1 Samuel 15:17
ESV - 17 And Samuel said, "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel.
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Yes, God had rejected Saul, but I believe that He allowed him to continue to serve as king for the same reasons that David (even after he had been anointed by Samuel as Saul's replacement, and Saul had made several attempts to kill him) allowed Saul to live when he had multiple opportunities to kill him (as in 1 Samuel 24 and 1 Samuel 26) -- because Saul had still at one time been God's anointed king. This illustrates how David was a man "after God's own heart". And, as David had predicted in 1 Samuel 26:10, God's eventual means of judging Saul was through battle with the Philistines (1 Samuel 31:1-7). (This also illustrates God's mercy, since Saul was granted additional time to repent and reform, even though he did not.)
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