1 Samuel 15:28
And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.
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(28) The Lord hath rent the kingdom.—The prophet at once looks upon the garment torn by the passionate vehemence of the king, as an omen for the future, and uses the rent vesture as a symbol, to show Saul that thus had the Lord on that day rent the kingdom from him.

A neighbour of thine.—It had not yet been revealed to the seer who was to replace the rebellious king, so he simply refers to the future anointed one quite indefinitely as “a neighbour.”

1 Samuel 15:28-29. The Lord hath rent the kingdom from thee — Hath declared his firm resolution of laying aside thy family, and will soon actually take away thy life and thy kingly power. Also the Strength of Israel — Who is perfectly able to bring to pass all his purposes, and to make good all his declarations; will not lie — He gives God his title, to show the reason why he neither can nor will lie. For lying generally proceeds from a man’s weakness and inability to accomplish his designs, as he thinks, without it. But God needs no such artifices: he can do whatsoever he pleaseth by his absolute power. Nor repent — Change his counsel and purpose, which is also an effect of weakness and imperfection, either of wisdom or power. So that this word is not here used in the sense it is 1 Samuel 15:11, and in several other passages, as Genesis 6:6; Exodus 32:14; 2 Samuel 24:16; Jeremiah 26:19; in all which, and many others, it signifies a change of God’s proceedings, and of his method of dealing with persons.

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. 27, 28. he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle—the moil, upper tunic, official robe. In an agony of mental excitement, he took hold of the prophet's dress to detain him; the rending of the mantle [1Sa 15:27] was adroitly pointed to as a significant and mystical representation of his severance from the throne. Samuel makes use of the emergent occasion, as a sign, to signify and confirm his former prediction.

A neighbour of thine; either another man, or another Israelite; for the word neighbour is used both ways; or rather, one of the neighbouring tribe, even Judah, whose inheritance did not only join to that of Benjamin, but was partly mixed with it.

And Samuel said unto him, the Lord hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day,.... Seeing his mantle rent by Saul, he took occasion from thence to predict, and no doubt it was impressed on his mind by the Spirit of God, that his kingdom should be in a like manner rent from him, on account of his own evil conduct and behaviour; and from this day forward he might expect it; the sentence was gone forth from God, and it would not be reversed; and by a like sign was signified the rending of the ten tribes from the kingdom of Solomon in his son Rehoboam, 1 Kings 11:30,

and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou; who was David, a man after God's own heart, that would fulfil his will, who was more holy, just, and wise than Saul; whose works were better and righter than his, as the Targum; who was an Israelite, of the same nation and religion as he, and so his neighbour; and though he was not of the same tribe, yet of a neighbouring tribe; Benjamin, and Judah, of which tribe David was, joining closely to one another. It is highly probable that at this time Samuel knew not personally who he was that was designed to be made king in his room, though under the direction of the Spirit of God he thus describes him; for after this he is bid to go to Jesse's family, from thence to anoint a king, and several passed before him ere the Lord pointed out the proper person to him.

And Samuel said unto him, The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a {l} neighbour of thine, that is better than thou.

(l) That is, to David.

1 Samuel 15:28This request Samuel refused, repeating at the same time the sentence of rejection, and turned to depart. "Then Saul laid hold of the lappet of his mantle (i.e., his upper garment), and it tore" (lit. was torn off). That the Niphal ויּקּרע is correct, and is not to be altered into אתהּ ויּקרע, "Saul tore off the lappet," according to the rendering of the lxx, as Thenius supposes, is evident from the explanation which Samuel gave of the occurrence (1 Samuel 15:28): "Jehovah hath torn the sovereignty of Israel from thee to-day, and given it to thy neighbour, who is better than thou." As Saul was about to hold back the prophet by force, that he might obtain from him a revocation of the divine sentence, the tearing of the mantle, which took place accidentally, and evidently without any such intention on the part of Saul, was to serve as a sign of the rending away of the sovereignty from him. Samuel did not yet know to whom Jehovah would give it; he therefore used the expression לרעך, as רע is applied to any one with whom a person associates. To confirm his own words, he adds in 1 Samuel 15:29 : "And also the Trust of Israel doth not lie and doth not repent, for He is not a man to repent." נצח signifies constancy, endurance, then confidence, trust, because a man can trust in what is constant. This meaning is to be retained here, where the word is used as a name for God, and not the meaning gloria, which is taken in 1 Chronicles 29:11 from the Aramaean usage of speech, and would be altogether unsuitable here, where the context suggests the idea of unchangeableness. For a man's repentance or regret arises from his changeableness, from the fluctuations in his desires and actions. This is never the case with God; consequently He is ישׂראל נצח, the unchangeable One, in whom Israel can trust, since He does not lie or deceive, or repent of His purposes. These words are spoken θεοπρεπῶς (theomorphically), whereas in 1 Samuel 15:11 and other passages, which speak of God as repenting, the words are to be understood ἀνθρωποπαθῶς (anthropomorphically; cf. Numbers 23:19).
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