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Saul, the Requested King, Introduced

Now there was a man from Benjamin whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjaminite, a very wealthy man.[a] He had a son whose name was Saul,[b] a young and handsome man. There was not a man from the Israelites[c] more handsome than he was; from his shoulders up, he was taller than all the people.

Now the female donkeys of Kish the father of Saul got lost, and Kish said to Saul his son, “Please take one of the servants with you and get up; go and seek the female donkeys.” So he passed through the hill country of Ephraim; he passed through the land of Shalisha but they did not find them. They passed through the land of Shaalim but they were not there. He passed through the land of Benjamin but did not find them.

When they entered the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us return, lest my father cease caring about the female donkeys and worry about us!” But he[d] said to him, “Look, a man of God is in this town, and the man is honored. All that he says certainly comes true. So then let us go there; perhaps he will tell us about our journey on which we have gone.” So Saul said to his servant, “Look, we may go, but what should we bring to the man? For the bread is gone from our bags, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have with us?” The servant again answered Saul and said, “Look, I have[e] in my hand a quarter shekel of silver! I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us our way.” (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he would say: “Come, let us go up to the seer.” For the prophet of today was formerly called a seer.) 10 So Saul said to his servant, “Your suggestion is a good one.[f] Come, let us go.” And they went to the town where the man of God was.

11 They were going up the ascent of the town when they found young women going out to draw water. They said to them, “Is there the seer here?” 12 They answered them and said, “There is. Look, he is just in front of you! Hurry now, because he has come to the town today, because there is a sacrifice for the people today at the high place. 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him, before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice. Then afterward the invited guests will eat. So then, go up, because you will find him today!” 14 So they went up to the town. As they were entering into the middle of the town, Samuel was coming forth to meet them, to go up to the high place.

15 Now Yahweh had revealed this to[g] Samuel the day before Saul arrived, saying, 16 “This time tomorrow I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you must anoint him as leader over my people Israel. He will deliver my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen the suffering of my people, because their cry of distress has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, Yahweh answered him, “Here is the man about whom I told you! This is the one who will govern my people.”

18 Then Saul approached Samuel in the middle of the gate and said, “Please tell me, where is the house of the seer?” 19 Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me[h] to the high place, and you will eat with me today; then I will send you away in the morning. I will tell you all that is on your mind.[i] 20 And as for your female donkeys that were lost three days ago,[j] do not be concerned about them,[k] because they have been found. For whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not for you and for all the house of your father?”

21 Saul answered and said, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the humblest of all the families of the tribes of Benjamin? Why do you speak to me in this way?”[l] 22 So Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them to a room in the building and gave them a place at the head of the invited guests.[m] There were about thirty men. 23 Then Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the portion that I gave to you, about which I said to you, ‘Keep it with you.’” 24 So the cook took up the shank and what was on it and put it before Saul, and he[n] said, “Look, the saved portion[o] is placed before you[p]—eat, because it has been kept for you for the appointed time,” and he said,[q] “I have invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 When they came down from the high place to the town, he spoke with Saul on the roof. 26 They got up early, and as dawn was breaking,[r] Samuel called to Saul on the roof, saying, “Get up, so that I can send you away.” So Saul got up and the two of them, he and Samuel, went outside. 27 As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to pass on before us. When he has passed, you stand here a while,[s] so that I can make known to you the word of God.”


  1. 1 Samuel 9:1 Literally “a man mighty of wealth” or “a man mighty of valor”
  2. 1 Samuel 9:2 The name “Saul” means “the requested one”
  3. 1 Samuel 9:2 Literally “sons/children of Israel”
  4. 1 Samuel 9:6 That is, Saul’s servant
  5. 1 Samuel 9:8 Literally “what was found”
  6. 1 Samuel 9:10 Literally “Your word is good”
  7. 1 Samuel 9:15 Literally “had opened the ear”
  8. 1 Samuel 9:19 Literally “before my face”
  9. 1 Samuel 9:19 Literally “in your heart”
  10. 1 Samuel 9:20 Literally “the day three of the days”
  11. 1 Samuel 9:20 Literally “you shall not put your heart to them”
  12. 1 Samuel 9:21 Literally “according to this word”
  13. 1 Samuel 9:22 Literally “the ones being invited”
  14. 1 Samuel 9:24 That is, Samuel
  15. 1 Samuel 9:24 Literally “what was being kept”
  16. 1 Samuel 9:24 Literally “to your face”
  17. 1 Samuel 9:24 Literally “saying”
  18. 1 Samuel 9:26 Literally “as the dawn was going up”
  19. 1 Samuel 9:27 Literally “as the day”