1 Samuel 15:26
And Samuel said to Saul, I will not return with you: for you have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) I will not return with thee.—Samuel too clearly sees what are the true springs of Saul’s repentance, and refuses at first. It was only, as C. a Lapide forcibly urges, a fear on the part of the king, of losing the kingdom and of incurring public disgrace. The prophet for reply again repeats the terrible Divine sentence of rejection.

1 Samuel 15:26. I will not — This was no lie, though he afterward returned, because he spoke what he meant; his words and his intentions agreed together, though afterward he saw reason to change his intentions. Compare Genesis 19:2-3. This may relieve many perplexed consciences, who think themselves obliged to do what they have said they would do, though they see just cause to change their minds. Hath rejected thee, &c. — But he does not say, he “hath rejected thee from salvation.” And who besides hath authority to say so?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.I have sinned - Compare 1 Samuel 15:25, 1 Samuel 15:30. How was it that these repeated confessions were unavailing to obtain forgiveness, when David's was? (See the marginal reference.) Because Saul only shrank from the punishment of his sin. David shrank in abhorrence from the sin itself Psalm 51:4. 24-26. I have sinned … turn again with me, that I may worship the Lord—The erring, but proud and obstinate monarch was now humbled. He was conscience-smitten for the moment, but his confession proceeded not from sincere repentance, but from a sense of danger and desire of averting the sentence denounced against him. For the sake of public appearance, he besought Samuel not to allow their serious differences to transpire, but to join with him in a public act of worship. Under the influence of his painfully agitated feelings, he designed to offer sacrifice, partly to express his gratitude for the recent victory, and partly to implore mercy and a reversal of his doom. It was, from another angle, a politic scheme, that Samuel might be betrayed into a countenancing of his design in reserving the cattle for sacrificing. Samuel declined to accompany him.

I feared the people, and obeyed their voice—This was a different reason from the former he had assigned. It was the language of a man driven to extremities, and even had it been true, the principles expounded by Samuel showed that it could have been no extenuation of the offense. The prophet then pronounced the irreversible sentence of the rejection of Saul and his family. He was judicially cut off for his disobedience.

I will not return with thee: this was no lie, though he afterwards returned, because he spoke what he meant; his words and intentions agreed together, though afterwards he saw reason to change his intentions: compare Genesis 19:2,3: which may relieve many perplexed consciences, who think themselves obliged to do what they have said they would do, though they see just cause to change their minds. And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee,.... Not being satisfied with his repentance and confession, he still extenuating his sin, and laying the blame of it on the people. This he said by way of resentment, and as expressing his indignation at him, though he afterwards did return with him on a change of his mind; which a good man may be allowed to make, without any imputation of falsehood or a lie unto him:

for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel; which is repeated from 1 Samuel 15:23 for the confirmation of it, and to let Saul know that his pretended confession and repentance had made no alteration in the decree and sentence of God respecting the kingdom.

And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verses 26, 27, 28. - At first the prophet refuses the king's request. Saul had dishonoured God, and, therefore, had no claim to public homage from God's minister. He turns, therefore, to go away, and Saul in his eagerness seizes hold of Samuel's mantle. The A.V. is very careless about the exact rendering of words of this description, and seems guided in its choice of terms simply by the ear. Now the mantle, addereth, though used of the Shinar shawl stolen by Achan (Joshua 7:21, 24), was the distinctive dress of the prophets, but naturally was never worn by Samuel himself. Special dresses come into use only gradually, and Elijah is the first person described as being thus clad. Long before his time the schools of the prophets had grown into a national institution, and a loose wrapper of coarse cloth made of camel's hair, fastened round the body at the waist by a leathern girdle, had become the usual prophetic dress, and continued so to be until the arrival of Israel's last prophet, John the Baptist (Matthew 3:4). The garment here spoken of is the meil, on which see 1 Samuel 2:19, where it was shown to be the ordinary dress of people of various classes in easy circumstances. Now the meil was not a loosely flowing garment, but fitted rather closely to the body, and, therefore, the tearing of it implies a considerable amount of violence on Saul's part. Skirt, moreover, gives a wrong idea. What Saul took hold of was the hem, the outer border of the garment, probably at Samuel's neck or shoulder, as he turned to go away. He seized him, as we should say, by the collar, and endeavoured by main force to retain him, and in the struggle the hem rent. And Samuel, using it as an omen, said, Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. Neighbour is used in Hebrew in a very indefinite manner, and here means generally "some one, whoever it may be," but one who will discharge the duties of thy office better than thou hast done (comp. Luke 10:36). "Yea, I have hearkened to the voice of Jehovah (אשׁר serving, like כּי ekil , to introduce the reply: here it is used in the sense of asseveration, utique, yea), and have brought Agag the king of the Amalekites, and banned Amalek." Bringing Agag he mentioned probably as a practical proof that he had carried out the war of extermination against the Amalekites.
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