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First Reading for the Monday of the 2nd Week in Ordinary Time

1 Samuel 15:16-23

Summary: Saul, tasked by God to annihilate the Amalekites, disobeyed by keeping spoils. Samuel rebukes him, emphasizing obedience over sacrifice. Saul's rebellion leads to his rejection as king by God.

Saul's Disobedience and Rejection

Samuel said to Saul: “Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night.”

Saul replied, “Speak!”

Samuel then said: “Though little in your own esteem, are you not leader of the tribes of Israel? The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction. Fight against them until you have exterminated them.’ Why then have you disobeyed the LORD? You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD.”

Saul answered Samuel: “I did indeed obey the LORD and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me. I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban. But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen, the best of what had been banned, to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal.”

But Samuel said: “Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obedience to the command of the LORD? Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission than the fat of rams. For a sin like divination is rebellion, and presumption is the crime of idolatry. Because you have rejected the command of the LORD, he, too, has rejected you as ruler.”

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