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Samuel Anoints Saul

10 Then Samuel took a small container of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s[a] head. Samuel[b] kissed him and said, “The Lord has chosen you[c] to lead his people Israel! You will rule over the Lord’s people and you will deliver them from the power of the enemies who surround them. This will be your sign that the Lord has chosen[d] you as leader over his inheritance.[e] When you leave me today, you will find two men near Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah on Benjamin’s border. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you have gone looking for have been found. Your father is no longer concerned about the donkeys but has become anxious about you two![f] He is asking, “What should I do about my son?”’

“As you continue on from there, you will come to the tall tree of Tabor. At that point three men who are going up to God at Bethel will meet you. One of them will be carrying three young goats, one of them will be carrying three round loaves of bread, and one of them will be carrying a container of wine. They will ask you how you’re doing and will give you two loaves of bread. You will accept them. Afterward you will go to Gibeah of God, where there are Philistine officials.[g] When you enter the town, you will meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place. They will have harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres, and they will be prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person.

“When these signs have taken place, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God will be with you.[h] You will go down to Gilgal before me. I am going to join you there to offer burnt offerings and to make peace offerings. You should wait for seven days until I arrive and tell you what to do.”

Saul Becomes King

As Saul[i] turned[j] to leave Samuel, God changed his inmost person.[k] All these signs happened on that very day. 10 When Saul and his servant[l] arrived at Gibeah, a company of prophets was coming out to meet him. Then the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul[m] and he prophesied among them. 11 When everyone who had known him previously saw him prophesying with the prophets, the people asked one another, “What on earth has happened to the son of Kish? Does even Saul belong with the prophets?”

12 A man who was from there replied, “And who is their father?” Therefore this became a proverb: “Is even Saul among the prophets?” 13 When Saul[n] had finished prophesying, he went to the high place.

14 Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?” Saul[o] replied, “To look for the donkeys. But when we realized they were lost,[p] we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.”[q] 16 Saul said to his uncle, “He assured us that the donkeys had been found.” But Saul[r] did not tell him what Samuel had said about the matter of kingship.

17 Then Samuel called the people together before the Lord at Mizpah. 18 He said to the Israelites, “This is what the Lord God of Israel has said, ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt and I delivered you from the power[s] of the Egyptians and from the power of all the kingdoms that oppressed you. 19 But today you have rejected your God who saves you from all your trouble and distress. You have said, “No![t] Appoint a king over us.” Now take your positions before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.’”

20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of Matri was chosen by lot. At last Saul son of Kish was chosen by lot. But when they looked for him, he was nowhere to be found. 22 So they inquired again of the Lord, “Has the man arrived here yet?” The Lord said, “He has hidden himself among the equipment.”[u]

23 So they ran and brought him from there. When he took his position among the people, he stood head and shoulders above them all. 24 Then Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the one whom the Lord has chosen? Indeed, there is no one like him among all the people.” All the people shouted out, “Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel talked to the people about how the kingship would work.[v] He wrote it all down on a scroll and set it before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away to their homes. 26 Even Saul went to his home in Gibeah. With him went some brave men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some wicked men[w] said, “How can this man save us?” They despised him and did not even bring him a gift. But Saul said nothing about it.[x]


  1. 1 Samuel 10:1 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  2. 1 Samuel 10:1 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Samuel) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  3. 1 Samuel 10:1 tn Heb “Is it not that the Lord has anointed you?” The question draws attention to the fact and is a rhetorical way of affirming the Lord’s choice of Saul. The translation reflects the rhetorical force of the question.
  4. 1 Samuel 10:1 tn That is, “anointed.”
  5. 1 Samuel 10:1 tc The MT reads simply “Is it not that the Lord has anointed you over his inheritance for a leader?” The translation follows the LXX. The MT apparently suffers from parablepsis, whereby a scribe’s eye jumped from the first occurrence of the expression “the Lord has anointed you” to the second occurrence of this expression at the end of v. 1. This mistake caused the accidental omission of the intervening material in the LXX, which appears to preserve the original Hebrew text here.
  6. 1 Samuel 10:2 sn In the Hebrew text the pronoun you is plural, suggesting that Saul’s father was concerned about his son and the servant who accompanied him.
  7. 1 Samuel 10:5 tn Or “sentries.” Some translate “outpost” (NIV) or “garrison” (NAB, NRSV, NLT) here (see 1 Sam 13:3). The noun is plural in the Hebrew text, but the LXX and other ancient witnesses read a singular noun here.
  8. 1 Samuel 10:7 sn In light of Saul’s commission to be Israel’s deliverer (see v. 1), it is likely that some type of military action against the Philistines (see v.5) is implied.
  9. 1 Samuel 10:9 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  10. 1 Samuel 10:9 tn Heb “turned his shoulder.”
  11. 1 Samuel 10:9 tn Heb “God turned for him another heart”; NAB, NRSV “gave him another heart”; NIV, NCV “changed Saul’s heart”; TEV “gave Saul a new nature”; CEV “made Saul feel like a different person.”
  12. 1 Samuel 10:10 tc Two medieval Hebrew mss, the LXX, and the Syriac Peshitta have the singular “he” (in which case the referent would be Saul alone).tn Heb “they”; the referents (Saul and his servant) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
  13. 1 Samuel 10:10 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  14. 1 Samuel 10:13 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  15. 1 Samuel 10:14 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  16. 1 Samuel 10:14 tn Heb “And we saw that they were not.”
  17. 1 Samuel 10:15 tc In the LXX and Vulgate the pronoun “you” is singular, referring specifically to Saul. In the MT it is plural, including Saul’s servant as well.
  18. 1 Samuel 10:16 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Saul) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  19. 1 Samuel 10:18 tn Heb “hand” (also later in this verse).
  20. 1 Samuel 10:19 tc The translation follows many medieval Hebrew mss, the LXX, the Syriac Peshitta, and Vulgate in reading לֹא (loʾ, “not”) rather than the MT לוֹ (lo; “to him”). Some witnesses combine the variants, resulting in a conflated text. For example, a few medieval Hebrew mss have לֹא לוֹ (lo loʾ; “to him, ‘No.’”). A few others have לֹא לִי (li loʾ; “to me, ‘No.’”).
  21. 1 Samuel 10:22 tn Or “baggage” (so many English versions); KJV “stuff”; TEV “supplies.”
  22. 1 Samuel 10:25 tn Heb “the regulation of the kingship.” This probably refers to the regulations pertaining to kingship given to Moses (see Deut 17:14-20).
  23. 1 Samuel 10:27 tn Heb “sons of worthlessness” (see 2:12).
  24. 1 Samuel 10:27 tc In place of the MT (“and it was like one being silent”) the LXX has “after about a month,” taking the expression with the first part of the following chapter rather than with 10:27. Some Hebrew support for this reading appears in the corrected hand of a Qumran ms of Samuel, which has here “about a month.” However, it seems best to stay with the MT here even though it is difficult.