Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, July 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 10

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-27

Saul’s Introduction into the Royal Office

1 Samuel 10:1-27

I. Saul anointed by samuel. 1 Samuel 10:1

1Then [And] Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured1 it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not2 because the Lord [Jehovah] hath anointed thee to be captain [prince] over his inheritance?

II. The Signs of the Divine Confirmation given to Saul. 1 Samuel 10:2-16

2When thou art departed [goest] from me to-day, then [om. then] thou shalt [wilt] find two men by Rachel’s sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto [to] thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found; and lo, thy father hath left the care3 of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, 3What shall I do for my son? Then [And] thou shalt go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain [oak]4 of Tabor, and there [ins. three men] shall meet thee three men [om. three men] going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three5 loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of 4wine. And they will salute thee,6 and give thee two loaves of bread, which thou 5shalt receive of their hands. After that thou shalt [wilt] come to the hill of God7, where is the garrison of the Philistines;8 and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt [wilt] meet a company of prophets9 coming down from the high place, with [ins. and before them, om. with] a psaltery and a tabret and a pipe and a harp before them [om. before them], and they shall prophesy 6[prophesying]; And the Spirit of the Lord [Jehovah] will come upon thee, and thou shalt [wilt] prophesy with them, and shalt [wilt] be turned into another 7man. And let it be [om. let it be], when these signs are come unto thee, that [om. that] thou do [do thou] as occasion serve thee [what thy hand findeth]; for God10 8is with thee. And thou shalt go11 down before me to Gilgal, and behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt-offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace-offerings; seven days shalt thou tarry till I come to thee, and show thee what thou shalt do.

9And it was so [came to pass] that, when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart; and all these signs came to pass that day. And 10when they came thither to the hill [to Gibeah],12 behold a company of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that behold [and behold] he prophesied among the prophets,13 then the people said one to another, What is this that is come [What has happened] unto [to] the son of Kish? Isaiah 12:0 Saul also among the prophets? And one of the same place answered and said, But [And] who is their14 father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among 13the prophets? And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the 14high place.15 And Saul’s uncle said unto [to] him and to his servant, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses; and when we saw that they were no 15where,16 we came [went] to Samuel. And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, 16what Samuel said unto [to] you. And Saul said unto [to] his uncle, He told us plainly [om. plainly]17 that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.

III. The Choice by Lot. 1 Samuel 10:17-21

17And Samuel called the people together unto the Lord [to Jehovah] to Mizpeh 18[Mizpah]. And [ins. he] said unto [to] the children of Israel, Thus saith the Lord [Jehovah] God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians,18 and out of the hand of all [ins. the] kingdoms and 19of them [om. and of them] that oppressed19 you. And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations, and ye [om. ye] have said unto him [om. unto him], Nay [Nay],20 but [ins. a king thou shalt] set a king [om. a king] over us. Now, therefore [And now], present 20yourselves before the Lord [Jehovah] by your tribes and by your thousands. And when [om. when] Samuel had [om. had] caused all the tribes of Israel to come 21near, [ins. and] the tribe of Benjamin was taken. [ins. And] When [om. when] he had [om. had] caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families [wis. and] the family of Matri [the Matrites] was taken.21 And Saul, the son of Kish, was taken; and when [om. when] they sought him, [ins. and] he could not be found.

IV. The Installation into the Royal Office. Proclamation. Greeting. Royal Right. Return To Quiet Life. 1 Samuel 10:22-27

22Therefore [And] they inquired of the Lord [Jehovah] further, if the man should [would] yet come thither.22 And the Lord answered [Jehovah said], Behold, Hebrews 2:0; Hebrews 2:03hath hid himself [is hidden] among the stuff [baggage]. And they ran and fetched him thence; and when [om. when] he stood23 among the people [ins. and] he was 24higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord [Jehovah] hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save [Long live]24 the king.

25And Samuel told the people the manner25 of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book,25 and laid it up before the Lord [Jehovah]. And Samuel sent all the people away, 26every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went 27with him a band of men,26 whose hearts God had touched. But [And] the children of Belial [certain wicked men] said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace [And he was as though he were deaf].27


I. 1 Samuel 10:1. The anointing. It is performed without witnesses in secret (1 Samuel 9:27), and is the factual confirmation to Saul of what Samuel had before told him in God’s name of his call to the kingd om. The vial (פַּךְ, from פָּבָה, ” to drop, flow,” in Pi. only Ezekiel 47:2) is a narrow-necked vessel, from which the oil flowed in drops. The oil, we must suppose, was not of the ordinary sort, but the holy anointing-oil (Exodus 29:7; Exodus 30:23-33) which, according to the Law, was used in the consecration of the sacred vessels and the priests. To this refers the expression “the vial of oil;” and it is supported by the analogy of the priest’s consecration with the consecrated oil (Leviticus 8:12), which, according to Exodus 30:31, was to be a holy oil throughout all generations, and by the use here and 2 Kings 9:3 of the word (יָצַק,) which is proper to the anointing of the high-priest. Besides, on account of the significance of the oil of priestly consecration, Samuel would have used no other in the consecration of the sacred person of the theocratic king. Anointing as a solemn usage in the consecration of a king is referred to as early as Judges 9:8; Judges 9:15, and, besides Saul here, is expressly mentioned as performed on other kings, on David (1Sa 16:3; 2 Samuel 2:4; 2 Samuel 5:3), Absalom (2 Samuel 19:11), Solomon (1 Kings 1:39), Joash (2 Kings 11:12), Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:30), and Jehu (2 Kings 9:3). In case of regular succession the anointing was supposed to continue its effect [that is, the regular successor needed no new anointing—such is the view of the Rabbis—Tr.]; whence is explained the fact that only the above kings are mentioned as having been anointed [they being all founders of dynasties, or irregularly advanced to the throne—Tr.] (Oehl., Herz. R.-E. VIII. 10 sq.). On account of this anointing the theocratic king was called “the Anointed of the Lord.” Whence we see the general significance of the act: The Anointed was consecrated, sanctified to God; by the anointing the king is holy and unassailable (1 Samuel 24:7; 1 Samuel 26:9; 2 Samuel 19:22). It signifies, however, further in especial the equipment with the powers and gifts of the Spirit of God and the blessing of the salvation which is bestowed in them (comp. 1 Samuel 16:13). In accordance with the significance of the act of anointing it is narrated in 1 Samuel 10:9-10 how the Spirit of God came upon Saul. While the anointing thus set forth the divine consecration from above, the kiss, which Samuel then gave Saul, was the sign of the human recognition of his royal dignity, the expression of reverence and homage, as in Psalms 2:12. The kiss, seldom on the mouth, generally on the hand, knee, or garment [among modern Beduins on the forehead—Tr.], has always been in the East the universal sign of subordination and subjection, and is so yet, as also among the Slavic nations. The kissing of idols (their feet) is mentioned as a religious usage (1 Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:2; Job 31:27). The word with which Samuel turns to Saul after the anointing: Is it not that the Lord hath anointed thee? is witness and confirmation to him that Samuel is only the instrument in God’s hand in the consecration, that it is God’s act. (The הֲלוֹא, with the following בִּי, signifies “ yea, surely.” Clericus: an interrogation, instead of an affirmation”). Prince over his inheritance. נָגִיד, “leader, prince.” “His inheritance” is Israel, not only because of the great deliverance out of Egypt, Deuteronomy 4:20 (Keil), but also on the ground of the divine choice of Israel out of the mass of the heathen nations to be His own people (Exodus 21:5). The Sept. rendering in 1 Samuel 10:1-2 is as follows: “hath not the Lord anointed thee ruler over his people, over Israel? And thou shalt rule over the people of the Lord, and thou shalt save them out of the hand of their enemies. And this be to thee the sign that the Lord hath anointed thee ruler over his inheritance.” This last clause “ that......inheritance” is the literal translation of the Masoretic text. The Vulg. has these words in the first sentence: “behold, the Lord hath anointed thee prince over his inheritance;“ then follows the addition: “and thou shalt deliver his people out of the hands of their enemies round about. And this is the sign to thee that the Lord hath anointed thee prince.” These words of the Sept. and Vulg. are, however, not (with Then.) to be used to fill up a supposed gap in the text: We are rather to adopt Keil’s remark that the Alex. text is merely a gloss from 1 Samuel 9:16-17, introduced because the translator did not understand the “ is it not that?”, and especially because he did not see how Samuel could speak to Saul of signs [1 Samuel 10:7] without having before announced them as such. The gloss assumes that Samuel wished merely to give Saul a sign that the Lord had anointed him prince. On the contrary, as Keil points out, Samuel gave Saul not a sign (σημεῖον, אוֹת), but three signs, and declares (1 Samuel 10:7) their purpose to be, that, on their occurrence, Saul should know what he had to do, Jehovah being with him.

II. 1 Samuel 10:2-16. The divine signs. Three signs are given Saul by Samuel in his capacity of prophet, as a confirmation to him that he is now, according to the divine consecration, also really the king of Israel, and under the immediate guidance of the Lord (1 Samuel 10:2; 1 Samuel 3:4; 1 Samuel 5:6).

The first sign, 1 Samuel 10:2 : The meeting with two men of his native place, who will inform him that the asses are found, and his father anxious about him. According to these words, the sepulchre of Rachel must have been not far from Ramah, whence Saul started. With this agrees Jeremiah 31:15 : “a voice is heard in Ramah,—Rachel weeping for her children.” The declaration in Matthew 2:18, that the mourning of the women of Bethlehem for their slaughtered children is the fulfilment of this word of Jeremiah, does not affirm or suppose that Rachel’s grave was near Bethlehem, and therefore far from Ramah south of Jerusalem, for it is not a local, but a personal-real similarity, namely, between the mournings in the two cases, that is intended to be set forth. According to our passage, Rachel’s grave must have been north of Jerusalem on the road between Ramah and Gibeah; and thus the view prevalent since the Middle Ages, that Rachel’s tomb was near Bethlehem, and somewhat north of it, is shown to be incorrect. In support of this view are cited the passages Genesis 35:16-20; Genesis 48:7, where Rachel’s sepulchre is said to have been a kibrah of land “ as one goes to Ephrah,” and “ on the road to Ephrah,” and in respect to Ephrah the explanation is added: “which is now called Bethlehem” (comp. 1 Samuel 17:12; Micah 5:2); but these indefinite expressions (kibrah is merely tract, see 2 Kings 5:19 sq.) may, as Winer correctly remarks (Bibl. R.-W. s. v. Rachel, II., 299), be so understood as to extend to Ramah. So Ewald: “ Here, as in Genesis, we may very well understand the northern boundary of Benjamin, beginning somewhat southeast from Ram-allah” (III. 31, Rem.). If, however, in Genesis Rachel’s grave be taken to be (as the narrator intends) not far from Ephrah, then, on account of the indubitable proximity of the grave to Ramah, this Ephrah cannot be the Bethlehem which lay in Judah six Roman miles south of Jerusalem, and the explanatory remark, “ which is now called Bethlehem,” must be regarded as a late, erroneous addition. Ephrah is, then, to be looked on as an otherwise unknown place, in the region in which Bethel, Ramah and Gibeah lay, perhaps the same with the city Ephraim, named in connection with Bethel in 2 Chronicles 13:19 (Qeri עֶפְרַיִן Ephrain, Kethib עֶפְרוֹן Ephron) and Jos. B. J. 4, 9. 9, and mentioned in John 11:54, according to Jerome twenty Roman miles (Onom. s. v. Ephron) north of Jerusalem (comp. Joshua 15:9), named Ephron, according to von Raumer’s conjecture (p. 216 A. 235 e) identical with Ophrah (comp. 1 Samuel 13:17).28 On this supposition the grave of Rachel was, according to Graf, “very near Rama (1 Samuel 10:2), at the intersection of the road from Bethel to the neighboring Ephrah (2 Samuel 13:23; 2 Chronicles 13:19; see Then, and Bertheau in loco, Genesis 35:16 sq.; Genesis 48:7), and the road from Ramah to Gibeah” (Der Proph. Jer., p. 384, and Stud. u. Krit. 1854, p. 868, on the site of Bethel and Ramah). On the border of Benjamin. This agrees with the supposition that Rachel’s grave was near Bethel (so Kurtz, Gesch. d. A. B., I., 270 [Hist, of the Old Covenant]), which was on the border between Ephraim and Benjamin. At Zelzah. This word must at an early time have been uncertain, to judge from the variations of the versions (Sept.:ἁνδρας ἁλλομένους μεγάλα, whence Ewald renders “in great haste,” and Vulg.: in meridie). If we do not regard it as an unknown place, we may adopt Thenius’ conjecture, that the original text was: “at Zela” (בְּ ,בְּצֵלָעָה with ה local); Zela was the place of the sepulchre of Saul’s father (2 Samuel 21:14).—The statement of the two men that the asses were found was not only to be to Saul a confirmation of Samuel’s prophetic declarations, but also to detach his thoughts from lower earthly things, and direct his inner life to the higher calling, to which he had been privately elected and consecrated. Ewald: “ Thus happily disappears the burden of former lower cares, because henceforth something more important is to be thought of and cared for” (III. 31).

1 Samuel 10:3-4. The second sign. Three men on the way to the holy place at Bethel, to sacrifice there, will bestow on him two loaves of bread from their sacrificial gifts. The direction of the road, and the whole geographical situation here correspond very well with the statement in Genesis 35:8 as to the oak (אַלּוֹן, Allon) near which, “beneath Bethel,” Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, was buried, and with the statement in Judges 4:5, that Deborah dispensed judgment “ between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim” under the palm-tree of Deborah. It is therefore a natural supposition (Then.) that, by error of hearing, Tabor was written instead of Deborah. But this hypothesis is somewhat bold, and against it is the fact that all the ancient translations have “Tabor.” That this is “ certainly a mere dialectic variation of Deborah” (Ew. III., 31 Rem. 2) is an equally hold opinion. Besides, Judges 4:5 speaks of “the palm-tree of Deborah,” named, according to the narrator, from the Judge Deborah, and known in his time, therefore, to be distinguished from the oak of Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, Genesis 35:8. The place of the terebinth of Tabor, therefore, otherwise unknown, must be in any case on the road to Bethel, not far from Ramah. The three men are “going up to God to Bethel.” The things that they carry (three kids, three loaves of bread, and a vessel of wine) show that their purpose is to make an offering to God in Bethel. Bethel had been a consecrated place for the worship of God since the days of the Patriarchs, in consequence of the revelations which He had made to Abraham and Jacob; as to the former see Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3-4, as to the latter Genesis 28:18; Genesis 19:35; Genesis 6:7; Genesis 6:14-15. In Bethel, therefore, there was an altar; it was one of the places where the people sacrificed to the Lord, and where Samuel at this time held court. The “asking after welfare” signifies friendly salutation (1 Samuel 17:22; 2 Kings 10:13; Exodus 18:7; Judges 18:15). The men will give him, an unknown person, two of their loaves. This divinely-ordained occurrence betokens the homage, which by the presentation of gifts pertains to him as the king of the people. “And that this surprising prelude to all future royal gifts is taken from bread of offering points to the fact, that in future some of the wealth of the land, which has hitherto gone undivided to the Sanctuary, will go to the king.” (Ew., Gesch. III., 32 [Hist, of Israel]).

1 Samuel 10:5-6. The third sign. Going thence to Gibeah he will meet a company of prophets, will, under the influence of prophetic inspiration, also prophesy, and be changed into another man. Gibeah Ha-Elo-him is in the immediate context distinguished from the “city.” What city is here meant is clear from the fact that all the people know him (1 Samuel 10:10 sqq.); it can, therefore, only be Gibeah of Benjamin, Saul’s native city. The “Gibeah of God” is thus, and especially because of the definition “ of God,” to be taken not as a proper name, but as an appellative, “ the hill of God,” that is, the height, Bamah [high-place] near the city, which was used as a place of sacrifice, and after which the city was called; afterwards, when Saul made it his royal residence, it was called Gibeah of Saul (1Sa 11:4; 1 Samuel 15:34; 2 Samuel 21:6). According to Josephus (B. J. 5, 2. 1) it was one hour [somewhat more than two Eng. miles; according to Mr. Grove, in Smith’s Dict, of Bib., four miles—Tr.] on the direct road north from Jerusalem, and, as appears from what follows, was probably the seat of a community of prophets, and, on that account, perhaps specially distinguished, along with Bethel, among the sacrificial places. The נְצִבֵי פ׳ [“garrison” in Eng. A. V.] are the military posts or camps established by the Philistines to keep the country under their sway, even though there were no more devastating incursions (see on 1 Samuel 7:14). For a similar procedure see 2 Samuel 8:6; 2 Samuel 8:14. The substitution of the Sing. (נְצִיב) for the Plu. is supported by the Sept., Vulg., Syr., Arab.; but it is going too far to suppose, on the authority of the Sept., that here, as well as in 1 Samuel 13:3-4, this Sing. denotes a pillar set up by the Philistines as a sign of their authority (Then, and Böttcher).29 Ewald’s opinion (Gesch. III., 43) that it refers to an officer who collected the tribute, is still less probable. Instead of a monument, we must regard it, according to 1 Samuel 13:3-4, and as in 2 Samuel 8:6; 2 Samuel 8:14, as a military colony stationed there.—A company of prophets (חֶבֶל “cord, line,” then like our “band, company”). From this description, and from the fact that they approach with music, it appears that they formed a society, an organized company. That they descended from the Bamah [high-place] is no proof that they dwelt on it, against which is the fact that the Bamah was especially consecrated to the service of Jehovah, and for this reason was called the “ hill of God,” not “because it was the abode of men of God” (Cleric). Since it is clear, from what follows, that this was a private solemn procession, it is probable that their residence was not far off, most likely in the city of Gibeah, whence they may have proceeded to the sacrifice and prayer on the high-place. This company of prophets belongs, no doubt, to the so-called Schools of the Prophets, which, however, would be better named prophetic Unions. They were founded by Samuel, and were under his direction, comp. 1 Samuel 19:20. The origin of these unions lies in the tendency to association given by the Spirit of God and by the new life which Samuel awakened, and their aim was to cherish and develop prophetic inspiration and the new life of faith by common holy exercises. In our passage we must distinguish the following facts: 1) The descent from the high-place in this solemn procession suggests that they had gathered there for common religious exercises, sacrifice, and prayer. 2) The music which went before them shows that, in these societies, religious feeling was nourished and heightened by sacred music, though music was also elsewhere cultivated. The four instruments which accompanied them indicate the rich variety and advanced culture of the music of that day. The psaltery (נֶבֶל, nebel) is a cithernlike stringed instrument, which, according to Jerome, Isidorus and Cassiodorus, had the form of an inverted Delta, and, according to Psalms 33:2; Psalms 144:9, had ten strings (Jos. Ant. 7, 10 says twelve strings), called by the Greeks νάβλα, nablium, psalterium; it was commonly used, as here, in sacred songs of praise (1 Kings 10:12; 1 Chronicles 15:16), but also on secular festive occasions (2 Chronicles 20:28). The kinnor (כִּנוֹר [Eng. A. V. harp]) was another stringed instrument, apparently different from our harp (Luther), since it was played on in walking (comp. 2 Samuel 6:5), rather a sort of guitar, and with the nebel indicates complete string music (Psalms 71:22; Psalms 58:3 [2]; 1 Samuel 15:3). According to Josephus (Ant. 7, 12, 3) the kinnor was struck with the plectrum, the nablium with the finger. But David played the kinnor (1 Samuel 16:23; 1 Samuel 18:10; 1 Samuel 21:9) with the hand. The tabret (תּוק, toph) is the hand-drum, the tambourine; used by Miriam, Exodus 15:20. The fourth instrument is the flute (חָלִיל), which was made of reed, wood, or horn, and was a favorite instrument in festive and mournful music. 3) The emphasis rests on the words “and they were prophesying;” they were in a condition of ecstatic inspiration, in which, singing or speaking, with accompaniment of music, they gave expression to the overflowing feeling with which their hearts were filled from above by the controlling Spirit. Cleric: “they will sing songs, which assuredly were composed to the honor of God.” The strains of the music were intended not only to awaken the heart to inspired praise of God, or to intensify the religious inspiration, but also to regulate the feeling. According to Pindar, it was “peacefully to bring law into the heart” that Apollo invented the cithern, which was played in the Delphic Apollo-worship (O. Müller, Dorier I., 346 [Dorians]). There was a similar outflow of religious inspiration to the praise of God in the case of the seventy elders, Numbers 11:25.

1 Samuel 10:6. Saul will not be able to withstand the mighty influence of this sight. Three things will happen to him: 1) the Spirit of the Lord, a divine power external to himself, will “come upon him;” that is, suddenly, immediately take possession of his soul. The words “Spirit of Jehovah” exclude every earthly, internal case of inspiration. It is, however, in this presupposed that the Spirit of the Lord must descend to produce this excitation and elevation, and does not dwell continually in him; 2) he will prophesy. (On the form הִתְנַבִּיתָ see Ew. § 198, 6.) He will, therefore, have a part in the religious inspiration and the prophetic utterance of the prophets. It is taken for granted that the fire of inspiration will pass immediately from them to him; 3) he will be turned into another man. The change relates to the inner life, which is renewed by the Spirit of God, and consists in the sanctification of heart and subordination of the will to the law of the Lord which the Spirit works. The prophecy [of Samuel], therefore, is: Thou wilt, through the Spirit of God which shall come upon thee, not only prophesy in inspired words, but also experience a change of the inner man, as accords with thy divine call to be king.

1 Samuel 10:7. The general significance of the occurrence of these signs. When these signs come to thee (read תְּבֹאֶינָה, Psalms 45:16, “when all this happens to thee”), do what thy hand findeth—the same formula in 1 Samuel 25:8 and Judges 9:33, not, what thou likest, what seems most proper, “ what seems good to thee,” (Cler.), but, what presents itself, “that to which this action leads,” (Ew. III., 41), do what circumstances suggest; for God is with thee, “thou needst not consult any one, for God will second thy counsels” (Cler.). These signs are to signify to him that, so surely as they happen to him will he happily, with God’s help, carry out his undertakings.—These words refer to Saul’s immediate task in his royal calling (of which these God-given signs were to assure him), namely, the deliverance of the people from the oppression of the Philistines.

1 Samuel 10:8. Saul next receives from the prophet a command in God’s name, which limits the unrestricted royal authority conferred on him under support of God; he is forbidden, in the exercise of the royal office, to perform independently priestly functions. Gilgal, situated between the Jordan and Jericho, formerly the camp of the people after the crossing of the Jordan, where were undertaken the wars against the Canaanites for the conquest of the land, the central point of Israel consecrated by the tabernacle and the sacrificial worship (Joshua 5:0.) was now “one of the holiest places in Israel, and the true middle-point of the whole people,—because the control of the Philistines extended so far westward [eastward?] that the centre of gravity of the realm was necessarily pushed back to the bank of the Jordan” (Ew. III., 42). Hither must Saul as king betake himself, when he would enter on the deliverance of Israel from the dominion of the Philistines. “This place seems to have been chosen, because it was remotest from the Philistine border” (Cler.). “There the people assembled in general political questions, and thence, after sacrifice and prayer, marched armed to war. Here, then, especially, in the nature of the case, would the mutual relation of the two independent powers of the realm come into question, be announced, and somehow permanently decided” (Ew. as above). Samuel, therefore, bids Saul wait seven days, when he goes to Gilgal, in order that he, Samuel, may direct the sacrifice, and impart to him the Lord’s commands as to what he shall do. Saul is not to make the offering in his own power—this pertains only to Samuel as priestly mediator between God and the people—nor is he to undertake independently anything in connection with the past struggle for freedom, but he must await the instructions which the prophet is to give him. The king must act only in dependence on the invisible King of his people. See further, on 1 Samuel 10:8 and its relation to 1 Samuel 8:8, the Introduction, pp. 11,12.

1 Samuel 10:9-12. The occurrence of the signs announced to Saul. 1 Samuel 10:9 refers to the fulfilment of the last, most important element of the third prophecy (1 Samuel 10:6): the change into another man. Not only the fact of this renewal, but also its innermost source is indicated in the words: God gave [lit. turned, changed] him another heart, two assertions being involved in this pregnant phrase: God turned him about, and gave him another heart. His departure from Samuel and turning to go back home, and his conversion are expressed, not without design, by the same word turn; for the place, from which he turned, was the means of this conversion; Samuel’s person and word was the instrument by which God began in him the process of inward renewal; the Spirit of God, that wrought and completed it, came in part mediately through Samuel, in part immediately to his heart I from above. According to the Biblical representation the heart denotes the centre of the whole inward life, the uniting-point of all the elements of the inner man. The thorough and complete change to another man can proceed only from the heart, which alone God in His judgments on man looks at (1 Samuel 16:7). The essential element, therefore, in the renewal of the heart is not only the production of a, as it were, new, hitherto latent side of his spiritual being—this is only its symptom—but in a real religious-ethical change and renewal of the innermost foundation of life. In this all special revelations of the divine spirit and will to Saul must culminate; all that has happened from 1 Samuel 9:0 on tends to this highest and innermost end, to the proper establishment of this religious-ethical relation of the innermost foundation of life to God, as the most essential condition of an administration of the theocratic office which should be well-pleasing to God.—And all those signs came to pass that day. From Ramah Saul could easily come to Gibeah the same day through the stations indicated. It is not mentioned in what order the signs occurred, but it is first summarily stated that they were all fulfilled, and then related how the third happened. If the summary statement did not precede, and the third sign were related immediately, one might suppose with Thenius “a possible omission by the redactor;” but, the context of 1 Samuel 10:2-4 being thus [summarily] dispatched, the narrator hastens to the third sign as the most important, in order to show how and under what circumstances it occurred, after having made the remark, which was sufficient for his purpose, that the first and second had been fulfilled according to Samuel’s words. It is worthy of note that none of the ancient translators has attempted to fill out the supposed gap. Thenius adopts the reading of the Sept. “from thence” (καὶ ἔρχεται ἐκεῖθεν), from which he infers the previous mention of another place; but even this reading would not prove an omission, but would refer to the place where Saul separated from Samuel, the journey being thus summarily described with omission of two stations. Further, the words “from thence” would be quite super-fluous.—The שָׁם of the text [Eng. A. V. “thither”] is not to be translated whither (Bunsen: to Gibeah), but expresses local rest: “they come there to Gibeah.”—The mention of the third sign only (there being nothing in narrative or language, as shown above, to necessitate the assumption of a historical or auctorial gap) is not to give importance to Gibeah, Saul’s home (Keil); rather this sign was the most important for Saul’s inner life, and for that on which depended the right exercise of the theocratic royal office, namely, the new heart and life called forth by the prophetic spirit, and it stands in causal connection with the preceding testimony (which is the principal thing) to the actual renewal of Saul’s heart, narrating how Saul was equipped with the Spirit of the Lord, and filled with the prophetic Spirit, which changed his heart.

1 Samuel 10:10. From the local statements here made, it is tolerably clear that this company of prophets dwelt in Gibeah. In order to understand the effect of their appearance on Saul, we must think of it as it is described in 1 Samuel 10:5. Suddenly, unannounced, overpoweringly the Spirit comes upon him, “falls upon” him. Involuntarily, therefore, he is seized by it, and drawn along into the lofty inspiration of the prophets. By the influence of the Lord’s Spirit, which Saul has hitherto experienced through Samuel, he is made capable of receiving the fullness of the prophetical Spirit, and of this sudden seizure by the prophetic inspiration, which thus manifested itself in music and song. He prophesied, that is, he united in their inspired song, or in the discourse in which their new life poured itself forth—in their midst, he attached himself to them, joined their solemn procession; meeting leads to uniting (the phrase, “in the midst,” answers to the “towards him”).

1 Samuel 10:11. Before time [lit. “from yesterday and the day before,” and so Erdmann has it.—Tr.]. This universal previous acquaintance with Saul and the talk of the people among themselves is proof that he was here at home. The surprise produced by Saul’s participation in the prophetic utterance is described with incomparable fidelity and liveliness. The two questions, which testify to surprise and amazement, presuppose two things: 1) the power and significance of the prophetic community in the public opinion, and 2) the fact that Saul’s life had hitherto been far therefrom, that it had not been in harmony, either externally or internally, with this society; we see him suddenly introduced into a sphere which had hitherto been outwardly and inwardly strange to him. Clericus: “This seems to show that Saul had led a life very different from those who associated with the prophets.”

1 Samuel 10:12. To the questions: “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” answer is given by “a man from there” (from Gibeah) in a counter-question, which, by its form (the “who is their father?” referring to the “son of Kish”), ingeniously and decisively repels the false conception of the nature of this prophetic inspiration which lay in these questions. The explanation: “who is their president?” has no support in the connection, and no bearing on the matter. The Sept. has “who is his father?” (adding also [Alex.]: “is it not Kish?”): but this is arbitrary and obviously adopted to get rid of the difficulty in the text. And to suppose that the words: “Who is their father? Is it not Kish?” indicate that recognition as a prophet was denied Saul because of his descent from so insignificant a man as Kish (Then.), or that they merely express the surprise of the people (Ew.), would introduce an intolerable tautology into the lively, pregnant description. As a simple question, these words would mean nothing in the mouth of the man of Gibeah, who necessarily knew the answer, and could learn it from the connection in which the question was asked. The question “who is then their father?” rather refers to the prophets, in whose midst was even now the object of the question of surprise: Is the son of Kish a prophet? As Bunsen rightly remarks, the their is to be emphasized: “And who is their father?” We may suppose (in accordance with the situation) that the words were accompanied by an indicative gesture, and with Oehler (Herz. R. E. XII. 612) explain: “Have these then the prophetic spirit by a privilege of birth?” Bodily paternity is here of no importance; the son of Kish may as well be a prophet as these sons of fathers, who are wholly unknown to us, or of whom we should not, according to human reckoning, suppose that their sons would be filled with the prophetic Spirit. So Bunsen’s admirable explanation: “The speaker declares, against the contemptuous remark about the son of Kish, that the prophets too owed their gift to no peculiarly lofty lineage. Saul also might, therefore, receive this gift, as a gift from God, not as a patrimony.” In this counter-question lies this truth: the impartation of the prophetic Spirit, as of its gifts and powers, pertains to the free, gracious will of God, and is altogether independent of natural-human relations. The expression of surprise at the unexpected change in Saul gives occasion to the proverb: Is Saul also among the prophets? According to its origin here given, this proverb does not merely express surprise at the sudden unexpected transition of a man to another calling in life (Then., Cler.: “another manner of life”), or to a high and honorable position (Münster). The personal and moral qualities of Saul, perhaps the religiousmoral character of his family, or at least the mean opinion that was entertained of Saul’s qualities and capacities, intellectually, religiously and morally, formed the ground of surprise at his sudden assumption of the prophetic character. The proverb, therefore, expresses astonishment at the unexpected appearance of a high spiritual endowment, and, still more, of a high religious-moral tone of life and soul, which has hitherto been foreign to, even (as it seems) opposed to, the person in question.

1 Samuel 10:13-16. A family-scene: Saul and his uncle. 1 Samuel 10:13. The cessation of the prophesying was the result either of a sudden removal of the ecstatic inspiration which had come suddenly on him, or of a separation from the prophesying company. Saul came to the Bamah [high-place]. Instead of Bamah (במה), Then. (so Ew.) reads after the Sept. “to Gibeah” (εἰς τὸν βουνόν, בְּגִבְעָה). But this reading came from the supposed inability to reconcile Saul’s going up to the high-place with the prophetic company’s coming down thence, and Saul’s return to his family in 1 Samuel 10:14, nor did it seem clear, why Saul went up thither. The last objection is removed by the simple suggestion, that Saul went up thither to pray and sacrifice in the holy place after his great experiences of the divine favor and goodness, and so after his return home first to give God the glory before he returned to his family-life. He joined the descending company of prophets in their solemn procession; but when his participation in the utterances of the prophetic inspiration was over, his look rested on the sacred height, whence the men had descended, and the impulse of the Spirit of the Lord forced him up thither, that, after the extraordinary offering he had made with the prophets, he might make the ordinary offering, and engage in worship. This was the aim, suggested by the connection of the whole history, of his ascent to the high-place.

1 Samuel 10:14. The uncle of Saul, here spoken of, was Ner (1 Samuel 14:51), who, like Kish (1 Samuel 9:1), was a son of Abiel, not Abner, as Ewald, with Josephus, supposes. Either Saul’s relations went up with him to the high-place, and the conversation with the uncle occurred there, or (as is natural in a summary statement, like this), we must suppose that Saul came down to his family. According to the narrative the former explanation is preferable. In the question and answer between Saul and his uncle, the history of the search after the asses is briefly recapitulated, 1 Samuel 10:14-16. Saul’s laconic answer to the question of his uncle, who very properly speaks of so important a domestic matter, shows that his heart is fixed on higher things than the asses of his father. To the curious and at the same time inquisitorial question: What said Samuel to you? which shows what importance was attached to knowing the man’s words exactly and fully, Saul answers shortly and to the point: He said that they were found. Thus the uncle, to whom this fact was long since known, was disposed of, and the long conversation he had laid out sharply broken off; thus Saul had done his duty to family-affairs. The further express statement that he said nothing to his uncle of the kingdom, of which Samuel had spoken to him, is to be referred, not to Saul’s unassuming humility (Keil), or modesty (Ewald), or prudence (Then)., or apprehension of his uncle’s incredulity and envy, but to the fact that Samuel, by his manner of imparting the divine revelation, had clearly and expressly given him to understand (1 Samuel 9:25-27) that it was meant in the first instance for him alone, and that it was not the divine will that he should share it with others. The public presentation of Saul as the king of Israel, whom God had chosen, was to take place only at the time appointed by God through Samuel, and at the place which the prophet should determine. Saul may have thought, too, that his uncle’s ears were not entitled to be the first recipients of so holy a message, he having got his rights on the question concerning the asses.

III. The choice of Saul by lot as public confirmation of the divine election already made in secret. 1 Samuel 10:17-21

1 Samuel 10:17. The popular assembly, called by Samuel at Mizpah, because this sacred place was connected in the people’s minds with the memory of the great victory, 1 Samuel 7:0, was intended, as is shown by the expression “to Jehovah” (see 1 Samuel 7:5), solemnly to confirm and ratify the divine choice of Saul to be king of Israel, and to consecrate him to this office. Nägelsbach (Herz. R.-E., XIII. 401), referring to 1 Samuel 10:8, objects that the next meeting was not in Gilgal, but in Mizpah, and that, according to 1 Samuel 11:14, Saul goes to Gilgal not before but with Samuel, and there could, therefore, be no question of waiting for him. The objection is, however, set aside by the remark that these two meetings in Mizpah and Gilgal have nothing to do with 1 Samuel 10:7-8, but are designed, as is expressly said, to announce Saul as the chosen of the Lord, and again to confirm him as king (1 Samuel 10:24; 1 Samuel 11:14), in order that, as universally recognized king, he might, from Gilgal, that ancient classic ground, take in hand the great work of delivering Israel from the Philistines, which, as his primary task, lay ready to his hand (1 Samuel 10:7 : “whatever thy hand findeth”).

1 Samuel 10:18-19. Samuel’s introductory discourse. The “thus saith the Lord,” answers to the “to the Lord” of 1 Samuel 10:17. The people were called to assemble before the Lord to hear His word through the mouth of Samuel, as the latter had received it directly from the Lord. Samuel’s discourse first sets before the people in curt, vigorous phrase the royal deeds of might which God the Lord had done for them: the conduction from Egypt, the deliverance out of the hand of the Egyptians (immediately after the exodus) and the deliverance out of the hand of all the kingdoms which had oppressed them. Cleric.: “The history of which last deliverances is contained in the Book of Judges.”30 This third period of the history embraces the whole time from the conquest of Canaan to the present, including the victory at Mizpah (1 Samuel 7:5), of which the stone before their eyes bore witness. The reference to the kingdoms, from which God had delivered Israel is noteworthy, because, after the pattern of these very kingdoms, the Israelites wished to have a king and an outward kingdom. There is in this a factual irony.

1 Samuel 10:19. The second part of the discourse: the charge of ingratitude and unfaithfulness, expressed in the demand of a king. Their fault consisted not in the simple desire for a king, but in the fact that, forgetting God’s royal achievements, they wished to have a visible mighty king like the heathen nations, and, not seeking help from oppressive enemies from the Lord, they desired a human king along with God, or instead of their invisible King as helper out of all need and oppression.—It is to be noted that the “and ye” at the beginning of the second part [1 Samuel 10:19] answers to the “I” at the beginning of the first part [1 Samuel 10:18], marking emphatically the contrast between the Lord’s powerful help and the people’s sinful conduct in this question of a king.—The contempt or rejection of Jehovah (comp. Expos, on 1 Samuel 8:7 sq.) consisted, in respect to God s gracious and mighty deliverances, in the demand: set a king over us.31 After this sharp rebuke, in which (as before in chap, viii.) the full significance of their desire from the religious-ethical point of view is held up before the people, follows thirdly the factual granting of the desire, according to the divine command, 1 Samuel 8:22, by ordering a choice by the sacred lot. The “and now,” in respect to the “I—ye” contrasted above, marks a division in the address. The manner of choice is enjoined with precision by Samuel. They are to appear “before Jehovah;” this refers not merely to the conception of God as everywhere present (Cleric.: “when invoked, He was present with the assembly”), but also to the holy place in which the Lord’s altar was erected (1 Samuel 7:9). hey were to appear by tribes and thousands, the latter here meaning the same thing as families (מִשְׁפָּחוֹת). To facilitate legal transactions Moses had divided the people into thousands, hundreds, etc., and appointed captains over all these divisions (Exodus 18:25). This division probably followed as closely as possible the natural one, and so the designation thousands was used as synonymous with families (Numbers 1:16; Numbers 10:4; Joshua 22:14, etc.), because the number of heads of houses in the several families of a tribe might easily reach a thousand (comp. 1 Samuel 10:21).

1 Samuel 10:20 sq. Execution and result of this mode of election. The representatives of the tribes being called, the lot fell on the tribe of Benjamin, (properly the tribe “was taken”). How the lots were cast is not said; commonly it was by throwing tablets (Joshua 18:6; Joshua 18:8; Jonah 1:7; Ezekiel 24:7), but sometimes by drawing from a vessel (Numbers 33:54; Leviticus 16:9). The latter seems to have been the method here employed. There is not the slightest ground for connecting this with the lot of the high-priestly Urim and Thummim (Vaihinger in Herz. R.-E. IV. 85).

1 Samuel 10:21. When the families of the tribe of Benjamin were called, the lot fell on the family of Matri,32 an otherwise unknown name (Ew. III. 33 conjectures that it is corrupted from Bikri). In the families the lot was usually so conducted that the houses (בָּתִּים) were next called (Joshua 7:14), then from the patrœce or father-house (בֵּית־אָב) thus chosen the individual heads of families (גְּבָרִים) came forward, that the family and the individual chosen by the Lord might be indicated (see Keil in loco, Rem. 1). Here the description of the election is abridged, the last steps being passed over (comp. what is said above on the three signs). The result is given at once: And Saul was taken. The insertion of the Sept. “and they present the family of Matri by men” is to be regarded (with Keil, against Then.) as an interpretation of the Alexandrian translators. According to the order above-stated (from Joshua 7:14) it fills out the supposed gap in the text not completely, but only partially and erroneously.—They sought Saul, but found him not. The ground was his diffidence and shyness in respect to appearing publicly before the whole people. Nägelsbach rightly remarks (Herz., “Saul,” p. 433), that his hiding behind the baggage during the election is not in conflict with the account of his change of mind. “At so decisive a moment, which turns the eyes of all on one with the most diverse feelings, the heart of the most courageous man may well beat.” The situation, along with an element bordering on the comic, has a serious significance and a deep psychological truth.

IV. Saul declared king; the partial homage. 1 Samuel 10:22-27.

1 Samuel 10:22. Inquiry of the Lord and divine answer in respect to the failure to find Saul. To inquire of the Lord (1 Samuel 22:10; 1 Samuel 23:9 sq.; 1 Samuel 28:6; 1 Samuel 30:7 sq.; 2 Samuel 2:1; Numbers 27:21; Judges 1:1; Judges 20:27) is to ask for the divine decision in individual matters of private or (as here) public importance for the theocratic congregation, by Urim and Thummim. [For a case of personal inquiry in premosaic times, see Genesis 25:22—Tr.]. Though the latter is not here expressly mentioned, its presence must be assumed according to Exodus 28:30, it being inseparably connected with the high-priestly Ephod, in the Choshen of which (breastplate with twelve precious stones and the name of the twelve tribes) it was placed. The inquiry of Jehovah by this means was, it is true, according to Exodus 28:0 and Numbers 27:0, to be made by the high-priest. We cannot, however, suppose that this was done here, for the high-priest’s office was vacant; some other, not Samuel, who presided over the assembly and the election, but a priest, in the high-priestly robes, conducted the solemn inquiry, which was exclusively the privilege of the priests. It must be looked on as a different act from the preceding casting of lots.—The question was: Has any one else come hither? that is, besides those here present, among whom Saul was not to be found. The “one” (lit. “man”) refers to the one who could not be found; the oracle is to give information as to his presence or absence. The Sept. and Vulg. have: “will the man yet come hither?” and Then, alters the text accordingly, against which Keil rightly remarks: “it was unnecessary to inquire of God whether Saul would yet come; he might have been sent for without more ado.”—The answer is: Behold, he is there, hid among the baggage. The Pron. “he” (הוּא) does not require a preceding “the man” (Then.), but relates to the person referred to in, or giving occasion to the question, and to whom the procedure referred. “Stuff” (σκεύη, vasa), baggage, which must have been extensive in such an assembly. As Saul had the assurance that he was the king chosen by God, his behavior here could not signify that he wished to evade the acceptance of the kingdom, but must be referred to overpowering diffidence, in view of the grand preparations of the election and the divine decision which had laid so mighty a grasp on his life, and to “anxious consideration of the awfully important consequences of his appearance” (Ew.).—With this view the remark of Clericus may be considered to accord: “Saul, informed beforehand by Samuel of what would be done, seems to have hidden himself, that he might not appear to have solicited the royal dignity, and to have come to Mizpah to gain the popular vote for himself.”—In the beginning of 1 Samuel 10:23 the three consecutive verbs give a quick and lively coloring to the whole process of fetching Saul from his purposely sought-out hiding-place. His magnificent stature (1 Samuel 9:2), as outward-physical qualification for the kingdom, very imposing to the people, is here again expressly mentioned (εἶδος ἄξιον τυραννίδος, Eurip. in Grotius). In accordance with the people’s receptivity for so imposing and kingly an appearance, Samuel closes the solemn election with the words (1 Samuel 10:24): See ye him whom the Lord has chosen? by which he expressly declares the election by lot to be a confirmation of the previous divine choice, and completes the formal presentation of Saul as the divinely-appointed king, and then adds as proof: For there is none like him in all the people. There are two factors which, according to this account, co-operated to call forth the people’s cry of salutation and homage: May the king live! The testimony of Samuel: “This is the king chosen by the Lord,” granted in spite of the fact that their demand, proceeding from a vain, haughty, and unfaithful mind, was not well-pleasing to him, and the immediate impression made by Saul’s person, which was in keeping with the kingly dignity.

1 Samuel 10:25. The manner of the kingdom. Samuel is said to have done three things in connection with this constitution: 1) he set it before the people; 2) he wrote it in a book; 3) he laid it up before the Lord.—The “law of the kingdom,” which Samuel presented to the people, is, as appears from the context, one which has not yet been written. It is to be distinguished from the “manner of the king” (1 Samuel 8:11 sqq.) in which Samuel set before the people the usurpation of an unrestricted arbitrary rule, such as existed among the heathen nations whose monarchical constitution Israel envied. In content it was no doubt essentially the same with the law of the king in Deuteronomy 17:14-20, especially 1 Samuel 10:19-20, and therefore related to the divinely established rights and duties of the theocratic king, the fulfilment of which the people were authorized to demand from him. God’s purpose is to rule the people through Him as His organ. The “right [or manner] of the kingdom” is therefore, this being its theocratic ground and aim, not a capitulation (Michaelis) between the king (that is, here Samuel) and the people or the first example of a constitutional monarchy (Then.); for the restraints, which are here set on the kingly power, are not imposed by the demands of the people, or by a partition of power between king and people, and not by a contract or agreement between the two as parties, but are given in the divine Law, in the already existing theocratic right of the theocracy, in which the absolute monarchy of the divine will is to rule and reign over king and people, both together.—Samuel wrote this law of the kingdom in a book. We find here the first trace, after the written records of Moses, of writing among the prophets, long before the literary activity to which we owe what we now have, and essentially also the spoken prophecies with the historical notices pertaining to them—the beginning of a literature, which was exclusively in the service of the theocratic spirit, and, when it appeared soon after this in the so-called Schools of the Prophets, made its first task the theocratic writing of history.—He laid it up before the Lord. Where and how? The supposition that it was deposited in the Tabernacle at Shiloh contradicts the context, from which it appears that the deposition was made in the place where the announcement took place. The expression “before the Lord” leaves the manner undetermined, and indicates merely the solemn and formal deposition and preservation of the writing, as sacred original documentary record of the establishment and regulation of the theocratic kingdom, in a safe place before the Lord, whose presence was symbolically represented partly by the holy priestly vestment, partly by the altar to which the people approached, and in connection therewith had here its local representation even without tabernacle and ark, though we know not in what manner.—Notwithstanding this public and solemn investment of Saul with the royal dignity and authority, Samuel continues to be the highest director of the affairs of the people; the now established kingdom retires passively into the background before Samuel’s Prophetic-Judicial Office, which retains its full activity and authority. This is indicated by the fact that it is not Saul, but Samuel that finally dismisses the people, an act which involves the formal closing by him of the assembly.

1 Samuel 10:26-27. Saul’s behavior after his installation as king, and the behavior of the people towards him. And Saul also went home to Gibeah. Clericus hence infers that the Philistines had no military post at Gibeah, since they would not have permitted Israel to have a king in opposition to their authority; but the objection vanishes when we reflect that, the Philistines being few in number and at a distance from the place of election, the meaning of the event might easily have been concealed from them, at least for the short time till the battle of 1 Samuel 11:0 during which Saul remained quietly at home, especially as such great religious assemblies at Samuel’s instance were not infrequent and could not appear strange to the Philistines, and Saul had returned to his ordinary occupations in the field.—The conduct of the people towards Saul as king is twofold. On one side he receives friendly recognition with willingness to serve him [and there went with him the company of valiant men]. The Sept. and Then, read: “There went sons of strength, whose hearts God had touched, with Saul;” but this is suspicious as being apparently a conformity to the following “sons of wickedness,” interpreting the somewhat strange word “valiant company” (חַיִל) by the ordinary periphrasis “sons of strength” (בְּנֵיחַיִל), as in 1 Kings 1:52. The word (חיל) is found alone with similar meaning “host” (in Pharaoh’s retinue) in Exodus 14:28; here it means “valiant company,” but with allusion to the “power” which Saul as king might build up from such valiant men as those who now formed the escort of honor. Whose hearts God had touched; that is, to show themselves so faithful and willing in service and obedience. This faithfulness and willingness to serve, shown in their escorting Saul, sprang from their hearts, the deepest base and centre of their inner life; but it was in this case an effect of the immediate influence of the Spirit of God, who sanctifies and rules the heart even in respect to moral deportment towards His constituted authorities. But not irresistibly. In 1 Samuel 10:27 we find an organized opposition to God’s established kingdom, whose representative Saul was. Whether envy and jealousy produced it (Then.) is not said. The opposition are called “worthless people” (בְּנֵי בְלִיַּעַל). They are people who 1) haughtily and contemptuously nullified beforehand the whole-someness and utility of Saul’s royal government for the people in their depressed condition,—the question “What will the man help us?” expresses hostility to and contempt for Saul’s kingship as a completely aimless and useless institution; 2) they exhibited decided “contempt” for his fitness for the office, and attacked his personal honor; 3) they did not show submission to his rule, “brought him no present” as sign of reverence, obedience, and obligation to provide for his maintenance; for freewill-gifts from the people were a part of the regular revenue of princes.—Clericus: “Therefore others, who thought better of his election, brought him gifts, that he might maintain the royal dignity without disgrace.” Saul’s conduct towards these enemies: he was as a deaf man; that is, he acted as if he heard nothing; “he left those men’s contempt unnoticed” (Cler.). This shows self-control and self-denial, but also great foresight and prudence; for though Saul had had the right, notwithstanding his and Samuel’s purpose that he should remain in private life awhile, to proceed vigorously against this mean insult to his person and office, yet such a course might have prejudiced his position among and towards the people; and all the more, if the open opposers, as Nägelsbach conjectures (Herz. XIII. 433), belonged “to the princes of the larger and hitherto controlling tribes of Judah and Ephraim, who were dissatisfied with the election of an obscure Benjaminite,” in which case, still more imbittered by Saul’s resolution to punish them, they could have made their influence still more widely felt against him.—As to the construction it is to be remarked with Keil on וַיֵּלְכוּ (1 Samuel 10:26) and וַיְהִי (1 Samuel 10:27) that in both cases “the Imperf. with Waw Consec. forms the apodosis to a preceding adjective-clause as protasis,” and the sequence of clauses in German [and English, Tr.] would be: “When Saul also went home… .there went with him… ., and when worthless people said… .he was as a deaf person.”


See the remarks in the Exegetical exposition. In addition to these:
1. Anointing with oil as a sacred, theocratic usage is the symbol of introduction into the fellowship and service of the Spirit of God, as is clear from 1 Samuel 16:13 sq.; Isaiah 60:1 sq. It was employed 1) in connection with the tabernacle and “all that was in it,” that is, its furniture (Exodus 29:36; Exodus 30:26-30; Exodus 40:9-13; Leviticus 8:10-12; Numbers 7:1), and in these lifeless objects (which are said to be “sanctified”) denotes their separation from everything unclean and unholy, and their consecration to the holy end for which they were designed, namely, to be instruments of God’s Holy Spirit for acting on His people. So it is said especially of the altar of burnt-offering, Exodus 40:10 : “and it shall be most holy,” because as the place of expiation, it was the holiest object in the court; 2) in connection with persons, who are called to theocratical service and office, anointing is the symbol of the impartation of God’s Spirit, and the equipment with His gifts and powers as indispensable condition of the right theocratic exercise of the office. Hitherto confined to sanctuary and priests, it now appears as the consecration to the theocratic office of king, and denotes here the impartation of the powers of light and life from the Spirit of God, as possessor of which the king is henceforth called by excellence the Anointed of the Lord, and is alone authorized to exercise the theocratic rule in the name of the Lord, the invisible King. The “coming of the Spirit of God” on Saul and David is the consequence of their anointing, or answers to the significance of its symbolism. The natural basis for this symbolism of oil is its power to dispense light and life, joy and healing, by which it sets forth the Spirit’s dispensation of light and life and the therein-contained gifts and powers (Bähr, Symb. ii. 173). And in the historical development of the theocracy and of the divine revelations which point to the perfecting and fulfilment of the theocracy in the New Covenant, the symbolic anointing of theocratic kings, priests, and prophets (comp. 1 Kings 19:15-16) as sign of the impartation of the Spirit of God and its powers is the type, that is, the historical foretokening and prefiguring of the anointing with the Spirit without measure (John 3:34) and with the spirit of might (Acts 10:38), by which Jesus was “the Christ,” the Anointed of God for the New-Testamental kingdom of God, first as King of His kingdom, and then as chief Prophet and Priest. Samuel’s word: “The Lord hath anointed thee,” signifies that God Himself, of His free grace, dispenses the powers and gifts of His Spirit, when He calls to an office in His kingdom and service.

2. The greatness and glory of the royal office consisted essentially in the fact that he who filled it was “Prince over the inheritance or possession of Jehovah.” The foundation for this view is the inward life-fellowship into which God has so entered with Israel by His self-revelation, that they have Him as their God, as their highest good and possession; Exodus 20:2 : “I am the Lord, thy God.” God is thus the possession of His people, and of every individual godly man, Psalms 16:5; Psalms 142:6; Psalms 119:57; Jeremiah 10:16; Jeremiah 51:19. Conversely the people of Israel is the property (סְגֻלָּה) of its God, or His inheritance (נַחֲלָה), 1) by reason of its election out of all other peoples, Exodus 19:5; Exodus 2:0) by reason of the wonderful deliverance out of Egypt, Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 9:29; Deuteronomy 3:0) by reason of the covenant at Sinai, Exodus 19:5; Exodus 4:0) by reason of the constant manifestations of grace and salvation (Psalms 28:9; 2 Samuel 14:16; 2 Samuel 21:3), among which the forgiveness of sins is the greatest, Exodus 34:9. The New Covenant presents the fulfillment and completion of this relation in the λᾶος περιούσιος [“peculiar people,” that is, God’s own property] Titus 2:14 : 1 Peter 2:9.

3. The three signs which, in accordance with Samuel’s prophetic announcement, were given to Saul, signify in the first place in general the assurance given him (by events apparently accidental, yet ordered to this end by God) of His divine appointment to the royal office and his qualification for it, and of the fact that the Lord would therein be with him. In the lives of those who desire to serve God in faithful obedience, even the simplest and apparently most accidental events must go to confirm the assurance that all things work together for good to them that serve God, and to confirm their confidence in His providence that works in detached, seemingly insignificant circumstances, and His faithfulness that lasts through life.—Severally, however, these three signs indicate so many principal stations in the development of Saul’s inner life, and in an advancing line from the ass-driver to the “prince of the inheritance of God.” These are divinely-ordered facts, each of which has two meanings for Saul; first a factual revelation or instruction from God for the present moment, and then a prefigurative relation to the future administration of his royal office. The first occurrence, the meeting with two men who inform him that the asses are found, frees his heart from the pressure of little, earthly, everyday cares, and instructs him henceforth, free from the concerns of the lower, material life, to direct his inner life to the lofty aims and duties of his theocratic calling. Once for all the petty earthly is to find for him its quietus. Inwardly free and consecrated to the Lord alone, he is to pursue his way upward. The second sign: three men going up to Bethel offer him two of the three sacrificial loaves. This gift is the factual homage paid him by a royal offering, and betokens for the future his royal position in which to him, along with sanctuary and priests, the wealth of the land will be offered as tribute. The third event directs Saul’s look from this kingly power to the highest conditions of a right theocratic administration, which he receives through impartation of the Spirit of God and His gifts. In the company of prophets by the Spirit which comes on him, he receives the gift of prophecy and that equipment of his inner life with the powers of the divine Spirit by which he becomes another man and receives a new heart. In this there is also for the future the warning that it is only under the guidance of God’s Spirit, in the absolute obedience of his will to the divine will, rooted in a heart new-created, changed by the Holy Ghost and sanctified, that he can fulfil his calling so as to secure the welfare of God’s inheritance and the approbation of the Lord. So, while outwardly wandering from place to place, and coming home at last, Saul rises inwardly from the cares of a lower earthly calling to the lofty tasks of the highest office of the theocracy in which he is to gain for his people the holiest possessions—from a low and common sphere of life to a free broad view that embraces all Israel—from a soul entangled in the natural and earthly to the experience of thorough renewal of heart and change of mind—from a low and narrow wealth, wherein he seeks satisfaction, to the possession of the highest and holiest gift, the Spirit of God—from a profane, godless life, to the most intimate fellowship with God through the mediation of the Spirit. This career and leading of Saul is a type of the Lord’s leadings which all experience who give themselves up to His guidance that they may be called by Him for His kingdom and its service. The change of the natural man, the renewal of the inner life from the heart out showed itself, indeed, in the Old-Testamental point of view, partially and sporadically; but at the same time it was also only a thing postulated, desiderated, promised, and as such is most clearly expressed in Psalms 51:12-14; Jeremiah 31:0; Ezekiel 36:0; the complete fulfillment was possible only in the New-Testamental kingdom of God through the new birth by the Spirit of God which in all its fulness was first imparted by Christ and went out from Christ, John 3:0. [Because of the difference in force and extent of the expression “new heart” in the Old and New Testaments, we must guard against supposing in Saul so radical a change as Dr. Erdmann seems disposed to assume. In the Old Test, conception any endowment, spiritual, mental or physical, which connects itself with faith in God, is regarded as the product of the Spirit of God (see the history of Samson and the Judges generally, and Balaam), and a divine influence which leads a man to sing the praises of God, as Saul did here, is not necessarily the creative touch which regenerates the soul. In an important sense Saul was a changed man, and received a new heart, in the elevation of his aims and his upward striving to God; but his after-life shows that this impulse towards the divine, given in mercy by the divine Spirit, was damped and finally destroyed by the opposing force of his worldliness and self-seeking. His heart, so we must conclude from the teachings of Scripture, was touched and roused, but not new-created.—Tr.]

4. It is noteworthy for the significance of this crisis in the life of Saul as well as in the history of the kingdom of God in Israel, that these three facts, so important for the establishment of the kingdom and the calling of Saul, occur at or not far from holy places, which were of great importance for the history of Israel. Rachel’s grave must have reminded Saul how here, by the birth of Benjamin, which cost his ancestress her life, was laid the foundation of the greatness to which this smallest tribe was raised by his election as king. The ancient Bethel carried him back to the time when God’s revelation to Jacob strengthened the foundation of the theocracy which was laid in Abraham’s call and the promises given him, and renewed the promise made to the patriarchs; in the sanctuary there Saul sees the sign of the covenant-faithfulness of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Gibeah and its neighboring height was a place consecrated to sacrifice and prayer, and especially important because the dwelling-place or pilgrimage-shrine of a community of prophets. Here flourishes prophecy, which in Samuel prepares the way for the kingdom, and guides it on the way; here rules the mighty prophetic spirit, which lays hold on Saul, and which he receives with its gifts. The holy places, in and near which Saul receives the three signs, are, in respect to their significance for his calling to the royal office, the historically holy ground. “This is as little accidental as the belief, so often expressed in the Psalter, that help comes from the holy place; and the central country; the tribes of Benjamin and Ephraim, whither Saul’s steps now lead him, is especially rich in such holy places” (Ew. III. 30).

5. For the development of prophecy in the time just before the rise of the theocratic kingdom the history in this section is important in several respects. We here meet for the first time a prophetic fraternity, which is not an accidental assemblage, but a connected, united community. Its members are called “prophets;” to their designation Nebiim (נְבִיאִים) [“prophets,” taken to be from a verb meaning “to gush forth”]) answers the inspired outstreaming of praise to God in testimony of His deeds of grace; the bond that unites them is the Spirit of God, who fills them and impels them to such inspired utterances; their inner unity and fellowship shows itself, it is probable, already in a common abode and like manner of life. It is an association of prophetical men, representing both the prophetic calling and office (munus), and the prophetic gift (donum), that is, prophecy not of the nature of a calling and office. Whatever may have been the numerical strength of this prophetic element in the people, it is certain from this narrative that the Spirit of the Lord showed itself alive in individual circles of the national life, and freely and mightily unfolded its powers and gifts. A preindication of this is found in the incident recorded in Numbers 11:26 sq., where the Spirit of the Lord freely and independently of institutions exhibited its awakening and vitalizing power, outside of the circle of Elders gathered around Moses at the Tabernacle, in the camp of the people, and when Joshua contended that Moses’ official authority was the only proper medium of the divine Spirit, Moses rebuked him with the words: “Enviest thou for my sake? I would that all Jehovah’s people were prophets, that Jehovah would put his Spirit upon them!” In the rise of the prophets of Samuel’s time we see a fulfillment of the promise contained in Moses’ exclamation, a sign of the new spiritual life of faith aroused in the people, a type of the outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh, which is prophesied of in Joel 3:0. [1 Samuel 2:28], and is set forth in the New Covenant as factual condition of the universal priesthood, limited only by the working of God’s Spirit, and as final revelation of the living God. Further, in these prophetic communities, whether they were from the beginning firmly organized or free associations, we see the unifying, associative power of the prophetic spirit over against the disruption of the theocratic and religious life which was the legacy of the time of the Judges. The company descending from the high-place at Gibeah, which Saul joined, shows that in these bodies there were common religious exercises. However these associations arose through the associative impulse of the awakened higher life—whether Samuel founded them or not is uncertain, the latter is more probable; but after their establishment he took them under his care, and later gave them a firmer form and government (see 1 Samuel 19:0. and what is there said at greater length of the schools of the prophets)—they were, by their concentrated power of religious life, light and salt for the popular life, and diffused around them the influences of the Spirit that filled them. An indication of this is the power of the Spirit by which Saul was laid hold of (in his third sign) after his meeting with those men. But this new Spirit-born life has its contrast always in a lower, sensuous life, disinclined to the joyous abandon and the holy uprising towards God. The wondering question: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” points to such a contrast, in which the worldly-minded, strangers to the life in the Spirit of the Lord, stand opposed to the members of the prophetic Union, just as to-day the children of the world, despising the guidance of the Spirit from above, set themselves with contempt or reviling over against living Christians, the “pietists and godly.”

The prophetic inspiration is characteristically delineated in these occurrences. Its essence consists in such an entrance of the Spirit of God into the inner life of the prophet, that the latter is thereby mightily laid hold of and lifted up into the condition of ecstatic ravishment. As a vehicle of this spiritual excitation appears here instrumental and vocal music which, on the physical-psychical side, gives freer play to the feelings aroused by the divine Spirit. The prophetic inspiration takes the musical art into its service. If 1 Samuel 10:5 says nothing special as to the relation of music to the prophetic utterance, it yet shows that music was practiced in the prophetic communities. In its origin the prophetic inspiration shows itself as a sudden thing which gets the mastery of the man’s subjective state; the Spirit of God “comes upon” Saul; we trace it as a controlling power in 1 Samuel 10:6; 1Sa 10:10; 1 Samuel 19:20; Micah 3:8. The utterance of this inspiration, the “prophesying,” is impassioned address or inspired song, and has an enkindling, sweeping power. It is, however, only a momentary, not a continuous thing. As the seventy-two elders prophesied once, and not again, so also Saul here among the prophets. The spring of the Spirit is an intermitting one, because, according to the nature of the Old Covenant, though there might be various grades of individual powerful inworkings, there could not be a permanent indwelling of the Spirit of God in the heart of man.33 The indispensable condition of the prophetic inspiration and of prophesying as a genuine life-utterance of the Spirit from above is a mind directed to the living God, the religious-ethical disposition of heart well-pleasing to him, such as Saul had received by the Lord’s leadings, he going obediently and humbly in the ways appointed him. Comp. 1 Samuel 10:9 : “God gave him another heart,” with 1 Samuel 10:10 : “the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied in their midst.”

6. “God gave him another heart,” comp. 1 Samuel 10:9 with 1 Samuel 10:6 and Deuteronomy 5:26 [29]: “O that they had such a heart to fear me.” “Therefore the working of revelation is directed to renewing man from the heart, and its aim is, by a divine salvation, to destroy the unreceptiveness (the stupidity in which the soul’s centre labors, as Roos expresses it, Fund. psychol. ex sacr. script., 1769, p. 153) and the opposition of the heart (the circumcision of the heart, Deuteronomy 30:6), to put the fear of God into the heart (Jeremiah 32:40), and so make the law an inward thing (Jeremiah 31:33). This is effected by the divine Spirit which, even under the Old Covenant, making prophets by change of heart into other men (1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Samuel 10:9), and causing the pious to experience His power, that purifies the heart and brings it into accord with God’s law (Psalms 51:12-14), thus points to the new creation of the heart on the plane of completed salvation, Ezekiel 36:26 sq.; Ezekiel 11:19.” Oehler s. v. Herz, Herzog, R. E.

7. The two elections of king; 1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16 and 1 Samuel 10:17-27. Saul’s call to the royal office consists in two consecutive acts: 1) in the section 1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16 is related how Saul is personally called in secret, consecrated by anointing, and by the three signs assured that he is the king of Israel called by the Lord. Here the divine factor, as the only effective one, appears in the foreground; 2) in 1 Samuel 10:17-27 is related the public election of Saul by lot by a popular assembly called for that purpose by Samuel “to the Lord.” Here the human factor appears in co-operation with the divine, and Samuel is their intermediator. There is no conflict between these two narratives. “Is then the divine instruction to Samuel to grant the people’s demand and give them a king (1 Samuel 8:0) and the revelation that Saul was the man selected by Jehovah, together with the anointing of Saul (1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16) irreconcilable with his choice by lot?—That a prophet carries out unconditionally the will of God, even when it does not accord with his own views, and leaves the decision of the lot to the control of God, involves neither a tempting of God nor a piece of jugglery” (Keil, Introd. I., 235; the latter part against Thenius). By the lot, as means of direct divine decision, Saul, already in secret called to be king, was as such openly before the whole people to receive solemn divine legitimation. Similarly in Aaron’s case, Numbers 17:0. Besides the two principal stations of the road on which Saul is led by God through Samuel into the kingdom, Ramah and Mizpah, between which Rachel’s grave, Deborah’s oak and Gibeah are important intermediate stations, there is yet a third, Gilgal, chap. 11. Here the kingdom is renewed to him, here he first finds undivided, universal recognition as king of Israel, having once more received the divine legitimation by a victory over the enemy. We find here a gradation in the occurrences, each of which contains a new moment, and none of which has anything that excludes or contradicts the others.

8. The twofold law of the king, 1 Samuel 8:11-18 and 1 Samuel 10:25. These two are mutually exclusive. The former (8) is that which is historically necessary from the heathen point of view, the consequence of the demand to have a king like the kings of the nations; the latter (10) is the ideal theocratic law of the king, which corresponds to the call of the covenant-people, and, as an outflow from the holy will of the covenant God, is the limit and norm of the royal government. The former sprang from the sinful self-will of men, the latter is the absolute dominion of the divine will. Saul’s call and election was to be completed in his attestation after the norm of this law of the kingdom.

9. The position of prophecy towards the newly-established kingdom is a controlling, regulating, norm-giving one. Samuel’s conduct towards Saul on his entrance upon the theocratic royal calling prefigures the position which prophecy was henceforth to occupy alongside of the kingdom. “That the law of the king should not be a dead letter, that royal self-will should be kept within bounds, was to be the care not of a representative popular assembly, but of prophecy, which stood as theocratic watchman by the side of royalty.” Oehler, s. v. König in Herz. R. E. VI. 12.


1 Samuel 9:27; 1 Samuel 10:1. How the Lord fits His chosen ones for the kingly calling in His kingdom : 1) By quiet instruction by means of His word He brings them into a right knowledge of the tasks He assigns; 2) By the anointing of His Spirit He imparts to them the needful power and strength therefor; 3) By the production of infallible signs He gives them a just certainty and joyous confidence. [1 Samuel 10:2, latter part, Scott: A superior care, in common life, swallows up an inferior one; and the tender parent ceases from anxiety about his property, when solicitous for the welfare of his son… . And so, a due concern about eternal things would moderate our care about the interests of this life.—Tr.].

1 Samuel 10:2-9. The signs of divine guidance along the paths of human life on earth, how they 1) Pointing backwards, remind us of the manifestations of grace in past times (the holy places); 2) Pointing upwards, admonish us to lift up the heart from worthless, earthly things to higher good; 3) Pointing forwards, demand a new life in the Spirit, and 4) call on us to look into our own heart, while for the work of renewal of the whole man they promise the gifts and powers of the Spirit from above.

The appearance of special divine signs in human life: 1) Whence coming? a) Ordered in time by God’s wise Providence, not springing from chance, not aimless; b) Decreed in his eternal purpose, not accidental, not groundless; c) Sent as messengers of His holy and gracious will, not meaningless. 2) To whom applying? a) To him who lets himself be guided by God; b) To him who holds still when God is guiding him, and c) To him who lets God speak to Him by His word. 3) What signifying? a) Reminding of the saving and gracious presence of God (partly in the past, partly in the present: “God is with thee”); b) Pointing to our tasks, which under the guidance of the Lord are to be fulfilled (1 Samuel 10:7-8); c) Exhorting to a renewal of the whole inner life through the power of the Holy Ghost (comp. 1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Samuel 10:9). [1 Samuel 10:5. Music as a means of religious exaltation. Comp. 2Ki 3:15; 1 Corinthians 14:26-33; Ephesians 5:18.—Tr.].

1 Samuel 10:6-9. The transforming effects of the Spirit of God. 1) Out of the old heart He creates a new man. 2) Out of dumb people He makes prophets. 3) To the weak He lends power and strength for a great work. 4) Remoteness from God He changes into the most intimate communion with God.

1 Samuel 10:6; 1 Samuel 10:9. The Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee! 1) A great word of promise, which applies to every one that is called to the kingdom of God. 2) A wonderful event of the inner life, which occurs and is experienced only under definite conditions. 3) The beginning of a new life, which takes place by the change of the heart. [1 Samuel 10:6. Prophesying not a certain proof of piety. Comp. Balaam, Caiaphas (John 11:51), and the “many” in Matthew 7:22—Tr.].

1 Samuel 10:7. The great word, “God is with thee!” 1) The infallible signs, which assure us of it. 2) The consoling strength, which the heart thereby receives. 3) The mighty impulse to do according to God’s good pleasure, which lies therein. 4.) The earnest exhortation which is thereby given, in all the occurrences of human life, to mark the will of the Lord therein made known.

1 Samuel 10:9. The new heart a gift of God. 1) Through human proclamations of the divine word the renewal of the heart is only prepared for. 2) But through the divine act of the Holy Spirit working through the word it is effected, and 3) It is accompanied by infallible signs of the manifestations of divine grace. [Henry: He has no longer the heart of a husbandman, …concerned only about his corn and cattle; but the heart of a statesman, a general, a prince. Whom God calls to service He will make fit for it. If He advance to another station, He will give another heart, to those who sincerely desire to serve Him with their power.—Tr.].

1 Samuel 10:10. The power of communion in the Lord: 1) Inwardly it unites the members closely together, a) into an inward confederacy of love in the Lord, b) into harmonious praise of the Lord; 2) Outwardly it exercises a controlling and contagious influence: a) so that a way is made for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of others, and b) so that like effects of the Spirit are manifested in others also.

1 Samuel 10:7-12. The beginning of a new life in the Spirit: 1) Naturally prepared for and indicated beforehand through signs given by God (1 Samuel 10:7; 1 Samuel 10:9); 2) Supernaturally effected through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 10:10); 3) Inwardly consisting in the renewal of the heart (1 Samuel 10:9); 4) Outwardly manifesting itself in the fruits (effects) of the Spirit (willing obedience to the Lord’s command, patient waiting for the Lord’s direction; joyful testimony to the Lord’s grace). [It is not safe to treat this history as a case of true and thorough spiritual renewal, in any sense approaching the New Test, use of similar expressions. Comp. note of Tr. above in “Historical.”—Tr.].

1 Samuel 10:11-12. The question, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 1) A cry of astonishment by the world estranged from God, in which it speaks its own sentence; 2) A reliable attestation and confirmation of the miracle of the awaking to a new life for him in whom it has occurred; 3) A. factual proclamation of the honor of the Lord, who by His Spirit creates such a transformation in man. [Henry: Let not the worst be despaired of, yet let not an external show of devotion, and a sudden change for the present, be too much relied on; for Saul among the prophets, was Saul still.—Tr.].

1 Samuel 10:13-16. The art of testifying and being silent at the right time about the things of the kingdom of God: 1) How it is to be learned in the school of the Holy Spirit (after Saul’s example); 2) How it is to be exercised according to the company in which one finds himself (the inspired host of prophets—the profane uncle of Saul).

1 Samuel 10:17-19. The mightiest means employed by the word of God to awaken true repentance: 1) It humbles by reminding us of the manifestations of grace which without merit or worthiness we have experienced, in which the Lord has shown Himself our compassionate father (1 Samuel 10:18). 2) It rebukes by setting before us our ingratitude and unfaithfulness, with which we have rewarded Him (1 Samuel 10:19, “over us”), and 3) It shames us by pointing to the grace and faithfulness of God, which notwithstanding do not depart from us, in which He patiently condescends even to our sinful wishes and demands (“And now present yourselves before the Lord”—).

1 Samuel 10:21-22. [He could not be found—hidden among the baggage. Henry: So little fond was he now of that power, which yet, when he was in possession of, he could not without the utmost indignation think of parting with.… We may suppose he was at this time really averse to take upon him the government, 1. Because he was conscious to himself of unfitness for so great a trust. He had not been bred up to books, or arms, or courts, and feared he should be guilty of some fatal blunder. 2. Because it would expose him to the envy of his neighbors that were ill-affected towards him. 3. Because he understood by what Samuel had said, that the people sinned in asking a king, and it was in anger that God granted their request. 4. Because the affairs of Israel were at this time in a bad posture: the Philistines were strong, the Ammonites threatening, and he must be bold indeed, that will set sail in a storm.—Tr.].

1 Samuel 10:20-27. True humility and modesty: 1) How it roots itself in a human heart touched by the Spirit of God; 2) How it shows itself, a) before God in the confession of unworthiness and unfitness for service in His kingdom, b) before men in reserve and silence; 3) How it is crowned, a) before God, with the calling to His service, b) before men, with the approbation of men’s hearts which is wrought by God the Lord.

1 Samuel 10:24-27. The divine choice and calling of a man to service in God’s kingdom: 1) It makes itself known in outward signs (“see ye,” 1 Samuel 10:24); 2) It is conditional by the requisite natural gifts and properties (“that there is none like him,” &c., 1 Samuel 10:24); 3) It carries itself forward by preparation from above, a) with the gifts and powers of the Spirit, b) through instruction in the will of God (1 Samuel 10:25); 4) It rises up above the favor and disfavor of parties, in that it teaches us, a) to value human approbation as a gift of God (1 Samuel 10:26), and b) over against the hate and contempt of opposers to observe an humble silence before God.

J. Disselhoff, 1 Samuel 10:1-11. The anointing to the office of king: 1) On those who hold still before their God this anointing is wrought, really and truly, though at first in hope; 2) And although it is wrought only in hope, yet it is attested by divine signs following. The same: 1 Samuel 10:7-8; 1 Samuel 10:13-27. What the royal anointing gives, and what it demands: 1) It makes the anointed one fit for all that his office lays upon him; 2) It demands that the anointed one should now do nothing more according to his own choice, but every thing according to the direction and will of God.

[1 Samuel 10:27. “And he was as though he were deaf.” Notwithstanding they 1) questioned his capacity, 2) despised his power, 3) refused him homage and help (see Exegetical Notes), he was as though he were deaf, thereby showing 1) self-control, 2) prudence, 3) humility. Apply this to 1) public officers, 2) employers of servants or other subordinates, 3) persons in society, 4) church officials. There is a high sense in which God acts thus, and bad men imagine that He really is deaf (Psalms 73:11; Psalms 94:7; Job 22:13.—Tr.]


[1][1 Samuel 10:1. יִצֹּק. Qal. Impf. of יצק—Tr.]

[2][1 Samuel 10:1. On the Sept. insertion here see Expos.—Tr.]

[3][1 Samuel 10:2. Lit. “hath put aside the affair.”—Tr.]

[4][1 Samuel 10:3. אֵלוֹן, rendered “oak” by all the ancient versions except Chald. The Eng. A. V. always translates it “plain” (though it gives the similar words אַלּוֹן ,אַלָּה ,אֵלָה always by “oak” or some other name of a tree), apparently following Targ., Raschi, Kimchi. The origin of this Jewish rendering is perhaps to be sought in or connected with the Syriac—alune—“places abounding in gardens”—a “plain” or “place abounding m trees” being regarded as more appropriate than an “oak.” Others make it here a proper name, Elon-Tabor.—Tr.]

[5][1 Samuel 10:3. Note the form of the Heb. numeral, masc. though the subst. is fem. (Wellh.).—Tr.]

[6][1 Samuel 10:4. Lit. “ask after thy peace (or welfare).”—Tr.]

[7][1 Samuel 10:5. Chald.: “the hill on which is the ark of Jehovah.”—Tr.]

[8][1 Samuel 10:5. Wellhausen takes this clause as subst., not adj.; that is, not as describing the hill (or, as some read, Gibeah) of God, but as indicating a particular spot on or near the hill. The rendering “Gibeah of God” (Bib. Comm.) is very unusual and hard, and it is no objection to the appellative rendering here that the same word (Gibeah) is a proper name elsewhere in this chapter (1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 10:26).—Tr.]

[9][1 Samuel 10:5. Chald.: Sopherim “scribes.”—Tr.]

[10][1 Samuel 10:7. The Chald. renders: “the word of Jehovah”—an appellation which is usually compared with the Logos of the New Test.—Tr.]

[11][1 Samuel 10:8. Erdmann makes this a general relative clause: “and when thou goest.” See his discussion in the Expos. and Introd.—Tr.]

[12][1 Samuel 10:10. The place here mentioned is almost certainly Gibeah, Saul’s place of residence, and may or may not be the same with the “hill of God” in 1 Samuel 10:5.—Tr.]

[13][1 Samuel 10:11. Erdmann takes this clause to be a quotation, but the Heb. does not favor this. Here the verb rendered “prophesy” is Niphal, while in 1 Samuel 10:10; 1 Samuel 10:5-6 it is Hithpael. According to Dr. R. Payne Smith, the former indicates true prophetical utterance, the latter merely acting the part of a prophet (Bampton Lectures for 1869, pp. 53–58); but this distinction must not be pressed too far.—Tr.]

[14][1 Samuel 10:12. Sept., Syr., Arab. have “his father;” see Erdmann’s discussion in Expos. Chald has “their master (Rab).”—Tr.]

[15][1 Samuel 10:13. For “high place” (במה) Wellhausen would read unnecessarily “house” (ביתה).—Tr.]

[16][1 Samuel 10:14. “That they were not” (comp. Genesis 42:30); that is, not to be found.—Tr.]

[17][1 Samuel 10:16. The Inf. Absol., for which this adverb is too definite.—Tr.]

[18][1 Samuel 10:18. Sept.: “The hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt,”—a variation for the sake of distinctness or accuracy.—Tr.]

[19][1 Samuel 10:18. Constructio ad sensum: the kingdoms representing their inhabitants. The Partcp. is made masc.—Tr.]

[20][1 Samuel 10:19. The text has לוֹ, “to him,” and so Erdmann reads. Sept., Vulg., Syr., Arab. read לֹא, “nay,”—and this is required by the following כּי. Eng. A. V. reads “to him,” and then inserts the “nay,”—thus combining the two readings. So, too, the Chald., which, however, here paraphrases: instead of “ rejected God,” it has “rejected the service of God” (to avoid apparent irreverence), and makes the people say: “We are not saved, but thou shalt set,” etc.—Tr.]

[21][1 Samuel 10:21. On the insertion of the Sept.: “and they cause the family of Mattari to come near by individuals,” see Erdmann in the Expos.—Tr.]

[22][1 Samuel 10:22. The Heb. reads literally: “has any other man come hither?” and so Erdmann translates; but it was unnecessary to ask Jehovah this, nor does Jehovah’s answer correspond to it. The Syr., conforming the question to the answer, reads “where is this man?” which, however, cannot be gotten from the Heb. The Eng. A. V. represents the text of the Sept. and Vulg., the word “man” having the Article, and this reading is approved by Thenius, Bib. Comm., and others, and opposed by Keil and Erdmann. See the Expos.—Tr.]

[23][1 Samuel 10:23. Lit. “placed or presented himself.”—Tr.]

[24][1 Samuel 10:24. Lit. “may the king live.”—Tr.]

[25][1 Samuel 10:25. מִשְפָּט is rendered by Erdmann “right or privilege” (recht); see on 1 Samuel 8:11. The Heb. Art. in הַסֵּפֶר (“the book”) is correctly represented in Eng. by the Indef. Art., since the defining circumstances are left wholly unmentioned.—Tr.]

[26][1 Samuel 10:26. Erdmann: “the band of valiant (or honest, braver männer) men.” Philippson: die tapferen, “the valiant men.” Cahen: les gens de guerre, “the men of war.” The Heb. word (הַחַיִל) is a military one, “the host.” But it can hardly mean that the army went with Saul, and so the Vulg. renders “a part of the army.” The Chald. paraphrase does not help us: “a part of the people who feared sin;” the Syriac renders literally by the same word as the Heb. The Sept. reading, “sons of might,” that is, “the better class of men,” “the men of honor and reputation,” is more satisfactory, on which see Expos.—Tr.]

[27][1 Samuel 10:27. Heb. “as a deaf man,” or, “as one that did not observe.” The Eng. A. V. omits the particle “as.”—Tr.

[28][This is to cut the knot rather than to solve the geographical difficulties connected with Saul’s journey. See 1 Samuel 1:1 and 1 Samuel 9:6, Expos. and Translator’s notes.—Tr.]

[29]On וִיהִי Böttcher remarks: “as Jussive it can only mean ‘and be it = and when,’ so that וּפָּגַעְתָּ belongs to the protasis, and the apodosis begins with וְצָלְחָה [1 Samuel 10:6].” So 1 Kings 14:5, where וְיהִי, “and be it” = “even if.”

[30]The masc. Partcp. הַלֹּחֲצִים [“which oppressed”] forms with the fem. subst. הַמַּמְלָכוֹת [“the kingdoms”] a constructio ad sensum, the warriors of the heathen nations being had in mind.

[31]The כִּי is “used to introduce direct discourse, even in a contradictory clause, like our ‘no, but,’ as in Ruth 1:10” (Keil). It is therefore not necessary to read לֹא with the ancient vers. for לוֹ, which reading is obviously imitated from 1 Samuel 8:19 and 1 Samuel 12:12.

[32][Properly: Matrites and Bikrites.—Tr.]

[33][The author seems here to confound the special and the ordinary influence of the Holy Spirit. Then, as now, there were differences of spiritual power at different times; but there seems to be no good reason for not believing that the Holy Spirit dwelt just as really and permanently, though not so distinctly, in all God’s people under the Old Covenant as under the New.—Tr.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/1-samuel-10.html. 1857-84.
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