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1 Samuel 15:23 meaning...

This verse is part of the narrative where Samuel confronts Saul, the first king of Israel, for disobedience to God's command. The verse contains a powerful message about the nature of rebellion, stubbornness, and the consequences of rejecting God's word. 

  • The verse begins with a striking comparison:

Rebellion is as the Sin of Witchcraft: This simile equates rebellion against God's commands with the sin of witchcraft. It draws a parallel between disobedience and engaging in occult practices. The gravity of this comparison emphasizes the severity of rebellion in the eyes of God.

Spiritual Connotation: By likening rebellion to witchcraft, the verse underscores the spiritual significance of disobedience. It implies that rebellion involves a rejection of God's authority and aligns with practices that oppose His will.

  • The verse continues by extending the comparison:

Stubbornness is as Idolatry and Teraphim: The parallel drawn between stubbornness and idolatry links the refusal to submit to God's will with the worship of false gods. Teraphim were household idols associated with divination and false practices.

Idolatry as a Form of Stubbornness: The comparison suggests that stubbornness, particularly in the context of refusing to obey God, is akin to idolatry. It highlights the self-will and disobedience that characterize both forms of sin.

  • Consequences of Rejecting Yahweh's Word

The concluding part of the verse outlines the consequences of Saul's actions:

Rejection from Being King: Saul's disobedience, his rebellion, and stubbornness result in God rejecting him from being king. The divine consequences underscore the principle that God expects obedience and loyalty from those appointed to leadership.

Connection to Yahweh's Word: The rejection is explicitly tied to Saul's rejection of Yahweh's word. It emphasizes the importance of heeding God's commands and aligning one's actions with His revealed will.

Relevance for Believers Today

While the historical context of 1 Samuel 15:23 is specific to Saul's disobedience, the principles conveyed in the verse hold relevance for believers today:

Warning Against Rebellion: The verse serves as a warning against rebellion and disobedience in the lives of believers. It encourages an attitude of submission to God's will and a rejection of any form of rebellion.

Stubbornness and Idolatry: The parallel between stubbornness and idolatry challenges believers to examine areas of their lives where they might be resistant to God's guidance. Stubbornness can manifest as an idol that competes with God's rightful place in one's heart.


Proverbs 28:9: "He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination." This verse reinforces the idea that disobedience to God's law has spiritual consequences.

Colossians 3:5: "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." This New Testament passage associates covetousness with idolatry, aligning with the theme in 1 Samuel 15:23.

Conclusion: 1 Samuel 15:23 delivers a profound message about the nature of rebellion, stubbornness, and the consequences of rejecting God's word. It highlights the spiritual implications of disobedience and underscores the importance of humility, submission, and obedience in the lives of believers.

As individuals reflect on this verse, it prompts a consideration of their own attitudes towards God's commands, encouraging a commitment to align with His will and reject any form of rebellion or stubbornness.

1 Samuel 15:23. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as idolatry and teraphim. Because you have rejected Yahweh’s word, he has also rejected you from being king.


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