1 Samuel 9

Samuel Anoints Saul

1 There was a Benjamite, a man of standing, whose name was Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin.
2 Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.
3 Now the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys.”
4 So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha, but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them.
5 When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come, let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.”
6 But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.”
7 Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?”
8 The servant answered him again. “Look,” he said, “I have a quarter of a shekel[a] of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take.”
9 (Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.)
10 “Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was.
11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”
12 “He is,” they answered. “He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice at the high place.
13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.”
14 They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.
15 Now the day before Saul came, the LORD had revealed this to Samuel:
16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel; he will deliver them from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked on my people, for their cry has reached me.”
17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD said to him, “This is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.”
18 Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”
19 “I am the seer,” Samuel replied. “Go up ahead of me to the high place, for today you are to eat with me, and in the morning I will send you on your way and will tell you all that is in your heart.
20 As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. And to whom is all the desire of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line?”
21 Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?”
22 Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the hall and seated them at the head of those who were invited—about thirty in number.
23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the piece of meat I gave you, the one I told you to lay aside.”
24 So the cook took up the thigh with what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, “Here is what has been kept for you. Eat, because it was set aside for you for this occasion from the time I said, ‘I have invited guests.’ ” And Saul dined with Samuel that day.
25 After they came down from the high place to the town, Samuel talked with Saul on the roof of his house.
26 They rose about daybreak, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get ready, and I will send you on your way.” When Saul got ready, he and Samuel went outside together.
27 As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us”—and the servant did so—“but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.”

1 Samuel 9 Commentary

Chapter 9

Saul is brought to Samuel. (1-10) Samuel told concerning Saul. (11-17) Samuel's treatment of Saul. (18-27)

Verses 1-10 Saul readily went to seek his father's asses. His obedience to his father was praise-worthy. His servant proposed, that since they were now at Ramah, they should call on Samuel, and take his advice. Wherever we are, we should use our opportunities of acquainting ourselves with those who are wise and good. Many will consult a man of God, if he comes in their way, that would not go a step out of their way to get wisdom. We sensibly feel worldly losses, and bestow much pains to make them up; but how little do we attempt, and how soon are we weary, in seeking the salvation of our souls! If ministers could tell men how to secure their property, or to get wealth, they would be more consulted and honoured than they now are, though employed in teaching them how to escape eternal misery, and to obtain eternal life. Most people would rather be told their fortune than their duty. Samuel needed not their money, nor would he have denied his advice, if they had not brought it; but they gave it to him as a token of respect, and of the value they put upon his office, and according to the general usage of those times, always to bring a present to those in authority.

Verses 11-17 The very maid-servants of the city could direct to the prophet. They had heard of the sacrifice, and could tell of the necessity for Samuel's presence. It is no small benefit to live in religious and holy places. And we should always be ready to help those who are seeking after God's prophets. Though God had, in displeasure, granted Israel's request for a king, yet he sends them a man to be captain over them, to save them out of the hand of the Philistines. He does it, listening graciously to their cry.

Verses 18-27 Samuel, that good prophet, was so far from envying Saul, or bearing him any ill-will, that he was the first and most forward to do him honour. Both that evening and early the next morning, Samuel communed with Saul upon the flat roof of the house. We may suppose Samuel now convinced Saul that he was the person God had fixed upon for the government, and of his own willingness to resign. How different are the purposes of the Lord for us, from our intentions for ourselves! Perhaps Saul was the only one who ever went out to seek asses, and literally found a kingdom; but many have set out and moved their dwellings to seek riches and pleasures, who have been guided to places where they found salvation for their souls. Thus they have met with those who addressed them as if aware of the secrets of their lives and hearts, and have been led seriously to regard the word of the Lord. If this has been our case, though our worldly plans have not prospered, let us not care for that; the Lord has given us, or has prepared us for, what is far better.

Cross References 34

  • 1. Joshua 18:11-20
  • 2. S Ruth 2:1
  • 3. 1 Samuel 14:51; 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39; Esther 2:5; Acts 13:21
  • 4. S Genesis 39:6
  • 5. 1 Samuel 10:24
  • 6. 1 Samuel 10:23
  • 7. ver 20; 1 Samuel 10:14,16
  • 8. S Joshua 24:33
  • 9. 2 Kings 4:42
  • 10. 1 Samuel 10:2
  • 11. 1 Samuel 1:1
  • 12. 1 Samuel 10:2
  • 13. S Deuteronomy 33:1; S Judges 13:6; 1 Kings 13:1
  • 14. 1 Samuel 3:19
  • 15. S Genesis 32:20; 1 Kings 13:7; 1 Kings 14:3; 2 Kings 4:42; 2 Kings 5:5,15; 2 Kings 8:8; Jeremiah 40:5
  • 16. S Genesis 25:22
  • 17. 2 Samuel 15:27; 2 Samuel 24:11; 2 Kings 17:13; 1 Chronicles 9:22; 1 Chronicles 21:9; 1 Chronicles 26:28; 1 Chronicles 29:29; 2 Chronicles 19:2; Isaiah 29:10; Isaiah 30:10; Amos 7:12
  • 18. S Genesis 24:11,13
  • 19. Numbers 28:11-15; S 1 Samuel 7:17
  • 20. S Leviticus 26:30; Genesis 31:54; 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Kings 3:2
  • 21. S Matthew 14:19; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Timothy 4:3-5
  • 22. Exodus 30:25; S 1 Samuel 2:35; 1 Samuel 12:3; 1 Samuel 15:1; 1 Samuel 26:9; 2 Kings 11:12; Psalms 2:2; 1 Samuel 10:1
  • 23. 2 Samuel 7:8; 1 Kings 8:16; 1 Chronicles 5:2
  • 24. Exodus 3:7-9
  • 25. 1 Samuel 23:4; 2 Samuel 3:18
  • 26. S Genesis 16:11; Psalms 102:1
  • 27. 1 Samuel 16:12
  • 28. S ver 3
  • 29. 1 Samuel 8:5; 1 Samuel 12:13; Ezra 6:8; Isaiah 60:4-9; Daniel 2:44; Haggai 2:7; Malachi 3:1
  • 30. Psalms 68:27; 1 Samuel 15:17
  • 31. S Exodus 3:11; Matthew 2:6; 1 Corinthians 15:9
  • 32. Judges 6:15; Judges 20:35,46; 1 Samuel 18:18
  • 33. S Leviticus 7:32-34; Numbers 18:18
  • 34. S Deuteronomy 22:8; S Joshua 2:8; S Matthew 24:17; Luke 5:19; Acts 10:9

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. That is, about 1/10 ounce or about 3 grams

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of Saul, the person the Lord had appointed to be king of Israel; it relates his descent, and describes his person, 1Sa 9:1,2 and how seeking his father's asses, which were lost, he providentially came to the place where Samuel dwelt, 1Sa 9:3-5 and being advised by his servant, and approving of his advice, he concluded to go to him, and inquire the way he should go, 1Sa 9:6-10 and being directed by some young maidens, they found him presently in the street going to a feast, 1Sa 9:11-14 and Samuel having some previous notice from the Lord of such a person's coming to him that day, when he met him invited him to dine with him, and obliged him to stay with him that day, 1Sa 9:15-19 satisfied him about his asses, and gave him a hint of the grandeur he was to be raised to, to which Saul made a modest reply, 1Sa 9:20,21 and Samuel treated him at the feast in a very respectable manner, 1Sa 9:22-24 and privately communed with him of things preparatory to what he was about to make known unto him, 1Sa 9:25-27.

1 Samuel 9 Commentaries