Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.
a Benjamite. or, the son of a man of Jemini. power. or, substance.
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.
from his shoulders
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.
And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.
And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.
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.
all that he saith
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?
Heb. gone out of, etc. there is not. We are not to suppose from this that the prophets took money to predict future events: Saul only refers to an invariable custom, that no man approached a superior without some present or another, however small in value. Dr. Pococke tells us of a present of fifty radishes! Other authors mention a flower, an orange, or similar trifles; and Mr. Bruce says, that one who wished to solicit a favour from him, presented him with about a score of dates! "I mention this trifling circumstance," says Mr. B. "to shew how essential to human and civil intercourse presents are considered to be in the East; whether it be dates, or whether it be diamonds, they are so much a part of their manners, that without them, an inferior will never be at peace in his own mind, or think that he has hold of his superior for protection. But superiors give no presents to their inferiors." Presents then are tokens of honour; not intended as offers of payment or enrichment.
Heb. is with us.
And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.
I have here at hand
Heb. there is found in my hand.
(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.)
Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was.
Heb. Thy word is good.
And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?
the hill to the city
Heb. in the ascent of the city. found.
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:
the high place
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.
he doth bless
Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,
told Samuel in his ear
Heb. revealed the ear of Samuel.
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.
And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.
Heb. restrain in.
And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.
The word roaih literally signifies one who sees; particularly preternatural sights. A seer and a prophet were the same in most cases; only with this difference, the seer was always a prophet, but the prophet was not always a seer. A seer seems to imply one who frequently met with and saw some symbolical representation of God. All prophets, true or false, profess to see God, (see Nu 24:4, 16. Jer 14:4;) and diviners, in their enthusiastic flights, boasted that they had those things exhibited to their sight which should come to pass.
and will tell
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?
three days ago
Heb. to-day three days.
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?
so to me
Heb. according to this word.
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.
in the chiefest
And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee.
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.
Probably the shoulder was set before Saul, not because it was the best part, but because it was an emblem of the government to which he was now called. (See Isa 9:6.)
And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.
And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
Saul had no doubt slept there all night, as is usual in the East; and now, being the break of day, "Samuel called to Saul on the top of the house:" there was no calling him to the top of the house a second time; he was sleeping there, and Samuel called him up.
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.
Bid the servant
Heb. to-day. that I may.