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This Chapter opens with presenting us by a view of the prophet's anointing Saul king. This is followed with tokens Samuel told Saul, should immediately take place, on his departure from him to return home to his father's house, and which accordingly came to pass. After this Samuel convenes Israel at Mizpeh; at which convocation, he proceeds to the election of a king. Saul is elected. With which event some are displeased, but Saul holds his peace. These are the principal things contained in this chapter.
1 Samuel 10:1
(1) ¶ Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?
The ceremony of pouring oil on the head, was the method appointed by way of inauguration into office. And this was used both in the anointing Priests and Kings. No doubt the ceremony itself was instituted with an eye to Jesus, who was anointed by the Holy Ghost into all his precious offices, as prophet, priest, and king. The holy anointing oil was made according to the Lord's own direction. See Exodus 30:22-33 . Hence the church speaking of her beloved, saith, because of the savor of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth. Song of Solomon 1:3 . Whether the vial of oil was of this kind is not said. But the signification was the same. And to show the good will of Samuel on this occasion, he accompanied the ceremony with a kiss. Precious Jesus! do thou grant me the anointings of thy blessed Spirit.
(2) When thou art departed from me today, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son? (3) Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: (4) And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands. (5) After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: (6) And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. (7) And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee. (8) And thou shalt go 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 shew thee what thou shalt do.
All these signs were intended to convince Saul, that in all Samuel did, he had acted under the authority of God. And no doubt they had their effect by way of confirmation.
(9) ¶ And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.
In this verse it is said, that God gave him another heart. And Samuel had foretold him in the 6th verse, that the Spirit of the Lord would come upon him to prompt him to prophecy, and he should be turned into another man. And no doubt this change was wrought upon him. He had from this time another heart as to his dispositions, for no longer seeking asses he is now seeking a kingdom. And instead of being employed in his father's service, he is now another man in prosecuting his own grandeur. But I beg the Reader to remark with me, that these changes are from what are called the ordinary gifts of the Spirit, not his special work on the heart. Saul may be, and Saul is among the prophets; but Saul is not renewed in the spirit of his mind for all that. Reader! do not fail to make this observation as you go, it will not only help you to make a right conclusion of this man's history, but many a man's history; and what is yet more interesting than every other, of your own. There is not a word of the regeneration of the mind of Saul in what is here said. He was turned into another man, from a poor man to a rich one, and from a peasant to a prince. And the Lord made him another heart to prefer a court to the country. But the new creature which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, is totally different from all this. It is a new heart, not a new form; a work of grace, not of nature. If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. 2 Corinthians 5:17 .
(10) And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
It should seem that this gift of prophecying was considered as a prelude to an advance of rank. We have a similar instance: Numbers 11:16-17 .
(11) And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? (12) And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets? (13) And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place. (14) And Saul's uncle said unto him and to his servant, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses: and when we saw that they were nowhere, we came to Samuel. (15) And Saul's uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you. (16) And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.
The secrecy which Saul observed respecting the kingdom is remarkable. Perhaps Samuel had ordered it. If not, it certainly was either from great modesty or great prudence. Believers in Jesus are very shy of communicating the secrets of the Lord in their first days of conversion.
(17) ¶ And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh; (18) And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you: (19) And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands.
The day of election being arrived, Samuel convenes the people together. He again sets before them the folly as well as baseness of their conduct, in rejecting God for their king; and insisting upon being like other nations, in having a king taken from among themselves. Was not this typical of the gospel state in the Jewish nation rejecting Christ; and which our Lord represented under the similitude of a parable? Mark 12:1-12 .
(20) And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. (21) When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found.
No doubt the Lord had appointed this mode of election though it is not said. But it became a further proof that Saul was chosen of God, by the event. The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. Proverbs 16:33 .
(22) Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.
This secreting himself, and the people enquiring of the Lord concerning Saul, is not so plain to apprehend. Whether Saul shrunk from the honor, or waited to be the more invited to it, I will not determine. However the Lord's direction where to find him seems to have over-ruled the business.
(23) And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. (24) And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king. (25) Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. (26) And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.
The people seem to have been struck with his majectic appearance, and therefore hailed him as king. And some so much regarded him as to attend his person home. By God touching their hearts, I apprehend is meant as God touched his, that is, inclined them to respect him. No saving change of grace is meant. Not the regeneration of the heart by grace. The subject refers only to things of a temporal nature.
(27) But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.
Though it appeared that the general voice was with Saul, yet there were others who rejected him. Alas! is not this human nature in all ages the same? So our adored Redeemer, while those precious souls whose hearts the Lord hath regenerated, follow Jesus wheresoever he goeth; bend the knee, bow the heart, and bring presents of all their poor offerings can show to testify their love and attachment, there are men of Belial who slight redemption, and do in effect, if not in word, virtually say, we will not have this man to reign over us.
READER! while you and I behold the aged prophet pouring the vial of oil over Saul's head, let our meditation take flight, and by faith behold the Holy Ghost anointing Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and installing him into all these offices by which our souls live under his precious exercise of them through all the departments of grace. Yes, blessed Jesus! we would hail thee king of Zion! We behold thee consecrated our great high priest forevermore. And we accept thee as the anointed prophet of our God, to preach good tidings to the meek, and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. We view thee as the Christ of God, the glorious God-man set up and anointed as the Mediator before all worlds. And oh! that thy name, in the sweet savor of it, may be as the fragrancy of the holy ointment poured forth! therefore do the virgins love thee.
And dearest Jesus! as it hath pleased God, even thy God, to anoint thee, as Mediator, with the oil of gladness for, and above thy fellows; oh for a portion of that sacred anointing of the Holy Spirit, which was poured out upon thee without measure, to descend upon us like the precious ointment upon Aaron's head, which ran down to the skirts of his garments! Yes! we would pray for the largest, fullest portion of that rich anointing, which teacheth all things. We would covet the same holy unction, which, flowing from thee, makes all thy people priests, and kings to God, and the Father. And we would desire, to be made such partakers of thy grace, that by the exercises of it, our souls might be enabled to lay hold of thee, by lively faith, so as to live upon thy Person, to hang upon thy righteousness, and to walk evermore with thee, in all the departments of our pilgrimage here, till we come to dwell with thee forever, as men whose hearts thou hast indeed touched, and who cannot cease from following thee. And grant, blessed, dearest Jesus, that in the gifts of thy Holy Spirit, thou wilt not merely give us another heart, but a new heart, even the renewing of the Holy Ghost , shed upon us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Lord : so shall we be, indeed, kings, and priests to the Father, and fellow-heirs of that kingdom, which cannot be moved.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany