1 Samuel 15:14
And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
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(14) What meaneth then this bleating? . . .—“Saul is convicted of falsehood by the voices of the animals which he has spared, contrary to God’s command. Samuel’s mode of citing them against him by the question, ‘What meaneth these voices?’ has an air of holy humour and cutting irony.”—Lange.

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. How can this evidence of guilt consist with the profession of thy innocency?

And Samuel said, what meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears,.... For the orders were to destroy all living creatures belonging to the Amalekites, 1 Samuel 15:3 if therefore Saul had performed the commandment of the Lord, as he said he had, from whence were these sheep Samuel heard bleating?

and the lowing of the oxen which I hear? where do they come from? these questions he put to convict him of the falsehood he had delivered; the bleating and lowing of these creatures proved him a liar, and were witnesses of his breach of the divine command; and one would think every bleating and lowing of these must alarm his conscience, unless dreadfully stupefied.

And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
Verse 14. - What meaneth then this bleating? etc. Literally, "What is this voice of sheep in my ears, and the voice of oxen?" While Saul's own conscience was silent they were proclaiming his disobedience. 1 Samuel 15:14But the prophet stripped his hypocrisy at once with the question, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and a lowing of oxen that I hear?" Saul replied (1 Samuel 15:15), "They have brought them from the Amalekites, because the people spared the best sheep and oxen, to sacrifice them to the Lord thy God; and the rest we have banned." So that it was not Saul, but the people, who had transgressed the command of the Lord, and that with the most laudable intention, viz., to offer the best of the cattle that had been taken, as a thank-offering to the Lord. The falsehood and hypocrisy of these words lay upon the very surface; for even if the cattle spared were really intended as sacrifices to the Lord, not only the people, but Saul also, would have had their own interests in view (vid., 1 Samuel 15:9), since the flesh of thank-offerings was appropriated to sacrificial meals.
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