Bible Commentaries
1 Samuel 10

The Church Pulpit CommentaryChurch Pulpit Commentary

Verse 26


‘A band of men, whose hearts God had touched.’

1 Samuel 10:26

An odd mixture of good and evil was Saul, of strength and weakness, of courage and cowardice, of diffidence and audacity. His election to be king was by no means unanimous. There were three parties—the malcontents, homage givers, and a select band, a little armed troop (as the Hebrew word implies), who joined themselves to Saul’s person and went home with him to Gibeah, resolved to act as his bodyguard, and to fight in his defence; and it is to this valiant, leal-hearted and devoted company that our text refers in these words, ‘A band of men, whose hearts God had touched.’ This threefold division is precisely what we see to-day in the attitude of men towards Him who, in the highest of all senses, is ‘the Lord’s Anointed,’ the Christ of God.

I. There are some who openly despise Him.—They pour contempt upon His name. They say, ‘How shall this Man save us?’ They bring Him no tribute.

II. There is the throng of those who profess no ill-will towards Jesus, and even reckon themselves His friends, but their loyalty brings no self-denial, and spends itself only in empty words.

III. There is yet another class, and they are represented in the text.—Let me fix your thoughts for a little on this chosen band. I don’t know that these men of Israel had any large acquaintanceship with true religion; perhaps not; but their hearts were touched with the finger of God; they perceived in Saul the king of heaven’s selection, ‘the anointed of the Lord,’ and so they swore loyalty to him. Whatever was good in them is traced to Divine grace. If the heart bend the right way it is because God has touched it. You remember that when Deity was incarnate in the person of Jesus, one touch was enough to cure and to save. It cannot be well with any of us unless our heart is in touch with God. This is just where some of us know we are still lacking. Many of us are generous, kindly, amiable, moral; but have not yet been brought into personal contact with Jesus. We want our hearts to be brought in touch with God. It is just at such a time as this, and under such conditions as those amid which we are now assembled, that the Divine and quickening touch is often felt.


(1) ‘The reading in verse 26 should probably be “the men of valour,” instead of “a band of men.” They were brave men, “whose hearts God had touched.” Now that Saul was chosen by God, loyalty to God was shown by loyalty to Saul. The sin of the people’s desire, and the drop from the high ideal of the theocracy, and the lack of lofty qualities in Saul, may all be admitted. But God has made him king, and that is enough. Henceforward God’s servants will be Saul’s partisans. The malcontents were apparently but a small faction. They, perhaps, had had a candidate of their own, but, at all events, they criticised God’s appointed deliverer, and saw nothing in him to warrant the expectation that he would be able to do much for Israel. Disparaging criticism of God’s chosen instruments comes from distrust of God who chose them. To doubt the divinely sent Deliverer’s power to “save” is to accuse God of not knowing our needs, and of miscalculating the power of His supply of them. But not a few of us put that same question in various tones of incredulity, scorn or indifference. Sense makes many mistakes when it takes to trying to weigh Christ in its vulgar balances, and to settling whether He looks like a Saviour and a King.’

(2) ‘It was a regiment of volunteers, a “King’s Own” Life Guard. What a happy start it was for him in his new office that these helpers were at hand to serve him. A band of willing helpers around one takes off more than half the difficulty of a difficult enterprise. Men that enter into one’s plans, that sympathise with one’s aims, that are ready to share one’s burdens, that anticipate one’s wishes, are of priceless value in any business. But they are of especial value in the Church of Christ. Is it not the joy of the Christian minister, as he takes up his charge, if there go with him a band of men whose hearts God has touched? How lonely and how hard is the ministry if there be no such men to help. How different when efficient helpers are there in readiness for the Sunday-school, the Band of Hope, the Missionary Society, and the Choir, and for visiting the sick, and every other service of Christian love.’

Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 10". The Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.