The translation of verse one is different in many versions because the Hebrew in that text is difficult. Paul tells us in Acts 13:21, that Saul reigned for 40 years. All we know other than that is that Samuel is old enough here to have a son (Jonathan) commanding (victoriously) a battle.
This chapter illustrates Saul in verses 1-4 as once again being the military leader that the people wanted in a king. God gave them what they asked for. Now we begin to see that he is not the king they need, as he disobeys the Lord’s instructions given to him by His prophet, Samuel. That is what is unlawful about Saul’s sacrifice, and Saul demonstrates that he knows that when he starts his excuses in verse 11. But it is more than that – it is a matter of the heart. Saul is never portrayed as a Godly man; and even his offering here was not intended for the Lord – verse 12 seems very much like “rubbing a magic lamp” for his own selfish ambitions.
Samuel gives him notice in verse 14 that “the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart.” Not once do hear of any remorse (or concern for that matter) on Saul’s part.
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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