Bible Commentary

1 Samuel 9

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of 1 Samuel 9)

Verse 2

[2] And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.

Goodly — Comely and personable.

Higher — A tall stature was much valued in a king in ancient times, and in the eastern countries.

Verse 3

[3] And the asses of Kish Saul's father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.

The asses — Which were there of great price, because of the scarcity of horses, and therefore not held unworthy of Saul's seeking, at least in those ancient times, when simplicity, humility, and industry were in fashion among persons of quality.

Verse 6

[6] And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.

Honourable men — One of great reputation for his skill and faithfulness. Acquaintance with God and serviceableness to the kingdom of God, makes men truly honourable.

The way — The course we should take to find the asses. He saith, peradventure, because he doubted whether so great a prophet would seek, or God would grant him a revelation concerning such mean matters: although sometimes God was pleased herein to condescend to his people, to cut off all pretence or occasion of seeking to heathenish divination.

Verse 7

[7] Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?

A present — Presents were then made to the prophets, either as a testimony of respect: or, as a grateful acknowledgement: or, for the support of the Prophets themselves: or, of the sons of the prophets: or, of other persons in want, known to them.

Verse 9

[9] (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)

Seer — Because he discerned and could discover things secret and unknown to others. And these are the words, either of some later sacred writer, who after Samuel's death, inserted this verse. Or, of Samuel, who, being probably fifty or sixty years old at the writing of this book, and speaking of the state of things in his first days, might well call it before time.

Verse 12

[12] And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place:

Came to-day to the city — He had been travelling abroad, and was now returned to his own house in Ramah.

High place — Upon the hill mentioned verse 11, and near the altar which Samuel built for this use.

Verse 13

[13] As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.

Find him — At home and at leisure.

To eat — The relicks of the sacrifices.

Doth bless — The blessing of this sacrifice seems to have consisted both of thanksgiving, this being a thank-offering, and of prayer to God for its acceptance.

Verse 15

[15] Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,

His ear — That is, secretly, perhaps by a still small voice.

Verse 16

[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.

Philistines — For though they were now most pressed with the Ammonites, yet they looked upon these as a land-flood, soon up, and soon down again: but the Philistines, their constant and nearest enemies, they most dreaded. And from these did Saul in some measure save them, and would have saved them much more, if his and the people's sins had not hindered.

Verse 20

[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?

On whom — Who is he that shall be that, which all Israel desire to have, namely, a king.

Father's house — That honour is designed for thee, and, after thy death, for thy family or posterity, is by thy sin thou dost not cut off the entail.

Verse 21

[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?

The smallest — For so indeed this was, having been all cut off except six hundred, Judges 20:46-48, which blow they never recovered, and therefore they were scarce reckoned as an entire tribe, but only as a remnant of a tribe; and being ingrafted into Judah, in the division between the ten tribes and the two, they in some sort lost their name, and together with Judah were accounted but one tribe.

Verse 22

[22] And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons.

Chief place — Thereby to raise their expectation, and to prepare them for giving that honour to Saul, which his approaching dignity required.

Verse 24

[24] And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.

I said — When I first spake that I had invited the people to join with me in my sacrifice, and then to partake with me of the feast, I then bade the cook reserve this part for thy use.

Verse 25

[25] And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.

Communed — Concerning the kingdom designed for him by God.

Verse 27

[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 shew thee the word of God.

Pass on — That thou and I may speak privately of the matter or the kingdom. Which Samuel hitherto endeavoured to conceal, lest he should be thought now to impose a king upon them, as before he denied one to them; and that it might appear by the lot mentioned in the next chapter, that the kingdom was given to Saul by God's destination, and not by Samuel's contrivance.

Word of God — That is, a message delivered to me from God, which now I shall impart to thee.

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