1 Samuel 15:31
So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD.
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(31) So Samuel turned again after Saul.—The prophet, after the repeated and pressing request of the king, consents publicly to worship the Lord in his company. There is little doubt but that the principal motive which induced Samuel on this occasion not to withdraw himself from the public thanksgiving was a desire to prevent any disaffection towards the monarchy. His known disapproval of Saul’s conduct, and his declining the king’s earnest prayer to stay, would probably have been the signal to the discontented spirits in Israel to revolt, under the pretext that such a revolt would be pleasing to the great seer. Such a revolt in those critical times would have been disastrous to the growing prosperity of the chosen people.

It has been well suggested that many blessings came upon the unhappy Saul and the nation over which he ruled in answer to Samuel’s intercession on this occasion for him.

The result was what might have been looked for. Saul remained in undiminished power apparently; but the will of God, as declared by His servant Samuel, was slowly, but surely, accomplished. The doom of the reigning family pronounced by the prophet on this momentous occasion was irrevocable.

The story of Israel contained in this book shows how the march of events in solemn procession moved onward, every year bringing the ill-fated rebel king nearer the execution of the stern sentence which his own self-willed conduct had called down on him.

1 Samuel 15:31. So Samuel turned again — 1st, That the people might not, upon pretence of this sentence of rejection, withdraw their obedience from their sovereign; whereby they would both have sinned against God, and have been as sheep without a shepherd. 2d, That he might rectify Saul’s error, and execute God’s judgment upon Agag.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.The pertinacity with which Saul clings to Samuel for support is a striking testimony to Samuel's integrity. With all his worldly-mindedness Saul could perceive and appreciate the purity of Samuel's character as a man of God.

The Lord thy God - As above, 1 Samuel 15:15.

31. Samuel turned again after Saul—not to worship along with him; but first, that the people might have no ground, on pretense of Saul's rejection, to withdraw their allegiance from him; and secondly, to compensate for Saul's error, by executing God's judgment upon Agag. Samuel turned again after Saul; not to worship the Lord with him, for that he did not; and therefore it is here mentioned that Saul only worshipped the Lord; but for two other reasons: first, that people might not upon pretence of this sentence of rejection immediately withdraw all respect and obedience to their sovereign; whereby they would both have sinned against God, and have been as sheep without a shepherd. Secondly, That he might rectify Saul’s error, and execute God’s judgment upon Agag. So Samuel turned again after Saul,.... Though he before said he would not, 1 Samuel 15:26 yet he did, changing his mind, as he might without being chargeable with a lie; and he also might have an impulse from the Lord so to do, and which he did not in order to worship with Saul, which it does not appear he did, but rather the contrary; but that Saul might not be despised by the people, and his authority lessened, while he continued king; and that he might do what Saul had neglected to do, destroy Agag: and Saul worshipped the Lord; alone, by offering sacrifice to him. So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD.
31. So Samuel turned again] Changing his purpose in order to maintain the honour of the reigning king, for although Saul had forfeited his position as Jehovah’s chosen representative, he must still rule the nation.This sentence made so powerful an impression upon Saul, that he confessed, "I have sinned: for I have transgressed the command of the Lord and thy words, because I feared the people, and hearkened to their voice." But these last words, with which he endeavoured to make his sin appear as small as possible, show that the consciousness of his guilt did not go very deep. Even if the people had really desired that the best of the cattle should be spared, he ought not as king to have given his consent to their wish, since God had commanded that they should all be banned (i.e., destroyed); and even though he has yielded from weakness, this weakness could not lessen his guilt before God. This repentance, therefore, was rather the effect of alarm at the rejection which had been announced to him, than the fruit of any genuine consciousness of sin. "It was not true and serious repentance, or the result of genuine sorrow of heart because he had offended God, but was merely repentance of the lips arising from fear of losing the kingdom, and of incurring public disgrace" (C. v. Lapide). This is apparent even from 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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