I Samuel 15
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1  Shmuel said to Shaul, “I am the one Hashem sent to anoint you king over His people Yisrael. Therefore, listen to Hashem‘s command!

א  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־שָׁאוּל אֹתִי שָׁלַח יְהֹוָה לִמְשָׁחֳךָ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־עַמּוֹ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַתָּה שְׁמַע לְקוֹל דִּבְרֵי יְהֹוָה׃

2  “Thus said the lord of Hosts: I am exacting the penalty for what Amalek did to Yisrael, for the assault he made upon them on the road, on their way up from Egypt.

ב  כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת פָּקַדְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר־עָשָׂה עֲמָלֵק לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר־שָׂם לוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ בַּעֲלֹתוֹ מִמִּצְרָיִם׃

3  Now go, attack Amalek, and proscribe all that belongs to him. Spare no one, but kill alike men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and asses!”

ג  עַתָּה לֵךְ וְהִכִּיתָה אֶת־עֲמָלֵק וְהַחֲרַמְתֶּם אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר־לוֹ וְלֹא תַחְמֹל עָלָיו וְהֵמַתָּה מֵאִישׁ עַד־אִשָּׁה מֵעֹלֵל וְעַד־יוֹנֵק מִשּׁוֹר וְעַד־שֶׂה מִגָּמָל וְעַד־חֲמוֹר׃

4  Shaul mustered the troops and enrolled them at Telaim: 200,000 men on foot, and 10,000 men of Yehuda.

ד  וַיְשַׁמַּע שָׁאוּל אֶת־הָעָם וַיִּפְקְדֵם בַּטְּלָאִים מָאתַיִם אֶלֶף רַגְלִי וַעֲשֶׂרֶת אֲלָפִים אֶת־אִישׁ יְהוּדָה׃

5  Then Shaul advanced as far as the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the wadi.

ה  וַיָּבֹא שָׁאוּל עַד־עִיר עֲמָלֵק וַיָּרֶב בַּנָּחַל׃

6  Shaul said to the Kenites, “Come, withdraw at once from among the Amalekites, that I may not destroy you along with them; for you showed kindness to all the Israelites when they left Egypt.” So the Kenites withdrew from among the Amalekites.

ו  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל־הַקֵּינִי לְכוּ סֻּרוּ רְדוּ מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵקִי פֶּן־אֹסִפְךָ עִמּוֹ וְאַתָּה עָשִׂיתָה חֶסֶד עִם־כָּל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּעֲלוֹתָם מִמִּצְרָיִם וַיָּסַר קֵינִי מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵק׃

7  Shaul destroyed Amalek from Havilah all the way to Shur, which is close to Egypt,

ז  וַיַּךְ שָׁאוּל אֶת־עֲמָלֵק מֵחֲוִילָה בּוֹאֲךָ שׁוּר אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי מִצְרָיִם׃

8  and he captured King Agag of Amalek alive. He proscribed all the people, putting them to the sword;

ח  וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ אֶת־אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ־עֲמָלֵק חָי וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעָם הֶחֱרִים לְפִי־חָרֶב׃

9  but Shaul and the troops spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the second-born, the lambs, and all else that was of value. They would not proscribe them; they proscribed only what was cheap and worthless.

ט  וַיַּחְמֹל שָׁאוּל וְהָעָם עַל־אֲגָג וְעַל־מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר וְהַמִּשְׁנִים וְעַל־הַכָּרִים וְעַל־כָּל־הַטּוֹב וְלֹא אָבוּ הַחֲרִימָם וְכָל־הַמְּלָאכָה נְמִבְזָה וְנָמֵס אֹתָהּ הֶחֱרִימוּ׃

10  The word of Hashem then came to Shmuel:

י  וַיְהִי דְּבַר־יְהֹוָה אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵל לֵאמֹר׃

11  “I regret that I made Shaul king, for he has turned away from Me and has not carried out My commands.” Shmuel was distressed and he entreated Hashem all night long.

ni-KHAM-tee kee him-LAKH-tee et sha-UL l’-ME-lekh kee SHAV may-a-kha-RAI v’-et d’-va-RAI lo hay-KEEM va-YI-khar lish-mu-AYL va-yiz-AK el a-do-NAI kol ha-LAI-la

יא  נִחַמְתִּי כִּי־הִמְלַכְתִּי אֶת־שָׁאוּל לְמֶלֶךְ כִּי־שָׁב מֵאַחֲרַי וְאֶת־דְּבָרַי לֹא הֵקִים וַיִּחַר לִשְׁמוּאֵל וַיִּזְעַק אֶל־יְהֹוָה כָּל־הַלָּיְלָה׃

 15:11   I regret that I made Shaul king

Shaul’s error of not completely eradicating the evil Amalek costs him his kingdom. Yet, King David’s sin with Batsheva  (II Samuel 11-12) does not have a similar result. In his Book of the Principles, Rabbi Yosef Albo, a philosopher in fifteenth century Spain, notes that King David’s sin, though grave, is a personal one. Therefore, his punishment only impacts him and his family. However, King Shaul’s transgression was of a national scope, impacting the future of the nation. In fact, the Rabbis of the Midrash teach that the evil Haman mentioned in Megillat Esther descends from Amalek’s King Agag, whom Shaul kept alive long enough to father a child. Thus, the punishment has to be one that impacts his rule over the whole nation.Comment

12  Early in the morning Shmuel went to meet Shaul. Shmuel was told, “Shaul went to Carmel, where he erected a monument for himself; then he left and went on down to Gilgal.”

יב  וַיַּשְׁכֵּם שְׁמוּאֵל לִקְרַאת שָׁאוּל בַּבֹּקֶר וַיֻּגַּד לִשְׁמוּאֵל לֵאמֹר בָּא־שָׁאוּל הַכַּרְמֶלָה וְהִנֵּה מַצִּיב לוֹ יָד וַיִּסֹּב וַיַּעֲבֹר וַיֵּרֶד הַגִּלְגָּל׃

13  When Shmuel came to Shaul, Shaul said to him, “Blessed are you of Hashem! I have fulfilled Hashem‘s command.”

יג  וַיָּבֹא שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־שָׁאוּל וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ שָׁאוּל בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה לַיהֹוָה הֲקִימֹתִי אֶת־דְּבַר יְהֹוָה׃

14  “Then what,” demanded Shmuel, “is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of oxen that I hear?”

יד  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל וּמֶה קוֹל־הַצֹּאן הַזֶּה בְּאָזְנָי וְקוֹל הַבָּקָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי שֹׁמֵעַ׃

15  Shaul answered, “They were brought from the Amalekites, for the troops spared the choicest of the sheep and oxen for sacrificing to Hashem your God. And we proscribed the rest.”

טו  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל מֵעֲמָלֵקִי הֱבִיאוּם אֲשֶׁר חָמַל הָעָם עַל־מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר לְמַעַן זְבֹחַ לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְאֶת־הַיּוֹתֵר הֶחֱרַמְנוּ׃

16  Shmuel said to Shaul, “Stop! Let me tell you what Hashem said to me last night!” “Speak,” he replied.

טז  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־שָׁאוּל הֶרֶף וְאַגִּידָה לְּךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי הַלָּיְלָה ויאמרו [וַיֹּאמֶר] לוֹ דַּבֵּר׃

17  And Shmuel said, “You may look small to yourself, but you are the head of the tribes of Yisrael. Hashem anointed you king over Yisrael,

יז  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל הֲלוֹא אִם־קָטֹן אַתָּה בְּעֵינֶיךָ רֹאשׁ שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָתָּה וַיִּמְשָׁחֲךָ יְהֹוָה לְמֶלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

18  and Hashem sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and proscribe the sinful Amalekites; make war on them until you have exterminated them.’

יח  וַיִּשְׁלָחֲךָ יְהֹוָה בְּדָרֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר לֵךְ וְהַחֲרַמְתָּה אֶת־הַחַטָּאִים אֶת־עֲמָלֵק וְנִלְחַמְתָּ בוֹ עַד כַּלּוֹתָם אֹתָם׃

19  Why did you disobey Hashem and swoop down on the spoil in defiance of Hashem‘s will?”

יט  וְלָמָּה לֹא־שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה וַתַּעַט אֶל־הַשָּׁלָל וַתַּעַשׂ הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהֹוָה׃

20  Shaul said to Shmuel, “But I did obey Hashem! I performed the mission on which Hashem sent me: I captured King Agag of Amalek, and I proscribed Amalek,

כ  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵל אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתִּי בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה וָאֵלֵךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר־שְׁלָחַנִי יְהֹוָה וָאָבִיא אֶת־אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ עֲמָלֵק וְאֶת־עֲמָלֵק הֶחֱרַמְתִּי׃

21  and the troops took from the spoil some sheep and oxen—the best of what had been proscribed—to sacrifice to Hashem your God at Gilgal.”

כא  וַיִּקַּח הָעָם מֵהַשָּׁלָל צֹאן וּבָקָר רֵאשִׁית הַחֵרֶם לִזְבֹּחַ לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּגִּלְגָּל׃

22  But Shmuel said: “Does Hashem delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As much as in obedience to Hashem‘s command? Surely, obedience is better than sacrifice, Compliance than the fat of rams.

כב  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל הַחֵפֶץ לַיהֹוָה בְּעֹלוֹת וּזְבָחִים כִּשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה הִנֵּה שְׁמֹעַ מִזֶּבַח טוֹב לְהַקְשִׁיב מֵחֵלֶב אֵילִים׃

23  For rebellion is like the sin of divination, Defiance, like the iniquity of teraphim. Because you rejected Hashem‘s command, He has rejected you as king.”

כג  כִּי חַטַּאת־קֶסֶם מֶרִי וְאָוֶן וּתְרָפִים הַפְצַר יַעַן מָאַסְתָּ אֶת־דְּבַר יְהֹוָה וַיִּמְאָסְךָ מִמֶּלֶךְ׃

24  Shaul said to Shmuel, “I did wrong to transgress Hashem‘s command and your instructions; but I was afraid of the troops and I yielded to them.

כד  וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל־שְׁמוּאֵל חָטָאתִי כִּי־עָבַרְתִּי אֶת־פִּי־יְהֹוָה וְאֶת־דְּבָרֶיךָ כִּי יָרֵאתִי אֶת־הָעָם וָאֶשְׁמַע בְּקוֹלָם׃

25  Please, forgive my offense and come back with me, and I will bow low to Hashem.”

כה  וְעַתָּה שָׂא נָא אֶת־חַטָּאתִי וְשׁוּב עִמִּי וְאֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַיהֹוָה׃

26  But Shmuel said to Shaul, “I will not go back with you; for you have rejected Hashem‘s command, and Hashem has rejected you as king over Yisrael.”

כו  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־שָׁאוּל לֹא אָשׁוּב עִמָּךְ כִּי מָאַסְתָּה אֶת־דְּבַר יְהֹוָה וַיִּמְאָסְךָ יְהֹוָה מִהְיוֹת מֶלֶךְ עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

27  As Shmuel turned to leave, Shaul seized the corner of his robe, and it tore.

כז  וַיִּסֹּב שְׁמוּאֵל לָלֶכֶת וַיַּחֲזֵק בִּכְנַף־מְעִילוֹ וַיִּקָּרַע׃

28  And Shmuel said to him, “Hashem has this day torn the kingship over Yisrael away from you and has given it to another who is worthier than you.

va-YO-mer ay-LAV sh’-mu-EL ka-RA a-do-NAI et mam-l’-KHUT yis-ra-AYL may-a-LE-kha ha-YOM un-ta-NAH l’-ray-a-KHA ha-TOV mi-ME-ka

כח  וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו שְׁמוּאֵל קָרַע יְהֹוָה אֶת־מַמְלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעָלֶיךָ הַיּוֹם וּנְתָנָהּ לְרֵעֲךָ הַטּוֹב מִמֶּךָּ׃

29  Moreover, the Glory of Yisrael does not deceive or change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind.”

v’-GAM NAY-tzakh yis-ra-AYL LO y’-sha-KAYR v’-LO y’-na-KHAYM KEE LO a-DAM hu l’-hi-na-KHAYM

כט  וְגַם נֵצַח יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יְשַׁקֵּר וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם כִּי לֹא אָדָם הוּא לְהִנָּחֵם׃

 I Samuel 15:29 The Glory of Yisrael does not deceive

When World War I broke out in 1914, many young Zionists perceived the crisis as an opportunity through which the political landscape of Palestine could be transformed to advance the dream of Jewish self-determination in their homeland. Sarah Aaronsohn, one of the first generation of native-born Zionists, was born in 1890 in Zichron Yaakov. With Aaronsohn at the helm, a young group of idealists formed a clandestine organization they called “NILI,” which was a Hebrew acronym based on the phrase in this verse verse, Netzach Yisrael Lo Yishaker (נצח ישראל לא ישקר), ‘The Glory of Israel does not deceive.’ NILI conducted espionage against the Ottoman authorities on behalf of the Allies. They hoped that with their assistance, the British would come to power and reward the Jews with an independent state in Palestine. In 1917, however, the Turks discovered Sarah Aaronsohn’s espionage and arrested her. Despite interrogations and torture, she refused to disclose any information about NILI’s efforts, taking her own life instead.  She sacrificed her life for the millenia-old dream to promote the independence of the Jewish people. Sarah Aaronsohn is remembered to this day as a national hero of Israel.Comment

30  But [Shaul] pleaded, “I did wrong. Please, honor me in the presence of the elders of my people and in the presence of Yisrael, and come back with me until I have bowed low to Hashem your God.”

ל  וַיֹּאמֶר חָטָאתִי עַתָּה כַּבְּדֵנִי נָא נֶגֶד זִקְנֵי־עַמִּי וְנֶגֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשׁוּב עִמִּי וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֵיתִי לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃

31  So Shmuel followed Shaul back, and Shaul bowed low to Hashem.

לא  וַיָּשָׁב שְׁמוּאֵל אַחֲרֵי שָׁאוּל וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ שָׁאוּל לַיהֹוָה׃

32  Shmuel said, “Bring forward to me King Agag of Amalek.” Agag approached him with faltering steps; and Agag said, “Ah, bitter death is at hand!”

לב  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל הַגִּישׁוּ אֵלַי אֶת־אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ עֲמָלֵק וַיֵּלֶךְ אֵלָיו אֲגַג מַעֲדַנֹּת וַיֹּאמֶר אֲגָג אָכֵן סָר מַר־הַמָּוֶת׃

33  Shmuel said: “As your sword has bereaved women, So shall your mother be bereaved among women.” And Shmuel cut Agag down before Hashem at Gilgal.

לג  וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר שִׁכְּלָה נָשִׁים חַרְבֶּךָ כֵּן־תִּשְׁכַּל מִנָּשִׁים אִמֶּךָ וַיְשַׁסֵּף שְׁמוּאֵל אֶת־אֲגָג לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה בַּגִּלְגָּל׃

34  Shmuel then departed for Rama, and Shaul went up to his home at Giva of Shaul.

לד  וַיֵּלֶךְ שְׁמוּאֵל הָרָמָתָה וְשָׁאוּל עָלָה אֶל־בֵּיתוֹ גִּבְעַת שָׁאוּל׃

35  Shmuel never saw Shaul again to the day of his death. But Shmuel grieved over Shaul, because Hashem regretted that He had made Shaul king over Yisrael.

לה  וְלֹא־יָסַף שְׁמוּאֵל לִרְאוֹת אֶת־שָׁאוּל עַד־יוֹם מוֹתוֹ כִּי־הִתְאַבֵּל שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל־שָׁאוּל וַיהֹוָה נִחָם כִּי־הִמְלִיךְ אֶת־שָׁאוּל עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

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I Samuel 14
I Samuel 16

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I Samuel 15

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