Study Notes

1Samuel 10:1-27


The Lord has told the prophet Samuel that Saul is to be the king of Israel. He had told him,

1Sam. 9:16 "About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over My people Israel; and he shall deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have regarded My people, because their cry has come to Me."

When Saul and Samuel met, Samuel ate with him, and had him stay the night. Now, as they are leaving the city, Samuel says,

1Sam. 9:27 ..."Say to the servant that he might go ahead of us and pass on, but you remain standing now, that I may proclaim the word of God to you."

This is where we pick up in our study.

10:1 Anointed With Oil

In Scripture, several things are anointed with oil. The sin offering, the tabernacle, and everything else that was inside of it, including the ark, the laver, etc.

This represented their consecration. In other words, it set them apart, dedicated them, sanctified them for holy use.

In addition to these things, the priests, the high priest, and the king were anointed with oil, having it poured on their heads. Elisha the prophet was also anointed (1Kings 19:16). The people that were anointed with oil were prophets, priests, and kings.

An interesting fact is that the word "anoint" in Hebrew is "Maw-SHAKH." That should sound somewhat familiar to you, since "Maw-SHEE-akh," or "Messiah" as we say, means "anointed one." Jesus Christ is most deserving of the title "anointed one" because He is all three: a Prophet, a Priest (our High Priest), and a King!

Now, there is a strong tie-in between someone being anointed with oil symbolically, and the Holy Spirit being poured out upon them spiritually. There are lots of scriptures to support this thought. The prophecy of Jesus in Isaiah 61 first makes this allusion:

Isa. 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners;

Jesus was anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit for ministry. Peter preached this fact in Acts 10.

Acts 10:38 " {You know of} Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and {how} He went about doing good, and healing all who were oppressed by the devil; for God was with Him.

This anointing of the Holy Spirit is not just for Jesus, but for each of us.

1John 2:27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

John 14:26 "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

John seems to use the term "His anointing" to actually describe the Holy Spirit! This seems to be the same anointing that the Old Testament prophets, priests, and kings received as well. David is a good example,

1Sam. 16:13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon David from that day forward...

Here too, Saul has been anointed, oil on his head, and the Holy Spirit will come upon him.

However, this will not last for Saul's lifetime. Lest we forget, satan himself was anointed. "How can that be? I don't remember that," you might protest. Remember the Lord told satan,

Ezek. 28:14-15 "You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you {there.} You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you."

The devil himself was anointed, and so Saul has been. You can't blame God for trying, even on people He knows will fall away.

10:2-8 Samuel Prophesies Of Saul's Journey

Samuel tells Saul just what to expect on his journey back.

First, he will be near Rachel's tomb at Tsel-TSAKH, and find two men who know that the donkeys have been found. Then, at the oak of Taw-BORE, he will run into three men going up to Bayth-ALE. Then at the Philistine garrison, he will meet a group of prophets, and something amazing will happen to him.

Why did Samuel tell him all this in advance? It would seem that these signs were given to Saul to reassure him that Samuel was speaking from God.

It is one thing to speak with authority. It is another thing to convince those you're speaking to that you have the authority to speak it. Remember Jesus found Himself in that situation. When Jesus told a paralyzed man, "Your sins are forgiven,"

Luke 5:21-25 ...the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this {man} who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" But Jesus, aware of their reasonings, answered and said to them, "Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins have been forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise and walk'? But in order that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins ," - He said to the paralytic - "I say to you, rise, and take up your stretcher and go home." And at once he rose up before them, and took up what he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God.

Jesus proved His authority to forgive sins by healing the man as well. I believe that Samuel was doing the same with Saul here, reassuring him, "To prove to you that I'm correct that you're going to be the king, let me tell you exactly how your journey will turn out today."

10:9 God Changed His Heart

The Hebrew here literally says, "When he turned his shoulder to go from Samuel, El-o-HEEM also turned for him another heart." When Saul turned from Samuel, God turned his heart into something different.

God is in the business of changing hearts. Remember David prayed,

Ps. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

And the Lord promised,

Ezek. 11:19 "And I shall give them one heart, and shall put a new spirit within them. And I shall take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh

The Lord can take someone like I was - awful, nasty, bitter - and change that person's heart. We've seen it happen time and time again.

But are these permanent changes? Once we get a spiritual heart transplant, are we in the free and clear for the rest of our lives? Certainly not in Saul's case, which we will see as we continue on in this book.

How about us? When we become new creatures in Christ, born again, is our heart now permanently new? May I suggest that it is only if we take care of it.

Hebr. 3:12-13 Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is {still} called "Today," lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

Our new hearts can be hardened by sin. That is what will happen to Saul's new heart.

10:10-12 A Group Of Prophets

These prophets were coming from the high place with a band playing in front of them and they were prophesying (v. 5).

This should sound strange to us. We may think, "What, were they walking down the road, telling the future? Were they shouting to everyone walking past, saying, 'Thus saith the Lord?'"

No. Actually, the word prophesying here seems to mean that they were praising God with music and singing. This fits the context, as well as the account in 1Chronicles where we read that...

1Chr. 25:1 ...David and the commanders of the army set apart for the service {some} of the sons of Asaph and of Heman and of Jeduthun, who {were} to prophesy with lyres, harps, and cymbals...

So here's this group of guys praising God, coming down the hill when suddenly, the Spirit of God comes upon Saul.

The Spirit Of God Upon Him

The Spirit of God came upon him mightily. This has happened to others so far in the Old Testament: Moses' seventy elders (Numbers 11), Balaam (Numbers 24), Oth-nee-ALE (Judges 3:9-10), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Jephthah (Judges 11:29), and Samson (Judges 14:19). These occasions were manifested by prophesy, praise, or strength to lead a battle.

What Has Happened?

When the Spirit came upon Saul, he began to prophesy along with the rest of the prophets. This was a big change for those who had known Saul previously. The buzz around town was, "What happened to Saul? Is he a religious guy now too? Does he attend the local seminary?"

You will spark more people's interest in the Lord by your changed life in Christ than standing on a street corner with signs ever will. The Bible tells us,

2Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, {he is} a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

When someone is truly born again, it is evident in their changed life. I was talking to a brother yesterday that was asking about the welfare of a sister in the church. "You know," he said, "I knew her from around town in the 70's, and she was rough. It was nothing to hear that she'd cut somebody up with a knife." I can't picture it! She's such a sweet, God-fearing, Christ-centered woman now! But what an incredible testimony to the power of Jesus to all that knew her before!

Who Is Their Father?

When they were asking, "What happened to the son of Kish? Is he also among the prophets," a man answered, "Now, who is their father?" What does that mean?

Opinions are divergent, but I think the most plausible explanation is given by R. Payne Smith, who explains the man's statement as meaning: "You ask about the son of Kish; but what has birth to do with prophecy? None of these young men have inherited these gifts, and if Saul can take part in their prophesyings, why should he not? Kish, his father, is no worse than theirs."

10:13-16 Saul's Half-Story

After the praise and worship service was over, Saul continued on up to the high place, where sacrifices were offered, and people ate in celebration.

Then Saul ran into his uncle Abner (1Sam 14:50-51; 1Chron. 8:33), who inquired first about where they'd been, and second, about what Samuel had told him.

For some reason, Saul told him the part about the donkeys, but not about becoming king. It would be impossible to judge Saul's motives here, to question whether he was afraid or wise, intimidated, or entrusting his exaltation to God alone. I think it is fair to believe that Saul's silence is simply obedience. Remember that in verse eight, Samuel told him,

1Sam. 10:8 "...You shall wait seven days until I come to you and show you what you should do."

This could have been Saul being obedient, not doing anything until Samuel came.

10:17-21 Saul Publicly Chosen

Samuel calls Israel together at Mits-PAW, and speaks for the Lord. "You've rejected me, and insisted on a king. Well, you're getting one today, congratulations."

Samuel began to pick lots to show the man that God was selecting. As the lots were cast, first, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen, then the clan of Mat-REE, then the family of Keesh. Saul was chosen from that family, but was nowhere to be found.

10:22-24 Saul Hiding Among The Baggage

It turned out that Saul was hiding among the baggage. Again, the Scripture doesn't declare his motive. J. Vernon McGee says, "This great big fellow, Saul, acted just like a little child. He ran and hid, and they had to find him and bring him out. Again, in my judgment this is an evidence of false modesty." Matthew Henry, on the other hand, says, that he hid "because he was conscious to himself of unfitness for so great a trust," and "because he understood by what Samuel had said, that the people sinned in asking a king."

So was he being a wimp or being righteous? Showing humility or false modesty? The Bible doesn't say, and honestly, I don't know what to say either.

One thing we know for sure: Saul did not set out to be king. He didn't ask for the job, didn't brag about the job, and didn't pursue the job.

10:25 The Ordinances Of The Kingdom

Samuel told the people the ordinances of the kingdom. I believe that this means that he recited to them the law of Deuteronomy 17.

Deut. 17:14-20 "When you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you, and you possess it and live in it, and you say, 'I will set a king over me like all the nations who are around me,' you shall surely set a king over you whom the LORD your God chooses, {one} from among your countrymen you shall set as king over yourselves; you may not put a foreigner over yourselves who is not your countryman. Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the LORD has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. Now it shall come about when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a copy of this law on a scroll in the presence of the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, by carefully observing all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted up above his countrymen and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, to the right or the left; in order that he and his sons may continue long in his kingdom in the midst of Israel.

These were the kingdom ordinances that would be the law for the king, and a witness against him if, and when, he refused to keep them.

10:26-27 Followers And Detractors

No matter what your position, your popularity will never be universal. Saul had people that were pledged to follow him, and others who despised him. i think of Jesus, who people loved and people hated. I think of the apostle Paul, who had both people that supported him and people that tore him down. No matter who you are or what you do, don't expect everyone to like you - it will never happen.

And if it does, you're in trouble! Jesus said,

Luke 6:26 "Woe {to you} when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets."

Instead of living to please men, live to please God. Paul told the truth like it was, regardless of the consequences, saying

Gal. 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

Interestingly enough, the apostle Paul was a guy named Saul from the tribe of Benjamin. And so far, our Saul - King Saul - from the tribe of Benjamin has started out well. He is silent before his enemies, even as Christ was. He has not hardened his heart against the Word of God or sinfully grieved the Spirit of God. He is doing okay. For now.

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