Reading the Text: Haftarah Zachor V
Transcribed and prepared by Anna Beller: “The word of God came to Shmuel saying, I regret that I made Shaul the king, he turned away from Me, he did not keep My word.”
Does it say what Shaul did?
“And Shmuel was angry, and he cried out to God the entire night. What was he crying out? For mercy for Shaul. Does God answer him?
The next verse, “and Shmuel woke up early,” to go to Shaul. Did God tell Shmuel to go and speak to Shaul? God didn’t tell him to. But Shmuel is angry and assuming he’s angry with Shaul. Even though he’s angry he’s crying out to God. He’s davening for him and by the way Shmuel is one of the most powerful prayers in the world: “Moshe ve aharon bekohanov u shmuel bekorei, shimo, korim el hashem,” Moshe and Aaron with their priest, Shmuel calls out to God and when he calls out God answers. Shmuel has an incredible power of prayer. And he’s crying out, and this is one of the 13 forms of prayer, crying from the gut, a desperate cry of God, it’s not typical. When you cry “God please help me!”
“And the word of God came to Shmuel saying I regret that I made Shaul the king, he has turned away from me, turned from following Me, and My words he did not fulfill.” Whose mistake was this? Gods! Which is a whole thing in itself, the first time He says this was when he said He regrets “making the world,” said just before the flood. We exist from Gods will. What He doesn’t want is no longer a reality. So when God says this, Shaul is no longer king.
Why is Shmuel “angry”? He’s not sad or broken? Why angry? You said to me to make Shaul to be the king, now You say You regret that You ever made him king. You regret? You didn’t know before? What was this all? Not necessarily that he’s angry with Shaul.
If God regretted he did it then what did he do it for? This is the only failure that told. I regret means that’s the things are undone. It never happens. When God says He regrets building the world, He destroyed the world.
What did it mean when they had mercy on Agag? They gave him a certain amount of freedom. That’s why the first verse says he’s captured when they say they had mercy he had the opportunity to sleep with a maid servant and the great grand child was Hamman. Which is why they call him “aggagi.”
Shaul had reason to believe God didn’t want him to kill the king, because the instructions do not include the king, it says, “kill everybody,” but may exclude the king. There’s a difference between kill Amalek and “kill Amalek’s king.”
God doesn’t say to Shmuel what Shaul did wrong. Maybe it wasn’t Agag. Maybe it’s the cattle. In fact, God never gets angry over Agag. You have to realize this isn’t a silly story; you’re discussing the inner tension of what it means to be a human being. The basic fight between good and evil. It’s inside us. It’s not just you should’ve killed the king and you didn’t, he didn’t kill the animals but kills the people. There’s something wrong there’s something raging inside Shaul. Let’s wait until he begins to speak.
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