In 1 Sam 15.1-9 God gives a very clear order through Samuel (the spiritual leader) to Saul (the political leader) to destroy (Hebrew “cherem”) the Amalekites, but Saul did not do it. The Hebrew word used means to utterly and completely destroy the Amalekites. That means every man, woman, child, infant, ox, sheep, camel and donkey (v 3). However, he spared King Agag and the best of the animals. This was because Amalek would lay in ambush to kill any Israelite as they made their way from Egypt to the promised land (Exo 17.14-16; Deut 25.19), especially the weak, sick, tired and stragglers. Josephus says he was spared because he was tall and handsome, and he kept him alive like a trophy. This similar to Absalom in 1 Sam 13-18. But Saul not only left Agag alive, but he left other Amalekites alive because David had to deal with them in 1 Sam 27.8, 30.1 and 2 Sam 8.12. This will play a role many years later because Haman was a descendant of Agag and he will try to exterminate the Jews (Esther 3.1-8).
1 Sam 15.10-19 tells us that Samuel went out to reprove Saul, and Saul was quite happy with himself, and even set up a monument for himself (v 12). But Samuel knew what happened because he could hear the bleating of the sheep and knew and Saul had disobeyed a clear word from the Lord. As a result, he was now going to be rejected as king. Saul was more concerned for his own honor than for the honor of the Lord. This story alludes to Adam, the first king of the Kingdom of God, and he was rejected for disobeying the Lord. Samuel told Saul that he was humble at first and made king. The Lord had sent him to destroy the Amalekites until they were exterminated. This tells us several things. Spiritually, “Amalek” will try to attack us and our weaknesses so we must take steps to exterminate the Amalekites in our lives with no mercy (1 John 3.8).
Israel is authorized to exterminate the Amalekites who are sinners and are under judgment. Execution is not arbitrary killing or murder. Killing is the lawful taking of a life, but murder is unlawful. God judged man in Eden and in Noah’s world. Israel was now ordered to do this to ensure the survival of the people and the messianic line. It was also to prevent Satan’s attempt to destroy God’s people Israel. Saul was told to do this, but he disobeyed the voice of God and did evil. Saul gives several excuses for his behavior. He blames the people for his disobedience like Adam blamed Chava. He also said he spared the animals so that they could be sacrificed to the Lord. However, Samuel said “to obey is better than sacrifice (korbanot).” If man obeyed God, there would be need for korbanot, and if Saul obeyed God there would be no animals to sacrifice. Samuel said that rebellion against God is as the sin of witchcraft. Divination was forbidden by the Torah just like any other sin. He then tells Saul that God has rejected him from being king. Now Saul would continue as king but his posterity would never rule.
1 Sam 15.24-31 tells us that Samuel did not buy Saul’s confession. Saul never feared the people (v 24), he did what he wanted to do. As Samuel turned away, Saul seized the “edge” of his robe and tore it. The word “edge” is the Hebrew word “kanaf” or “corners” and that is where the tzitzit (fringes) hung. The tzitzit were for the wearer to remember the Torah (Num 15.37-41). Samuel said, “The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and he has given it to your neighbor, who is better than you.” We will see later that David did this to Saul in 1 Sam 24.1-5 to show that just as the tzitzit symbolize authority, that authority was being taken away from Saul by God.
We see the tzitzit in the ministry of Yeshua in Mark 5.25-43 and Mark 6.56. So, let’s look at this. In Mark 5.21-34, Yeshua is on his way to heal the daughter of Jairus (“enlightened”) who was a synagogue official. On his way to his daughter, a woman touched his garments expecting to be healed, based on Mal 4.2, and she was healed. She had suffered with an affliction for twelve years. She touched the tzitzit that hung on the corners of his garment.
In Mark 5.35-43 Yeshua moves on to heal the daughter of Jairus, who was twelve years old. It is significant that the woman suffered her affliction for twelve years and the daughter was twelve years old. As he is going to the house of Jairus, he is told that the girl had died. When Yeshua got to the house he put out all the people, exept that parents of the girl and his talmidim. He took the child by the hand and said, “Talitha cumi” which means, “Little girl in the talit (where the tzitzit were) arise.” It is translated in English as, “Little girl, I say to you arise” but that is not what it means. If Yeshua wanted to say that, he would have said, “Yaldah cumi” if the girl was twelve. If she was 13.17 he would have said, “Almah cumi.” If she was 18 or older he would have said, “Betulah cumi.” But notice the word “talitha” there. You can see the word “talit” in what he said, with a feminine ending. That is where the tzitzit were, on the corners of his talit.
People knew the prophecy of Mal 4.2 where it says, “But for you who fear my name the sun of righteousness (Messiah) will rise with healing in his wings” and “wings” is the Hebrew “kanaf” meaning “corners” where the tzitzit hung (Num 15.38). The same talit that healed the woman with the affliction was wrapped around the little girl. Why? The tzitzit symbolize the Word of God and it is greater than any defilement, even death itself.
Mark 6.56 says, “Whenever he (Yeshua) entered villages, or cities, or countryside, they were laying the sick in the marketplaces, and entreating him that they might just touch the fringe (tzitzit) of his cloak; and as many as touched it were healed.” So, as we can see, the tzitzit are very symbolic and that is why Samuel and David and did what they did. Samuel went back with Saul in front of the people so that he would not be despised in the eyes of the people. Samuel had to finish Saul’s work in 1 Sam 15.32-35 and killed Agag.
Samuel did not see Saul again until the day of his death, or in other words, visit him like before. Samuel liked Saul it seems and he grieved over him. The Lord “regretted” that he made Saul king, and this means that he regretted the choices Saul made and what they came to (v 11) and this was for Saul’s sake. God knew what was going to happen and all of this was part of his plan. He is explaining himself to us in human terms so that we can have “binah” or understanding. God knew the destiny of Saul, and he knows our destiny. As we have said before, Saul will be a picture of several things. He is a picture of the first Adam who sinned and lost his kingship over the Kingdom of God, and he is also a picture of the False Messiah who will be replaced by Yeshua, a descendant of David.
We will pick up here in Part 12.