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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
1 Samuel 10

 

 

Verse 1

1 Samuel 10:1 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?

Ver. 1. Then Samuel took a vial of oil.] Not a horn, as when David and his posterity were anointed, but a vial made of earth, or glass; brittle matter, to signify, say some, the short continuance of his kingdom. He was anointed with oil, as to set forth his superiority and eminency above his subjects, - oil will ever be on the top of other liquors, - so to admonish him of lenity, clemency, and bounty - whereof oil is a symbol - to be exercised toward them.

And kissed him.] In token of congratulation and subjection. [Genesis 41:40 1 Kings 19:18 Psalms 2:12 Hosea 13:2]

And said, Is it not because the Lord, &c.] What else is the import of these ceremonies used by me? Some render it, And said, Should I not do thus? for Jehovah hath anointed thee, &c., for it seemeth that Saul, in modesty, had used some resistance: refusing to be anointed, till Samuel persuaded and pacified him with these words: likens afterwards, when our Saviour came to be baptized of John, he flatly forbade him, (a) and kept him out of the water, till Christ said, "Suffer it so to be: for thus it behoveth us to fulfil all righteousness." [Matthew 3:14-15]


Verse 2

1 Samuel 10:2 When thou art departed from me to day, 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?

Ver. 2. When thou art departed.] Saul is confirmed in his calling to the kingly office by sundry signs, which was dignatio stapenda. Think the same of our sacraments, given to confirm our faith in our high and heavenly calling by Christ.

By Rachel’s sepulchre.] Which stood in the borders of Judah and Benjamin; Gregory here noteth, that this sepulchre should have reminded him of his mortality; (a) a good allay to his new dignity. (b) It is reported that heretofore at Constantinople, when the emperor was first placed in his throne, a mason came to him with choice of stones, to ask him which of those he would please to choose for his tombstone.


Verse 3

1 Samuel 10:3 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:

Ver. 3. Going up to God,] i.e., To ask counsel of God; before whom they might not come empty handed, but were to bring the best of the best.


Verse 4

1 Samuel 10:4 And they will salute thee, and give thee two [loaves] of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands.

Ver. 4. And they will salute thee.] Though mere strangers to thee,

And give thee two loaves of bread.] In token of honour and homage, as if they acknowledged thee by this present for their king, by a strange motion of God’s Holy Spirit.


Verse 5

1 Samuel 10:5 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:

Ver. 5. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God.] That is, To the high place of Gibeah, thine own city, where was a garrison of the Philistines, [1 Samuel 13:2] and yet as well a college of prophets, who were looked upon in those days as privileged persons, even in the midst of their enemies; and not molested or meddled with. (a) Learning was once a protection against tyranny and injury, though now it be otherwise. Witness Antony the Triumvir, who when Varro, his enemy, and of a contrary faction, was proscribed for death, he thus gallantly superscribed his name, Vivat Varro vir doctissimus; Let Varro live for his learning’s sake. Constantine the Great freed not only all ministers, but all professors of the arts, from all public duties, taxes, and burdens whatsoever, by a decree.

And they shall prophesy.] That is, By the instinct of God’s Spirit they shall speak or sing excellently of sublime and divine matters.


Verse 6

1 Samuel 10:6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

Ver. 6. And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee.] Not that free or princely spirit [Psalms 51:12] that David prayed for, - and had, no doubt, - but a common spirit of prophecy and of government.

And thou shalt prophesy with them.] This was for the time only, as Balaam’s ass spake, saith Augustine; (a) but this gift soon left him again. Saul, by conversing with prophets, prophesied: see the power and profit of holy company. Those that live within the sunshine of religion cannot but be somewhat coloured with those beams.

And shalt be turned into another man.] Not into a spiritual man, as Nazianzen thinketh, but into a prudent and valiant man. Fies ex rudi sapiens, ex duro mitis, ex agresti urbanus, ex privato regius. A great change there shall be wrought in thee: howbeit not a sanctifying but a civil change, or merely mental at utmost, suitable to thy kingly calling.


Verse 7

1 Samuel 10:7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, [that] thou do as occasion serve thee; for God [is] with thee.

Ver. 7. That thou do as occasion serve thee.] Dispone te quantum potueris ad decenter et potenter regnandum. (a) Quit thee like a king; (b) "deal courageously, and the Lord shall be with the good." [2 Chronicles 19:11] "Whatever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might," depending upon God for direction and success.


Verse 8

1 Samuel 10:8 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.

Ver. 8. And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal.] This do also as occasion shall serve thee but see thou do it; for thy kingdom lieth upon it. He that believeth maketh not haste. Compare 1 Samuel 13:1-2; 1 Samuel 13:8.

And show thee what thou shalt do.] Happy Saul in such a monitor! far better than Polybius was to Scipio, whose counsel whilst he followed, he never miscarried, saith Pausanius, in any enterprise.


Verse 9

1 Samuel 10:9 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.

Ver. 9. God gave him another heart.] According to 1 Samuel 10:6. {See Trapp on "1 Samuel 10:6"} It is remarkable that is reported of those Areopagite judges in Athens, that men of evil conversation, after they were once admitted into that company, abhorring and blushing at their former dispositions, changed their natures, and embraced virtue. (a)


Verse 10

1 Samuel 10:10 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.

Ver. 10. The Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied.] As it were for company. Good men, as civet or musk, cast a sweet scent about them, and perfume the air they breathe on. {See Trapp on "1 Samuel 10:6"} Bonitatem suam aliis affricant.


Verse 11

1 Samuel 10:11 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?

Ver. 11. What is this that is come unto the son of Kish?] Whence hath he all these things? as they said of our Saviour: [Matthew 13:56] and as much wondering there was at Saul the persecutor, when he turned preacher. [Acts 9:21]

Tertius e caelo cecidit Cato. Juvenal.

Is Saul also among the prophets?] This became a like proverb among the Hebrews, as those among the Latins, Anser inter olores, Asians inter apes, Corvus inter Musas.


Verse 12

1 Samuel 10:12 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?

Ver. 12. And one of the same place.] And, as it may seem, one of the same company of prophets stopped their wondering with these words, as Peter did the people. [Acts 2:12; Acts 3:10]

But who is their father?] i.e., Their master and instructor? (a) Is it not God? are they not all taught of him? Saul and all? Now, Quando Deus Magister, quam cito discitur quod docetur? (b) God can soon make a prophet of whomsoever he pleaseth.


Verse 13

1 Samuel 10:13 And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place.

Ver. 13. He came to the high place.] Ut animum colligeret, et Deo gratias ageret, (a) to bless God, to pray for his blessing, and better bethink himself of his business.


Verse 14

1 Samuel 10:14 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] no where, we came to Samuel.

Ver. 14. And Saul’s uncle.] Ner, the father of Abner, likely, wondering with the rest, was thus inquisitive after the news. We have all a natural itch after novelties.


Verse 15

1 Samuel 10:15 And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you.

Ver. 15. Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you.] There was a general expectation that Samuel should provide them a king; and Saul’s uncle might suspect by what he had seen of Saul, that he was the man.


Verse 16

1 Samuel 10:16 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.

Ver. 16. But of the matter of the kingdom.] This he prudently concealed, as being at first of a modest and humble spirit. Josephus giveth two very good reasons that might move Saul to be silent in this business: Ne res credita invidiam, non credita vanitatis opinionem ei contraheret, i.e., Lest if the matter were believed, he should be envied; as if disbelieved, he should be slighted and jeered.


Verse 17

1 Samuel 10:17 And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh;

Ver. 17. To Mizpeh.] Whither also, for the purpose, he had appointed the ark to be brought, and the high priest to repair with Urim and Thummim, to ask counsel of God, and to cast lots, [1 Samuel 10:22] as Junius here noteth.


Verse 18

1 Samuel 10:18 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:

Ver. 18. I brought up Israel out of Egypt.] See 2:1; 6:8. {See Trapp on " 2:1"} {See Trapp on " 6:8"} There is some great matter of unkindness in it, when God hitteth men in the teeth with his former favours.


Verse 19

1 Samuel 10:19 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.

Ver. 19. And ye have said unto him.] Because to me.

Nay, but set a king over us.] Here he taxeth them with singular ingratitude, incredulity, and folly, in that they would rather trust in a man whom they knew not how he would prove, than in God, whose power and goodness they had so often experienced. And this they persisted to do, refusing to be ruled by any reason, Regiumque, nomen, cunctis fere liberis gentibus semper invisum, efflictim desiderantes, (a) and still calling for a king upon any conditions.


Verse 20

1 Samuel 10:20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken.

Ver. 20. To come near.] As Joshua 7:14. See there.

The tribe of Benjamin was taken,] (a) viz., By lot, as the word signifieth, which is governed by God, [Proverbs 16:33] and is not therefore to be used ad lucrum aut lusum, but only in matters of weight.


Verse 21

1 Samuel 10:21 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.

Ver. 21. The family of Matri was taken.] Which is not the name of a man - see 1 Chronicles 8:30; but signifieth a mark, saith one out of Lyra; whence he eoncludeth that the family of Matri was of those that could shoot at a mark so excellently. [ 20:16] Fides sit penes Authorem.


Verse 22

1 Samuel 10:22 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.

Ver. 22. Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.] This he did not out of hypocrisy; - as did Pope Paschalis II, who when he knew aforehand he should be chosen Pope, hid himself; and being drawn into the light, would not be enthroned, till the people of Rome had thrice cried out, Sanctus Petrus Reinerum virum optimum elegit; { a} St Peter hath chosen Reyner, who is a very honest man; - or as that Popish Bishop did, who being asked, as the manner at their instalment is, Visne Episcopare? answered, Nolens volo, et volens nolo; - or else our Richard III, who seemed very unwilling to be made king, but out of humility and prudence: [but] as Augustine would not come at those churches that lacked bishops, lest they should choose him, and at length accepted of little Hippo, when leaden Aurelius got the golden bishopric of Carthage: and as the elector of Saxony, Frederick, seriously and upon mature deliberation, refused the empire of Germany when it was offered him.


Verse 23

1 Samuel 10:23 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.

Ver. 23. And they ran and fetched him thence.] Thus honour followeth them that fly it, flieth from them that follow it; as they say of the crocodile. It hath been already noted of Claudius, that he was pulled out of a hole by the heels, and made emperor.

He was higher than any of the people by the shoulders.] (a) This did further edge the people’s affections, as hoping that he would be as eminent above others in virtue, as he was in stature. Virgil commendeth his Aeneas and Turnus (b) from their tallness: and Pliny (c) his Trajan, that he was not carried on men’s shoulders as some proud emperors had been, but was taller than others by the head and shoulders.


Verse 24

1 Samuel 10:24 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.

Ver. 24. God save the king.] Heb., Let the king live; (a) that is, live happily, as 1 Samuel 25:6. To live, is to live in prosperity. Princes must be prayed for.


Verse 25

1 Samuel 10:25 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.

Ver. 25. Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom.] Not what it usually is, - degenerating into tyranny, as if it were not enough to be above men, but to be above mankind, [1 Samuel 8:9-10] - but what it ought to be, according to Deuteronomy 17:14-16, Ezekiel 45:9-10; Ezekiel 46:6.

And wrote it in a book.] (a) That it might be as their Magna Charta, made to keep the beam right betwixt sovereignty and subjection.


Verse 26

1 Samuel 10:26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.

Ver. 26. A band of men.] Lateranes voluntarii, a royal guard to attend and conduct him on the way, as was fit.


Verse 27

1 Samuel 10:27 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.

Ver. 27. But the children of Belial.] Aweless, lawless, yokeless.

Despised him.] Vilified and nullified him, as a king of clouts. (a) So they were never content. Thus they slighted manna and the Messiah.

But he held his peace.] Or, He heard them not. This was kingly indeed. What could great Alexander have done more? or Augustus Caesar? or Queen Elizabeth? whose motto was, Video, Taceo, I see and say nothing.

Qui nescit dissimulare, nescit imperare.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-samuel-10.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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