1 Samuel 15:13
And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said to him, Blessed be you of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Blessed be thou of the Lord.—Saul must have been fully conscious that he had failed to carry out the will and command of the Eternal King of Israel. In the late war, undertaken for the definite and solemn purpose of exterminating a wicked and bloodthirsty people, whose continued existence worked terrible evil upon the adjacent countries, he, disregarding the express instructions of the prophet of the Lord for his own covetous purposes, had not destroyed all, but reserved some of the living spoil for himself. Conscious of all this, he still dared to come forward, and to congratulate the prophet upon the fulfilment of the Lord’s command. But Saul’s words of self-gratulation were evidently feigned; in his heart he knew he had been faithless.

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.Gilgal being within 15 miles of Ramah, Samuel might easily have come from Ramah that morning. Self-will and rashness had hitherto been Saul's chief faults. He now seems to add falsehood and hypocrisy. 13-23. Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord—Saul was either blinded by a partial and delusive self-love, or he was, in his declaration to Samuel, acting the part of a bold and artful hypocrite. He professed to have fulfilled the divine command, and that the blame of any defects in the execution lay with the people. Samuel saw the real state of the case, and in discharge of the commission he had received before setting out, proceeded to denounce his conduct as characterized by pride, rebellion, and obstinate disobedience. When Saul persisted in declaring that he had obeyed, alleging that the animals, whose bleating was heard, had been reserved for a liberal sacrifice of thanksgiving to God, his shuffling, prevaricating answer called forth a stern rebuke from the prophet. It well deserved it—for the destination of the spoil to the altar was a flimsy pretext—a gross deception, an attempt to conceal the selfishness of the original motive under the cloak of religious zeal and gratitude. Blessed be thou of the Lord; I thank thee, and I beg that God would bless thee, for sending me upon this employment, and giving me this opportunity of manifesting my obedience to God.

I have performed the commandment of the Lord, to wit, for the main and substance of it, to wit, the extirpation of that wicked people; for he thought the sparing of Agag and the cattle very inconsiderable in the case, though indeed it was expressly contrary to God’s command; but self-interest made him exceeding partial in his own cause: or else, like a bold hypocrite, he pretends that for his part he had obeyed God; resolving, it seems, to cast the blame upon the people, as he did. And Samuel came to Saul,.... At Gilgal:

and Saul said unto him, blessed be thou of the Lord; signifying that he had abundant reason to bless the Lord on his account, not only that he had anointed him king, but had sent him on such an errand, in which he had succeeded so well, and it was a pleasure to him that he might report it to him:

I have performed the commandment of the Lord; either he was really ignorant that he had done amiss; and thought that his sparing Agag, when he had destroyed all the rest, and reserving some of the best of the cattle for sacrifice, could not be interpreted a breach of the orders given him; or if he was conscious he had broken the commandment of the Lord, this he said to prevent Samuel's reproof of him, and to sooth him with flattering words.

And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the {f} commandment of the LORD.

(f) This is the nature of hypocrites to be impudent against the truth, to condemn others, and justify themselves.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Blessed be thou of the Lord] Cp. Genesis 14:19; Genesis 24:31; Ruth 3:10; 2 Samuel 2:5. Saul attempts to conciliate Samuel with a friendly greeting. His conscience can scarcely have been so hardened that he was insensible of his sin.Verse 13. - Blessed be thou of Jehovah. Saul meets Samuel with all external respect, and seems even to expect his approval, saying, I have performed the commandment of Jehovah. And so he had in the half way in which men generally keep God's commandments, doing that part which is agreeable to themselves, and leaving that part undone which gives them neither pleasure nor profit. Saul probably had thought very little about the exact terms of the command given him, and having successfully accomplished the main point of carrying out a vast foray against the Amalekites, regarded the captive king and the plundered cattle as proofs of his victory. The trophy at Carmel is a token of his own self satisfaction. 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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