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 Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor. 2 He had a son, whose name was Saul, an impressive young man; and there was not amongst the children of Israel a better person than he. From his shoulders and upward he was taller than any of the people. 3 The donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. Kish said to Saul his son, “Take now one of the servants with you, and arise, go look for the donkeys.” 4 He passed through the hill country of Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they didn’t find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, and there they weren’t there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they didn’t find them. 5 When they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, and let us return, lest my father stop caring about the donkeys, and be anxious for us.” 6 The servant said to him, “Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is a man who is held in honor. All that he says surely happens. Now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us which way to go.” 7 Then Saul said to his servant, “But, behold, if we go, what should we bring the man? For the bread is spent in our sacks, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” 8 The servant answered Saul again, and said, “Behold, I have in my hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver. I will give that to the man of God, to tell us our way.” 9 (In earlier times in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, and let us go to the seer”; for he who is now called a prophet was before called a seer.) 10 Then 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 ascent to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered them, and said, “He is. Behold, he is before you. Hurry now, for he has come today into the city; for the people have a sacrifice today in the high place. 13 As soon as you have come into the city, you will immediately find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat; for the people will not eat until he come, because he blesses the sacrifice. Afterwards those who are invited eat. Now therefore go up; for at this time you will find him.” 14 They went up to the city. As they came within the city, behold, Samuel came out towards them, to go up to the high place. 15 Now the LORD had revealed to Samuel a day before Saul came, saying, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He will save my people out of the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon my people, because their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said to him, “Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! He will have authority over my people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the gateway, and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” 19 Samuel answered Saul, and said, “I am the seer. Go up before me to the high place, for you are to eat with me today. In the morning I will let you go, and will tell you all that is in your heart. 20 As for your donkeys who were lost three days ago, don’t set your mind on them; for they have been found. 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 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 like this?” 22 Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the guest room, and made them sit in the best place amongst those who were invited, who were about thirty persons. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion which I gave you, of which I said to you, ‘Set it aside.’” 24 The cook took up the thigh, and that which was on it, and set it before Saul. Samuel said, “Behold, that which has been reserved! Set it before yourself and eat; because for the appointed time has it been kept for you, for I said, ‘I have invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 When they had come down from the high place into the city, he talked with Saul on the housetop. 26 They arose early; and about daybreak, Samuel called to Saul on the housetop, saying, “Get up, that I may send you away.” Saul arose, and they both went outside, he and Samuel, together. 27 As they were going down at the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” He went ahead, then Samuel said, “But stand still first, that I may cause you to hear God’s message.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

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.

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