Samuel confronts Saul (1 Sam 15:12-15:21)

“Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul. Samuel was told. ‘Saul went to Carmel, where he set up a monument for himself. When he returned, he passed on down to Gilgal.’ When Samuel came to Saul, Saul said to him. ‘May you be blessed by Yahweh! I have carried out the command of Yahweh.’ But Samuel said. ‘What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?’ Saul said. ‘They have brought them from the Amalekites. The people spared the best of the sheep and the cattle to sacrifice to Yahweh your God. But the rest we have utterly destroyed.”

Samuel set out to tell Saul the bad news. Samuel heard that Saul had set up a monument to himself in Carmel. When Saul saw Samuel coming he said that all had been successful against the Amalekites. He simply took the best animals to offer a sacrifice to Yahweh. Everything else he had destroyed. Samuel has some colorful language in reply about the bleating of sheep and lowing of oxen in his ears. Those are some strange noises.

“Then Samuel said to Saul. ‘Stop! I will tell you what Yahweh said to me last night.’ He replied. ‘Speak.’ Samuel said. ‘Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? Yahweh anointed you king over Israel. Yahweh sent you on a mission, and said. ‘Go, utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites. Fight against them until they are consumed.’ Why then did you not obey the voice of Yahweh? Why did you swoop down on the spoil? Why did you do what was evil in the sight of Yahweh?’ Saul said to Samuel. ‘I have obeyed the voice of Yahweh. I have gone on the mission on which Yahweh sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amalek. I have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. But from the spoil the people took sheep and cattle, the best of the things devoted to destruction, to sacrifice to Yahweh your God in Gilgal.’”

Samuel said stop all this nonsense. You are the king. You had a mission to destroy all the Amalekites. You disobeyed Yahweh by not destroying them all. Saul responded that he completed the mission. He had destroyed the Amalekites. However, the people wanted the best animals in order to sacrifice them to Yahweh.