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Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 9

Wells of Living Water CommentaryWells of Living Water

Verses 1-21

Saul, the Son of Kish

1 Samuel 9:1-21


1. The cry of Israel for a King. Samuel was getting old and the Children of Israel wanted a king as other nations had a king. The churches, in many instances, want to run their affairs, financial, social, and spiritual, after the manner of the men among whom they live. They forget that the ways of the world are not the ways of God.

2. The words of the Lord concerning Israel. The Lord said unto Samuel: "Hearken unto the voice of the people * *: they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them."

If the pastor of a church stands true to God in preaching His Word and way, and the people reject him, they only reject his Lord.

3. The Lord's statement concerning Israel. 1 Samuel 8:8 says, "I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken Me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee."

We, who are true to God, cannot expect anything else of those who are untrue, excepting to be set aside and rejected.

I. SAMUEL'S PROTEST (1 Samuel 8:9 )

The protest which God gave through Samuel was twofold:

1. The protest against Israel's forsaking the Lord. In the Book of Jeremiah it is written: "They have forsaken Me the Fountain of Living Waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no Water."

When Israel turned away from God as their Leader and sought an earthly king, they did not turn from good to better, but from the best to the worst.

Who can guide us in the way as the Lord can guide? Who can bless us as the Lord can bless?

2. The protest concerning the king who should reign over them. Here were the broken cisterns to which Israel was about to turn, as they left the Fountain of Living Waters.

(1) Their king would force them to serve him. He would appoint their sons for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some of them to run before his chariots. He would force his subjects to reap his harvests and to manufacture instruments of war. He would compel their daughters to be cooks and bakers. He would make their fields and vineyards, even the best of them, his own, and those of his leaders.

(2) Their king would cause them to cry out in the day of his reign. The Lord was very frank with Israel. He told them that in the day that they cried out unto Him, because of the tyranny of their king, that He would not hear them. If we turn to man for help and we are discomfited, shall we turn to the Lord to save us?


1. The people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. When Israel entered into the realm of disobedience to God, they entered into the realm of His displeasure. Unbelief is always black with the frown of God. To obey is always better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

The very essence of sin is summed up in this statement: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way."

Let the man or woman think twice before he or she forsakes the Lord their God.

2. The people sought a human leader. They said, "We will have a king over us; * * that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles." They evidently had forgotten that God had always been the One who had fought their battles for them. As they came over the Red Sea, God had told the people to stand still while He discomfited the Egyptians and led His people through the sea. It was He who was a pillar of light unto them, and a cloud of darkness unto the Egyptians.

Now the Children of Israel were turning away from the Lord, and looking unto human leadership. Let us take warning lest we do the same. If the Lord is not in our house, we labor in vain who build it.


1. Samuel rehearsed the words of the people in the ears of the Lord. Here is a lesson worthy of thought. Everything that we say is said before the ears of God. There is not a word in our tongue, not a thought in our heart, but what He knows it altogether. God looked from Heaven in the days of Noah, and He saw that every imagination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually.

The Holy Spirit speaks of Israel in the days of her wilderness wanderings, and says: "When your fathers tempted Me, proved Me," etc. Surely, the Lord hears our complainings.

2. The Lord said to Samuel, "Hearken unto their voice." When we are unwilling to walk in the ways of the Lord, He will let us walk in our own ways; when we refuse His counsels, He will allow us to confound ourselves with our own. God does not force Himself upon anyone. On the road to Emmaus the Lord made as though He would go further. He was not going to go with the two, unless they asked Him.

God always recognizes man's free-will agency. He says: "Whosoever will." He says: "If ye be willing and obedient." He says: "How often would I * * and ye would not!" He would, we would not; as a result, He could not.

What a responsibility God has placed upon us. He has placed His blessings all around us, and He stands ready to pour them out upon us; but we, first of all, must acknowledge Him and crown Him Lord of all.


1. God gave Israel everything for which they looked. He selected Saul, "a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the Children of Israel a goodlier person than he."

They wanted a king of whom they could be proud, a good man, a likable man, a man to whom they could look up; God gave them all of this.

What God is doing, is to show Israel that their very best cannot meet their need.

2. The providences of God, which led to Saul's selection. Kish had said unto Saul, his son, "Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses." Thus the two set out, seeking that which had gone astray. They happened into a certain city and they thought within themselves that they would go to the man of God, peradventure he might show them where they might find the asses.

At last they came to Samuel, intent on seeking his aid. The Lord had spoken to Samuel, and said, "I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt appoint him to be captain over My people Israel." Thus it was when Saul arrived, that the Lord said to Samuel, "Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over My people."

Observe that God had not cast off Israel, although they had cast Him off, as being their King. He still loved them, and sought to do everything He could for them.

V. SAUL THE GUEST OF SAMUEL (1 Samuel 9:19-20 )

1. An inner view into the heart of Samuel. When Saul drew near to Samuel, in the gate of the city, Samuel said unto Saul, "I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me today."

There is something very beautiful in this. The man who was old and about to be deposed, seeing his successor, asked him in to dine.

Surely Samuel patterned his life after the life of God. Is not this God's command, that we should even do good to those who hate us? We should always pray for those who despitefully use us. We should give to drink even to our enemies, and should overcome evil with good.

2. An inner view into the heart of Saul.

(1) Saul was willing to serve his father. He was out hunting his father's asses. Is it not true that we have our call to some high place, while we are serving faithfully in a low place? It is the one who is busy in a performance of duty, that God selects to be busy for Him.

(2) Saul was willing to ask counsel from God. He was even seeking Samuel to get his help in finding his asses. Let us never think that any service is too menial and insignificant to lay before the Lord. Whatever we do, we have a perfect right to seek guidance from above.

The man who seeks to conduct his business, or the mother who seeks to train her children, apart from God, will only spell failure to their ambitions. Our God is willing to join us in our daily round, and to help us meet every problem which confronts us.


1. Saul from his shoulders and upward was higher than any of the people. Saul was also the goodliest man in all Israel. One would have thought that such an one as he would have boasted his goodliness and his stateliness. Not so did Saul.

2. Saul confessed himself unworthy of leadership in Israel. Samuel had said unto Saul (1 Samuel 9:20 ), "On whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house"? Thus it was that the Prophet began to break the news to Saul that he should be exalted to headship over Israel. Immediately Saul answered and said: "Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?"

It is still true, "Blessed are the meek" in spirit. It is still true, "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted." The Apostle Paul was another young man above many, and perhaps above all of his day; and yet he reckoned himself as the least of all. This is the spirit that should dominate the great. We have observed, in such contact as we have had with some of the greatest preachers of the age, that they are men of humble mien, utterly against and adverse to self-praise.

True greatness knows nothing of untoward boastfulness.

VII. THE EXALTATION OF SAUL THE SON OF KISH (1 Samuel 9:22-27 ; 1 Samuel 10:1 )

1. Saul was given the chief place at the feast. In 1 Samuel 9:22 we find a great contrast between Saul and his servant seeking the asses, as suppliants for aid; and Saul seated in the chief place.

Do we not all feel that God has taken us up out of the miry clay, and put our feet upon the Rock? Think of what we were when we were aliens and without God and Christ in the world. Think of what we are; made alive, raised up, and made to sit down with Christ in the Heavenly places.

2. Saul was made to eat with Samuel on that day. What a sacred privilege; yet, such a privilege is ours. Do not we sit at the same table with our Lord? Even now we can hear Him saying, "Come and dine." Yea, it is written that both Christ and the Father will come in unto us, and sup with us; and we with Them.

3. Saul was anointed as king. After coming down from the high place in the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.

When the morning came they arose early, and the two, Saul and Samuel, went forth abroad together. As they came down to the end of the city, Samuel said unto Saul, "Bid the servant pass on before us * * that I may shew thee the Word of God."

Then Samuel took a vial of oil, poured it upon the head of Saul and kissed him, and said: "Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over His inheritance?"


A friend said to George Muller of Bristol, "I suppose through all these long years in your work for God, you have met with much to discourage you." "I have met with many discouragements," he answered; "but at all times my hope and confidence has been in God. On the Word of Jehovah's promise hath my soul rested. Sixty-two years ago I preached a poor, dry, barren sermon, with no comfort to myself, and, as I imagined, with no comfort to others. But a long time afterwards I heard of nineteen distinct cases of blessing that had come through that sermon." "The husbandman * * hath long patience" (James 5:7 ). "In due season we shall reap" (Galatians 6:9 ).

Bibliographical Information
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on 1 Samuel 9". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lwc/1-samuel-9.html.
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