1 Samuel Chapter 9

The people of Israel had tired of their system of judges, and desired to have a king. The Lord consented, allowing the Israelites full use of their agency, even though it could bring the people to turn away from Him. Samuel preached to them on the consequences that would come with a wicked king. The establishment of a king over Israel, begins with the following:

1 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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 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.
5 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.
6 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.
7 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?
8 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.
9 (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to inquire 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.)
10 Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was.

Saul was a choice, goodly young man that stood taller than others around him. Saul was sent by his father, to look for his father’s donkeys, which had been lost. He searched through the land, but was not finding them. When it seemed they had been away from his father’s house for too long, Saul decided to return so that his father did not worry about him. The servant told Saul of a man of God, Samuel, who was a seer and could, by the power of God, reveal to them where they should go. Saul did not have anything to offer, but his servant was willing to offer his own money in order to know where to go, and so they went into the city to find Samuel.

11 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?
12 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:
13 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.
14 And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.

As they approached the city they asked some young women, who were headed to draw water, if they knew where the seer was. The women told them that the seer was there, just ahead of them, and if they hurried they would catch up with him before the sacrifice was going to be made in the high place of the city. As they went into the city, Samuel came out to meet them.

15 Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,
16 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.
17 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.
18 Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer’s house is.
19 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.
20 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?
21 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?
22 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.
23 And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee.
24 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.

The Lord had previously revealed to Samuel that a Benjamite, whom he saw that day, was to be anointed captain and king of the Israelites. This man would deliver the Israelites from the Philistines, in an answer to the prayers of the people. When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord revealed to him that Saul was this man. Saul approached Samuel to ask where the seer was. Samuel told him that he was the seer and asked them to join him for their meal and to stay with him, then he would send them on their way the next day with the answers that Saul sought. As if to prove himself a true seer, or better yet, to show Saul that he could indeed receive revelations from God, Samuel told him to forget about the lost donkeys because they had been found. Samuel also told him that he, Saul, was the answer to the desires of the Israelites. Saul could not understand why this would be said, because he was from a family, which was the least among the smallest tribe of the twelve tribes of Israel. Samuel took Saul into the meal and sat him in the seat of honor among a gathering of people. Then Samuel told his cook to bring the portion of meat that had been set aside, and he gave it to Saul. Samuel had been prepared to entertain Saul as his honored guest for the meal, since the time he invited the others to come.

25 And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.
26 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.
27 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.

After they left the gathering, Samuel had Saul and his servant stay with him. In the dawn of the morning, Samuel called for Saul to meet him on the rooftop, and Samuel told him that he could be on his way. Samuel was leaving the city as well, and as they were about to go out of the city, Samuel told Saul to have his servant go on ahead so that he could have some time to share the word of God with Saul. Samuel had told him that he would tell him all that was in his heart, or perhaps all that he desired to know, and this is what he was about to do.

The character of Saul is shown in this story, when not only are we told that he was a choice young man, but that he was humble and would seek the word of the Lord through a seer, in order to know what he should do or where he should go. I am sure it was a bit of a shock and a surprise, to be told that he had been chosen to lead Israel. And then to follow it with being treated by Samuel as a true leader would have been treated, among a gathering of many people. Nevertheless, Saul was treated this way, because the Lord had chosen him to be the king of Israel. It is a wonder that God would select a king, when we can learn from the previous chapter, that God had not wanted Israel to have a mortal king. However, because God made the selection, it was a man who had the character of being the right king for Israel. This is because God can look on the heart of an individual, where others will only see what is on the outside. The right king would not have been a man that had the appearance of a king, but a man that had the character of a good king. God continued to care for the people of Israel, by helping them to have a good king.

The Lord called his ancient leaders, even kings, through inspiration received by His holy prophets. This is not a pattern that was done away in ancient times. In the restoration of the gospel, the Lord continued to follow this pattern. The modern prophets and apostles of the church of Jesus Christ, are called by inspiration to lead the people of the Lord. Just this previous weekend, I watched as three new modern apostles were called to serve as special witnesses of Jesus Christ, and the spirit confirmed to me, that these men are indeed called of God. It is such a blessing to live with a knowledge of revelation from God.

Something else to learn from this story, is that when we feel impressed upon to find help, especially from those who we know to be people of God, we should not let other things stop us. Saul and his servant did not have a gift or offering to bring to the seer, and because of that, they may not have entered the city to get the help they needed. In the exchange between Saul and Samuel, the money or gift he and his servant had decided to bring, was not mentioned again. It seems that it was possibly unnecessary in the circumstances. I am sometimes guilty of trying to excuse the promptings I feel, because I know that there has to be some reason why God would not want to help me. I have nothing to offer Him. Or my reasoning teaches me that it would not work, but these thoughts are not right. We can always offer the Lord a willing heart and mind. The Lord would not inspire us without some reason that will bless us eventually. And as we read in 1 Nephi 3:7, “the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” God would not prompt us to do something that would then be impossible for us to do. When we recognize inspiration and promptings of the spirit, we should follow through with them, so that we can be the instrument that God needs us to be. From these things, we can grow and be blessed beyond anything we can now imagine.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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