1 Samuel 15:29

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And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent. (ASV)

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Pro

Contrary to the above, God lies about the effects of eating the Forbidden Fruit (Genesis 2:17).

Response to Con piece: Genesis 2:17 does not "speak of" this "spiritual death" at all. This is a later apologetic, nowhere supported by the text of Genesis, which refers only to the supposed immediately-lethal effects of the fruit. Please refer to the Genesis 2:17 article, where the context of the "toxic lie" is examined in detail (including its historical origin).

God also lies (or, at best, "deceives" or sends a "lying spirit") in 1 Kings 22:23, 2 Chronicles 18:22, Jeremiah 4:10, Jeremiah 20:7, Ezekiel 14:9 and 2 Thessalonians 2:11 --Robert Stevens 07:25, 24 Nov 2005 (CST)

Con

V29 reflects the context of the surrounding verses, and those verses provide background important to understanding v29. We read—

1 Samuel 15
24 And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned; for I have transgressed the commandment 
   of Jehovah, and thy words, because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship Jehovah.
26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee; for thou hast rejected the word
   of Jehovah, and Jehovah hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
27 And as Samuel turned about to go away, Saul laid hold upon the skirt of his robe,
   and it rent.
28 And Samuel said unto him, Jehovah hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day,
   and hath given it to a neighbor of thine, that is better than thou.
29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent; for he is not a man, that he
   should repent.

In this passage, Samuel declares to King Saul that God has torn the kingdom of Israel from him and given it to another (i.e., to David). In v29, Samuel emphasizes the finality of this decision. Samuel tells Saul [reflecting the context of v28], “…the Strength of Israel will not lie [to you about this matter] nor repent [and reverse His decision]. For He is not a man, that He should repent [of doing that which He has declared He will do to you, King Saul].” V29 reinforces v28 and is constrained by v28, so that we do not have a general statement about God.

Taking v29 out of its context, as PRO does, can make it appear that Samuel is making a broad general statement about God. After all, other verses in the Bible state that God does not lie. However, within the context of this passage, the statement by Samuel in v29 refers only to the declaration made in v28 and applies only to the declaration made in that verse. There is no expectation from the context of the passage to expect that Samuel would make a broad statement about God.

To gain the broader context sought by PRO, v29 would have to have said something like, “…the Strength of Israel is not a God who lies or repents; for he is not a man, that he should repent.” It doesn’t, so v29 should not be taken as a general statement about God’s character. It is a specific statement about the declaration that God has made in v28. This verse from Samuel has no bearing on the issue raised by PRO and does not support any argument, PRO or CON, about that issue. The most that a person can say is that this verse is consistent with the position that God does not lie.

Neutral

The passage in Genesis 2:17 speaks of death in a spiritual sense, separation from God. Shortly after their partaking of the fruit Adam and Eve are sent out of the garden. They can no longer walk with God in the garden everyday as they used to before their spiritual death.

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