1 Samuel 9

Listen to 1 Samuel 9

Saul Chosen to Be King

1 There was a man of Benjamin whose name was 1Kish, the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite, a man of wealth.
2 And he had a son whose name was Saul, 2a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. 3From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
3 Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul's father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, "Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys."
4 And he passed through 4the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of 5Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant[a] who was with him, "Come, let us go back, 6lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us."
6 But he said to him, "Behold, there is 7a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honor; 8all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go."
7 Then Saul said to his servant, "But if we go, 9what 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 do we have?"
8 The servant answered Saul again, "Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel[b] of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way."
9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man 10went to inquire of God, he said, "Come, let us go to the seer," for today's "prophet" was formerly called a seer.)
10 And Saul said to his servant, "Well said; come, let us go." So they went to the city where the man of God was.
11 As they went up the hill to the city, 11they met young women coming out to draw water and said to them, "Is the seer here?"
12 They answered, "He is; behold, he is just ahead of you. Hurry. He has come just now to the city, because the people 12have a sacrifice today on 13the high place.
13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat till he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now go up, for you will meet him immediately."
14 So they went up to the city. As they were entering the city, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way up to the high place.
15 Now the day before Saul came, 14the LORD had 15revealed to Samuel:
16 "Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, 16and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. 17For I have seen[c] my people, because their cry has come to me."
17 When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD told him, 18"Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people."
18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gate and said, "Tell me where is the house of the seer?"
19 Samuel answered Saul, "I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, 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.
20 19As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not set your mind on them, for they have been found. And for whom is all that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father's house?"
21 Saul answered, "Am I not a Benjaminite, 20from the least of the tribes of Israel? 21And is not my clan the humblest of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?"
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, who were about thirty persons.
23 And Samuel said to the cook, "Bring the portion I gave you, of which I said to you, 'Put it aside.'"
24 So the cook took up 22the leg and what was on it and set them before Saul. And Samuel said, "See, what was kept is set before you. Eat, because it was kept for you until the hour appointed, that you might eat with the guests."[d]So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 And when they came down from the high place into the city, a bed was spread for Saul[e]23on the roof, and he lay down to sleep.
26 Then at the break of dawn[f] Samuel called to Saul on the roof, "Up, that I may send you on your way." So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.
27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the city, Samuel said to Saul, "Tell the servant to pass 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."

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 23

  • 1. 1 Samuel 14:51; 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39
  • 2. [1 Samuel 8:16]
  • 3. 1 Samuel 10:23
  • 4. See Joshua 24:33
  • 5. 2 Kings 4:42
  • 6. 1 Samuel 10:2
  • 7. Deuteronomy 33:1; Judges 13:6; 1 Kings 13:1
  • 8. 1 Samuel 3:19
  • 9. [1 Kings 14:3; 2 Kings 4:42; 2 Kings 8:8]
  • 10. Genesis 25:22
  • 11. Genesis 24:11
  • 12. 1 Samuel 16:2; 1 Samuel 20:29; Genesis 31:54
  • 13. 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Kings 3:2-4
  • 14. 1 Samuel 15:1; [Acts 13:21]
  • 15. Ruth 4:4
  • 16. 1 Samuel 10:1
  • 17. Exodus 2:25; Exodus 3:7, 9
  • 18. [1 Samuel 16:12]
  • 19. ver. 3
  • 20. [Judges 20:46; Judges 21:6; Psalms 68:27]
  • 21. 1 Samuel 15:17; [Judges 6:15]
  • 22. Exodus 29:22, 27; Leviticus 7:32, 33; [Ezekiel 24:4]
  • 23. [Deuteronomy 22:8; 2 Samuel 11:2; 2 Samuel 16:22; Nehemiah 8:16; Matthew 24:17; Acts 10:9]

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. Hebrew young man; also verses 7, 8, 10, 27
  • [b]. A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
  • [c]. Septuagint adds the affliction of
  • [d]. Hebrew appointed, saying, 'I have invited the people'
  • [e]. Septuagint; Hebrew and he spoke with Saul
  • [f]. Septuagint; Hebrew And they arose early and at the break of dawn

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.