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Bible Commentaries

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

1 Samuel 9

Verses 1-27

Samuel Anoints Saul as King In 1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16 we have the story of Samuel anointing Saul as the first king over God’s people Israel. The previous chapter tells us how the children of Israel cried out for a king and how God decided to grant them their request. It reveals that this was not God’s perfect plan for His nation, but rather His permissive will.

The first event of Samuel anointing Saul to be king over Israel at a sacrifice foreshadows Saul’s failure later in his ministry when he refused to wait for Samuel and took upon himself the office of the priest (1 Samuel 13:8-15 a); for both events took place at a sacrifice unto the Lord.

1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16 Samuel Anoints Saul as King (Comparison of Saul and David) We are about to read the story of King Saul followed by the story of King David. Both men were given a kingship and an anointing, but both did not use these blessings in a manner that pleased God. King Saul quickly lost his blessing and anointing as a king because he was not seeking it. Saul was seeking donkeys when he was given the kingship. He did not desire it nor appreciate it when it was given. Therefore, he easily mismanaged it and God took both of them away. On the other hand, King David received this blessing and anointing many years before he actually became king. Therefore, he longed for it to come and deliver him from his hardships in exile while awaiting his calling. David appreciated his blessings while Saul despised his gifts. Note these insightful words from Sadhu Sundar Singh:

“To pray does not imply that without prayer God would not give us anything or that He would be unaware of our needs, but it has this great advantage, that in the attitude of prayer the soul is best fitted to receive the Giver of blessing as well as those blessings He desires to bestow. Thus it was that the fullness of the Spirit was not poured out upon the Apostles on the first day, but after ten days of special preparation. If a blessing were conferred upon one without a special readiness for it, he would neither value it sufficiently nor long retain it. For instance, because Saul obtained the Holy Spirit and the kingship without seeking for them he very soon lost them both, for he had set out from home not to obtain the Holy Spirit but to look for his lost asses (1 Sam. ix.3; x.11; v.13-14; xxxi.4).” [23]

[23] Sadhu Sundar Singh, At the Master’s Feet, trans. Arthur Parker (London: Fleming H. Revell Co., 1922) [on-line]; accessed 26 October 2008; available from; Internet, “III Prayer,” section 2, part 1.

1 Samuel 9:1 Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.

1 Samuel 9:2 And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.

1 Samuel 9:2 Comments - It seems as if Saul was outwardly the kind of a man the children of Israel would desire to be their King, so God gave them their wishes.

1 Samuel 9:9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)

1 Samuel 9:9 Comments - I had a dream last night in which I saw in a vision someone hiding in the upstairs of a home. I went to the owner of the house and told him what I saw, explaining that it was just a “hunch,” that I was not sure that this was in fact true. When the man opened his upstairs room, there was a man hiding up there, so he called the police. The Lord then quickened to me a passage of Scripture in 1 Samuel 9:9 with the word “seer.” I then realized that a “seer” is one who saw a vision from the Lord, then spoke it out in faith. (August 21, 1995)

1 Samuel 9:11 And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?

1 Samuel 9:11 “as they went up the hill to the city” - Comments - Cities were often built on top of hills. This gave them an advantage in case of an attack from the enemy. Therefore, water had to be carried up the hill.

1 Samuel 9:5-14 Comments Divine Providence - 1 Samuel 9:16 says that God was sending Saul, so this was not just mere chance meeting.

1 Samuel 9:16, “To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.”

1 Samuel 9:21 And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?

1 Samuel 9:21 “Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel” - Comments - Remember that the tribe of Benjamin had been severely reduced in numbers when the other tribes of Israel fought against them for the sin committed in the Benjamite city of Gibeah (Judges 19-20).

1 Samuel 9:24 And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left! set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.

1 Samuel 9:24 “And the cook took up the shoulder” - Comments - The shoulder was the portion of the sacrifice that was normally saved for the priests to eat (Exodus 29:27, Leviticus 7:32). Here, Samuel gave it to Saul.

Exodus 29:27, “And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering , which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons:”

Leviticus 7:32, “And the right shoulder shall ye give unto the priest for an heave offering of the sacrifices of your peace offerings.”

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 9". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.