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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

1 Samuel 9

 

 

Verses 1-27

1 Samuel 9:1 to 1 Samuel 10:16. Samuel Anoints Saul as King.—(J), taken from one of the oldest narratives (see Introduction, p. 273). Note the absence of any connexion with the Deuteronomic narrative in the previous chapter—also the inconsistencies; in 1 Samuel 7:13 the Philistines were permanently disposed of; in 1 Samuel 9:16, 1 Samuel 10:5, they are oppressing Israel and have a garrison in the heart of the country; in our present narrative we have no trace of hostility to the Monarchy. This section preserves important features of primitive religious life and faith; the local seer, taking fees for fortune-telling, standing in some relation to the ecstatic prophet, nabhi'; Samuel, seer, and possibly also prophet, but yet an outstanding inspired personality, far more than the mere professional seer or prophet, a forerunner of Elijah, Elisha, and the canonical prophets. At the same time the ecstatic prophets, in conjunction with Saul, had their share in keeping Israel loyal to Yahweh and in rousing the people to the patriotic struggle with the Philistines (pp. 66, 85). Note also how the Spirit of Yahweh "leaps" upon a man, takes violent possession of him, and moves him to violent acts, especially deeds of warlike prowess (Judges 3:10*), as in the story of Samson. 99, 108 are editorial additions (see below).

1 Samuel 9:1-14. Kish, a Benjamite chief, had a son Saul, exceptionally tall and handsome. Kish had lost some asses, and sent Saul and a slave to look for them. After a long and futile search, they found themselves at Ramah, the home of Samuel. Saul proposed to abandon the search, but adopted a suggestion of the slave that they should consult Samuel. They learnt that Samuel was about to preside over a sacrificial feast at the local sanctuary, "high place," bama (see 1 Samuel 7:17, Leviticus 26:30, p. 98). As they went to the high place, they fell in with Samuel, who was also on his way thither.

1 Samuel 9:1. mighty man of valour: rather man of wealth and position.

1 Samuel 9:2. Saul: Sha'ul, asked (of God) (cf. 1 Samuel 1:20).

1 Samuel 9:4. Shalishah . . . Shaalim: sites unknown

1 Samuel 9:5. Zuph, see 1 Samuel 9:11.

1 Samuel 9:8. shekel: Genesis 23:15*.

1 Samuel 9:9. An explanatory note; perhaps originally seers and prophets were two distinct classes, afterwards merged in one under the title "prophet."

1 Samuel 9:14. within the city: read probably "within the gate" (cf. 1 Samuel 9:18).

1 Samuel 9:15-21. Yahweh had prepared Samuel for this meeting; He would send to him the future king. When they met, Samuel recognised the man chosen by Yahweh and made himself known to Saul; invited him to the feast; told him the asses were found, and that all that Israel could offer of wealth and honour were at his disposal, thus practically offering him the throne. According to the formula of Oriental etiquette—which is no more to be taken literally than "Your obedient servant" at the end of a letter—Saul protested his unworthiness.

1 Samuel 9:16. upon my people: read with LXX. "upon the affliction of my people."

1 Samuel 9:22 to 1 Samuel 10:12. Samuel brings Saul to the sacrificial feast, gives him the place of honour and the portion reserved for the chief guest. Saul spends the night on the housetop of Samuel's house—a usual guest-chamber. In the morning he leaves, and Samuel sets him on his way. Before they part, Samuel keeps him with him, while the slave goes on. Then Samuel anoints him, and tells him plainly that he is to be king; and that certain things are to happen to him as signs. After he leaves Samuel, these duly come to pass. The last sign is Saul's encounter with a band of ecstatic prophets, i.e. men who excited themselves by music (2 Kings 3:15) to wild singing and dancing, like the Mohammedan dervishes. When Saul left Samuel "God gave him another heart"; when he met the prophets, "the Spirit of God leaped upon him"; he caught the contagion of their ecstasy and prophesied—joined in the singing and dancing, to the astonishment of his friends: "Is Saul also among the prophets?" (1 Samuel 19:24). Respectable people, of good family, with a "father," did not join in the antics of these mad fanatics—that would be the common view (cf. 2 Kings 9:11). Then Saul went home.

1 Samuel 9:24. that which was upon it: read "the fat tail"—of the sheep, a special delicacy.

1 Samuel 9:25 f. he communed . . . arose early: read with LXX, RVm, "They spread a couch for Saul on the housetop, and he lay down."

1 Samuel 10:2. Rachel's sepulchre: see Genesis 35:16*.—Zelzah: unknown.

1 Samuel 10:3. going up to God: i.e. to the sanctuary.—

1 Samuel 9:7. The occasion or opportunity which actually presents itself is the appeal from Jabesh-gilead, 1 Samuel 11:4-7 (p. 66).—A. S. P.

1 Samuel 10:8. An editorial insertion, to connect this narrative with 1 Samuel 13:7 b - 1 Samuel 13:15 a, an excerpt from another document.

1 Samuel 10:14-16. Saul's uncle tells him that the asses are found. Saul tells of his visit to Samuel, but says nothing as to the kingship.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 1 Samuel 9:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/1-samuel-9.html. 1919.

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