Then Saul said to his servant, but behold, if we go
The Targum is,
``if he receives money,''which it seems Saul was not clear in; some sort of persons that set up for prophets, and a sort of diviners and fortune tellers, did; but he could not tell whether so eminent and honourable a person as Samuel was, did; in as much he was not better known by him, who had been so many years a judge in Israel:
what shall we bring the man?
it being usual, when persons addressed great men for a favour, to carry a present with them; or a man of God, a prophet of the Lord, to inquire of the Lord by him concerning any thing, see ( 1 Kings 14:2 1 Kings 14:3 ) ( 2 Kings 4:42 ) ,
for the bread is spent in our vessels;
the food they brought with them in their bags or scrips for their journey, this was all exhausted; not that he meant by it, that if they had had any quantity, they might present it to the man of God, though yet sometimes such things were done, as the instances before referred to show; but that since their stock of bread was gone, what money they had, if they had any, must be spent in recruiting themselves, and therefore could have none to spare to give to the man;
and there is not a present to bring to the man of God;
neither bread nor money, without which he seems to intimate it would be to no purpose to go to him:
what have we?
Saul knew he had none, he had spent what he brought out, with him for the journey, and he put this question to try what his servant had; unless it can be supposed it was the custom now, as afterwards among the Romans F2, for servants to carry the purse, and as it was with the Jews in Christ's time, ( John 12:6 ) though this may have respect not to a price of divination, but to the common custom in eastern countries, and which continues to this day with the Turks, who reckon it uncivil to visit any person, whether in authority, or an inferior person, without a present; and even the latter are seldom visited without presenting a flower, or an orange, and some token of respect to the person visited F3.
F2 A. Gell. Noct. Attic. l. 20. c. 1.
F3 Maundrell's Journey from Aleppo p. 26, 27.