1749.) 1 Samuel 9

Saul's father was a man of wealth, this chapter says, and part of his wealth would have been measured in donkeys.

Saul’s father was a man of wealth, this chapter says, and part of his wealth would have been measured in donkeys.

1 Samuel 9   (NRSV)

Saul Chosen to Be King

There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. 2He had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else.

ADVANTAGE:  Saul is handsome — like “Mr. February” in Israel, perhaps. And Saul is tall — several studies have shown that tall men get paid $1000 more a year than their shorter counterparts, after adjusting for education and experience. The Israelites get a king that looks great!

3Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had strayed. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the boys with you; go and look for the donkeys.” 4He passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin, but they did not find them.

5When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, “Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us.”

6But he said to him, “There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honor. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out.”

7Then Saul replied to the boy, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What have we?”

“When consulting a prophet, it was common courtesy to bring a gift (Amos 7:12), whether modest (1 Kings 14:3) or lavish (2 Kings 8:8-9).”

–Ronald F. Youngblood

8The boy answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God, to tell us our way.” 9(Formerly in Israel, anyone who went to inquire of God would say, “Come, let us go to the seer”; for the one who is now called a prophet was formerly called a seer.)

10Saul said to the boy, “Good; come, let us go.” So they went to the town where the man of God was.

Saul has no idea that God is fulfilling His purposes in all of these simple and ordinary events!

11As they went up the hill to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?”

12They answered, “Yes, there he is just ahead of you. Hurry; he has come just now to the town, because the people have a sacrifice today at the shrine. 13As soon as you enter the town, you will find him, before he goes up to the shrine to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those eat who are invited. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.”

14So they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the shrine.

15Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16“Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of my people, because their outcry has come to me.”

I love the irony!  The people reject God as their king, yet they will accept his choice of a king for them! And though there were many problems with the reign of Saul, one should not think it was a total disaster. Saul led Israel to many military victories and greater independence from the Philistines.

17When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people.”

“Saul Meets Samuel” by French artist James Tissot, 1900.

18Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate, and said, “Tell me, please, where is the house of the seer?”

19Samuel answered Saul, “I am the seer; go up before me to the shrine, for today you shall eat with me, and in the morning I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. 20As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, give no further thought to them, for they have been found. And on whom is all Israel’s desire fixed, if not on you and on all your ancestral house?”

With this Samuel proved to Saul that he was a true prophet from God. He showed Saul he knew things that he probably could not have known unless it was revealed to him supernaturally.

21Saul answered, “I am only a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the humblest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin. Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

DISADVANTAGE:  Saul from the very beginning battles with lack of confidence and feelings of inferiority, and we will see that problem show itself throughout his life as jealousy, envy, arrogance, and deceit.

22Then Samuel took Saul and his servant-boy and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, of whom there were about thirty. 23And Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you, the one I asked you to put aside.”

24The cook took up the thigh and what went with it and set them before Saul. Samuel said, “See, what was kept is set before you. Eat; for it is set before you at the appointed time, so that you might eat with the guests.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25When they came down from the shrine into the town, a bed was spread for Saul on the roof, and he lay down to sleep. 26Then at the break of dawn Samuel called to Saul upon the roof, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street. 27As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.”

Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, 1887.

Queen Victoria reigned over Great Britain for 64 years. When she was only 11 years old, her governess showed her a list of the kings and queens of England with her name added at the end. When she understood what it meant, she burst into tears. Then she controlled herself and said solemnly, “I will be good.”

Oh, Saul! Oh, Self! Say to the Lord, “I will be good.”

_________________________

Music:

This peaceful arrangement of  “The King Shall Come”  was written by Michael Linton and is directed by Mary Hopper, from the Wheaton College Christmas Festival of 2008. Enjoy it  HERE.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light triumphant breaks,
When beauty gilds the eastern hills
And life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child,
To bear and fight and die,
But crowned with glory like the sun
That lights the morning sky.

Oh, brighter than the rising morn
When Christ, victorious, rose
And left the lonesome place of death
Despite the rage of foes.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And earth’s dark night is past;
O haste the rising of that morn,
The day that e’er shall last;

And let the endless bliss begin,
By weary saints foretold,
When right shall triumph over wrong.
And truth shall be extolled.

The King shall come when morning dawns
And light and beauty brings.
Hail, Christ the Lord! Your people pray:
Come quickly, King of kings.

_________________________

The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
donkeys.    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B8JwMY8CEAAJsnN.jpg
Mr. February.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/ben_chippendale.jpg
Tissot.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/f9/Saul_meets_Samuel.jpg/404px-Saul_meets_Samuel.jpg
insecurity.    http://rlv.zcache.com/insecurity_tshirt-p235107914531285190l2ol_400.jpg
Queen Victoria.    http://www.scottish-country-dancing-dictionary.com/images/queen-victoria.jpg
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