1 Samuel 15:22

Hebrew Bible

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.

Proverbs 15:8

Hebrew Bible

6 In the house of the righteous is abundant wealth, but the income of the wicked will be ruined. 7 The lips of the wise spread knowledge, but not so the heart of fools. 8 The Lord abhors the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. 9 The Lord abhors the way of the wicked, but he will love those who pursue righteousness. 10 Severe discipline is for the one who abandons the way; the one who hates reproof will die.

 Notes and References

"... It has further been suggested that the prophetic 'No!' to sacrifices that can be heard in some passages does not mean 'no' in an absolute sense. In Biblical Hebrew, and in other Semitic languages, negations can be used to express comparison or prioritization. This is referred to as either 'relative' or 'dialectic' negation. Thus, according to some scholars, the prophets were really saying something like 'not sacrifices (in the first place), but rather ...' implying that ethics, obedience or faith is more desirable than cultic observance. This is, I suggest, an excellent interpretation of Hosea 6:6, but such a reading seems less adequate in other cases (e.g. Amos 5 :2124; Isaiah 1:10-17; Jeremiah 6:20; also compare 1 Samuel 15:22) ... The idea that the 'classical' prophets regarded ethics as more important than cultic worship is a central tenet in another theory, as well. According to several exegetes, the prophetic critique of sacrifice was informed by ideas that were current within the sapiential tradition. These scholars suggest that the prophets did not reject the sacrifices per se, but those who were offering them, because of their allegedly unethical behavior. Rather than being pioneers for a new, radical attitude towards the sacrificial cult, the prophets iterated (and rephrased) well-known wisdom teachings. In both extra-biblical and biblical wisdom texts (e.g. Proverbs 15:8; 21 :27) it is asserted that the sacrifice presented by a wicked person is brought in vain, since it will not be accepted by his/her god ..."

Eidevall, Göran, and Tryggve N. D. Mettinger Sacrificial Rhetoric in the Prophetic Literature of the Hebrew Bible (pp. 17-18) Edwin Mellen Press, 2012

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