Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim. 2:15

King James AV1611


First Samuel

First Samuel was taught by Dr. James Modlish


Chapter Nine




"So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the Lord, even against the word of the Lord which he kept not, and also for asking council of one that had a familiar spirit to inquire of it; and inquire not of the Lord…" (1 Chron. 10:13,14)

Like any human being, Saul had his virtues and his failings. His chief weakness seems to have been want of decision of character. He was easily swayed by events and by people. The praises of David (1 Sam. 18:7ff) at once set his jealousy on fire. His persecution of David was largely due to the instigation of mischievous courtiers (1 Sam. 24:9). Upon remonstrance his repentance was as deep as it was short lived (24:16; 26:21). His impulsiveness was such that he did not know where to stop. His interdict (14:24ff) was quite as uncalled for as his religious zeal (15:9) was out of place. He was always at one extreme. His hatred of David was only equal to his affection for him at first (18:2). His pusillanimity (cowardice, fear, timidity) led him to commit crimes, which his own judgment would have forbidden (22:7). Like most personally defeated people, he became suspicious of everyone (22:7ff), and like those who are easily led, he soon found his evil genius (22:9,18,22). Saul's inability to act alone appears from the fact the he never engaged in single combat, so far as we know. Before he could act at all his fury or pity had to be roused to a boiling point (11:6). His mind was peculiarly subject to external influences, so that he was now a respectable man of the world, now a prophet (10:11; 19:24).

On the other hand, Saul possessed many high qualities. His dread of office (10:22) was only equaled by the coolness with which he accepted it (11:5). To the first call to action he responded with promptitude (11:6ff). His timely aid excited the lasting gratitude of the citizens of Jabesh-gilead (31:11ff). If we remember that Saul was openly disowned by Samuel (15:30), and believed himself cast off by the Lord, we cannot but admire the way in which he fought on to the last. (As far as I'm concerned Saul acted like any desperate man with no real alternatives, he fought for there was nothing left to do, except repent.) Moreover, the fact that he retained not only his own sons, but a sufficient body of fighting men to engage a large army of Philistine, shows that there must have been something in him to excite confidence and loyalty.

There is, however, no question as to the honorable and noble qualities of Saul. The chief were his prowess in war and his generosity in peace. They have been set down by the man who knew him best. See (2 Sam. 1:17-27).

- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Vol. IV, pp. 2699, 2700









I. "...GO SEEK THE ASSES..." - (1-4)

Saul comes from the tribe of Benjamin. In God's plan, this was not the chosen tribe to bear the sceptre of rule, (Gen. 49:8-10). Note the prophecy of (Gen. 49:27); Compare with (1 Sam. 22:17-20). Benjamin was a tribe of mighty warriors, in fact Benjamin often preceded the rest of the tribes into battle. Yet, the tribe had a somewhat less than illustrious recent history. See (Judg. 19:16-30; 20:3, 12ff). Benjamin was full of sodomites and perverts.

Saul himself must have been an impressive sight, very tall (approaching if not exceeding 7 feet), handsome and physically fit (goodly). If ever a man had had the physical appearance of the ideal ruler and king, Saul was the number one candidate, (1 Sam. 16:7).

There is a tremendous practical lesson here in these first four verses. With all his high qualifications, Saul was commissioned to do a very menial task "...go seek the asses." Little did Saul realize that on this seemingly worthless journey, he would be anointed King of Israel, (1 Sam. 10:1). The Lord must prove the man before he can use the man. Joseph serves in a prison house; David watches over the sheep Elisha plows with the oxen. In each case the future leader of men shows his fitness for advancement by fidelity to those simple and basic tasks of life. Hard, faithful and consistent work is the greatest preparation for the ministry.



We first see Saul as a humble man. He was willing to take the advice of someone not his equal in (vs. 21), Saul is surprised to be selected as the "desire of Israel." Whether Saul realized the doctrinal implications or not of his selection is not clear at this point, but it is clear that he hasn't "discovered his gift" at this point. Once a man realizes he is humble, he isn't!

Obviously Samuel's reputation preceded him. The servant knew him to be "a man of God," "an honourable man," a man that "can shew us our way." The phrase man of God is basically an Old Testament term, but the phrase is found in (2 Tim. 3:17); note its close association with the Word of God (1 Sam. 9:27).

"Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel." - (1 Cor. 9:14). It was understood, even 1000 years before the birth of Christ, that the "man of God" would live from the offerings of the people. See (1 Cor. 9:7-14; 1 Tim. 5:17, 18; Deut. 25:4).



Men look for spectacular signs and wonders, set out their fleeces, and wait for the voice of the Lord from heaven, but God uses simple everyday people and things to direct the lives of his people. The Christian seeking the next step in the will of God for his life ought to walk circumspectly. The young maidens knew where to direct the future King of Israel. Note the progression of events and God's simple agents used in bringing Saul to his anointing ... the asses ... his servant and the young maidens.

At this point, the Israelites had no fixed point of worship, the temple was yet future, the ark was in the house of Abinadab. Note Samuel's key position in the sacrifice "...he doth bless the sacrifice."



Someone like Samuel ought to be stationed in every one of the Lord's local churches to help his people ascertain the will of God (I Samuel 3:1-10).

A seer is a see-er, one who can see, a man of wisdom. The qualifications of God's prophet were superior. God's prophets must produce 100% positive results. "When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not ... that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken..." (Deut. 18:18-22). Samuel said, "I ... will tell thee all that is in thine heart." (Dan. 4:18; Jer. 27:5-10). Saul must have been taken by surprise when Samuel understood the plight of Saul and the lost asses, without ever speaking to, or meeting the man in his life (vs. 20)!



The cook had already been forewarned that a very special guest would be coming to dinner (vs. 23). Samuel deems it necessary to introduce Saul to his future constituents. The scripture does not say whether the thirty guests were knowledgeable of what was about to take place, nonetheless Saul and servant are escorted to the head table.

Saul has the opportunity to socialize and get acquainted with Samuel. Saul wasn't really sure what was about to transpire, but he was patient and could see that "God was in this." I'd like to have an instant replay of the conversation of (vss. 24-26). The three leave the house and Samuel escorts them to the city limits. He then asks the servant to go on; then Samuel begins to tell Saul what God has planned for him.

"...Stand thou still..." - (1 Sam. 12:7, 16; Ex. 14:13; Isa. 1:18; Job 37:14). From time to time we must stop what we are doing, meditate, and allow the Lord to show us the Word of God.

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