“It is useless to pray for His blessing while we refuse to put away that which has called down His curse. It is vain to talk about exercising faith in God’s promises until we have exercised repentance for our sins. Our idols must be destroyed ere God will again accept our worship.”
(“The Life of Elijah” A.W. Pink)
And then it gets very specific. Here's what the Lord has to say and here's what you're to listen to and obey, verse 2, "Thus says the Lord of hosts, I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel. How he set himself against him on the way while he was going up from Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has and do not spare him and put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." That's what's called genocide, go wipe out a whole race...a whole tribe in this case, not really a race, but a whole tribe of people named for the man Amalek. God's command was very clear. Saul was to deal ruthlessly with these Amalekites. He was to kill not only the men but all the women and all the children and all the babies. And then he was to kill all their animals. The whole tribe was to be utterly and mercilessly taken out of existence. No hostages were to be taken and the implication here is no spoils either.