1 Samuel Chapter 10: Saul Anointed by Samuel, Two Signs

Feb 11th, 2010 | By | Category: 1 & 2 Samuel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

1 Samuel Chapter 10: Saul Anointed by Samuel, Two Signs

1 Sam. 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?

1 Sam. 10:2 When thou art departed from me today, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel’s sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?

Samuel anointed Saul to be king by taking a vial of oil, pouring it on his head, and kissing him. This anointing was done more or less secretly, and in many instances, anointings were done privately. For example, at Elisha’s instruction, a son of the prophets privately anointed Jehu to be king over Israel (2 Kings 9:1-6). David, too, was anointed secretly, being only in the midst of his natural brothers (1 Sam. 16:13). Why were private anointings a relatively common practice?

Comment: Even with us, the anointing happens in the present life, but that does not mean we will get the crown later and participate in the inauguration process.

Saul and David were types, picturing two classes. Both individuals were quietly anointed to be kings. One proved to be unfaithful, and the other proved to be faithful—but both became kings. Saul, picturing Papacy, the false Church, took a wrong course. David, picturing the true Church beyond the veil in this picture, took a right course. Incidentally, Saul and David were contemporaries.

Notice the proper order in which information was revealed to Saul. Samuel did not begin by disclosing details of a more trivial nature. First, he said that Saul was anointed to be captain over the Lord’s inheritance. Then Samuel revealed the whereabouts of the lost animals and said that Kish, Saul’s father, was concerned about him, for by now four days had passed.

1 Sam. 10:3 Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Beth-el, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:

1 Sam. 10:4 And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands.

Starting in verse 3, Samuel next prophesied of two experiences that Saul would have in addition to being king. Again Samuel showed his ability as a seer. Saul would go forth and come to the plain of Tabor, where he would meet three men going up to God to Beth-el. One would be carrying three kids, another three loaves of bread, and the third a bottle of wine—a total of seven items. The three men would salute Saul and give him two loaves of bread, retaining one loaf to offer in sacrifice at Beth-el.

1 Sam. 10:5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:

1 Sam. 10:6 And the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

1 Sam. 10:7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.

To reassure Saul, Samuel continued to give evidences that the prospective king had the Lord’s blessing at this time. In other words, the miraculous information was intended to encourage Saul, for it was a confirmation of God’s favor. Apparently, Saul needed the manifestations, for he was an unusual person—and humble—at this time.

After being given the two loaves of bread, Saul probably accompanied the three men to the hill of God, where he met a company of prophets (that is, sons of the prophets) who were singing with a psaltery, a tabret, a pipe, and a harp and also prophesying. Then, as another sign of God’s favor, the spirit of God would come upon Saul, and he would prophesy and be a changed man.

If there is an antitypical significance, it would be in principle that Babylon was formerly a golden cup in the hand of Jehovah. The nominal Church had custody of the Scriptures but kept them locked in the dead Latin language, the Vulgate tongue, the language of the learned. The Roman Catholic Church purposely kept the Scriptures out of the vulgar tongue of the common people.

Samuel continued to speak to Saul: “And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.” Samuel was saying, “The sum and substance of all these events is to show you that, while I have anointed you, indeed God is with you.” How reassuring for Saul!

1 Sam. 10:8 And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and show thee what thou shalt do.

Saul was to go to Gilgal, which was not too far away, and wait seven days for Samuel to come. The seven days were a test for Saul at the very beginning, prior to being installed as king. Later in life he had a similar test of waiting, which he failed miserably when he refused to wait for Samuel and sacrificed himself. This information is helpful, for it shows that a person can change. He can be inherently good, but under certain conditions and influences, if he does not maintain a proper attitude, there can be a radical change in his life and behavior.

1 Sam. 10:9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.

1 Sam. 10:10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

1 Sam. 10:11 And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?

1 Sam. 10:12 And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?

1 Sam. 10:13 And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place.

Saul prophesied mightily—more than the sons of the prophets. With regard to the antitype, Papacy had a teaching role in the professed Church of Christ.

Saul’s prophesying had a twofold effect. Not only was the Lord giving assurances of His favor to Saul, but others noticed these manifestations. The prophesying was preparing the way, for this capability indicated there was something very unusual about Saul. Consider Samuel. When he began his career, he was a seer (1 Sam. 9:9). He was a young boy when the Lord appeared to him by voice at night, calling, “Samuel! Samuel!” There were some indications in his early manhood that the Lord was using him. Others could see that Samuel had marvelous wisdom, for they noticed the Lord’s spirit rested on him. These were the days when he was a seer. As time went on, it became very apparent that not only was he given to seeing visions and having communication with God, but also he had authority as a prophet. When he received commandments, he could say, “Do this!” or “Do that!” and not merely make suggestions.

Q: Was being a prophet a higher step than being a seer?

A: Yes. Sometimes people show signs of great promise or potential, but quite frequently the capabilities do not materialize. With Saul, the prophesying indicated that he had some superior quality, for he was even more outstanding than the sons of the prophets. He and the others probably foretold events that were about to transpire. In connection with the prophesying, perhaps Saul’s declaration was more specific than that of the others, showing, as a sign, that he had the Lord’s spirit in a superior fashion, at least temporarily. When Saul finished prophesying, he came to the “high place,” which was Gilgal.

Saul’s prophesying was an assurance and a consolation to Samuel, for as time went on, this handsome individual would be getting more and more adulation from the people. Although Samuel was phasing out, it was encouraging to him that, in the final analysis, he had more information than Saul.

Evidently, Samuel had an affection for Saul because God had appointed him, his appearance was pleasing, and his character was very tender in the beginning. In fact, Samuel’s strong bond of friendship and fellowship for Saul remained until God almost had to reprove him for not breaking that bond. Such tests often come to the greatest ones in God’s sight, and Samuel was one of the ten greatest Ancient Worthies.

Comment: To be faithful to a principle, we sometimes have to break our friendship with one who has been very close to us. Those experiences are crushing but necessary for obedience.

Reply: Often such trials are not appreciated by others because they cannot read the heart and know all the circumstances that are involved. However, as with Samuel, who was being set aside, the Lord gives strength for each experience. Samuel was consecrated from the womb to serve the Lord, and he faithfully performed that consecration for many years. Now he was gently put aside, as it were, and Saul appeared on the scene. The experience was hard for Samuel because he would wonder if he had not been sufficiently faithful.

1 Sam. 10:14 And Saul’s uncle said unto him and to his servant, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses: and when we saw that they were no where, we came to Samuel.

1 Sam. 10:15 And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you.

1 Sam. 10:16 And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.

Saul’s character was humble to start with. Notice that he told his uncle the truth, but it was a half truth. Sometimes, as here, this technique is quite permissible. Saul did not tell about Samuel’s saying he would be king.

Comment: Two proverbs are helpful. “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards” (Prov. 29:11). “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Prov. 17:28).

1 Sam. 10:17 And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh;

1 Sam. 10:18 And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you:

1 Sam. 10:19 And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands.

1 Sam. 10:20 And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken.

Samuel rehearsed the people’s attitude in desiring a king. Their words showed they were not fully satisfied with the way God had been dealing with them through judges.

Comment: Samuel knew that Saul would be the king, but he acted out the selection almost like a charade so that the people would be convinced of the choice.

Reply: The situation was similar when the Israelites left Egypt to worship an invisible God, who was not dwelling in a beautiful house made with hands. The same principle applies to Christians in regard to their initial calling in the present life. In the future, God will honor the Church and grant them many privileges and gifts, but the present life is the testing ground for faithfulness. Just as Christians are called out to this unknown God and have no visible image now but will see Him in the future if they are faithful, so He called the Israelites out of Egypt and later appeared to them with a voice on Mount Sinai. However, until the Israelites came to that mountain, they had to exercise faith. There was plenty of evidence of His leadings—the plagues, the dividing of the Red Sea, the manna, the defeat of the Amalekites, etc.—but they needed still more convincing. Similarly, the Christian in the Gospel Age looks for leadership in some visible, viable form. Of course the Lord’s Word teaches that God has prophets, or mouthpieces, who assist the brethren, but one’s trust is to be in the invisible God Himself. We are to hearken to others only in proportion as we feel they properly echo the sentiments of God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Thus the powerful leadings of the invisible God were not satisfactory to the Israelites, for like us sometimes, they forgot. That is why, in developing and increasing our faith, we need to review the Lord’s past leadings in our lives. We need to take stock every once in a while in order to reassure ourselves that God has done great things on our behalf. At times, we go through dark waters in our experiences.

Notice the method Samuel used. All of the tribes were to be represented. As they came near, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen, but how? Probably the Urim and the Thummim of the breastplate were used, even though the account does not so state. The tribes were whittled down until Benjamin was selected, showing that the king would come from that tribe.

1 Sam. 10:21 When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found.

1 Sam. 10:22 Therefore they inquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.

1 Sam. 10:23 And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.

1 Sam. 10:24 And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.

The selection was narrowed down to Saul, but since he was hiding and not present, the implication is that the selection was done in an indirect fashion. The names were read followed by no response until the name Saul was mentioned. The questions were suited to the breastplate through the Urim and Thummim.

The people would have been waiting with anticipation as each male hoped he would be selected. When Saul could not be found, the people reasoned, “Should he be king?” as if his absence was a negative factor. They needed further assurance that he really was to be the king.

God then indicated where Saul was hiding. He was discovered and brought to the fore, and when he stood among the people, they saw that he was a remarkable and unique man of great stature. The people voiced their approval: “God save the king.”

The account states that Saul was “higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.” (We would say he was head and shoulders above everyone else.) Then Samuel said to all the people, “See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?” Even Samuel was impressed with Saul, who appeared grand and meek. Also, since it was God who had chosen Saul, Samuel had reason to think the choice was a good one. Here is where the saying “God save the king” originated. “Long live the king” is a variation.

Q: Why was Saul anointed previously and privately rather than at this point?

A: Of those who are called to be future kings and priests, Saul is a picture of some who will not prove faithful. David, who was chosen in a similar fashion, represents that portion of the called who will make their calling and election sure. From this standpoint, David and Saul represent the Church in the flesh from two different perspectives. Some prove to be nominal and are entirely rejected, and others are certified as the proper class. David can also be considered to represent the church of the firstborn, which includes both the Little Flock and the Great Company (Heb. 12:23).

Saul pictures those who lose both their anointing and their Spirit begettal and hence go into Second Death. When just two classes are considered, that would be the representation, but there are different ways of looking at this picture. For more information, we will have to wait for future chapters when Saul and David are both on the scene at the same time. Then we will be able to make some analogies.

Comment: Saul’s behavior was eventually more reprehensible than Eli’s, so it would seem that he pictures a class who lose all life.

Reply: Saul represents a class that is ultimately rejected entirely, but the analogy is not that easy to see at this point, for only two personalities, Samuel and Saul, are involved thus far. In the initial calling, Saul was fit to be king. Hence in antitype, all who are called could make their calling and election sure if they were faithful. Saul pictures those who are fit when originally called and are truly consecrated, but they turn into a disreputable character and go into Second Death. In contrast, David, even with his faults, became a man after God’s own heart. Both David and Saul were humble in the beginning and represent the consecrated, but characters can change. A person’s character can be good at one time, but through environment and other circumstances of disobedience, his character can change for the worse. In the present life, we are in a development period, which can be for either good or evil.

1 Sam. 10:25 Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.

1 Sam. 10:26 And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.

Samuel wrote “the manner of the kingdom … in a book, and laid it up before the LORD.”

When the people first desired a king, Samuel told them God’s words about what the king would do (1 Sam. 8:11-18). For instance, many sons and daughters would be inducted, contrary to free will, into his household. Samuel was now recording (and warning) in advance the bad results that would come from having a king. Then he sent all the people away to their homes, and there being no special place for the king at this time, Saul went to his home in Gibeah.

Q: How was the book “laid up” before God?

A: After writing a description of the ceremony and the prophecy uttered earlier, Samuel put the book in safe custody as a historical record, although not necessarily at that moment. The book was probably stored near the Tabernacle, the archive being near the Ark.

1 Sam. 10:27 But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.

Saul held his peace when the children of Belial despised him and showed their displeasure by not giving him any presents. In initially desiring a king, the people manifested a wrong attitude, but when God agreed to the arrangement, suffering it to be so, and was responsible for choosing Saul, they should have obeyed according to the changed circumstances of the hour. Like Samuel, all of the Israelites should have accepted the arrangement of having a king.

(1985-1987 Study)

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