1 Samuel 15:22
New International Version
But Samuel replied: "Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.

New Living Translation
But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.

English Standard Version
And Samuel said, “Has 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, and to listen than the fat of rams.

Berean Study Bible
But Samuel declared: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obedience to His voice? Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, and attentiveness is better than the fat of rams.

King James Bible
And Samuel said, 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, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

New King James Version
So Samuel said: “Has 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, And to heed than the fat of rams.

New American Standard Bible
Samuel said, “Does the LORD have as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than a sacrifice, And to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.

NASB 1995
Samuel said, "Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

NASB 1977
And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams.

Amplified Bible
Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great a delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices As in obedience to the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed [is better] than the fat of rams.

Christian Standard Bible
Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Then Samuel said: Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.

American Standard Version
And Samuel said, Hath Jehovah as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Jehovah? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And Shemueil said: “LORD JEHOVAH is not pleased with burnt offerings and with sacrifices as with him who listens to his voice. Behold, listening is better than sacrifice, and to obey than the fat of rams

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And Samuel said, Does the Lord take pleasure in whole-burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in hearing the words of the Lord? behold, obedience is better than a good sacrifice, and hearkening than the fat of rams.

Contemporary English Version
"Tell me," Samuel said. "Does the LORD really want sacrifices and offerings? No! He doesn't want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey him.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And Samuel said: Doth the Lord desire holocausts and victims, and not rather that the voice of the Lord should be obeyed? For obedience is better than sacrifices: and to hearken rather than to offer the fat of rams.

English Revised Version
And Samuel said, 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, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

Good News Translation
Samuel said, "Which does the LORD prefer: obedience or offerings and sacrifices? It is better to obey him than to sacrifice the best sheep to him.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then Samuel said, "Is the LORD as delighted with burnt offerings and sacrifices as he would be with your obedience? To follow instructions is better than to sacrifice. To obey is better than sacrificing the fat of rams.

International Standard Version
Samuel said, "Does the LORD delight as much in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the LORD? Surely, to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And Samuel said: 'Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, As in hearkening to the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to hearken than the fat of rams.

Literal Standard Version
And Samuel says, “Has YHWH had delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as [in] listening to the voice of YHWH? Behold, listening is better than sacrifice; to give attention than fat of rams;

NET Bible
Then Samuel said, "Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as he does in obedience? Certainly, obedience is better than sacrifice; paying attention is better than the fat of rams.

New Heart English Bible
Samuel said, "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Look, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

World English Bible
Samuel said, "Has Yahweh as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of Yahweh? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.

Young's Literal Translation
And Samuel saith, 'Hath Jehovah had delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices as in hearkening to the voice of Jehovah? lo, hearkening than sacrifice is better; to give attention than fat of rams;

Additional Translations ...
Context
Samuel Denounces Saul
21The troops took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of the things devoted to destruction, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” 22But Samuel declared: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obedience to His voice? Behold, obedience is better than sacrifice, and attentiveness is better than the fat of rams. 23For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance is like the wickedness of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He has rejected you as king.”…

Cross References
Matthew 12:7
If only you had known the meaning of 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.

Mark 12:33
and to love Him with all your heart and with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, which is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Hebrews 10:6
In burnt offerings and sin offerings You took no delight.

Genesis 4:4
while Abel brought the best portions of the firstborn of his flock. And the LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering,

1 Samuel 13:13
"You have acted foolishly," Samuel declared. "You have not kept the command that the LORD your God gave you; if you had, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.

Psalm 40:6
Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, but my ears You have opened. Burnt offerings and sin offerings You did not require.

Psalm 51:16
For You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Proverbs 21:3
To do righteousness and justice is more desirable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Ecclesiastes 5:1
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong.

Isaiah 1:11
"What good to Me is your multitude of sacrifices?" says the LORD. "I am full from the burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed cattle; I take no delight in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

Jeremiah 7:22
For when I brought your fathers out of the land of Egypt, I did not merely command them about burnt offerings and sacrifices,

Jeremiah 7:23
but this is what I commanded them: Obey Me, and I will be your God, and you will be My people. You must walk in all the ways I have commanded you, so that it may go well with you.

Hosea 6:6
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Micah 6:6
With what shall I come before the LORD when I bow before the God on high? Should I come to Him with burnt offerings, with year-old calves?


Treasury of Scripture

And Samuel said, Has 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, and to listen than the fat of rams.

Hath the Lord

Psalm 50:8,9
I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me…

Psalm 51:16,17
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering…

Proverbs 21:3
To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

obey

Exodus 19:5
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Ecclesiastes 5:1
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.

Jeremiah 7:23
But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.









(22) Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice.--In this answer it would seem that the Spirit of the Lord descended upon Samuel, and that he here gave utterance to one of those rapt expressions which now and again in the course of each of these Hebrew prophets' lives these famous men were commissioned by the Divine power to give out to their fellows. The words of Samuel here were reproduced, or at least referred to, by other prophets and teachers of the old dispensation; for example, see Psalm 50:8-14; Psalm 51:16-17; Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 6:20; Micah 6:6-8; Hosea 6:6. Our Lord himself, in His words recorded in Matt. ix, 13, if not actually referring to this passage, makes substantially the same declaration.

Irenaeus, Haer. 4:32 (quoted by Wordsworth), sees in this great saving of Samuel's a plain intimation that the day would come when the burnt offerings enjoined on Israel would give place to a simple worship of the heart. Wordsworth also quotes a weighty comment from St. Gregory (Moral. 35:10): "In sacrifices (per victimas) a man offers only strange flesh, whereas in obedience he offers his own will."

Verses 22, 23. - The rebuke of Samuel contains one of those pregnant sayings which mark the high moral tone of the teaching of the prophets, and soon became a fundamental principle with them. To obey is better than sacrifice is a dictum reproduced by Hosea (Hosea 6:6), the most ancient of those prophets of Israel whose lessons have been preserved in writing; it is referred to in still earlier psalms (see Psalm 50:13-14; Psalm 51:16, 17); by other prophets (Isaiah 1:11; Jeremiah 6:20; Micah 6:6, 8); and finally received our Lord's special approbation (Matthew 9:13; Matthew 12:7). It asserts in the clearest terms the superiority of moral to ritual worship, and that God can only be really served with the heart. Witchcraft is in the Hebrew divination, a sin always strongly condemned in the Old Testament. Iniquity literally means nothingness, and so is constantly used for "an idol;" and this must be its signification here, as the word coupled with it, and rendered idolatry, is really teraphim. These were the Hebrew household gods, answering to the Roman Lares, and were supposed to bring good luck. Their worship, we see from this place, was strictly forbidden. The verse, therefore, means, "For rebellion is the sin of divination (i.e. is equal to it in wickedness), and obstinacy (i.e. intractableness) is an idol and teraphim." Samuel thus accuses Saul of resistance to Jehovah's will, and of the determination at all hazards to be his own master. With this temper of mind he could be no fit representative of Jehovah, and therefore Samuel dethrones him. Henceforward he reigns only as a temporal, and no longer as the theocratic, king.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
But Samuel
שְׁמוּאֵ֗ל (šə·mū·’êl)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 8050: Samuel -- 'name of God', a prophet of Israel

declared:
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר (way·yō·mer)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person masculine singular
Strong's 559: To utter, say

“Does the LORD
לַֽיהוָה֙ (Yah·weh)
Preposition-l | Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

delight
הַחֵ֤פֶץ (ha·ḥê·p̄eṣ)
Article | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 2656: Pleasure, desire, a valuable thing, a matter

in burnt offerings
בְּעֹל֣וֹת (bə·‘ō·lō·wṯ)
Preposition-b | Noun - feminine plural
Strong's 5930: Whole burnt offering

and sacrifices
וּזְבָחִ֔ים (ū·zə·ḇā·ḥîm)
Conjunctive waw | Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 2077: A slaughter, the flesh of an animal, a sacrifice

as much as in obeying
כִּשְׁמֹ֖עַ (kiš·mō·a‘)
Preposition-k | Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's 8085: To hear intelligently

the voice
בְּק֣וֹל (bə·qō·wl)
Preposition-b | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 6963: A voice, sound

of the LORD?
יְהוָ֑ה (Yah·weh)
Noun - proper - masculine singular
Strong's 3068: LORD -- the proper name of the God of Israel

Behold,
הִנֵּ֤ה (hin·nêh)
Interjection
Strong's 2009: Lo! behold!

obedience
שְׁמֹ֙עַ֙ (šə·mō·a‘)
Verb - Qal - Infinitive construct
Strong's 8085: To hear intelligently

is better
ט֔וֹב (ṭō·wḇ)
Adjective - masculine singular
Strong's 2896: Pleasant, agreeable, good

than sacrifice,
מִזֶּ֣בַח (miz·ze·ḇaḥ)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular
Strong's 2077: A slaughter, the flesh of an animal, a sacrifice

[and] attentiveness
לְהַקְשִׁ֖יב (lə·haq·šîḇ)
Preposition-l | Verb - Hifil - Infinitive construct
Strong's 7181: To prick up the ears, hearken

is better than the fat
מֵחֵ֥לֶב (mê·ḥê·leḇ)
Preposition-m | Noun - masculine singular construct
Strong's 2459: Fat, richest, choice part

of rams.
אֵילִֽים׃ (’ê·lîm)
Noun - masculine plural
Strong's 352: Strength, strong, a chief, a ram, a pilaster, an oak, strong tree


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OT History: 1 Samuel 15:22 Samuel said Has Yahweh as great delight (1Sa iSam 1 Sam i sa)
1 Samuel 15:21
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