Reflection on 1 Samuel 15:1-9

“And Samuel said to Saul: The Lord sent me to anoint thee king over his People Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the Lord:Thus saith the Lord of hosts: I have reckoned up all that Amalec hath done to Israel: I how he opposed them in the way when they came up out of Egypt.Now therefore go, and smite Amalec, and utterly destroy all that he hath: spare him not, nor covet any thing that is his: but slay both man and woman, child and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.So Saul commanded the people, and numbered them as lambs: two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand of the men of Juda.And when Saul was come to the city of Amalec, he laid ambushes in the torrent.And Saul said to the Cinite: Go, depart and get ye down from Amalec: lest I destroy thee with him. For thou hast shewn kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. And the Cinite departed from the midst of Amalec. And Saul smote Amalec from Hevila, until thou comest to Sur, which is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of Amalec alive: but all the common people he slew with the edge of the sword. And Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the flocks of sheep and of the herds, and the garments and the rams, and all that was beautiful, and would not destroy them: but every thing that was vile and good for nothing, that they destroyed.” (1 Samuel 15:1-9)

Literal Sense:  The king of the Amalekites opposed the people of Israel when they left Egypt and sought entrance into the promised land (Exodus 17:8-16), and as a result, God promised to destroy the Amalekites (Exodus 17:14).   In 1 Samuel 15:3, the LORD commanded Saul to put to death all of the Amalekites for what they had done to the people of Israel, and instructed Saul to spare none of the Amalekites, including their cattle (1 Samuel. 15:3).  In 1 Samuel 15:9 we read that Saul, out of greed and covetousness, did not put to death all of the Amalekites; rather, he spared King Agag of the Amalekites, as well as the best of his cattle.  This was in opposition to what God commanded Saul to do and was a matter the prophet Samuel was forced to address (1 Samuel 15:32-33) by personally putting to death King Agag.

Allegorical Sense: Though Saul, the King of Israel, failed to obey the LORD in everything that He commanded, by sparing King Agag and a portion of his cattle, Christ Jesus, the true King of Israel, succeeded in obeying God in everything that He commanded, as He knew no sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Whereas Saul spared King Agag, who symbolizes Satan and sin, Christ defeated Satan (Hebrews 2:14-15) and destroyed the power of sin (1 Corinthians 15:56-57)!

Moral Sense: Saul acted unjustly by failing to put to death King Agag and all of his cattle out of greed and covetousness.  Often Christians are guilty of the same unrighteous behavior by failing to put to death the things of Satan and sin in their own personal life out of greed and covetousness for the pleasures of sin.  It is true that Saul put some of King Agag’s men and cattle to death and likewise Christians tend to put some of their sins to death.  However, when there is a failure to put to death all of that which is of Satan and all of one’s personal sins, then, like Saul, one is guilty of failing to put to death King Agag and a portion of his cattle.

Anagogical Sense: The Christian strives to put to death all of sin and everything that is of Satan in his or her life and by the power of the Holy Spirit there will be a day when this is achieved, not only in the life of every Christian who perseveres unto the end but in all of heaven and earth: “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

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