1 Samuel 15:7 (KJV)

7 And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword.

(Emphasis added)

It would seem Saul did not kill all the Amalekites since later they attacked Israel & took their women, sons & daughters captive

1 Samuel 30:1-2 (KJV)

1 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; 2 And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way

Did Saul here think he had utterly destroyed the Amalekites or he deliberately lied to Samuel?

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    Could you provide the text where you believe Saul is actually telling Samuel that he really did kill them all? It doesn't seem that you are showing that Saul actually made this claim. So, the question of whether or not he "lied" might not be valid, unless this is shown. Commented Jul 12, 2017 at 0:20

2 Answers 2


Dr. Berel Lerner has provided an answer to this question here.

In short, the KJV translation of 1 Samuel 15:7 is inaccurate. The Hebrew reads:

וַיִּתְפֹּ֛שׂ אֶת־אֲגַ֥ג מֶֽלֶךְ־עֲמָלֵ֖ק חָ֑י וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעָ֖ם הֶחֱרִ֥ים לְפִי־חָֽרֶב׃

The key word is הָעָ֖ם, which is usually translated as "the nation" or "the people." However, the term can also refer to military troops as it is used just a couple of verses earlier in 1 Samuel 15:4:

וַיְשַׁמַּ֤ע שָׁאוּל֙ אֶת־הָעָ֔ם וַֽיִּפְקְדֵם֙ בַּטְּלָאִ֔ים מָאתַ֥יִם אֶ֖לֶף רַגְלִ֑י וַעֲשֶׂ֥רֶת אֲלָפִ֖ים אֶת־אִ֥ישׁ יְהוּדָֽה׃

Saul mustered the troops and enrolled them at Telaim: 200,000 men on foot, and 10,000 men of Judah.

Dr. Lerner's solution is simple. The word הָעָ֖ם in 1 Samuel 15:7 has the same meaning as in 1 Samuel 15:4 (and 15:20). It means "troops." Saul only destroyed the Amalekite army (with Agag the only exception). Saul spared non-fighters, such as women and children. Those children grew up a few years later and fought with King David, Saul's son-in-law.

As an aside, the sparing of the Amalekite women also explains Samuel's statement that Agag's mother would grieve his death (1 Samuel 15:32). Agag's mother, being a non-combatant, survived the slaughter to mourn the killing of her ruthless son.


AMALEK appears in the books of Judges and Samuel few times as part of NOMADS that were scattered in the desert of NEGEV EDOM and Sinai. AGAG was the only Amalekite king that was ever mentioned in scripture. Saul did not lie to Samuel because he did not utterly combated all the many scattered tribes of Amalek but only a part of it that was parched between Havila and Shur . This area was known as the land where Ismael lived. Therefore it seems that that Saul fought the part of Amalek that mingled with the Ismaelites and he did not reach all the desert area where other tribes of Amalek lived.

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