Samuel Anoints Saul
Samuel took a jar of the special oil and poured the oil on Saul’s head. Samuel kissed Saul and said, “The LORD has anointed you to be the leader over the people who belong to him. You will control the people. You will save them from the enemies that are all around them. He has anointed you to be ruler over his people. Here is a sign that will prove this is true:* After you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb on the border of Benjamin at Zelzah. The two men will say to you, ‘Someone found the donkeys you were looking for. Your father stopped worrying about his donkeys. Now he is worrying about you. He is saying: What will I do about my son?’ ”
Samuel said, “Then you will go until you come to the large oak tree at Tabor. Three men will meet you there. They will be on their way to worship God at Bethel. One man will be carrying three young goats. The second man will be carrying three loaves of bread. And the third man will have a leather bag full of wine. These three men will say hello to you. They will offer you two bread offerings reserved for priests, and you will accept that bread. Then you will go to Gibeath Elohim. There is a Philistine fort in that place. When you come to this town, a group of prophets will come out. These prophets will come down from the place for worship. They will be prophesying.§ They will be playing harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres. Then the LORD’S Spirit will come on you with great power. You will be changed. You will be like a different man. You will begin to prophesy with these prophets. After that happens, you can do whatever you choose to do, because God will be with you.
Go to Gilgal before me. Then I will come there to you. And I will offer burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. But you must wait seven days. Then I will come and tell you what to do.”
Saul Becomes Like the Prophets
Just as Saul turned to leave Samuel, God turned Saul’s life around. All these things happened that day. 10 When Saul and his servant came to Gibeath Elohim, Saul met a group of prophets. God’s Spirit came on Saul with great power, and Saul prophesied with the prophets. 11 Some of the people who had known Saul before saw him prophesying with the prophets. So they asked each other, “What has happened to Kish’s son? Is Saul also one of the prophets?”
12 A man living in Gibeath Elohim said, “Yes, and it seems that he is their leader.”* That is why this became a famous saying: “Is Saul also one of the prophets?”
Saul Arrives Home
13 After Saul finished prophesying, he went to the place of worship.
14 Saul’s uncle asked Saul and his servant, “Where have you been?”
Saul said, “We were looking for the donkeys. When we couldn’t find them, we went to see Samuel.”
15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me, what did Samuel say to you?”
16 Saul answered, “Samuel told us the donkeys were already found.” He did not tell his uncle everything. Saul did not tell him what Samuel said about the kingdom.
Samuel Announces Saul as King
17 Samuel told all the Israelites to meet together with the LORD at Mizpah. 18 Samuel told the Israelites, “The LORD, the God of Israel says, ‘I led Israel out of Egypt. I saved you from Egypt’s control and from the other kingdoms that tried to hurt you.’ 19 But today you have rejected your God. Your God saves you from all your troubles and problems. But you said, ‘No, we want a king to rule us.’ Now come, stand before the LORD in your family groups and tribes.”
20 Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near. Then Samuel began to choose the new king. First, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 Samuel told each family in the tribe of Benjamin to pass by. Matri’s family was chosen. Then Samuel told each man in Matri’s family to walk by. Saul son of Kish was chosen.
But when the people looked for Saul, they could not find him. 22 Then they asked the LORD, “Has Saul come here yet?”
The LORD said, “Saul is hiding behind the supplies.”
23 The people ran and took Saul out from behind the supplies. Saul stood up among the people. He was a head taller than anyone else.
24 Samuel said to all the people, “See the man the LORD has chosen. There is no one like Saul among the people.”
Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
25 Samuel explained the rules of the kingdom to the people. He wrote the rules in a book and put the book before the LORD. Then Samuel told the people to go home.
26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah. God touched the hearts of brave men who then began to follow Saul. 27 But some troublemakers said, “How can this man save us?” They said bad things about Saul and refused to bring gifts to him. But Saul said nothing.
Nahash, King of the Ammonites
King Nahash of the Ammonites had been hurting the tribes of Gad and Reuben. Nahash poked out the right eye of each of the men and did not allow anyone to help them. He poked out the right eye of every Israelite man living in the area east of the Jordan River. But 7000 Israelite men ran away from the Ammonites and came to Jabesh Gilead.
* 10:1 You will control … true This is from the ancient Greek version. 10:4 two bread offerings … priests This is from the ancient Greek version and a Hebrew scroll from Qumran. The standard Hebrew text has “two of bread.” 10:5 place for worship Or “high places,” places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. § 10:5 prophesying This usually means “speaking for God.” But here, this also means that the Spirit of God took control of people, causing them to sing and dance. Also in verses 11, 13. * 10:12 Yes … leader Literally, “And who is their father?” Often the man who taught and led other prophets was called “father.” 10:27 Nahash … came to Jabesh Gilead This is found in some ancient versions and in a Hebrew scroll from Qumran but not in the standard Hebrew text.