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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 10

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes

Verse 1

Is it not because ... - Samuel answers Saul’s tacit or expressed wonder, by telling him why he did as he did. (Compare 1 Samuel 9:21.)

Verse 2

How should Saul know that what Samuel said was the word of the Lord? Samuel gives him a sign, “Thou shalt find two men,” etc. (Compare Judges 6:36-40; Isaiah 7:11-14; John 6:30; Mark 11:2; Mark 14:13, etc.)

Zelzah - A place absolutely unknown.

Verse 3

The plain of Tabor - It should be “the oak or terebinth”” of Tabor” (Judges 4:11 note). It has been ingeniously conjectured that “Tabor” is either a different form of “Deborah,” or a corruption of it, and that the “oak,” or “terebinth of Tabor,” is the same as “Allon-bachuth,” the oak under which Deborah was buried, and which lay “beneath Bethel” Genesis 35:8. The terebinth, where the three men came upon Saul, must have been at some point previous to that where the road leading northward from Jerusalem branches; when they reached that point they would go on with their offerings to Bethel, he would pursue his journey to Gibeah.

Verse 5

Hill of God - Rather, “Gibeah” of God, and so in 1 Samuel 10:10. Two things are clear; “one” that Saul had got home when he got to Gibeah of God, for there he found his uncle, and no further journeying is so much as hinted at, and the same word “Gibeah” describes his home at 1 Samuel 10:26. The “other” that there was a high place at Gibeah just above the city, from which he met the company of prophets “coming down.” Hence, it is obvious to conclude that the name “Gibeah of God” (which occurs nowhere else) was sometimes given to Gibeah of Saul on account of the worship on its high place, or, possibly, that the name “Gibeah of God” described the whole hill on a part of which the city Gibeah stood.

Where is the garrison of the Philistines - It seems strange that Samuel should give this description of Gibeah to Saul, who must have been so well acquainted with it. Possibly they may be explanatory words inserted by the narrator with reference to 1 Samuel 13:2.

Musical instruments were the accompaniments of the prophetic song 1Ch 13:8; 1 Chronicles 25:3. The “Psaltery” is a kind of lyre with ten strings, in the shape of an earthen wine bottle (נבל nebel, whence νάβλα nabla) which was something like a sugar-loaf or a delta. The tabret is a kind of drum or tambourine, or timbrel, usually played by dancing women (Exodus 15:20; Judges 11:34. Compare Jeremiah 31:4). The pipe חליל châlı̂yl, literally the “bored” or “pierced” instrument) is a kind of flute used on occasions of joy and mirth Isaiah 5:12; 1 Kings 1:40; Psalms 68:25. The “harp” כנור kı̂nnôr, whence the Greek κινύρα kinura was a stringed instrument, and that played upon by David 1 Samuel 16:16; 1 Samuel 19:9; Psalms 43:4; Psalms 57:8.

Verse 6

Will come upon thee - The word rendered “come,” means to “come” or “pass upon,” as fire does when it breaks out and spreads Amos 5:6; hence, it is frequently used of the Spirit of God passing upon anyone. (See Judges 14:19; Judges 15:14; below 1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 11:6; 1 Samuel 16:13.)

Shalt be turned into another man - This is a remarkable expression, and occurs nowhere else. It describes the change in point of mental power and energy which would result from the influx of the Spirit of the Lord 1 Samuel 10:9. In the case of Samson it was a supernatural bodily strength; in the case of Saul a capacity for ruling and leading the people of which before he was destitute, and which the Spirit worked in him. (Compare Acts 1:8; Isaiah 11:2-4.)

Verse 8

Seven days shalt thou tarry ... - The appointment here made is not to be confounded with that mentioned in marginal reference.

Verse 12

But who is their father - This is a very obscure phrase. If by “father” be intended the head or leader (compare 1 Chronicles 25:6; 2 Kings 2:12) of the prophets, the question means: “What kind of leader can they have to admit such a person as Saul into the company?” Some versions read “Who is his father?” in the sense: “Who would have expected Kish to have a son among the prophets?” (Compare Matthew 13:54-55.)

Verse 14

From the order of the narrative, and the mention of Saul’s servant, it looks as if Saul found his uncle at the high place. Perhaps some solemnity similar to that mentioned in 1 Samuel 9:19 was going on at this time, in which the prophets had been taking part.

Verse 19

For the use of “thousand” as equivalent to “family,” see 1 Samuel 23:23; Judges 6:15 margin. In Numbers 1:16 it may mean whole tribes.

Verse 20

Caused ... to come near ... was taken - The Hebrew phrases are exactly the same as in Joshua 7:16-17, where the King James Version renders the first has “brought.”

Verse 21

The family of Matri - This name occurs nowhere else among the families of Benjamin, or in the genealogy of Saul. (See 1 Samuel 9:1 note.)

Verse 22

Among the stuff - Rather, “the baggage.” The assembly was like a camp, and the baggage (impedimenta) of the whole congregation was probably collected in one place, where the wagons were arranged for protection.

Verse 25

The manner of the kingdom - i. e., the just prerogative of the kingdom, the law, or bill of rights, by which the king’s power was limited as well as secured. It is not improbable that what Samuel wrote was simply a transcript of Deuteronomy 17:14-20, which he “laid up before the Lord,” i. e., placed by the side of the ark of the covenant with the copy of the Law (see Deuteronomy 31:26). It would be ready for reference if either king or people violated the “law of the kingdom.”

Verse 26

A band of men - Rather, “the host,” “men of valor,” There seems to be an opposition intended between the “valiant men” and the “children of Belial” (1 Samuel 10:27).

Verse 27

Presents - The מנחה mı̂nchāh was the token of homage and acknowledgment from the subject to the sovereign, and from the tributary nation to their suzerain. (See 2 Samuel 8:2, 2 Samuel 8:6; Jdg 3:17-18; 1 Kings 4:21; 2 Kings 17:4, etc.; Psalms 72:10; Isaiah 16:1.) Saul dissembled his resentment, and waited for the favorable tide which soon came with the invasion of Nahash.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/1-samuel-10.html. 1870.
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