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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 10

Kretzmann's Popular Commentary of the BibleKretzmann's Commentary

Verses 1-13

Saul Anointed by Samuel

v. 1. Then Samuel took a vial, a flask or small jug, of oil, and poured it upon his head, as a mark of consecration to the Lord; for every king was thereby placed in God's service and under His protection, and kissed him and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over His inheritance? The question is really an expression of the most vivid assurance, for Samuel was only the instrument in God's hand, the consecration itself being God's act. Saul was now, before God, the king over His inheritance, over the people who were His property. In further confirmation of this fact, Saul was now given three signs.

v. 2. When thou art departed from me today, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulcher, between Bethel and Bethlehem, Genesis 35, in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found; and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, he has put aside all speaking of the lost animals, and sorroweth for you, troubled for fear that some misfortune had struck them, saying, What shall I do for my son? Thus Saul was not only to be relieved of his anxiety concerning the asses, but his thoughts were to be devoted entirely to the great honor which had been conferred upon him by the Lord.

v. 3. Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, to the well known oak or terebinth at that place, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, which was at that time a place of worship, 1 Samuel 7:16, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine, all these being intended for sacrificial offerings;

v. 4. and they will salute thee, with the customary greeting of peace, and give thee two loaves of bread, which thou shalt receive of their hands, as a token of homage. This was the second sign intended to confirm Saul in his conviction that he was chosen by God for the office of king in Israel.

v. 5. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, the height of Gibeah, also used for sacrifices, where is the garrison of the Philistines, for the enemies had succeeded in maintaining some of their military posts in the midst of Canaan; and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, near his own home town, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets, in a solemn procession, coming down from the high place with a psaltery, a zitherlike instrument, and a tabret, a form of castanet, and a pipe, a flute, and a harp, an instrument similar to a guitar, before them; and they shall prophesy, sing the praises of God in ecstatic utterances;

v. 6. and the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man, be filled with the same ecstasy, his heart being made willing to take the duties of a king of Israel upon himself. This sign was to be the inward seal of his consecration for the office of king.

v. 7. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee. Whatever action the circumstances in Israel would suggest to the mind of Saul, that he should readily perform, without further consultation with anyone, his royal calling, for God is with thee, under the guidance of God, had even now begun.

v. 8. And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal, in case he should be inclined to go there for the sake of bringing a sacrifice; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace-offerings, for Saul could not do this work, since it pertained to the priestly office; seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee and show thee what thou shalt do. The reference is not to a general practice, but to a specific instance, 1 Samuel 13:8, for the Lord still transmitted certain commands through the mouth of Samuel.

v. 9. And it was so, it so happened, that, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart, turned his heart and mind, set it firmly upon the work which was expected of him in his office of king; and all those signs came to pass that day.

v. 10. And when they came thither to the hill, to Gibeah, the home of Saul, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them, just as Samuel had foretold.

v. 11. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime, and he was surely well known in the entire neighborhood, saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, being seized by the Spirit and drawn along into the lofty inspiration which marked their songs of praise, then the people said one to another, every man to his neighbor, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish: What has happened to him? Is Saul also among the prophets? It is a form of mockery directed either against the sons of the prophets in general or against Saul in particular, the idea that he should show such a tendency being absurd.

v. 12. And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Was it necessary for a person to have a special kind of father, in order to be accepted into the ranks of the prophets; what reason could be offered for excluding Saul from their company? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets? This proverb received further confirmation by an event in the later life of Saul, 1 Samuel 19:24.

v. 13. And when he had made an end of prophesying, when the ecstatic mood left him, he came to the high place, probably to pray and sacrifice in the holy place after experiencing the divine favor and goodness in so emphatic a way. In Christians the anointing of the Spirit is to them an earnest of the heavenly inheritance and enables them to bear the mockery of the world with quiet patience.

Verses 14-27

Saul Chosen King by Lot

v. 14. And Saul's uncle said unto him and to his servant, upon their return home, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses; and when we saw that they were no where, we came to Samuel.

v. 15. And Saul's uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you, he was anxious to have a detailed account of the visit.

v. 16. And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found, hoping therewith to dispose of this matter. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not, for it was evident from Samuel's entire manner that the matter was not yet to be made public.

v. 17. And Samuel called the people together unto the Lord to Mizpeh, for a great popular assembly;

v. 18. and said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all kingdoms and of them that oppressed you, these were the mighty deeds performed by God under the old order, when He was still the only acknowledged King of the nation;

v. 19. and ye have this day rejected your God, who Himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations, all the evils and oppressions which they suffered from the very kingdoms after which they now intended to pattern their state; and ye have said unto Him, Nay, but set a king over us. This was a last warning regarding a step the taking of which they might some day bitterly repent. Now, therefore, present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands, the divisions of the people by the command of the Lord, Numbers 1:16. This solemn act took place in the presence of Jehovah, before the altar which had been erected in Mizpeh.

v. 20. And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, in order that lots might be cast or drawn, the tribe of Benjamin was taken.

v. 21. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come nearby their families, the largest subdivision of the tribe, the family of Matri was taken, and, after the father-houses had been treated the same way and the individual heads of families came forward, Saul, the son of Kish, was taken; and when they sought him, he could not be found, his shyness having caused him to hide himself, since he knew the outcome of the selection.

v. 22. Therefore they enquired of the Lord further, through the Urim and Thummim of the high priest, if the man should yet come thither, whether they should search for Saul at home or elsewhere. And the Lord answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff, the traveling baggage of the great assembly.

v. 23. And they ran and fetched him thence; and when he stood among the people, having been obliged to overcome his diffidence, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward, he extended above them, head and shoulders, a magnificent specimen of physical manhood, truly kingly in appearance.

v. 24. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, the election being the confirmation of the previous divine choice, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, in a cry of salutation and homage, God save the king! literally, "May the king live!"

v. 25. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, the relation of the temporal monarchy to the theocracy, the rule of God, for it was Jehovah's purpose to rule through Saul as His instrument, Cf Deuteronomy 17:14-20, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord, to be preserved for future generations, the Lord Himself being a witness of the act. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.

v. 26. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men whose hearts God had touched, of their own free will they constituted themselves his body-guard, his escort of honor. They represented the majority of the people, who were willing to bow under the authority of the man whom God had chosen as their leader.

v. 27. But the children of Belial, the worthless, vain rabble, said, How shall this man save us? They questioned his fitness for the office and declared their unwillingness to submit to his authority. And they despised him and brought him no presents, gifts which were a part of the regular income of the princes. But he held his peace, literally, "he was as a deaf man," paying no attention to these foolish attacks, and thus showing great foresight and prudence. To this day men in the public office of the Church are subjected to mocking attacks by vain and foolish people. The best way of meeting such a situation is by ignoring attacks of this kind; for the truly faithful, men whose hearts God has. touched, will be on the side of right and justice.

Bibliographical Information
Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kpc/1-samuel-10.html. 1921-23.
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