1 Samuel 15:22
20 Then Saul said to Samuel, “But I have obeyed the Lord! I went on the campaign the Lord sent me on. I brought back King Agag of the Amalekites after exterminating the Amalekites. 21 But the army took from the plunder some of the sheep and cattle—the best of what was to be slaughtered—to sacrifice to the Lord your God in Gilgal.” 22 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. 23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and presumption is like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the Lord’s orders, he has rejected you from being king.” 24 Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned, for I have disobeyed what the Lord commanded and your words as well. For I was afraid of the army, and I obeyed their voice.
4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim? What am I going to do with you, O Judah? For your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew. 5 Therefore, I will certainly cut you into pieces at the hands of the prophets; I will certainly kill you in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment, for my judgment will come forth like the light of the dawn. 6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice; I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings. 7 At Adam they broke the covenant; Oh how they were unfaithful to me! 8 Gilead is a city full of evildoers; its streets are stained with bloody footprints!
Notes and References
"... Perhaps not surprisingly, the evolution of vegetable and incense offerings, especially in the Diaspora, probably made Yahwism more acceptable to foreign populations, as the Book of Malachi implies: “For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering” (Malachi 1:11). During the Exile, then, a movement developed that strictly regulated sacrificial worship, especially the sacrifice of animals. Thus the prophet Hosea quotes YHWH, “I desire steadfast love (hesed) and not sacrifice (zabah), the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6). Such thinking could well have led to the notion that the Temple itself, while a good and holy place, was not necessary ... It is probably in the context of this relativization of sacrifice (see also 1 Samuel 15:22-23; Amos 5:22-25) Hosea 8:13 Isaiah 12; and Jeremiah 6:20, 7:1-8:3) and the emphasis on the “knowledge of God” that we should understand the birth of the synagogue ..."
Lemaire, André The Birth of Monotheism: The Rise and Disappearance of Yahwism (pp. 115-116) Biblical Archaeology Society, 2007