Shaul was commanded to kill the Amaleki animals, which he did not do, and lost his kingdom as a result. (Shmuel 1 15)

But he was planning on offering them as sacrifices. What would be the end of the world if he would kill them by offering them rather than just throwing them out?

  • As I recall, they were to be killed at once and there was an isur hana'ah (forbidden to derive benefit) on the animals. Bringing them as sacrifices would have enabled them to eat the animals and would violate the specific command. Since Hashem commanded that they not be brought as sacrifices, offering them would have been an insult to Hashem. – sabbahillel Dec 19 '17 at 4:28
  • Some sacrifices are eaten at least in part. Why do you assume they didn't intent to eat them? – mevaqesh Dec 19 '17 at 4:59
  • I'm afraid this question could be answered from a peshat level, as @mevaqesh pointed out. – ezra Dec 19 '17 at 5:29
  • @mevaqesh why do you assume that they did intend to eat of the sacrifice? Perhaps they were going to offer Olahs? – Shmuel Brin Dec 19 '17 at 6:15
  • @mevaqesh, perhaps I'm misunderstanding the question? I don't see any assumption the proposed offerings would not be eaten. – msh210 Dec 19 '17 at 22:59

What would be the end of the world if he would kill them by offering them rather than just throwing them out?

He delayed though - it may possibly have been fine if they were sacrificed immediately (I have to look into this), but that is all theoretical; by the time Shmuel arrives, after Shaul considers the job done, the animals are still alive. And since he delayed this, he was going against Hashem's command.


The Gemara Avoda Zara (24b) says:

ת"ש (שמואל א טו, טו) ויאמר שאול מעמלקי הביאום אשר חמל העם על מיטב הצאן והבקר (המשנים והכרים ועל כל הצאן) למען זבוח לה' אלהיך מאי מיטב דמי מיטב

The Gemara further states: Come and hear another objection from a verse: “And Saul said: They have brought them from the Amalekites; for the people spared the best of the flock and of the herd, to sacrifice unto the Lord your God” (I Samuel 15:15). The verse states explicitly that the Israelites intended to sacrifice animals previously owned by gentiles. The Gemara explains: What is the meaning of the phrase: “The best”? This is referring to the monetary value of the best livestock. The intention was not to sacrifice the animals themselves, but to sell them and use the proceeds of the sale to purchase other animals to sacrifice as offerings.

So the Amaleiki animals were to be sold, and other animals where to be bought with the value.

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