1 Samuel 15:26
(26) I will not return with thee.--Samuel too clearly sees what are the true springs of Saul's repentance, and refuses at first. It was only, as C. a Lapide forcibly urges, a fear on the part of the king, of losing the kingdom and of incurring public disgrace. The prophet for reply again repeats the terrible Divine sentence of rejection.

Verses 26, 27, 28. - At first the prophet refuses the king's request. Saul had dishonoured God, and, therefore, had no claim to public homage from God's minister. He turns, therefore, to go away, and Saul in his eagerness seizes hold of Samuel's mantle. The A.V. is very careless about the exact rendering of words of this description, and seems guided in its choice of terms simply by the ear. Now the mantle, addereth, though used of the Shinar shawl stolen by Achan (Joshua 7:21, 24), was the distinctive dress of the prophets, but naturally was never worn by Samuel himself. Special dresses come into use only gradually, and Elijah is the first person described as being thus clad. Long before his time the schools of the prophets had grown into a national institution, and a loose wrapper of coarse cloth made of camel's hair, fastened round the body at the waist by a leathern girdle, had become the usual prophetic dress, and continued so to be until the arrival of Israel's last prophet, John the Baptist (Matthew 3:4). The garment here spoken of is the meil, on which see 1 Samuel 2:19, where it was shown to be the ordinary dress of people of various classes in easy circumstances. Now the meil was not a loosely flowing garment, but fitted rather closely to the body, and, therefore, the tearing of it implies a considerable amount of violence on Saul's part. Skirt, moreover, gives a wrong idea. What Saul took hold of was the hem, the outer border of the garment, probably at Samuel's neck or shoulder, as he turned to go away. He seized him, as we should say, by the collar, and endeavoured by main force to retain him, and in the struggle the hem rent. And Samuel, using it as an omen, said, Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou. Neighbour is used in Hebrew in a very indefinite manner, and here means generally "some one, whoever it may be," but one who will discharge the duties of thy office better than thou hast done (comp. Luke 10:36).

15:24-31 There were several signs of hypocrisy in Saul's repentance. 1. He besought Samuel only, and seemed most anxious to stand right in his opinion, and to gain his favour. 2. He excuses his fault, even when confessing it; that is never the way of a true penitent. 3. All his care was to save his credit, and preserve his interest in the people. Men are fickle and alter their minds, feeble and cannot effect their purposes; something happens they could not foresee, by which their measures are broken; but with God it is not so. The Strength of Israel will not lie.And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee,.... Not being satisfied with his repentance and confession, he still extenuating his sin, and laying the blame of it on the people. This he said by way of resentment, and as expressing his indignation at him, though he afterwards did return with him on a change of his mind; which a good man may be allowed to make, without any imputation of falsehood or a lie unto him:

for thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee from being king over Israel; which is repeated from 1 Samuel 15:23 for the confirmation of it, and to let Saul know that his pretended confession and repentance had made no alteration in the decree and sentence of God respecting the kingdom.

1 Samuel 15:25
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