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15. Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,
best of their fields, vineyards, and orchards would be seized, together with tithes of their harvests and cattle. In short, they would be the king's slaves, and would cry to God for freedom, but cry in vain. Yet in spite of this solemn warning the infatuated people persisted in their request. “ It is the story of the nations from the beginning until now. The Way of the Wilful is the highway of the children of men." Rev. David James Burrell, D.D.
WISE AND UNWISE PRAYERS. “ The true way to pray is to lay our requests at the feet of God and leave them there without undue urgency. We do not know what is best for us. A pastor sat by the sick-bed of a child who seemed to be near death. Turning to the parents he said, 'We will pray to God for your child. What shall we ask him to do ?' After a few moments of silence the father said, amid his sobs : “ We would not dare choose leave it to him. This is the only safe way to pray in such matters." — J. R. Miller.
“ I have been amazed and even stupefied sometimes to consider how my own little, petty, foolish, whimsical desires have been faithfully and literally granted me. We ought to be more afraid of our desires, not because we shall not get them, but because we shall almost certainly have them fulfilled. What a man sows he shall reap ! That is taken generally to mean that if he sows pleasure, he shall reap disaster ; but it has a much truer and more terrible meaning than that namely, that if a man sows the seed of small, trivial, foolish joys, the grain that he reaps is small, trivial, and foolish too. God is indeed in many ways an indulgent Father, like the father in the parable of the Prodigal Son ; and the best rebuke that he gives, if we have the wisdom to see it, is that he so often does hand us, with a smile, the very thing we have desired.” A. C. Benson.
“ The surest way to disgust men with their own folly is to let it work out its results, just as boys in candy shops are allowed to eat as much as they like at first, and so get a distaste for the dainties." Alexander Maclaren.
II. SAMUEL ANOINTS SAUL AS KING, 1 Sam. 9:1-10 : 1. THE FATHER OF Saul was a man of wealth and influence, Kish by name, who lived in Benjamin, the small division of the Holy Land north of Judah. His town was Gibeah (Geba), the modern Tell-el-Fül, about four miles north of Jerusalem.
SAUL'S NAME means the same as Samuel's, “ asked (from God).”
SAUL'S PERSON was tall and stately, every inch a king." He was taller by a head than any other man in the nation, a giant indeed ; and in those days before gunpowder had equalized height, inches counted in a warrior. Moreover, he was in the prime of life, just of the right age for aggressive leadership. But the catalogue of qualities stops here, very significantly ; Saul could not have been said to be a man of God, nor is it said that he came of godly parents.
It is to SAUL'S Credit that he was sent by his father on an important errand. The asses belonging to Saul's father, Kish, that had gone astray, were no small part of his wealth, being used both in travelling and in cultivating the ground. Saul was sent for them, which shows that he was a trustworthy and active young man. He went westward from Gibeah, then southward, then northeastward till he came to Ramah, the home of Samuel. Then Saul, mindful of his father's anxiety, which by this time might well be greater for him than for the asses, since he had been gone about three days, proposed a return. It was not Saul, but his servant, who suggested getting advice from Samuel. Saul, who on a famous occasion was ready enough to consult the witch of Endor, did not think of consulting the man of God. As it was, he thought only of what fee he could give the seer. This point was settled by the servant's producing a piece of silver weighing a quarter of a shekel, worth about sixteen cents, and equal in purchasing value to perhaps ten times that sum to-day. They fortunately found that Samuel had just returned from an official circuit, and was about to bless a sacrifice upon the altar which he had built.
15. Jehovah had revealed unto Samuel. Literally, 'had uncovered Samuel's ears,' a figure of speech said to be derived from the practice of removing the hair or a corner of the turban from another's ear in order to whisper a secret into it.”. Cambridge Bible.
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.
17. And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.
18. Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is.
19. And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to-day; and to-morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.
20. And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel ? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house?
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?
16. I have looked upon my people. So long as the people were determined upon a king, and would not trust to God's direct leadership, God would still do the best he could for them through their king, and would send them a leader who could defeat their enemies ; for the Philistines, it seems, were again oppressing the Israelites.
17. Behold, the man. As soon as Samuel saw the tall, kingly young man approach, he wondered if this could not be the God-appointed leader ; and God spoke to his heart and told him definitely that it was. It is God who gives every true leader access to the hearts of men. Many a born king spends his whole life in the pursuit of asses for want of some kind prophet to tell him he is a head and shoulders taller than other people.” — M. E. Coleridge.
19. All that is in thy heart. “In the light of Saul's character as revealed in the sequel, we can hardly go wrong in understanding these words as an indication that Saul had brooded in secret over the tyranny of the Philistines, and was perhaps already forming plans for ending it.” New Century Bible. Thus Gideon, threshing his grain in secret, mourned over the havoc wrought by the Midianites. Thus Joan of Arc, tending her sheep, brooded over the wrongs of her country.
20. For whom is all that is desirable in Israel ? “ Do not worry about your father's asses,” said Samuel, “ for they are found”; and he implied that even if they were not found, a coming king, with the wealth of the nation at his disposal, need not fret himself over so small a matter.
21. Am I not a Benjamite? The tribe of Benjamin was originally the smallest of the tribes except Manasseh (Num. 1 : 34, 37), and it was almost annihilated by the terrible slaughter described in Judg. 20 : 46. Moreover, as Saul modestly added, his own family was the most insignificant of this insignificant tribe. “ That is the language of a man whose heart is really touched for the time with divine grace. That is real humility; and humility is the root of all the graces, both natural and supernatural.” – Alexander Whyte. Truly great men never think of themselves more highly than they ought to think (Rom. 12 : 3).
22. Brought them into the guest-chamber. This was the room in the sanctuary at Ramah where the sacrificial meal was eaten by the more distinguished citizens, the rest eating in the open air outside. Saul and his servant were honored by being placed at the head of these thirty persons, and Saul was further honored by receiving i he thigh, which had been reserved according to custom for Samuel himself. Thus Samuel hinted that Saul was to take his place. Later, after the meal, Samuel continued to show respect to Saul, taking him to his own home down below the sanctuary in the town, and conversing with him upon the housetop. The flat roof of an Oriental house is still "resorted to for business, relaxation, or for sleeping. During a large part of the year it is the most agreeable place about the establishment, especially in the morning and evening.”. Thomson. Here Saul and his servant slept, Samuel sleeping inside the house, and at daybreak (days pring) the next morning Samuel
25. And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.
26. And they arose early: and it came to pass, about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
27. And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on,) but stand thou still a while, that I may show thee the word of God.
10:1. Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?
accompanied Saul through the town, still talking, doubtless, of what the two had conversed about on the housetop, namely, the distracted state of the country, and the need of strong, wise leadership.
Then Samuel, convinced by Saul's answers that he was the right man, did what he had been preparing Saul for. Sending the servant ahead out of sight and hearing, he
bade the young man receive Oriental House with Stairs Leading to the Roof.
the divine command. Using
perhaps the sacrificial oil which was used to anoint priests, Samuel poured it upon Saul's head in token of consecration to God's service and the gift of God's Spirit. Then he kissed Saul in token of homage to the new-made king, and declared solemnly that Jehovah had thus anointed Saul to rule the divine inheritance, the people of Israel.
These ceremonies are still performed whenever a British sovereign is crowned. The Archbishop of Canterbury anoints the King, then kisses him, and the kiss of allegiance is given also by the bishops and by the premier peer of each order, representing
Illustration. “ Daniel Webster describes with deep emotion the noble manner in which his father told him, then a boy of fifteen, that he was about to send him to college. Webster says he could never forget the spot in the road where his father surprised and overwhelmed him with the good news, and when the vision of an educated manhood with all its privileges and responsibilities took possession of him, he burst into tears ; his nature began to put forth new power." Rev. George A. Gordon, D.D.
Samuel Anointing Saul.
all the peers.
Julius von Schnorr. un
God's LEADING IN OUR LIVES. Some that are ready to be led by God do not know how to discover what God's leading is. Henry Drummond once wrote some wise rules on the fly-leaf of his Bible : “To find out God's will - 1. Pray. 2. Think. 3. Talk to wise people, but do not regard their decisions as final. 4. Beware of the bias of your own will, but do not be too much afraid of it.
God never reasonably thwarts a man's nature and liking, and it is a mistake to think that his will is in the line of the disagreeable. 5. Meantime, do the next thing, for doing God's will in small things is the best preparation for knowing it in great things. 6. When decision and action are necessary, go ahead. 7. Never reconsider decision when it is finally acted upon.
Ancient Anointing Horn. 8. You will probably not find out until afterwards, perhaps long afterwards, that you have been led at all.”
“We must fare forth, unsped,
“What will the voyage cost?
We are already lost
Who turn from land and love, to face
This blank immensity of space.
“Push out. We have to go,
Whether we fear or no;
And why stand shivering and appalled ?
We go because the Voice has called.
III THE PE PLE ACCEPT SAUL AS KING, 1 Sam. 10 : 2-27. SAMUEL'S Proofs. Samuel did not ask Saul to believe in the reality of his kingship without proofs. Saul's faith was weak; and no wonder, considering the greatness of the change that had come to him. The Lord is always ready to help our unbelief by evidence, if only our hearts are turned toward belief. The proofs that Samuel gave Saul were sufficient. He was to meet two men by the grave of Rachel, which was near Bethel on his way home. These men would tell him that his father's asses had been found. Then, going on to the oak of Tabor (some think that this was the oak under which Rebekah's nurse Deborah was buried), he would meet three men going to the Bethel sanctuary, carrying three kids, three loaves of bread, and a bottle of wine for their sacrifice. They would give him two loaves of bread, the first of his royal offerings. Next, as Saul came to “ the hill (the Gibeah) of God,” his own home of Gibeah or Geba, he was to meet a band of the prophets whom Samuel had trained and organized. Musicians would precede them, playing on stringed instruments (psaltery and harp), a tambourine or drum (timbrel), and a kind of flute (pipe). As Saul encountered them the Spirit of Jehovah would come upon him, and he would join their ecstatic songs, and be turned into another man. From that time he was to trust to the Spirit of Jehovah for guidance on all occasions.
All these things came to pass, and must have made Saul clear in regard to his destiny. Especially striking was the coming upon him of prophetic inspiration, a happening so foreign to his past course as to give rise to the amazed proverb, “ Is Saul also among the prophets ?
But, though sure of his splendid future, Saul did not boast of it, as Joseph did, however innocently. When his uncle Ner (1 Sam. 14 : 50) questioned him about his intercourse with Samuel, he kept the anointing a secret, partly because Samuel had done it secretly and so implied that it was not yet to be announced, and partly because of his innate modesty and prudence, which he showed also on other occasions.
THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, summoned to meet at Mizpeh, was for the public ratification of what Samuel had done privately. It was the logical sequel of the request made by the people at Ramah (1 Sam. 8:4-22). Any Israelite twenty years old could attend this assembly (Num. 1 : 3).
After repeating the warning he had given before, that by the choice of a king the people were rejecting Jehovah as their ruler, Jehovah to whom they owed all that the nation had become, Samuel cast lots among the tribes, and the lot fell upon the tribe of Benjamin ; then among the clans or families of Benjamin, and that of the Matrites was indicated ; then among the heads of houses, and Kish was pointed out; then among the members of the household of Kish, and the lot fell upon Saul. This was, to Saul and Samuel alike, still further confirmation of the choice of the young man.
THE MODESTY AND SELF-RESTRAINT OF THE YOUNG KING were made immediately evident, for when they sought for him he could not be found at first, but finally was discovered hiding among the baggage of those that had come to the meeting from a distance.
Illustration. Thus George Washington, when John Adams in Congress first mentioned the Virginian as the most suitable commander-in-chief of the American army, darted out of the room, and did not return while the matter was in debate. When informed of his unanimous election, he declared very earnestly that he did not think himself equal to the command.
The splendid young man was brought out, a head taller than the tallest in the crowd, and at once the shout arose, Long live the king !” The greater part of the assembly accompanied Saul in a loyal, rejoicing procession to his home ; but, as might have been expected, certain worthless fellows asked sneeringly, can this man, of whom no one has ever heard before, save the nation from the Philistines ? ” And they did not join in the gifts which the others brought as tokens of allegiance.
But Saul showed his strength of character by holding his peace ; literally, “he was as one deaf.”
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
THE QUALITIES OF A TRUE LEADER. 1. The true leader will win by his forbearance. He will make allowances. He will not mistake hasty words for sincere convictions, or a spurt of anger for determined opposition.
Illustration. William Morris, the famous poet, was once making a speech when an anarchist got up and hotly accused him of talking nonsense. Morris quietly went on with his speech as if there had been no interruption, and at the close, when those in the room expected him to turn on the fellow and rend him, he took his arm and invited him to supper and a chat. That man became one of Morris's greatest admirers.
2. God will attract followers to the men whom he has commissioned as leaders. Saul was followed home by a host " whose hearts God had touched ” (1 Sam. 10 : 26). “Some such band of God-touched hearts is at the genesis of every important moral and religious reform of the ages.” — Rev. C. C. Albertson, D.D. Dr. Albertson instances the followers that gathered around John Wesley, George Williams, Samuel Mills, and the Japanese lad who founded the Kumamoto Band.
3. The true leader is capable of great enthusiasm. Saul illustrated this when he joined the band of singing prophets. That was his conversion, the first conversion described in the Bible. As he joined the enthusiasts and threw himself heart and soul into their prophesying, Saul felt that he was entering on new paths, and that personal ambitions were being absorbed by the holier aim to which he now consecrated himself the service of Jehovah in the deliverance of his country.” Prof. J. D. Fleming. “ Religious feeling had hitherto only slumbered in his bosom. From this time it became the ruling power, though his after life showed that, however intense, it was superficial, and left his deeper nature essentially unchanged.”
Cunningham Geikie. “ Had Saul's change of heart only held, had his conversion only become complete, Saul would have been one of the greatest of all the Old Testament men." - Alexander Whyte. “ It is a comfort to turn from this superficial transformation of the lower man into the higher to the oft-recurring miracle of Christianity which is illustrated in Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul, the great apostle to the Gentiles. Paul describes that miracle, which happens to-day in every land, when he says, “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.'” Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D.
4. The true leader is modest and self-controlled. “There is nothing which so often oversets the whole balance of a mind, which brings out at once faults unsuspected