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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

1 Samuel 10

Verses 1-27

Self-respect and Companionship

1 Samuel 10:12

The popular interpretation of Saul among the prophets is that Saul had taken a step up. The truth is, the text may mean that he had taken one down. It all depends who the prophets were.

I. In these prophets of the time of Saul, when we first meet them, we have the type which prophesying had first assumed on Canaanitish soil. They were, in fact, a species of begging friars, and were held by the people in a contempt which they evidently did their best to deserve. When Saul was found among these so-called prophets he had ceased to respect himself, and when a man does that he must either recover himself or accept moral ruin.

II. A man may be a very faulty man, and yet be a genuinely good man. His goodness does not excuse his faults, nor do his faults destroy his claim to goodness. Let a man have the right to respect himself, and he has that which can take the sting out of his disappointments and the tyranny of victory out of his failures. There is no necessary connexion between a straight life and failure to win the kingdoms of this world. There may be cases where honesty handicaps a man for a time, but they are comparatively few and short-lived in their operation. But lift the definition of success to higher levels, and I assert without qualification that with the right to respect ourselves there can be no failure, and without it there can be no success.

III. Saul had ceased to respect himself, and this very probably supplies the explanation of his being found in this questionable company. If you realize that you must surrender something of your better self to be the friend of a certain person, you will be almost sure to establish that friendship at your peril. Whatever the King of Israel might think of his company, the fact that he was in it gave to their worthlessness a new tenure of existence, and to their wickedness an added licence. He did not make them better men, but they made him a worse man. Human society has no need more pressing than its need of young men and women with moral courage and religious conviction to take up the right attitude to wrong things.

Ambrose Shepherd, Men in the Making, p. 139.

References. IX. 20. H. Hayman, Sermons Preached in Rugby School Chapel, p. 29. X. 9. G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 284.

Saul's Hiding Himself

1 Samuel 10:17-27

Dr. W. G. Blaikie remarks on the fact that Saul hid himself and could not be found: 'We do not think the worse of him for this, but rather the better. It is one of the many favourable traits that we find at the outset of his kingly career.... Many of the best ministers of Christ have had this feeling when they were called to the Christian ministry. Gregory Nazianzen actually fled to the wilderness after his ordination, and Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, in the civil office which he held, tried to turn the people from their choice even by acts of cruelty and severity, after they had called on him to become their bishop.'

References. X. 24. J. Richardson, A Sermon Preached in Camden Church, No. viii. X. 26. J. Burns, Sketches of Sermons on Special Occasions, p. 153.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/1-samuel-10.html. 1910.