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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Shmuel I - I Samuel - Chapter 15

Shmuel I - I Samuel - Chapter 15

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 15

1. And Samuel said to Saul, "The Lord sent me to anoint you to be king over His people, over Israel; and now hearken to the voice of the words of the Lord.   א. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל שָׁאוּל אֹתִי שָׁלַח יְהֹוָה לִמְשָׁחֲךָ לְמֶלֶךְ עַל עַמּוֹ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַתָּה שְׁמַע לְקוֹל דִּבְרֵי יְהֹוָה:
and now, hearken to the voice of the words of the Lord: Once you acted foolishly. Now, take heed.  
2. So said the Lord of Hosts, 'I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid (wait) for him on the way, when he came up out of Egypt.   ב. כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת פָּקַדְתִּי אֵת אֲשֶׁר עָשָֹה עֲמָלֵק לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר שָֹם לוֹ בַּדֶּרֶךְ בַּעֲלֹתוֹ מִמִּצְרָיִם:
3. Now, go, and you shall smite Amalek, and you shall utterly destroy all that is his, and you shall not have pity on him: and you shall slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.' "   ג. עַתָּה לֵךְ וְהִכִּיתָה אֶת עֲמָלֵק וְהַחֲרַמְתֶּם אֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ וְלֹא תַחְמֹל עָלָיו וְהֵמַתָּה מֵאִישׁ עַד אִשָּׁה מֵעֹלֵל וְעַד יוֹנֵק מִשּׁוֹר וְעַד שֶֹה מִגָּמָל וְעַד חֲמוֹר:
ox and sheep: for they were sorcerers, and they would change themselves to resemble animals.  
4. And Saul called the people together, and he counted them in Telaim, two hundred thousand footmen, and ten thousand, the men of Judah.   ד. וַיְשַׁמַּע שָׁאוּל אֶת הָעָם וַיִּפְקְדֵם בַּטְּלָאִים מָאתַיִם אֶלֶף רַגְלִי וַעֲשֶֹרֶת אֲלָפִים אֶת אִישׁ יְהוּדָה:
And Saul called… together: An expression of announcing, as though it would say, שאול ויזעק.  
and he counted them in Telaim: (According to ‘peshat,’ this is the name of a place, as in Jos. 15:24. Our Rabbis, however, take it as a common noun, meaning ‘with lambs,’ explaining thus:) He told everyone to take a lamb from the King’s flocks, since it is forbidden to count Jews, for it is stated concerning them: “which will not be counted for multitude” (Gen. 32:12).  
5. And Saul came as far as the city of Amalek, and he fought in the valley.   ה. וַיָּבֹא שָׁאוּל עַד עִיר עֲמָלֵק וַיָּרֶב בַּנָּחַל:
and he fought in the valley: (וירב) and he fought in the valley (from ריב, a quarrel). Our Rabbis said: Concerning the valley, he argued and concluded, thus: if for the sake of one soul, the Torah said, “decapitate a calf in the valley” (Deut. 21), how much more for the sake of all these souls. If man has sinned, what have the animals sinned?  
6. And Saul said to the Kenite, "Turn away and go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them, and you did kindness with all the children of Israel, when they went up out of Egypt." And the Kenites turned away from amidst Amalek.   ו. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל הַקֵּינִי לְכוּ סֻּרוּ רְדוּ מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵקִי פֶּן אֹסִפְךָ עִמּוֹ וְאַתָּה עָשִֹיתָה חֶסֶד עִם כָּל בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּעֲלוֹתָם מִמִּצְרָיִם וַיָּסַר קֵינִי מִתּוֹךְ עֲמָלֵק:
to the Kenites: the descendants of Jethro, who were residing in the wilderness of Judea, in the south of Arad, who went to Jabez to learn Torah, Arad being Amalek. The Canaanite king of Arad was Amalek, for it is stated: “the dweller of the South” (Num. 21:1), and “Amalek dwells in the Southland” (ibid. 12:29).  
with all the children of Israel: for Moses, Aaron, and all the elders of Israel partook of his (Jethro’s) repast (Ex. 18:12). (The Scripture, therefore) considers it as though he had done kindness with all the children of Israel.  
7. And Saul smote Amalek, from Havilah until you come to Shur, which is in front of Egypt.   ז. וַיַּךְ שָׁאוּל אֶת עֲמָלֵק מֵחֲוִילָה בּוֹאֲךָ שׁוּר אֲשֶׁר עַל פְּנֵי מִצְרָיִם:
8. And he seized Agag, the king of Amalek, alive; and he completely destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.   ח. וַיִּתְפֹּשׂ אֶת אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ עֲמָלֵק חָי וְאֶת כָּל הָעָם הֶחֱרִים לְפִי חָרֶב:
9. And Saul and the people had pity on Agag, and on the best of the sheep and the cattle, and the fatlings, and on the fattened sheep, and on all that was good; and they did not want to destroy them; but everything which was vile and feeble, that they utterly destroyed.   ט. וַיַּחְמֹל שָׁאוּל וְהָעָם עַל אֲגָג וְעַל מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר וְהַמִּשְׁנִים וְעַל הַכָּרִים וְעַל כָּל הַטּוֹב וְלֹא אָבוּ הַחֲרִימָם וְכָל הַמְּלָאכָה נְמִבְזָה וְנָמֵס אֹתָהּ הֶחֱרִימוּ:
and the fatlings: (Heb. ‘vehamishnim.’) It has no likeness (to any other word in the Scriptures). These are the fatlings, and I say that the expression of ‘mishnim’ is like ‘kesef mishneh’ (double money Gen. 43:15) because they are doubled over with flesh and fat. Similarly, (we explain:) “And the ox which was fattened (sheni) seven years.” (Jud. 6:25).  
vile and feeble: (נמבזה) like נבזה (despised), and the ‘mem’ is superfluous.  
10. And the word of the Lord came to Samuel, saying,   י. וַיְהִי דְּבַר יְהֹוָה אֶל שְׁמוּאֵל לֵאמֹר:
11. "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me, and he has not fulfilled My words." And it distressed Samuel, and he cried out to the Lord all night.   יא. נִחַמְתִּי כִּי הִמְלַכְתִּי אֶת שָׁאוּל לְמֶלֶךְ כִּי שָׁב מֵאַחֲרַי וְאֶת דְּבָרַי לֹא הֵקִים וַיִּחַר לִשְׁמוּאֵל וַיִּזְעַק אֶל יְהֹוָה כָּל הַלָּיְלָה:
I regret: A thought has arisen in my heart concerning the kingdom of Saul, whom I have appointed king.  
12. And Samuel arose early in the morning to meet Saul; and it was told to Samuel, saying, "Saul has come to Carmel, and behold, he is setting up a place for himself, and he passed and went down to Gilgal."   יב. וַיַּשְׁכֵּם שְׁמוּאֵל לִקְרַאת שָׁאוּל בַּבֹּקֶר וַיֻּגַּד לִשְׁמוּאֵל לֵאמֹר בָּא שָׁאוּל הַכַּרְמֶלָה וְהִנֵּה מַצִּיב לוֹ יָד וַיִּסֹּב וַיַּעֲבֹר וַיֵּרֶד הַגִּלְגָּל:
he is setting up a place for himself: He is building an altar for himself. That is the altar referred to concerning Elijah, “And he repaired the altar of the Lord, which had been torn down.” Jonathan however, renders: and behold, he is setting up there a place for himself, to divide the spoils.  
13. And Samuel came to Saul, and Saul said to him, "May you be blessed of the Lord; I have fulfilled the word of the Lord."   יג. וַיָּבֹא שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל שָׁאוּל וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ שָׁאוּל בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה לַיהֹוָה הֲקִימֹתִי אֶת דְּבַר יְהֹוָה:
14. And Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears? And the lowing of the oxen which I hear?"   יד. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל וּמֶה קוֹל הַצֹּאן הַזֶּה בְּאָזְנָי וְקוֹל הַבָּקָר אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי שֹׁמֵעַ:
15. And Saul said, "They brought them from the Amalekites, for the people had pity on the best of the sheep, and the oxen, in order to sacrifice to the Lord your God: and the rest we have utterly destroyed."   טו. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל מֵעֲמָלֵקִי הֱבִיאוּם אֲשֶׁר חָמַל הָעָם עַל מֵיטַב הַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר לְמַעַן זְבֹחַ לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ וְאֶת הַיּוֹתֵר הֶחֱרַמְנוּ:
16. And Samuel said to Saul, "Desist, and I shall tell you what the Lord spoke to me last night." And he said to him, "Speak."   טז. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל שָׁאוּל הֶרֶף וְאַגִּידָה לְּךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר יְהֹוָה אֵלַי הַלָּיְלָה וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ דַּבֵּר:
Desist: Like the Targum, ‘orich,’ meaning ‘wait’.  
17. And Samuel said, "Even if you are small in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? And the Lord anointed you as king over Israel.   יז. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל הֲלוֹא אִם קָטֹן אַתָּה בְּעֵינֶיךָ רֹאשׁ שִׁבְטֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָתָּה וַיִּמְשָׁחֲךָ יְהֹוָה לְמֶלֶךְ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
are you not the head of the tribes of Israel: Jonathan renders: The tribe of Benjamin crossed the Reed Sea at the head of the people, as it is said: “Benjamin, the youngest, rules over them” (Ps. 68: 28).  
18. And the Lord sent you on a mission, and said, 'Go, and you shall utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and you shall wage war against them until they destroy them.'   יח. וַיִּשְׁלָחֲךָ יְהֹוָה בְּדָרֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר לֵךְ וְהַחֲרַמְתָּה אֶת הַחַטָּאִים אֶת עֲמָלֵק וְנִלְחַמְתָּ בוֹ עַד כַּלּוֹתָם אֹתָם:
until they destroy them: The people who are with you will destroy them.  
19. Now, why did you not hearken to the voice of the Lord, but you flew upon the spoil, and you did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord?"   יט. וְלָמָּה לֹא שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה וַתַּעַט אֶל הַשָּׁלָל וַתַּעַשׂ הָרַע בְּעֵינֵי יְהֹוָה:
but you flew: (ותעט,) like ותעף (and you flew), an expression relating to עיט, bird of prey (Gen. 15:11).  
20. And Saul said to Samuel, "Yes, I did hearken to the voice of the Lord. I did go on the mission on which the Lord sent me, and I brought Agag, the king of Amalek alive, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.   כ. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל שְׁמוּאֵל אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתִּי בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה וָאֵלֵךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר שְׁלָחַנִי יְהֹוָה וָאָבִיא אֶת אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ עֲמָלֵק וְאֶת עֲמָלֵק הֶחֱרַמְתִּי:
21. And the people took from the spoil, sheep and oxen, the best of the ban, to sacrifice to your God in Gilgal."   כא. וַיִּקַּח הָעָם מֵהַשָּׁלָל צֹאן וּבָקָר רֵאשִׁית הַחֵרֶם לִזְבֹּחַ לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בַּגִּלְגָּל:
the best of the ban: (ראשית, lit., the beginning), and similarly, “the best of your corn” (Deut. 18: 4), as it is said: “When you separate the best part of it therefrom” (Num. 18:30). Jonathan however, renders: before they banned it.  
22. And Samuel said, "Has the Lord (as much) desire in burnt offerings and peace-offerings, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than a peace-offering; to hearken (is better) than the fat of rams.   כב. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל הַחֵפֶץ לַיהֹוָה בְּעֹלוֹת וּזְבָחִים כִּשְׁמֹעַ בְּקוֹל יְהֹוָה הִנֵּה שְׁמֹעַ מִזֶּבַח טוֹב לְהַקְשִׁיב מֵחֵלֶב אֵילִים:
Behold, to obey: His command is better than a peace-offering.  
to hearken, than the fat of rams.: This refers to: Behold, to obey is better than a peace- offering, and to hearken (is better) than the fat of rams.  
23. For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Since you rejected the word of the Lord, He has rejected you from being a king."   כג. כִּי חַטַּאת קֶסֶם מֶרִי וְאָוֶן וּתְרָפִים הַפְצַר יַעַן מָאַסְתָּ אֶת דְּבַר יְהֹוָה וַיִּמְאָסְךָ מִמֶּלֶךְ:
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim: And like the penalty for idolatry and teraphim, so is the penalty for stubbornness. Jonathan renders: for, as the sin of a people who divine, so is the sin of any man who disobeys the word of the Lord; and as the sins of a nation who has strayed after idols, so is the sin of any person who adds to the words of a prophet.  
stubbornness: An expression of adding, and similarly, (Gen. 36:11) He prevailed upon him (ויפצר). He spoke many words to convince him.  
24. And Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned, for I transgressed the Lord's command, and your words, for I feared the people, and I hearkened to their voice.   כד. וַיֹּאמֶר שָׁאוּל אֶל שְׁמוּאֵל חָטָאתִי כִּי עָבַרְתִּי אֶת פִּי יְהֹוָה וְאֶת דְּבָרֶיךָ כִּי יָרֵאתִי אֶת הָעָם וָאֶשְׁמַע בְּקוֹלָם:
I feared the people: Doeg the Edomite, who was as esteemed as all of them.  
25. And now, forgive now my sin, and return with me, and I shall prostrate myself to the Lord."   כה. וְעַתָּה שָֹא נָא אֶת חַטָּאתִי וְשׁוּב עִמִּי וְאֶשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לַיהֹוָה:
26. And Samuel said to Saul, "I shall not return with you, for you have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you from being a king over Israel."   כו. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל שָׁאוּל לֹא אָשׁוּב עִמָּךְ כִּי מָאַסְתָּה אֶת דְּבַר יְהֹוָה וַיִּמְאָסְךָ יְהֹוָה מִהְיוֹת מֶלֶךְ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
27. And Samuel turned to go, and he seized the skirt of his robe, and it tore.   כז. וַיִּסֹּב שְׁמוּאֵל לָלֶכֶת וַיַּחֲזֵק בִּכְנַף מְעִילוֹ וַיִּקָּרַע:
and he seized the skirt of his robe: According to the simple interpretation, the implication is that when Samuel turned to go away from following Saul, Saul seized the skirt of Samuel’s robe, since Saul was entreating him to return until he would prostrate himself in Gilgal, where the tent of meeting had been. In Midrash Aggadah, however, Amoraim differ on this point. Some say that Saul tore Samuel’s robe, and some say that Samuel tore Saul’s robe, thereby giving over to him this sign, that whoever would sever the skirt of his robe would reign in his place. And that is what Saul said to David on the day that he severed the robe, “I know that you will reign” (infra 24:21).  
28. And Samuel said to him, "The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you, today; and has given it to your fellow who is better than you.   כח. וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו שְׁמוּאֵל קָרַע יְהֹוָה אֶת מַמְלְכוּת יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵעָלֶיךָ הַיּוֹם וּנְתָנָהּ לְרֵעֲךָ הַטּוֹב מִמֶּךָּ:
29. And also, the Strength of Israel will neither lie nor repent, for He is not a man to repent."   כט. וְגַם נֵצַח יִשְׂרָאֵל לֹא יְשַׁקֵּר וְלֹא יִנָּחֵם כִּי לֹא אָדָם הוּא לְהִנָּחֵם:
And also, the Strength of Israel will neither lie: And if you say, “I shall repent of my sin before Him, it will no longer avail to take the kingdom from the one to whom it was given, for the Holy One, Blessed be He, Who is the Strength of Israel, will not lie by not giving the good to whom He promised to give it.”  
30. And he said, "I have sinned. Now, honor me now in the presence of the elders of my people, and in the presence of Israel, and return with me, and I shall prostrate myself to the Lord your God."   ל. וַיֹּאמֶר חָטָאתִי עַתָּה כַּבְּדֵנִי נָא נֶגֶד זִקְנֵי עַמִּי וְנֶגֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשׁוּב עִמִּי וְהִשְׁתַּחֲוֵיתִי לַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ:
31. And Samuel returned after Saul, and Saul prostrated himself to the Lord.   לא. וַיָּשָׁב שְׁמוּאֵל אַחֲרֵי שָׁאוּל וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ שָׁאוּל לַיהֹוָה:
32. And Samuel said, "Bring Agag, the king of Amalek, near to me." And Agag went to him delicately. And Agag said, "Surely, the bitterness of death has turned."   לב. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל הַגִּישׁוּ אֵלַי אֶת אֲגַג מֶלֶךְ עֲמָלֵק וַיֵּלֶךְ אֵלָיו אֲגַג מַעֲדַנֹּת וַיֹּאמֶר אֲגָג אָכֵן סָר מַר הַמָּוֶת:
And Agag went to him delicately: (Heb. ‘ma’adanoth.’) Jonathan renders: delicately.  
Surely, the bitterness of death has turned.: Indeed, I know that the bitterness of death has turned toward me, and is approaching.  
33. And Samuel said, "As your sword bereaved women, so will your mother be bereaved among women." And Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord in Gilgal.   לג. וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל כַּאֲשֶׁר שִׁכְּלָה נָשִׁים חַרְבֶּךָ כֵּן תִּשְׁכַּל מִנָּשִׁים אִמֶּךָ וַיְשַׁסֵּף שְׁמוּאֵל אֶת אֲגָג לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה בַּגִּלְגָּל:
As your sword bereaved women: to render them veritable widows from their husbands, for you would cut off the membrum virile of the youths of Israel.  
And he hewed: (וישסף) He cut him into four pieces. There is no similarity to this word. The Targum renders: ‘ufashah.’ And in our Gemara (i.e., T.B., Bets. 33b) we find: He broke a branch off (‘m’fashah’), and gave us each several sticks, meaning that he split.  
34. And Samuel went to Ramah, and Saul went up to his house in Gibeah of Saul.   לד. וַיֵּלֶךְ שְׁמוּאֵל הָרָמָתָה וְשָׁאוּל עָלָה אֶל בֵּיתוֹ גִּבְעַת שָׁאוּל:
35. And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death, for Samuel mourned for Saul, and the Lord was repentant that He had made Saul reign over Israel.   לה. וְלֹא יָסַף שְׁמוּאֵל לִרְאוֹת אֶת שָׁאוּל עַד יוֹם מוֹתוֹ כִּי הִתְאַבֵּל שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל שָׁאוּל וַיהֹוָה נִחָם כִּי הִמְלִיךְ אֶת שָׁאוּל עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל:
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