From Eternity Past


Chapter 61—Saul Rejected as King

This chapter is based on 1 Samuel 15.

Saul's errors were not yet irretrievable. The Lord would grant him another opportunity to learn the lesson of unquestioning faith in His word and obedience to His commands. EP 455.1

When reproved by the prophet at Gilgal, Saul felt he had been treated unjustly and offered excuses for his error. Samuel loved Saul as his own son, while Saul resented Samuel's rebuke and thenceforth avoided him so far as possible. EP 455.2

But the Lord sent His servant with another message to Saul: “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” The Lord through Moses had pronounced sentence upon the Amalekites. The history of their cruelty toward Israel had been recorded with the command, “Thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it.” Deuteronomy 25:19. EP 455.3

For four hundred years execution of this sentence had been deferred; but the Amalekites had not turned from their sins. Now the time had come for the sentence, so long delayed, to be executed. EP 455.4

To our merciful God the act of punishment is a strange act. “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” The Lord is “merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, ... forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.” Yet He will “by no means clear the guilty.” Ezekiel 33:11; Exodus 34:6, 7. While He does not delight in vengeance, He will execute judgment upon the transgressors of His law. He is forced to do this to preserve the inhabitants of the earth from utter depravity and ruin. In order to save some, He must cut off those who have become hardened in sin. EP 455.5

But while inflicting judgment, God remembered mercy. The Amalekites were to be destroyed, but the Kenites, who dwelt among them, were spared. This people, though not wholly free from idolatry, were worshipers of God and friendly to Israel. EP 456.1