And as Samuel turned about to go away
From Saul, a different way from Gilgal, perhaps towards his own city Ramah, with an intention to have nothing more to say to Saul, or to do with him, or to see his face no more; so displeased was he with him:
he laid hold upon the skirt of his mantle;
in order to detain him, and prevent his departure from him, and his going a different way:
and it rent;
Samuel twitching away from him with great vehemence and warmth. The Jewish F6 Rabbins are divided about this, whose skirt was rent; some say it was Samuel that rent the skirt of Saul, and by this signified to him, that he that cut off the skirt of his garment should reign in his stead; whereby Saul knew that David would be king when he cut off the skirt of his robe, ( 1 Samuel 24:4 1 Samuel 24:20 ) , others, that Samuel rent the skirt of his own mantle himself, which is the way of good men when things are not right; but the plain sense is, that Saul rent the skirt of Samuel's mantle, which, when Samuel saw, he understood what that rent was a sign of, as expressed in the following verse.
F6 Midrash Schemuel, sect. 18. apud Jarchi, Kimchi & Abarbinel in loc.