During Samuel's lifetime, Israel made the transition from being a diverse group of tribes governed by judges to becoming a single nation governed by kings. When the Israelites cried for a king, the Lord told Samuel to anoint Saul as Israel's first king.
Elder Ted E. Brewerton of the First Quorum of the Seventy based his April 1981 general conference address on the topic of obedience. "May I give an example of one great man, chosen of God, who showed some disobedience and lost everything of importance: King Saul."The Lord gave Saul a particular assignment: Destroy the people of Amalek! `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.' (1 Sam. 15:3.) It was a mighty army that Saul took to destroy the Amalekites' 210,000 men.
" `But Saul and the people spared KingT Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them.' (1 Sam. 15:9.)
"Saul failed," said Elder Brewerton. "Angered by this disobedience, the Lord sent Samuel again to upbraid the king."
When questioned by Samuel, Saul rationalized. Samuel replied, "Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice. . . . " (1 Sam. 15:22.)
Articles on this page may be used in conjunction with the Gospel Doctrine course of study.
Information compiled by Gerry Avant and Kellene Ricks.
Sources: Old Testament student manual, April 1981 and April 1982 general conference reports.