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Kish was a rich, influential man from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel, grandson of Zeror, great-grandson of Becorath, and great-great-grandson of Aphiah. His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel. And he was head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land!

One day Kish’s donkeys strayed away, so he sent Saul and a servant to look for them. They traveled all through the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalisha, the Shaalim area, and the entire land of Benjamin, but couldn’t find them anywhere. Finally, after searching in the land of Zuph, Saul said to the servant, “Let’s go home; by now my father will be more worried about us than about the donkeys!”

But the servant said, “I’ve just thought of something! There is a prophet who lives here in this city; he is held in high honor by all the people because everything he says comes true; let’s go and find him, and perhaps he can tell us where the donkeys are.”

“But we don’t have anything to pay him with,” Saul replied. “Even our food is gone, and we don’t have a thing to give him.”

“Well,” the servant said, “I have a dollar! We can at least offer it to him and see what happens!”

9-11 “All right,” Saul agreed, “let’s try it!”

So they started into the city where the prophet lived. As they were climbing a hill toward the city, they saw some young girls going out to draw water and asked them if they knew whether the seer was in town. (In those days prophets were called seers. “Let’s go and ask the seer,” people would say, rather than, “Let’s go and ask the prophet,” as we would say now.)

12-13 “Yes,” they replied, “stay right on this road. He lives just inside the city gates. He has just arrived back from a trip to take part in a public sacrifice up on the hill. So hurry, because he’ll probably be leaving about the time you get there; the guests can’t eat until he arrives and blesses the food.”

14 So they went into the city, and as they were entering the gates they saw Samuel coming out toward them to go up the hill. 15 The Lord had told Samuel the previous day, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. You are to anoint him as the leader of my people. He will save them from the Philistines, for I have looked down on them in mercy and have heard their cry.”

17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, “That’s the man I told you about! He will rule my people.”

18 Just then Saul approached Samuel and asked, “Can you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”

19 “I am the seer!” Samuel replied. “Go on up the hill ahead of me and we’ll eat together; in the morning I will tell you what you want to know and send you on your way. 20 And don’t worry about those donkeys that were lost three days ago, for they have been found. And anyway, you own all the wealth of Israel now!”

21 “Pardon me, sir,” Saul replied. “I’m from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest in Israel, and my family is the least important of all the families of the tribe! You must have the wrong man!”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant into the great hall and placed them at the head of the table, honoring them above the thirty special guests. 23 Samuel then instructed the chef to bring Saul the choicest cut of meat, the piece that had been set aside for the guest of honor. 24 So the chef brought it in and placed it before Saul.

“Go ahead and eat it,” Samuel said, “for I was saving it for you, even before I invited these others!”

So Saul ate with Samuel. 25 After the feast, when they had returned to the city, Samuel took Saul up to the porch on the roof and talked with him there. 26-27 At daybreak the next morning, Samuel called up to him, “Get up; it’s time you were on your way!”

So Saul got up, and Samuel accompanied him to the edge of the city. When they reached the city walls, Samuel told Saul to send the servant on ahead. Then he told him, “I have received a special message for you from the Lord.”

Samuel Anoints Saul

There was a Benjamite,(A) a man of standing,(B) whose name was Kish(C) son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bekorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome(D) a young man as could be found(E) anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller(F) than anyone else.

Now the donkeys(G) belonging to Saul’s father Kish were lost, and Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go and look for the donkeys.” So he passed through the hill(H) country of Ephraim and through the area around Shalisha,(I) but they did not find them. They went on into the district of Shaalim, but the donkeys(J) were not there. Then he passed through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find them.

When they reached the district of Zuph,(K) Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come, let’s go back, or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying(L) about us.”

But the servant replied, “Look, in this town there is a man of God;(M) he is highly respected, and everything(N) he says comes true. Let’s go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.”

Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we give the man? The food in our sacks is gone. We have no gift(O) to take to the man of God. What do we have?”

The servant answered him again. “Look,” he said, “I have a quarter of a shekel[a] of silver. I will give it to the man of God so that he will tell us what way to take.” (Formerly in Israel, if someone went to inquire(P) of God, they would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” because the prophet of today used to be called a seer.)(Q)

10 “Good,” Saul said to his servant. “Come, let’s go.” So they set out for the town where the man of God was.

11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to draw(R) water, and they asked them, “Is the seer here?”

12 “He is,” they answered. “He’s ahead of you. Hurry now; he has just come to our town today, for the people have a sacrifice(S) at the high place.(T) 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not begin eating until he comes, because he must bless(U) the sacrifice; afterward, those who are invited will eat. Go up now; you should find him about this time.”

14 They went up to the town, and as they were entering it, there was Samuel, coming toward them on his way up to the high place.

15 Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed this to Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint(V) him ruler(W) over my people Israel; he will deliver(X) them from the hand of the Philistines.(Y) I have looked on my people, for their cry(Z) has reached me.”

17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord said to him, “This(AA) is the man I spoke to you about; he will govern my people.”

18 Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?”

19 “I am the seer,” Samuel replied. “Go up ahead of me to the high place, for today you are to eat with me, and in the morning I will send you on your way and will tell you all that is in your heart. 20 As for the donkeys(AB) you lost three days ago, do not worry about them; they have been found. And to whom is all the desire(AC) of Israel turned, if not to you and your whole family line?”

21 Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe(AD) of Israel, and is not my clan the least(AE) of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin?(AF) Why do you say such a thing to me?”

22 Then Samuel brought Saul and his servant into the hall and seated them at the head of those who were invited—about thirty in number. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the piece of meat I gave you, the one I told you to lay aside.”

24 So the cook took up the thigh(AG) with what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel said, “Here is what has been kept for you. Eat, because it was set aside for you for this occasion from the time I said, ‘I have invited guests.’” And Saul dined with Samuel that day.

25 After they came down from the high place to the town, Samuel talked with Saul on the roof(AH) of his house. 26 They rose about daybreak, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get ready, and I will send you on your way.” When Saul got ready, he and Samuel went outside together. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us”—and the servant did so—“but you stay here for a while, so that I may give you a message from God.”


  1. 1 Samuel 9:8 That is, about 1/10 ounce or about 3 grams