Daily Tanach Tuesday: Shmuel 1 Chapter 15-Part 2: Shaul loses the monarchy

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.      Shmuel chastises Shaul and revokes his monarchy:

  • Shmuel travels to Shaul: Shmuel woke up early in the morning to go greet Shaul. Shmuel was told that Shaul had traveled to Carmel and he has established himself a place [for building an altar there[1] and distribute the spoils[2]], and he turned and crossed towards Gilgal.
  • Shaul tells Shmuel that he has destroyed Amaleik and kept animals for slaughter: Shmuel arrived to Shaul and Shaul told him “Blessed are you to G-d, I have fulfilled the word of G-d.” Shmuel said to him: What are these sounds of sheep and cattle that I am hearing? Shaul replied that they were brought from the Amaleikites, as the nation had mercy on the best of the flock and cattle in order to slaughter them as an offering to G-d, and all the rest of the animals have been destroyed.
  • Shmuel chastises Shaul: Shmuel said to Shaul that he should wait, and he will tell him that which G-d has told him the previous night, and Shaul told him to speak. Shmuel told Shaul that although he may be considered small in his eyes [and thought that he could not stop the people from taking the sheep[3]], in truth he is the leader of Israel, as G-d has anointed him king over the Jewish people. “Hashem sent you on the road and told you to destroy the sinners, Amaleik, and indeed you battled against them until they were destroyed. Now, why did you not listen to the voice of G-d, and you kept the booty and did evil in the eyes of G-d.”
  • Shaul defends his actions claiming he followed G-d: Shaul said to Shmuel: I have followed the word of G-d and have walked in the path that G-d has sent me. I have brought Agag the king of Amaleik, and Amaleik I have annihilated. The nation took the booty of flock and cattle, the choicest of the loot, in order to slaughter it to Hashem in Gilgal.
  • Shmuel’s reply: Shmuel replied to Shaul: Does G-d desire the Olos and sacrifices, or for one to listen to His voice. Listening to G-d is greater than the best sacrifice, and is better than the fat of the rams. You have done a sin similar to that of sorcery and witchcraft. You have despised the word of G-d, and He in turn has despised you of being king. [Thus, although Shaul had already lost the monarchy earlier with his sin of the sacrifices, as explained in Chapter 13, nevertheless, that was atoneable through repentance, while this sin was not. Alternatively, the punishment of that sin was that Shaul would not have his children continue his monarchy, and the punishment of this sin is that his own monarchy will not last long.[4]]
  • Shaul asks for forgiveness: Shaul then said to Shmuel: I have sinned, as I have transgressed the word of G-d, and your instructions, as I have feared the nation [i.e. Doeg Ha’adomi, who was the greatest of the nation[5]] and listened to their words. Now, please carry the burden of my sin and return with me and I will bow to G-d.
  • Shmuel denies his request: Shmuel said to Shaul: I will not return with you, as you have despised the word of G-d, and Hashem has despised you from being king over the Jewish people.
  • Shaul tears Shmuel’s cloak: Shmuel turned to leave and Shaul grabbed at his cloak and tore it. [Some say that Shaul tore the cloak of Shmuel, and others say that Shmuel tore the cloak of Shaul.[6]] Shmuel in return said to him that G-d has torn the monarchy of Israel from him today and has given it to a colleague of his, who is greater than him. The eternal G-d of Israel does not lie and does not regret, as He is not a person who can regret.
  • Shaul and Shmuel return to the nation and bow before Hashem: Shaul again said to Shmuel: I have sinned. Now, please honor me in front of the elders of the nation and the Jewish people, and return with me and I will bow to Hashem your G-d. So, Shmuel followed after Shaul and Shaul prostrated before G-d.

2.      Agag is Killed:

  • Shmuel asked for Agag, the king of Amaleik, to be brought to him. Agag went to him from his chains [with great prestige like a king[7]] and told him that indeed he is aware that the bitterness of death has arrived for him.
  • Shmuel responded to him that just as he has caused women to lose their chidlren as a result of his sword, so too his mother will lose her child. Shmuel then dismembered Agag before Hashem by Gilgal [into four parts[8]].

3.      Shmuel and Shaul part ways forever:

  • Shmuel then went to Ramasa and Shaul went to his home in Givaas Shaul.
  • Shmuel no longer saw Shaul anymore until the day of his death, being that Shmuel had mourned Shaul.
  • Hashem regretted that He had coronated Shaul as king.

[1] Rashi 15:12

[2] Metzudos Dovid 15:12; Radak ibid

[3] Radak 15:17

[4] Radak 15:28

[5] Rashi 15:24

[6] Rashi 15:27

[7] See Radak 15:32

[8] Rashi 15:33

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