Saul implores in vain for forgiveness (1 Sam 15:24-15:31)

“Saul said to Samuel. ‘I have sinned. I have transgressed the commandment of Yahweh and your words, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Now therefore, I pray, pardon my sin. Return with me, so that I may worship Yahweh.’ Samuel said to Saul. ‘I will not return with you. You have rejected the word of Yahweh. Yahweh has rejected you from being king over Israel.’ As Samuel turned to go away, Saul took hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. Samuel said to him. ‘Yahweh has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this very day. He has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you. Moreover the Glory of Israel will not recant or change his mind. He is not a man, that he should change his mind.’ Then Saul said. ‘I have sinned. Yet honor me now before the elders of my people and before Israel, and return with me, that I may worship Yahweh your God.’ So Samuel turned back after Saul. Saul worshiped Yahweh.”

Saul admitted that he was guilty. He only wanted a second chance, to be forgiven. He wanted Samuel to come with him to worship Yahweh. At first, Samuel would not go with him. However, in the end, Samuel went with Saul. In between we have this strange dialogue between Samuel and Saul. As Saul tore the hem of Samuel’s robe, Samuel told him that the kingship has been torn from him. It will be given to a neighbor who is better than him. There is no indication here about who this neighbor is. However, we will soon find out that it is David. Then Samuel said that Yahweh is not like a man and does not change his mind. However, this chapter indicates how Yahweh changed his mind about Saul. He wanted him king and now he does not want him to be king. There are numerous other occasions when Yahweh has changed his mind.

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