1 Samuel 15:9
(9) And he took Agag . . . alive.--Agag seems to have been for the sovereigns of Amalek the official title, like Pharaoh in the case of the kings of Egypt, and Abimelech among certain of the Philistine peoples. The meaning of the term Agag is unknown.

Utterly destroyed all the people.--That is to say, Ir-Amalek was sacked, and the nation generally broken up; but many, no doubt, escaped into the desert, for we hear of the people again on several occasions in this book. In 1Chronicles 4:43 their complete, and probably final, annihilation is recorded.

(9) Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen.--It would seem that Saul carried out the awful curse to the letter (with the exception that he spared the king) in the case of the human beings and the less valuable of their beasts. But covetousness seems to have suggested the preservation of the choicest cattle, and pride probably induced the Hebrew king to save Agag alive, that he might show the people his royal captive.

Verse 9. - The fatlings. So the Syriac and Chaldee render the word, but the Hebrew literally means "the second best." Kimchi and Tanchum give perhaps a preferable rendering, "the second born," such animals being considered superior to the first born, as the dams had by that time arrived at their full strength. REJECTION OF SAUL AND HIS DYNASTY (vers. 10-23).

15:1-9 The sentence of condemnation against the Amalekites had gone forth long before, Ex 17:14; De 25:19, but they had been spared till they filled up the measure of their sins. We are sure that the righteous Lord does no injustice to any. The remembering the kindness of the ancestors of the Kenites, in favour to them, at the time God was punishing the injuries done by the ancestors of the Amalekites, tended to clear the righteousness of God in this dispensation. It is dangerous to be found in the company of God's enemies, and it is our duty and interest to come out from among them, lest we share in their sins and plagues, Re 18:4. As the commandment had been express, and a test of Saul's obedience, his conduct evidently was the effect of a proud, rebellious spirit. He destroyed only the refuse, that was good for little. That which was now destroyed was sacrificed to the justice of God.And Saul and all the people spared Agag,.... Perhaps Saul made the motion to spare him, and the people agreed to it; it may be, out of respect to him as a king; or because of the comeliness of his person, the height of his stature, and the largeness of his body, as Josephus (y) notes; or to carry him in triumph in a public show, see 1 Samuel 15:12.

and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings; or "of the second sort", as in the margin, the second best; or rather which shed their two long teeth, as sheep at two years old did when reckoned at their full strength, and fittest for sacrifice (z):

and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them; as they were commanded, but kept them for their own private use and advantage, and this not only the best and fattest of the flocks and herds, but of their household goods:

but everything that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly: such of the cattle that were poor and lean, lame or blind, or had any defect in them, and household goods that were mere rubbish and lumber; such they entirely destroyed, killed the creatures, and burnt the goods; in doing which they thought they fulfilled the will of God.

(y) Ut supra, (Antiqu. l. 6. c. 7.) sect. 2.((z) Bidentes, Virgil. Aeneid. l. 6. ver. 39. Vid. Servium in ib.

1 Samuel 15:8
Top of Page
Top of Page