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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 9

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name [was] Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.

Now there was a man of Benjamin. — Here beginneth the second part of this book: and here properly begin the Books of the Kings, saith A. Lapide.

A mighty man of power.Heros fortis, and so the fitter to be father to a king. Mighties beget mighties.

Fortes creantur fortibus et bonis. ” - Horat.

Verse 2

And he had a son, whose name [was] Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and [there was] not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward [he was] higher than any of the people.

And he had a son, whose name was Saul. — Which signifieth desired or sought after: Nomen, Omen.

A choice young man, and a goodly. — Heb., Good. That is of a good nature and disposition, saith Lyra. So perhaps he was at first: as was also Nero for the first five years of his reign, so that Seneca sets him forth for a singular example of clemency. Saul proved to be the reigning hypocrite, by whom "the people were ensnared." Job 34:30 It is threatened as a heavy curse, "If you still trespass against me, I will set princes over you that shall hate you." Leviticus 26:17

There was none … a goodlier person than he. — This won him much respect with the vulgar, that he was Os humerosque Deo similis, proper and comely, looking like a prince, αξιον ειδος τυραννιδος - Eurip. as the tragedian noteth of Priamus: for want of which, Agesilaus, that gallant man, was much slighted by the Persians. The French had a Philip the Fair: and Artaxerxes Longimanus was omnium hominum pulcherrimus, saith Emilius Probus, the comliest man alive.

Verse 3

And the asses of Kish Saul’s father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.

And the asses of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. — This was the rise of Saul’s royalty: Nam ex agasone factus est rex, et David ex opilione. And here we have a famous instance of God’s most wise providence, bringing about great matters by small and weak means. Saul quaerens asinos reperit regnum.

Verse 4

And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found [them] not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and [there they were] not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found [them] not.

Through the land of Shalim. — Near Jordan, where afterwards John baptized. John 3:23 Called also the land of Shual, 1 Samuel 13:17 as Junius holdeth; haply because haunted by foxes.

Verse 5

[And] when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that [was] with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave [caring] for the asses, and take thought for us.

And when they were come to the land of Zuph. — Samuel’s country. 1 Samuel 1:1 Saul’s city, Gibeah, is not once mentioned in the foregoing description of him: haply because infamous for the rape there committed upon the Levite’s concubine.

Lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us. — Saul was a better son than afterwards he proved a father; serviceable and solicitous of his father’s comfort: but to his good son Jonathan, currish and cruel.

Verse 6

And he said unto him, Behold now, [there is] in this city a man of God, and [he is] an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.

A man of God. — A prophet: this title is also given to ministers of the gospel. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

And he is an honourable man. — Any relation to God ennobleth, and must be highly esteemed. King Zedekiah is blamed for not humbling himself before Jeremiah the prophet, 2 Chronicles 36:12 who was "precious in God’s sight," and therefore "honourable." Isaiah 43:4

Peradventure he can show us our way. — Tell us whether we shall, and where we may find our lost asses. So low did the high God stoop sometimes to his people’s meanness: to keep them from seeking to sorcerers and idol priests. 1 Kings 14:2 2 Kings 1:3

Verse 7

Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, [if] we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and [there is] not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?

What shall we bring the man?q.d., Incivile esset sine honorario eum accedere antea ignotum: It would be no good manners to go empty handed. See 1 Kings 14:3 2 Kings 4:42 , and learn to show all thankful respects to God’s faithful ministers. But the word and the world is now altered. Once it was, What shall we bring the man? what have we? Now it is, What shall we take, or keep back from the man? and to rob a minister, is held neither sin nor pity.

Verse 8

And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: [that] will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.

Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel. — That was but a little, to the value of about our fivepence. But they knew that thankfulness was not to be measured of good men by the weight, but by the will of the retributor. That Persian monarch took in good part a handful of water presented to him by a poor peasant his subject, who had no better. Queen Elizabeth cheerfully received nosegays, A bunch of flowers or herbs, esp. sweet-smelling flowers; a bouquet, a posy. flowers, rosemary, from mean persons. Two mites from that poor widow went farther than two millions from some others.

Verse 9

(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for [he that is] now [called] a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)

Beforetime in Israel. — Of old, Antiquitus. Such was the piety of the people in the purer times, as Genesis 25:22 .

Come, and let us go to the seer. — The man whose eyes are open to see God and his visions as clearly, and as certainly, as if he had seen them with his eyes. 1 Peter 1:12

Verse 10

Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God [was].

Well said. — Heb., Thy word is good. He scorned not to take advice from a servant: no more did Job, Job 31:23 nor Naaman. 2 Kings 5:14

Saepe etiam est holitor valde opportuna locutus.

Verse 11

[And] as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?

Is the seer here? — Seers then the prophets were called, not only beforetime, but now also: though that name began to be antiquated.

Multa renascentur quae iam cecidere, cadentque

Quae nunc sunt in honore vocabula, si volet usus,

Quem penes arbitrium est, et vis et norma loquendi. ”

- Horat., De Arte Poet.

not only beforetime, but now also: though that name began to be not only beforetime, but now also: though that name began to be

Verse 12

And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, [he is] before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for [there is] a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place:

And they answered them, and said, He is. — Courtesy to strangers is very commendable. But that these maidens, taken with the beauty of Saul, stayed him a while to look upon him, using more words than needed, is an odd conceit of R. Solomon, cited by Lyra.

For there is a sacrifice. — Or, A feast: first a sacrifice, and then a feast made of part of the peace zofferings, as was usual; and, haply, at this time appointed on purpose by Samuel, for Saul’s better entertainment.

Verse 13

As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; [and] afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.

For the people will not eat until he come. — To bless and distribute the meat. A commendable custom, to crave God’s blessing on the creatures before we eat them; and to give thanks after meat; and not to sit down as an ox, and rise as an ass, not as vultures and kites, to seize upon our meat as a prey. The very heathens consecrated their cates before they tasted them, as appeareth by Homer and Virgil. And some think that the Greeks called a dinner αριστον, απο των αρων , from the prayers they premised.

Verse 14

And they went up into the city: [and] when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.

Samuel came out against them. — Not without divine direction. 1 Samuel 9:15 When God will have a thing done, there shall be a sweet subordination of causes, and all things shall cooperate.

Verse 15

Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,

The Lord had told Samuel in his ear. — By the instinct of his Spirit: Samuel was his favourite, and had communication of his secrets. Every saint hath likewise "the mind of Christ" 1 Corinthians 2:16 "revealed unto him by his Spirit," 1 Corinthians 2:10 even such things as "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Verse 16

To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him [to be] captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.

I will send thee a than out of the land of Benjamin.Arcana gubernatione mea ipso aliud agente. Piscat. Little did Saul think of the kingdom when he came to Ramah. And as little do we think of heaven, when God by effectual calling "delivereth us from the power of darkness, and translateth us into the kingdom of his dear Son." Colossians 1:13

And thou shalt anoint him to be captain.Unges eum Antecessorem. Public persons are leaders to others, being as the he-goats before the flock, and therefore must have double care, since they have many eyes upon them.

Out of the hand of the Philistines. — Who were now, as it may seem, confederate with the Ammonites against Israel. 1 Samuel 12:12

For I have looked upon my people. — Notwithstanding their late miscarriage in rejecting mine immediate government. "Is Ephraim my dear son? is he a pleasant child? for since I spoke against him, I do earnestly remember him still: therefore my bowels are troubled for him; I will surely have mercy upon him, saith the Lord." Jeremiah 31:20

.Because their cry is come unto me. — As Exodus 3:9 . And the good people cried, Domine indignus sum, sed indigus; I am unworthy of mercy, but I much need it.

Verse 17

And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.

This same shall reign over my people. — Heb., Restrain my people, viz, from loose and lewd practices. Princes must do so, or they are guilty of a passive injustice at least. They are called "heirs of restraint." Judges 18:7 , marg.

Verse 18

Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house [is].

In the gate. — Heb., In the midst of the gate; Sept., In the midst of the city; Chaldee, Within the gate.

Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is. — It seemeth, then, that Samuel bore no great import in his outside. Saul knew him not, though judge of Israel, by his clothes, or by his attendants.

Verse 19

And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I [am] the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that [is] in thine heart.

And will tell thee all that is in thine heart. — And much more: for that he had dreamed of the kingdom, is but a dream of some Jewish doctors.

Verse 20

And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom [is] all the desire of Israel? [Is it] not on thee, and on all thy father’s house?

And on whom is all the desire of Israel?Sed cuius est omne desiderabile Israelis? so Martyr rendereth it. And whose shall be the best, or fairest, things of Israel? Jerome in lib. Heb. Qu. so the Vulgate after the Septuagint. See Trapp on " Haggai 2:7 " They desire a king, and God hath pitched upon thee.

Verse 21

And Saul answered and said, [Am] not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?

Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest, … — Yet out of the rubbish of Benjamin doth God raise the throne. That is not ever the best and fittest that God chooseth; but that which God chooseth is ever the fittest.

Wherefore then speakest thou so to me? — This he speaketh not in hypocrisy, whereof yet afterwards he was grossly guilty, but in simplicity and truth: likens Frederick, the elector of Saxony, refused the empire when it was offered him: and would take no money of those that accepted it. Gideon also might have been king, and would not. Judges 8:22-23

Verse 22

And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which [were] about thirty persons.

And made them sit in the chiefest place. — He envied not Saul’s new dignity, though it were to the diminution of his own: sed excipit eum et tractat humanissime atque honorificentissime; Piscat. but giveth him the place.

Verse 23

And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee.

Bring the portion which I gave thee. — A choice mess, that Saul might see by his cheer what his welcome was: and that the rest at table might take notice that Saul was no ordinary guest.

Verse 24

And the cook took up the shoulder, and [that] which [was] upon it, and set [it] before Saul. And [Samuel] said, Behold that which is left! set [it] before thee, [and] eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.

And the cook took up the shoulder. — Which was counted ill those days a principal piece: whence the priest, for his part of the peace offering, had the right shoulder allotted him. Leviticus 7:32-33

And that which was upon it. — The sauce likely, or garnish.

Behold that which is left! — Or rather, Reserved, as in the margin.

Verse 25

And when they were come down from the high place into the city, [Samuel] communed with Saul upon the top of the house.

Samuel communed with Saul. — Gave him good counsel, better than any is to be found in Lipsius’s "Beehive," Macchiavel’s "Spider’s Web," or Castalio’s "Curialis," the book that Charles V so much delighted in.

Verse 26

And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.

To the top of the house. — Which was made flat in manner of a terrace: as now also they are in Italy, and some great men’s houses amongst us.

Verse 27

[And] as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.

Stand thou still a while. — And so show thy reverence to the divine oracle that I shall deliver. See Trapp on " Judges 3:20 "

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/1-samuel-9.html. 1865-1868.
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