the country of the Amalekites, more especially if he came from the neighborhood of Akaba.

12. Saul came to Carmel—in the south of Judah (Jos 15:55; 1Sa 25:2).

he set him up a place—that is, a pillar (2Sa 18:18); literally, a hand, indicating that whatever was the form of the monument, it was surmounted, according to the ancient fashion, by the figure of a hand, the symbol of power and energy. The erection of this vainglorious trophy was an additional act of disobedience. His pride had overborne his sense of duty in first raising this monument to his own honor, and then going to Gilgal to offer sacrifice to God.

Carmel; not Mount Carmel, of which Joshua 12:22, but another mountain or town in the tribe of Judah, of which see Joshua 15:55. A place, i.e. a monument or trophy of his victory, as the same Hebrew word is used, 2 Samuel 18:18. And this may be here noted by way of censure, that he set it not to God’s honour, but to himself, i.e. to his own praise; which he minded in the first place, and afterwards went to Gilgal, as it here follows, to offer sacrifice to God. And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning,.... Having had no sleep since the revelation of the will of God was made unto him, and therefore rose early, being in haste to converse with Saul about it:

it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel; not to Carmel where Elijah offered sacrifice, for that was very remote from hence; but to Carmel, a city in the tribe of Judah, which lay in the way of Saul's return from Amalek, Joshua 15:55.

and, behold, he set him up a place; to divide his spoil in, as the Targum; or to encamp in, as Kimchi; or to build an altar on, as Jarchi, who takes it to be the same that Elisha after repaired; but, as before observed, this place was at a great distance from Mount Carmel where Elijah sacrificed. The word for a "place" signifies a hand; and, according to the Vulgate Latin version, it was a triumphal arch, and was perhaps an obelisk or pillar, a trophy or monument erected in memory of the victory he had obtained over the Amalekites. So Jerom says (a), when a victory was obtained, they used to make an arch of myrtle, palm, and olive branches, a sign of it; these trophies were sometimes of brass, sometimes of marble; some were only heaps of stones, others a remarkable tree with the branches cut off (b) so the pillar Absalom erected is called his hand, 2 Samuel 18:18.

and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal; he took a circuit, and moved in great pomp and parade, carrying the king of the Amalekites in triumph with him, and the spoil he had taken and reserves. To Gilgal be went, expecting to meet Samuel there, and offer up peace offerings to the Lord for the victory he had got.

(a) Heb. Trad. in lib. Reg. fol. 76. B. (b) Vid. Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 1. c. 22.

And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. to Carmel] Carmel (= “park” or “garden”) was a city in the mountainous country of Judah, about seven miles S.S.E. of Hebron. Saul would naturally pass through it in returning from the war. The site is marked by the ruins of a large town bearing the name Kurmul (Robinson, Bibl. Res. I. 495 ff). Here dwelt Nabal (ch. 25), and in its neighbourhood much of David’s outlaw life was spent.

he set him up a place] He erected for himself a monument, or trophy of his victory. The Vulg. has “fornicem triumphalem;” and according to Jerome it was an arch of myrtles, palms, and olives. The Heb. word, literally meaning “hand,” is applied to Absalom’s pillar, which was called “Absalom’s place” or “monument” (2 Samuel 18:18).

The Sept. has some doubtful additions, which partly appear in the ordinary text of the Vulgate. “And Samuel rose early and went to meet Israel in the morning. And it was told [Samuel] saying, [Saul] came to Carmel, and hath set him up a monument, and he turned his chariot and went down to Gilgal. [And Samuel came to Saul], and behold he was offering a burnt-offering to the Lord, the first-fruits of the spoil, which he brought from Amalek.” The names Saul and Samuel have been confused in the text of B, and the clause “And Samuel came to Saul” must be transposed to make sense.

to Gilgal] In the same place where Saul’s kingdom had been confirmed it was to be taken from him: and where the warning of the consequences of disobedience had been uttered (1 Samuel 13:13-14), the sentence on disobedience was to be pronounced.Verse 12. - Samuel rose early. If Samuel was at home at Ramah, he would have a journey of several days before reaching Carmel, the city mentioned in Joshua 15:55, on the road from Arad, on the borders of the wilderness of Judah, about ten miles southeast of Hebron. The words in the morning should be joined with rose early. Before setting out, however, Samuel learned that Saul had already marched northward towards Gilgal, having first set him up a place - Hebrew, "a hand," i.e. a monument, something to call attention to his victory. In 2 Samuel 18:18 Absalom's pillar is styled "Absalom's hand." A Hebrew trophy in honour of a victory possibly had a hand carved upon it. Gilgal was the city in the Jordan valley near Jericho, whither Samuel now followed Saul. Saul directed the Kenites to come out from among the Amalekites, that they might not perish with them (אספך, imp. Kal of אסף), as they had shown affection to the Israelites on their journey out of Egypt (compare Numbers 10:29 with Judges 1:16). He then smote the Amalekites from Havilah in the direction towards Shur, which lay before (to the east of) Egypt (cf. Genesis 25:18). Shur is the desert of Jifar, i.e., that portion of the desert of Arabia which borders upon Egypt (see at Genesis 16:7). Havilah, the country of the Chaulotaeans, on the border of Arabia Petraea towards Yemen (see at Genesis 10:29).
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