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.
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.
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׃
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
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
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.”
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׃
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׃
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׃
כז וַיִּסֹּב שְׁמוּאֵל לָלֶכֶת וַיַּחֲזֵק בִּכְנַף־מְעִילוֹ וַיִּקָּרַע׃
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
29 Moreover, the Glory of Yisrael does not deceive or change His mind, for He is not human that He should change His mind.”
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
ל וַיֹּאמֶר חָטָאתִי עַתָּה כַּבְּדֵנִי נָא נֶגֶד זִקְנֵי־עַמִּי וְנֶגֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשׁוּב עִמִּי וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֵיתִי לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ׃