Then he said, I have sinned: yet honor me now, I pray you, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD your God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders.—It was a strange penitence, after all, this sorrow of Saul for his great sin. He was, no doubt, terribly in earnest and in great fear; but his earnestness was based upon a desire to maintain his power and royal state, and his fear sprang from a well-grounded apprehension that if he lost the countenance of Samuel the seer, the revered and honoured servant of the Lord, he would probably forfeit his crown. “If Saul had been really penitent, he would pray to have been humble rather than to be honoured” (St. Gregory, quoted by Wordsworth).
The Lord thy God - As above, 1 Samuel 15:15.1 Samuel 15:24 but his confession there was attended with an extenuation of his sin, pleading in excuse of it that it was through fear of the people, but here it is without any; and yet by what follows it appears to be not ingenuous and sincere, but hypocritical:
yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel; with his company; since should he be slighted openly by the Lord, and by his prophet, he would fall into contempt both with the principal men, and with the common people; wherefore he seemed more concerned for the loss of honour and reputation with the people, than for his sin against God, which is always the case of hypocrites:
and turn again with me, and worship the Lord thy God; See Gill on 1 Samuel 15:25.Then he said, I have sinned: yet honor me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)30. honour me now, &c.] John 5:44; John 12:43 point to the radical defect in Saul’s character.Verses 30, 31. - Then he said, I have sinned. We have here no real confession of guilt. Even in ver. 24 the words were rather an expression of vexation at the strictness with which he was held to the letter of the command, than an acknowledgment that he really had done wrong. Here Saul's meaning seems to be, Well, granting that I have sinned, and that this sentence of exclusion kern the kingdom is passed upon me, yet at least pay me the honor due to the rank which I still continue to hold. And to this request Samuel accedes. Saul was de facto king, and would continue to be so during his lifetime. The anointing, once bestowed, was a consecration for life, and so generally it was in the days of the son that the consequences of the father's sin came fully to pass (1 Kings 11:34, 35; 1 Kings 14:13, etc.). Had Samuel refused the public honour due to Saul's rank, it would have given an occasion for intrigue and resistance to all who were disaffected with Saul's government, and been a step towards bringing back the old anarchy. Jehovah thy God. See on ver. 13. 1 Samuel 15:25, but still more from 1 Samuel 15:30. In 1 Samuel 15:25 he not only entreats Samuel for the forgiveness of his sin, but says, "Return with me, that I may pray to the Lord." The שׁוּב presupposes that Samuel was about to go away after the executing his commission. Saul entreated him to remain that he might pray, i.e., not only in order to obtain for him the forgiveness of his sin through his intercession, but, according to 1 Samuel 15:30, to show him honour before the elders of the people and before Israel, that his rejection might not be known.
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