Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I felt compelled therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
Read Chapter 13
George Leo Haydock
Lord, by sacrifices.
Holocaust. Hebrew, "I forced myself therefore "It is asked whether Saul offered sacrifice, or caused it to be offered by the priests. The text seems to assert that he did it himself. Samuel and David did the like; and we read that Solomon ascended to the brazen altar, at Gabaon, for the same purpose, 2 Paralipomenon i. 5. If it was lawful to erect altars out of the tabernacle, notwithstanding the divine prohibition, why might not individuals also offer sacrifice on certain solemn occasions? The Hebrew kings seem to have exercised some of the sacerdotal functions, particularly before the building of the temple; for afterwards we find one of their kings severely punished for presuming to offer incense, 4 Kings xv. 5. (Calmet)
Yet the proofs that they ever lawfully offered sacrifice, are not very satisfactory, as, in the Scripture language, a person is often said to do what he enjoins another to perform on his account; and if some prophets have acted in the characte...
And mark it, he [the devil] desired to bring Saul into [the] superstition of witchcraft. But if he had counseled this at the beginning, the other would not have given heed; for how should he, who was even driving them out? Therefore gently and by little and little he leads him on to it. For when he had disobeyed Samuel and had caused the burnt offering to be offered, when he was not present, being blamed for it, he says, “The compulsion from the enemy was too great,” and when he ought to have bewailed, he felt as though he had done nothing.
Again God gave him the commands about the Amalekites, but he transgressed these too. Then he proceeded to his crimes about David, and thus slipping easily and little by little he did not stop, until he came to the very pit of destruction and cast himself in. - "Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew 86.3"
Now this we all in common do charge you, that every one remain in that rank which is appointed him, and do not transgress his proper bounds; for they are not ours but God’s.… And those things which are allotted for the high priests to do, those might not be meddled with by the priests; and what things were allotted to the priests, the Levites might not meddle with; but every one observed those ministrations which were written down and appointed for them. And if any would meddle beyond the tradition, death was his punishment. And Saul’s example does show this most plainly, who, thinking he might offer sacrifice without the prophet and high priest Samuel, drew upon himself a sin and a curse without remedy. Nor did even his having anointed him king discourage the prophet. - "Constitutions of the Holy Apostles 8.5.46"