Samuel justifies his rule, but passes on the mantle of leadership to Saul. Samuel speaks to Israel’s history of apostasy and deliverance, and implies it has a lesson for the future. God sends thunder and rain, as a sign that the Israelites were wicked to ask for a king. Israel anxiously repents. Samuel exhorts the people to walk right with the Lord.
Saul’s son, Jonathan, attacks a Philistine garrison. Saul waits for Samuel at Gilgal for seven days, but he does not come, so Saul performs the burnt offering himself. Samuel upbraids Saul, and says his kingdom shall not continue. The Philistines are technologically superior – there is no blacksmith in Israel, so only the royal family have swords and spears.
Jonathan carries out a secret raid, killing twenty men. A battle ensues, which Israel wins. Saul places his men under an oath not to eat until he has taken vengeance on his enemies. Jonathan, who has not heard anbout the oath, eats some honey in a forest, and is refreshed by it. The soldiers are so hungry that they kill livestock and eat the blood, so Saul sets up a stone altar so the animals can be slaughtered properly. Inquires of the Lord if he may pursue the Philistines by night, but receives no answer. Saul attributes this to a sin committed by an unknown person, and makes inquiry by lot; he finds that Jonathan had tasted the honey, and must therefore be put to death. The people interpose, and rescue Jonathan. Saul’s family and many wars are listed.
Via Samuel, God tells Saul utterly to destroy the Amalekites, in revenge for their attack on the Israelites in the wilderness. The Kenites, who have showed kindness to the Israelites in the past, are warned to flee. King Agag is taken, and spared, along with his sheep. God regrets that he made Saul king. Samuel upbraids Saul, telling him God has rejected him as king. As Samuel turns, Saul seizes his robe and tears it – Samuel responds by saying that the kingdom of Israel has likewise been torn from Saul’s hand. Samuel hacks king Agag to pieces at Gilgal. Samuel and Saul go to Ramah and Gibeah respectively – they are now estranged from each other.
God sends Samuel to Jesse, with a new king in mind. Samuel senses that God, who judged not by appearance, has not elected Jesse’s eldest seven sons. Only the youngest son, David, is missing – he is tending the sheep. Samuel sends for him, sees him, and anoints him. The spirit of the Lord departs from Saul, and a distressing spirit comes over him. David is chosen as a harpist to cheer Saul up. He becomes a favourite of Saul’s.