Wednesday, September 03, 2008

I Samuel 10:9–27

I Samuel 10:9–27: Saul Made King

Synopsis

In the last passage, Samuel anointed Saul as king. But that wasn’t an official ceremony, and neither did they announce anything to Israel. In this passage, everything will be made official.

As soon as Samuel finishes speaking to Saul, and as Saul is turning to leave, God changes his heart. The passage doesn’t say in what way his heart is changed, but it is changed. Then, after leaving Samuel, Saul meets up with all of the people that Samuel had prophesied he would meet, including the prophets. As Samuel had predicted, the Spirit of God comes upon him, and he prophesies with them. People who know Saul know that this behaviour isn’t like him, and they ask themselves, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” (verse 11). (In fact, verse 12 tells us that this actually becomes a saying; “Is Saul also among the prophets?”)

After Saul finishes prophesying, he goes to the high place—I don’t know what this means—and then returns home to his father, who asks him where he’s been. Saul tells him that he’s been looking for the donkeys, but doesn’t tell him that Samuel has told him he’ll be king.

After this, Samuel summons all of Israel.

Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the LORD at Mizpah and said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your calamities and distresses. And you have said, ‘No, set a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans.” (verses 17–19)

So the Israelites present themselves before Samuel, and Saul’s tribe, then his clan, are chosen, and finally Saul himself is chosen. But when the people look for Saul, they can’t find him! They inquire of the LORD, to find out if Saul is there, and He tells them that yes, Saul is there—he’s hiding in the baggage.

So the people bring Saul out, and when they see him, and note the fact that he stands a head taller than anyone else, they’re impressed. They shout “Long live the king!”—just as you’d expect, when a new king is chosen. Samuel explains the rules for kingship, and then writes those rules down, before dismissing the people to go back home. However, when Saul goes back home, he is accompanied by some “valiant men,” whose hearts have been touched (verse 26).

The people also send Saul gifts—except for some “troublemakers,” who aren’t impressed with Saul, and ask themselves, “How can this fellow save us?” (verse 27). However, Saul keeps silent about it.

Thoughts

So far, in this passage, I think Saul is still doing okay. He is definitely still displaying humility—maybe too much humility, to the point that it’s probably full-blown cowardice when he hides in the luggage—and it seems, to me, like a good idea not to start fighting with the people who don’t accept him as king.
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