1 Samuel 9
-The back story of Israel’s first king is given here in the 9th chapter. Kish, a man of Benjamin, which was a tribe with quite a sordid past during the time of the judges (Judges 19-21), had a son by the name of Saul who was extraordinarily handsome and head and shoulders taller than any other Israelite. He was from all exterior appearances a choice candidate to lead the people, and the LORD took note of this in His sovereign plan. Kish had some lost donkeys that he sent his son, along with one of his servants, to go out and find. They went all throughout the hill country of Ephraim, Shalishah, and Shaalim, but they could not find their missing donkeys. They even searched their homeland of Benjam in their journey, but could find nothing. When they came to the land of Zuph and came up empty again, Saul concluded that at this point his father would be anxious and send out a search party for them forgetting all about the animals. This is when the servant recommended a man of God who was in this city who was held in honor with all his words coming to fruition. He thought they should inquire of this man for some wisdom in their journey before returning home. Saul agreed, but they were short on supplies and would be expected to give this type of individual a gift according to cultural norms upon their arrival. Their bread was gone; there was no present other than a forth of a shekel of silver. This they would give in hopes of getting him to tell them their way to go on their hunt. Samuel at this period in Israel’s history was called a seer rather than a prophet. And so they went ahead towards the city, Samuel, and God’s divine destiny (1 Samuel 9:1-10).
-As they went up the slope of the city, they found some young women who were going out to draw water from the well. They asked them, “Is the seer here?” They answered in the affirmative, but they told him he’d better hurry for the people had a sacrifice that day at the high place. They relayed to him that he would find him before his duty and his eating ritual. His blessing on the sacrifice was all important to the people, and they would eat until he came. And then, only those whom he invited would be able to eat. Then they reiterated that he hurry and go up in order to find him (1 Samuel 9:11-13).
-Saul and his servant went up to the city, and as they came in, providentially, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place. The LORD had revealed to His prophet the day before Saul’s coming that a man from Benjamin would be coming to him for him to anoint the prince over His people Israel. This anointed one was promised to deliver the LORD’s people from the hand of the Philistines because God regarded His peoples’ cries for help (1 Samuel 9:14-16). At first look, Samuel knew in his spirit that Saul was the one whom God had appointed. The LORD told him, “Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people.” Saul approached the prophet unbeknownst and asked him, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” Samuel then told him who he was and instructed him to go up before him to the high place for he would be eating with the man of God that day. Samuel also told him that in the morning he would let him go after he told him all that was on his mind. He then gave Saul some assurance. The donkeys which were lost three days before had been found. Further, all that was desirable in Israel was for him and his father’s household (1 Samuel 9:17-20).
-Saul’s response showed humility and surprise, “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why then do you speak to me in this way?” Samuel took Saul and his servant into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who were invited to the meal, about 30 men were there. Samuel then instructed the cook to bring him the portion that he had given him earlier to set aside. Then the cook took up the leg with what was on it and presented it to Saul. He ate with Samuel that day. Later, when they came down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof of where he would lodge for the night. The next day they arose early and Samuel continued the pivotal conversation as he was about to send them away back on their journey home. Saul and Samuel were on the street of the city strolling along. As they got down to the edge of the city, Samuel had Saul’s servant to go on ahead of them so that he could have a private talk with the future king. As Saul stood still, Samuel proclaimed the word of God to him, which is picked up in the next chapter (1 Samuel 9:21-27).
-*Application* The miraculous nature of the prophet of God is super evident here in this text. We too can hear from God for the extraordinary in this age of the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. When was the last time the LORD revealed something that was supernatural and incredible? If these types of things aren’t happening, we probably need to tune in a little, or really a lot, better. God wants to reveal things to us that will blow our minds. Samuel’s faith was such that he knew that at the appointed time on the next day, God would bring about all that He promised. Do we know God’s Voice and trust Him like that?
Verse to Memorize: 1 Samuel 9:17