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1 Samuel 15:29

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The Strength of Israel will not lie - What God has purposed he will bring to pass, for he has all power in the heavens and in the earth; and he will not repent - change his purpose - concerning thee.

We may say it was some extenuation of Saul's fault that the people insisted on preserving the best of the prey; for who could resist the demands of a victorious mob? But his crime was in consenting; had he not, the crime would have been theirs alone.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The strength of Israel - A phrase which occurs only here. The word means, perpetuity, truth, glory, victory, and trust, or confidence.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.
Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 630

God's repentance is not like man's repentance. “The Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for He is not a man, that He should repent.” Man's repentance implies a change of mind. God's repentance implies a change of circumstances and relations. Man may change his relation to God by complying with the conditions upon which he may be brought into the divine favor, or he may, by his own action, place himself outside the favoring condition; but the Lord is the same “yesterday, and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. Saul's disobedience changed his relation to God; but the conditions of acceptance with God were unaltered—God's requirements were still the same, for with Him there “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17. PP 630.1

With an aching heart the prophet set forth the next morning to meet the erring king. Samuel cherished a hope that, upon reflection, Saul might become conscious of his sin, and by repentance and humiliation be again restored to the divine favor. But when the first step is taken in the path of transgression the way becomes easy. Saul, debased by his disobedience, came to meet Samuel with a lie upon his lips. He exclaimed, “Blessed be thou of the Lord: I have performed the commandment of the Lord.” PP 630.2

The sounds that fell on the prophet's ears disproved the statement of the disobedient king. To the pointed question, “What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?” Saul made answer, “They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” The people had obeyed Saul's directions; but in order to shield himself, he was willing to charge upon them the sin of his disobedience. PP 630.3

The message of Saul's rejection brought unspeakable grief to the heart of Samuel. It had to be delivered before the whole army of Israel, when they were filled with pride and triumphal rejoicing over a victory that was accredited to the valor and generalship of their king, for Saul had not associated God with the success of Israel in this conflict; but when the prophet saw the evidence of Saul's rebellion, he was stirred with indignation that he, who had been so highly favored of God, should transgress the commandment of Heaven and lead Israel into sin. Samuel was not deceived by the subterfuge of the king. With mingled grief and indignation he declared, “Stay, and I will tell thee what the Lord hath said to me this night.... When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?” He repeated the command of the Lord concerning Amalek, and demanded the reason of the king's disobedience. PP 630.4

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