And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned
This confession of his sin does not appear to be ingenuous, cordial, and sincere, and was made chiefly for the sake of getting the sentence of rejecting him from being king reversed:
for I have transgressed the commandment of the Lord, and thy words;
which last seems to be added to collogue with Samuel, and to ingratiate himself with him; and Abarbinel thinks that Saul suspected that Samuel had aggravated the matter of himself, and that he did not really transgress the words of the Lord, but as the words of Samuel; and therefore according to the words of Samuel he had sinned, but not according to the words of the Lord only;
because I feared the people;
Doeg the Edomite, who was reckoned as all of them, Jarchi says: this was a mere excuse of Saul's, he stood in no fear of the people, he kept them in awe, and did as he would with them, as a sovereign prince:
and obeyed their voice;
in sparing the best of the cattle; so be pretended, when it was his own will, and the effect of his covetousness.