Then Samuel took a vial of oil
Out of his pocket very probably, which he brought along with him on purpose for the use he made of it: this, as the Jews F25 say, was not the anointing oil that was in the tabernacle, which was at another and distant place, and with which only the kings of the house of David were anointed; but common oil, or, as they say, oil of balsam; and this was not an horn, but a vial, which held a small quantity, and was brittle; and they observe that Saul and Jehu, who were anointed with a vial, their reigns were short, whereas David and Solomon, who were anointed with a horn, their reigns were long; and as oil is a symbol of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, it may denote a smaller measure conferred on Saul than on David and Solomon:
and kissed him;
congratulating him on the dignity he was raised to, and in reverence and respect to him, because of the high office he was arrived to; and as a token of subjection and homage, and to testify his well pleased in his being king, and that he readily, willingly, and with pleasure resigned the government to him:
and said, is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to
captain over his inheritance?
the people of Israel, so called, ( Deuteronomy 32:9 ) and which is observed here to show, that though Saul was anointed king over them, they were the Lord's possession still, and he was accountable to him for his government and usage of them, over whom he was to be a captain, leader, and commander, to go before them, and fight their battles for them, of which his being anointed with oil was a token; and therefore it is said, "is it not?" or dost thou not see by this? or knowest thou not, as R. Isaiah supplies it, that this is of the Lord? for it was the Lord that anointed him, or Samuel by his orders; and such questions as these, as Kimchi observes, are for the greater confirmation of what is spoken; and if Saul had any doubt upon his mind, as perhaps he might because of his meanness, and the high honour designed hereby, not only this question is put, but three following signs are given him, whereby he might be assured of the truth of it.