1 Samuel 10

1 SAMUEL CHAPTER 10

        • Samuel took a flask of oil, poured it on his head, kissed him and said, “Hasn’t Yahweh anointed you ruler over His people? You will rule over Yahweh’s people and save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. This will be the sign that Yahweh has anointed you to be the ruler over His inheritance: When you leave me today, you’ll find two men at Rachel’s grave in Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, “The donkeys that you went to look for have been found, and now your father has stopped being concerned about the donkeys and is worried about you, saying , ‘What should I do about my son?’”

          • Comparing translations, you will likely note that some have additional material at the end of verse 1. This is because the Septuagint includes a couple of sentences that the Masoretic does not have. Since textual critics believe the evidence favors the conclusion that the additional info is, in fact, authentic and most likely present in the original autographs, many translations have opted to include it. The missing text as rendered by the NIV reads:

            • You will reign over the LORD‘s people and save them from the power of their enemies round about. And this will be a sign to you that the LORD has anointed you ruler over his inheritance:”

        • NET Bible’s text critical notes explains how this could have occurred, “The MT apparently suffers from parablepsis, whereby a scribe’s eye jumped from the first occurrence of the expression ‘the Lord has anointed you’ to the second occurrence of this expression at the end of v. 1. This mistake caused the accidental omission of the intervening material in the LXX, which appears to preserve the original Hebrew text here.”

          • NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible adds the following note about Yahweh’s “inheritance”, “The Lord’s inheritance comprised both the land and the people of Israel (Deut 32:9). In acceding to the people’s demand for a king, Yahweh did not relinquish his rights as Great King over his inheritance to the human monarch. Rather, the human king was to be Yahweh’s vice-regent and was to subordinate himself within an authority structure that Yahweh himself would stipulate (v. 25). Prior to the monarch judges had been raised up by Yahweh on an ad hoc basis and had both received and carried out Yahweh’s instructions. With the inauguration of kingship, however, the tasks of receiving and carrying out Yahweh’s instructions were initially divided between the prophet (Samuel) and king (Saul). The former would be Yahweh’s mouthpiece to the king, and the king was to carry out Yahweh’s instructions as received through the prophet. The authority structure is evidenced in the first charge Saul receives in vv. 7-8, and grasping its significance is essential to understanding the nature of the eventual breach between Saul and Samuel/Yahweh.”

        • You will continue on from there until you come to the oak of Tabor. Three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, one carrying three loaves of bread, and one carrying a skin of wine. They will ask you how you’re doing and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept. Afterward, you will come to Gibeath-elohim where there is a Philistine outpost. As soon as you enter the city you will meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of Yahweh will rush upon you and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “These three ‘signs’ were to convince a reluctant Saul (9:21) that he had in fact been chosen to be king.”

        • Guzik adds, “Samuel gave Saul a specific prophetic word, by which Saul could have confidence that his anointing was really from God…If the men by Rachel’s tomb didn’t tell Saul about finding the donkeys, Saul could know Samuel was not a true prophet…Again, Samuel gave Saul specific predictions, so they could be exactly verified.”

        • HCSB clarifies, “…’Gibeath-elohim’ is actually a Hebrew phrase which means ‘Hill of God.’ Some scholars believe that Samuel was referring to an otherwise unknown village by that name, while others think he was merely referring to a geographical feature.”

          • Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers:

            • These evidently belonged to one of those seminaries termed ‘schools of the prophets,’ founded by Samuel for the training of young men. The foundation of these schools in different parts of the country was one of the greatest of the works of this noble and patriotic man. These schools seem to have flourished during the whole period of the monarchy, and in no small measure contributed to the moral and mental development of the people. Some of the youth of Israel who received in these schools their training became public preachers of the Word; for after all, this, rather than foretelling future events, was the grand duty of the prophet’s calling.”

          • It is a grave mistake to conclude that all, or even the greater part, of these young men trained in the ‘schools of the prophets’ were inspired in the usual sense of the word. The aim of these institutions, beside high mental culture, seems to have been to train the youth of Israel to love, and then live, noble pure lives. Dean Payne Smith calls attention to the remarkable fact that at David’s court all posts which required literary skill were held by ‘prophets.’ He considers that it was owing to these great educational institutions which Samuel founded that the Israelites became a highly trained and literary people…men who, as compared with their fellows, stood in a different relation to the Most High, who heard things which other men heard not, and saw visions unseen by any save themselves—men before whose eyes the veil which hid the dark future now and again was raised—were, after all, even among the people of God, very rare. In the course of a generation, one or two, or perhaps three, appeared, and were listened to, and their words in many cases, we know, preserved. These, for the most part, we may assume, received their early training in the “schools of the prophets,” but these famous institutions were never, as has often been popularly supposed, established in the hope of training up and developing such men, but were founded and supported with the intention of fostering what we should call the higher education in Israel; and in this, we know from the outset, these schools were eminently successful.”

            • Jameison-Faussett-Brown Bible Commentary:

          • The company of prophets were, doubtless, the pupils at this seminary, which had probably been instituted by Samuel, and in which the chief branches of education taught were a knowledge of the law, and of psalmody with instrumental music, which is called ‘prophesying’ (here and in 1Ch 25:1, 7).”

          • Matthew Poole’s Commentary:

          • sons of the prophets, which were commonly combined into companies or colleges, as 2 Kings 2:3,5, that they might more conveniently edify and assist one another in God’s work; which institution God was pleased so far to honour and bless, that sometimes he communicated unto those persons the knowledge of future things, as 2 Kings 2:3,5.”

          • Gill’s Exposition on the Entire Bible:

          • …here was a school or college of young prophets, where they were trained up, under the care and tuition of one or other of the above prophets, in the knowledge of the word of God, in psalmody, and other religious exercises; for though the word of the Lord was scarce and precious in the beginning of Samuel’s time, yet through his industry, influence, and encouragement, divine knowledge was greatly promoted, and many were trained up and qualified to instruct the people; who, though they had not the gift of foretelling future events, or of the vision of prophecy, yet had gifts qualifying for the edification of the people; and out of these schools and colleges God sometimes raised up prophets in the highest sense, who foretold things to come, and to whom the Lord appeared in dreams and visions.”

          • If you’re like me, your mind is immediately conjuring thoughts of the many charismatic ministries who seem to be misusing this concept of a school of prophecy. While I’m not a cessationist, it is abundantly clear that abuse of these passages in some charismatic circles is undeniably rampant. In an effort to be fair and to refrain from painting all charismatic prophetic schools with the same brush, I’ll include this article that appeared in Charisma Magazine, “Are Schools of the Prophets Legit?” which clarifies what they view as the appropriate understanding and application of this concept:

            • Many believers…put unhealthy pressure on prophetic people to ‘gimme a word’ or get sucked into pay-for-prophecy scams on the internet…You can’t make somebody a prophet, so why all the schools of prophets?…The concept of a school of the prophets is certainly legitimate. Samuel launched the school of the prophets in Old Testament days…But the schools of the prophets didn’t make someone a prophet. Sure, there were prophets among them. There were also priests who did not prophesy. Think of the Old Testament schools of the prophets as seminaries, of sorts, where those sensed God’s call to service would band together for training. Again, you can’t make yourself into a prophet.”

          • About six months ago, I spoke with two different men of God about the state of prophetic ministry. I was so grieved to hear they were seeing many of the things I have been witnessing. When I got off the second call, I felt the Lord calling me to prayer…I knelt down over my bed anyway and prayed. When I did, travail came upon me. For about an hour and a half, I groaned, cried and shook. I prayed in the Spirit. I cried out the Lord. He showed me the state of some camps in the prophetic ministry, how they were doing the bidding of Jezebel and Baal, and how much worse things could get in the next five years if there is not a course correction. I don’t believe most false prophets start out as false prophets. I’ve waited. I’ve processed. And I’m committed to doing whatever small part I can to help raise up true prophets with balance, humility and accuracy in this hour…”

          • On the Spirit of Yahweh rushing upon Saul, the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible writes, “Bestowal of the divine Spirit often connoted God’s empowering of an individual for the accomplishment of a particular task, usually involving calling the tribes out to war, something only Yahweh has the authority to do. Conversely, the Spirit of God might thwart someone intent on a particular action (e.g., 19:23). Verse 10 of the present episode describes the ‘Spirit of God’ coming ‘powerfully’ upon Saul, verbatim repetition of what was often said of Samson in the book of Judges (Jdg 14:6, 19; 15:14). Such visitations of the Spirit appear to be temporary and designed to empower (or prevent) a particular action…”

          • On Saul’s “becoming a different person,” Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes, “This is a remarkable expression, and occurs nowhere else. It describes the change in point of mental power and energy which would result from the influx of the Spirit of the Lord 1 Samuel 10:9. In the case of Samson it was a supernatural bodily strength; in the case of Saul a capacity for ruling and leading the people of which before he was destitute, and which the Spirit worked in him. (Compare Acts 1:8; Isaiah 11:2-4.)”

        • When these signs have taken place, do whatever your hands find to do, because God is with you. Then, go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I am going to join you there to offer burnt offerings and peace offerings. Wait seven days until I come to you and show you what to do.

            • HCSB addresses a timing question that some believe arises with this text, “After anointing Saul, Samuel told him to wait seven days at Gilgal until the prophet would come to him. Their later meeting at Gilgal is recorded in 13:8-10. But the events recorded in 10:9-13:7 could not have occurred within a week’s time. In that section Saul was publicly recognized as Israel’s first king, mustered a fighting force of 330,000 men, led them to Jabesh-gilead, fought and defeated the Ammonites, returned to Gilgal to be publicly inaugurated as king, and prepared to fight the Philistines at Michmash. Based on the wording of 13:1, some interpreters posit a two-year gap between 10:8 and 13:1. Perhaps the best explanation is to be found in the wording of verses 7-8: Saul was to do whatever was required to bring deliverance for Israel from the Ammonites. Then when that task was done- and it would probably take a long time- he was to go to Gilgal. The seven day waiting period for Samuel would begin until Saul arrived at Gilgal.”

            • This certainly sounds like a legitimate timing issue. On the other hand, some take the view that a textual issue with 1 Samuel 13:1 solves the issue and there is no timing problem at all, no significant gap of years between this instruction and Saul’s failure to comply in chapter 13. It all depends on whether or not 13:1 is original to the text or not and a valid case can be made that it isn’t. This will be discussed in chapter 13. However, I’ll go ahead and include Pulpit Commentary’s view:

            • The lapse of time between Samuel’s appointment of the seven days during which Saul was to wait for him to inaugurate the war of independence, and the present occasion, was probably not so great as many commentators suppose; for 1 Samuel 13:1 is, as we have seen, wrongly translated, and everything else leads to the conclusion that the defeat of the Ammonites, the choice of the 3000, and Jonathan’s attack on the garrison at Geba followed rapidly upon one another. As the Philistines would rightly regard Israel’s choice of a king as an act of rebellion, we cannot suppose them to have been so supine and negligent as not at once to have prepared for war.”

        • As Saul turned around to leave Samuel, God changed his heart, and all the signs came to pass that day. When Saul and his servant came to Gibeah, a company of prophets met him. The Spirit of God rushed upon him and he prophesied among them. When all those who had known him before saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What has come over Kish’s son? Is Saul also among the prophets?” A man who was from there asked, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a popular saying, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” When he had finished prophesying he went to the high place.

          • Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges writes, “Saul’s neighbours were astonished that the son of Kish, the plain citizen, undistinguished save by his stalwart form and handsome countenance, should suddenly appear as a prophet in the midst of the trained recipients of divine inspiration. But one of their fellow-townsmen reproved them by asking. But who is their father? Was the parentage of these prophets such as to lead us to expect them to be thus specially gifted? The prophetic inspiration comes from God, and may therefore be bestowed even upon the son of Kish. See Amos 7:14-15. Compare the astonishment of the people of Capernaum at the words and works of Christ (Matthew 13:54-57).”

        • Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?” He replied, “To look for the donkeys. When we couldn’t find them we went to Samuel.” Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, what did Samuel say to you?” Saul answered, “He assured us the donkeys had been found.” However, he didn’t tell him what Samuel had said about the matter of kingship.

          • Guzik says, “It seems strange that Saul did not tell what he experienced. Perhaps Saul was wise, knowing that the LORD had to reveal him as king over Israel. What point was there in saying, “I’m the king now!” until the LORD declared him king? Or perhaps Saul experienced what many do after a powerful encounter with the LORD: an attack from the enemy, making them fearful and cowardly to tell others what God did.”

Saul Publicly Proclaimed King

        • Samuel called the people together to Yahweh at Mizpah and said to the Israelites, “This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel out of Egypt and delivered you from the hand of the Egyptians and all the kingdoms that oppressed you. But today you have rejected your God who saves you from all of your troubles and afflictions, and you have said to Him, ‘Appoint a king over us.’ Therefore, present yourselves before Yahweh by your tribes and clans.’”

        • Then Samuel brought all of the tribes forward and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin forward by clans and the Matrite clan was chosen by lot. He brought the Matrite clan forward man by man and Saul, Kish’s son, was chosen by lot. But when they looked for him they couldn’t find him. So, they inquired of Yahweh again, “Has the man come here yet?” Yahweh answered, “Look, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”

          • Guzik writes, “Saul was already anointed king over Israel. But God did this to show the whole nation that Saul was the right man. It showed that God chose Saul and not any man. It is important to say that Saul did not become king because of the choosing by lot. Instead, he was chosen king because of God’s word to the prophet Samuel. The choosing by lot simply confirmed the word of the LORD through Samuel.”

        • Then he adds, “Here Saul showed a healthy embarrassment and humility. He did not look forward to being “center stage” in front of the nation; he seemed to dread it. Saul was not made king because of his personal ambition or to gratify a desire for the limelight.”

        • Guzik cites Spurgeon, “Spurgeon, in his sermon Hiding Among the Stuff, showed how both believers and unbelievers hide, avoiding their crown: ‘There may be some of you here present, who may be doing precisely what Saul did, only you are doing it more foolishly than he did. He did but hide away from an earthly crown, but you hide from a heavenly one.’”

        • Then they ran and brought him out and as he stood among the people, he was a head taller than anyone else. Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man Yahweh has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”

        • Then Samuel proclaimed to the people the rights and duties of kingship and he wrote them on a scroll and placed it before Yahweh. Then Samuel dismissed all the people to return to their homes.

        • Saul also went to his home in Gibeah and some brave men whose hearts God had touched went with him. But, some worthless men said, “How can this man save us?” They despised him and didn’t bring him a gift, but Saul didn’t say anything about it.

        • Guzik writes, “Not all of Israel supported Saul yet. Because they never had a king before, it was unlikely they could choose any one man the whole nation could immediately support. Saul reacted to this wisely (he held his peace). At this point an insecure or unwise leader might feel the need to “crush” any opposition or simply regard them as enemies. Saul did neither, understanding that it might take him some time to win over the doubters.”

        • The same source adds, “Despite all these great advantages, Saul could still end badly. He had to choose to walk in the advantages God gave him and choose to not go his own way. The rest of the book of 1 Samuel shows how Saul dealt with that choice.”

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