Saul Becomes King
1 Samuel 9:1-10:27
Saul Meets Samuel
1 There was a wealthy and influential man named Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin; he was the son of Abiel and grandson of Zeror, and belonged to the family of Becorath, a part of the clan of Aphiah. 2 He had a son named Saul, a handsome man in the prime of life. Saul was a foot taller than anyone else in Israel and more handsome as well.
3 Some donkeys belonging to Kish had wandered off, so he said to Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys.” 4 They went through the hill country of Ephraim and the region of Shalishah, but did not find them; so they went on through the region of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. Then they went through the territory of Benjamin, but still did not find them. 5 When they came into the region of Zuph, Saul said to his servant, “Let's go back home, or my father might stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.”
6 The servant answered, “Wait! In this town there is a holy man who is highly respected because everything he says comes true. Let's go to him, and maybe he can tell us where we can find the donkeys.”
7 “If we go to him, what can we give him?” Saul asked. “There is no food left in our packs, and we don't have a thing to give him, do we?”
8 The servant answered, “I have a small silver coin. I can give him that, and then he will tell us where we can find them.”
9-11 Saul replied, “A good idea! Let's go.” So they went to the town where the holy man lived. As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women who were coming out to draw water. They asked these women, “Is the seer in town?”
(At that time a prophet was called a seer, and so whenever someone wanted to ask God a question, he would say, “Let's go to the seer.”)
12-13 “Yes, he is,” the young women answered. “In fact, he is just ahead of you. If you hurry, you will catch up with him. As soon as you go into town, you will find him. He arrived in town today because the people are going to offer a sacrifice on the altar on the hill. The people who are invited won't start eating until he gets there, because he has to bless the sacrifice first. If you go now, you will find him before he goes up the hill to eat.” 14 So Saul and his servant went on to the town, and as they were going in, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way to the place of worship.
15 Now on the previous day the Lord had told Samuel, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the tribe of Benjamin; anoint him as ruler of my people Israel, and he will rescue them from the Philistines. I have seen the suffering of my people and have heard their cries for help.”
17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This is the man I told you about. He will rule my people.” 18 Then Saul went over to Samuel, who was near the gate, and asked, “Tell me, where does the seer live?”
19 Samuel answered, “I am the seer. Go on ahead of me to the place of worship. Both of you are to eat with me today. Tomorrow morning I will answer all your questions and send you on your way. 20 As for the donkeys that were lost three days ago, don't worry about them; they have already been found. But who is it that the people of Israel want so much? It is you—you and your father's family.”
21 Saul answered, “I belong to the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel, and my family is the least important one in the tribe. Why, then, do you talk like this to me?”
22 Then Samuel led Saul and his servant into the large room and gave them a place at the head of the table where the guests, about thirty in all, were seated. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the piece of meat I gave you, which I told you to set aside.” 24 So the cook brought the choice piece of the leg and placed it before Saul. Samuel said, “Look, here is the piece that was kept for you. Eat it. I saved it for you to eat at this time with the people I invited.”
So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 When they went down from the place of worship to the town, they fixed up a bed for Saul on the roof, 26 and he slept there.
Samuel Anoints Saul as Ruler
At dawn Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up, and I will send you on your way.” Saul got up, and he and Samuel went out to the street together. 27 When they arrived at the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” The servant left, and Samuel continued, “Stay here a minute, and I will tell you what God has said.”
1 Then Samuel took a jar of olive oil and poured it on Saul's head, kissed him, and said, “The Lord anoints you as ruler of his people Israel. You will rule his people and protect them from all their enemies. And this is the proof to you that the Lord has chosen you to be the ruler of his people: 2 When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel's tomb at Zelzah in the territory of Benjamin. They will tell you that the donkeys you were looking for have been found, so that your father isn't worried any more about them but about you, and he keeps asking, ‘What shall I do about my son?’ 3 You will go on from there until you come to the sacred tree at Tabor, where you will meet three men on their way to offer a sacrifice to God at Bethel. One of them will be leading three young goats, another one will be carrying three loaves of bread, and the third one will have a leather bag full of wine. 4 They will greet you and offer you two of the loaves, which you are to accept. 5 Then you will go to the Hill of God in Gibeah, where there is a Philistine camp. At the entrance to the town you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the altar on the hill, playing harps, drums, flutes, and lyres. They will be dancing and shouting. 6 Suddenly the spirit of the Lord will take control of you, and you will join in their religious dancing and shouting and will become a different person. 7 When these things happen, do whatever God leads you to do. 8 You will go ahead of me to Gilgal, where I will meet you and offer burnt sacrifices and fellowship sacrifices. Wait there seven days until I come and tell you what to do.”
9 When Saul turned to leave Samuel, God gave Saul a new nature. And everything Samuel had told him happened that day. 10 When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a group of prophets met him. Suddenly the spirit of God took control of him, and he joined in their ecstatic dancing and shouting. 11 People who had known him before saw him doing this and asked one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Has Saul become a prophet?” 12 A man who lived there asked, “How about these other prophets—who do you think their fathers are?” This is how the saying originated, “Has even Saul become a prophet?” 13 When Saul finished his ecstatic dancing and shouting, he went to the altar on the hill.
14 Saul's uncle saw him and the servant, and he asked them, “Where have you been?”
“Looking for the donkeys,” Saul answered. “When we couldn't find them, we went to see Samuel.”
15 “And what did he tell you?” Saul's uncle asked.
16 “He told us that the animals had been found,” Saul answered—but he did not tell his uncle what Samuel had said about his becoming king.
Saul Is Acclaimed as King
17 Samuel called the people together for a religious gathering at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “The Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I brought you out of Egypt and rescued you from the Egyptians and all the other peoples who were oppressing you. 19 I am your God, the one who rescues you from all your troubles and difficulties, but today you have rejected me and have asked me to give you a king. Very well, then, gather yourselves before the Lord by tribes and by clans.’”
20 Then Samuel had each tribe come forward, and the Lord picked the tribe of Benjamin. 21 Then Samuel had the families of the tribe of Benjamin come forward, and the family of Matri was picked out. Then the men of the family of Matri came forward, and Saul son of Kish was picked out. They looked for him, but when they could not find him, 22 they asked the Lord, “Is there still someone else?”
The Lord answered, “Saul is over there, hiding behind the supplies.”
23 So they ran and brought Saul out to the people, and they could see that he was a foot taller than anyone else. 24 Samuel said to the people, “Here is the man the Lord has chosen! There is no one else among us like him.”
All the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
25 Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of a king, and then wrote them in a book, which he deposited in a holy place. Then he sent everyone home. 26 Saul also went back home to Gibeah. Some powerful men, whose hearts God had touched, went with him. 27 But some worthless people said, “How can this fellow do us any good?” They despised Saul and did not bring him any gifts.