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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 10

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-27

1 Samuel 10:1 . Captain. This refers to his command, as a fighting captain. The title of king was superior to that of na g id, or captain.

1 Samuel 10:3 . To Bethel. The people would, and did worship at this hallowed altar, where God had spoken to Jacob their father. Genesis 28:0.

1 Samuel 10:5 . A company of prophets, called in other places, the sons of the prophets. They were returning from a sacrifice at the hill, where the ark was placed, and gladdened the road with music and sacred songs. Samuel, no doubt, encouraged those schools, which were superintended by some inspired man. Ministers should all be trained and learned for their Master’s work. An illiterate man must labour under the greatest difficulties, in the exercise of his ministry. Psaltery, that is, a harp of a smaller kind.

1 Samuel 10:12 . But who is their father? All the copies of the Septuagint read, “But who is his father? Is it not Kish?”

1 Samuel 10:21 . And Saul was taken. They proceeded as in the case of Achan, Joshua 7:14; where the Vulgate reads lot. Others think the oracle was by voice.


Saul entered on the high duties of a king, though in afflictive times, under the highest auspices that could possibly attend a favourite of heaven. He was designated by revelation, and anointed as Moses anointed Aaron. So also the holy prophets were sometimes anointed. 2 Kings 19:16. From the moment that this oil came on a man’s head, whether prophet, priest, or king, their persons were sacred as the Lord’s anointed.

God realized the exterior anointing in the gifts of grace. When Saul saw the young prophets, and heard them sing, he caught the spirit. His heart was renovated by gratitude, devotion, and love. He was endowed with talents for the administration of justice, and with an elevation of soul becoming the dignity of the throne. His faith was confirmed; for he received the loaves, and met this messenger of his father as Samuel had foretold. Hence we learn the duty of praying for the king; for his ministers, and for magistrates; as no man can adequately fill those high stations without the aid and direction of heaven.

Samuel, faithful to his God, even in a duty to which his feelings were disinclined, and faithful as the tutor of Saul, proceeded to convene the people in Mizpeh. Obedience in these circumstances, marks the integrity of the soul, and confers on virtue the purest lustre.

The divine lot corresponded with the secret revelation. Look on the eager faces of the tribes, when the twelve lots or tickets were cast into the urn or lap; for precedence had long been a subject of contention among them: and behold, Benjamin the youngest, Benjamin the weakest was taken. Now let Reuben the eldest, Judah the strongest, and Ephraim the haughtiest, hold their peace. Presently Saul was taken by name; and when they wished to contemplate the person of their king, no Saul could be found. The harmony however of all these circumstances demonstrates that God was never defective in extending his promised care over his people.

What shall Israel now do to find their king? Nobody knew where he was. Confident of his election, from the accomplishment of the three tokens Samuel had given him a week before, he was hid among the stuff: nor could even Samuel say where he was without a revelation. Surely God had given him a spirit of meekness, modesty, and abasement. Conscious of his weakness, and trembling at the greatness of the duty, he shunned the public eye, and all the plaudits of the crowd. So it used to be with the primitive bishops. The trembling presbyter was sometimes dragged from his closet to be inaugurated into the sacred office. But modesty of this kind seems scarcely to have reached beyond the ages of Greece and Rome. Our numerous candidates for civil and religious preferment, conscious of their own superior merits, never blush to obtrude themselves in newspapers on the notice of the public. What times: what manners!

Saul’s modesty was productive of the greatest good to his cause. A choice band of men followed him, surrounding his person as guards, from the purest principles of loyalty and affection. The monarch who reigns in the hearts of good men, and who is revered as the father of his people, finds in that attachment the surest supports of his throne.

The elevations of rank and honour are invariably counterpoised by afflictions. No sooner had the multitude saluted the Lord’s anointed, than the sons of Belial despised his humble birth, and want of military skill. So it is, that greatness is peculiarly exposed to calamities, as high towers and lofty mountains are most exposed to the anger and fury of the tempest. This should be a gratifying consideration to the poor, and make every man thankful for the peaceful retreat of a cottage, and the purer happiness of private life.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/1-samuel-10.html. 1835.
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