Saul Anointed King

There was a prominent man of Benjamin named Kish(A) son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite. He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man.(B) There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.[a](C)

One day the donkeys of Saul’s father Kish wandered off. Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go look for the donkeys.” Saul and his servant went through the hill country of Ephraim(D) and then through the region of Shalishah,(E) but they didn’t find them. They went through the region of Shaalim(F)—nothing. Then they went through the Benjaminite region but still didn’t find them.

When they came to the land of Zuph,(G) Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come on, let’s go back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and start worrying about us.”(H)

“Look,” the servant said, “there’s a man of God(I) in this city who is highly respected; everything he says is sure to come true.(J) Let’s go there now. Maybe he’ll tell us which way we should go.”(K)

“Suppose we do go,” Saul said to his servant, “what do we take the man? The food from our packs is gone, and there’s no gift to take to the man of God.(L) What do we have?”

The servant answered Saul, “Here, I have a little[b] silver. I’ll give it to the man of God, and he will tell us which way we should go.”

Formerly in Israel, a man who was going to inquire of God would say, “Come, let’s go to the seer,” for the prophet of today was formerly called the seer.(M)

10 “Good,” Saul replied to his servant. “Come on, let’s go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was. 11 As they were climbing the hill to the city, they found some young women coming out to draw water(N) and asked, “Is the seer here?”

12 The women answered, “Yes, he is ahead of you. Hurry, he just now entered the city, because there’s a sacrifice(O) for the people at the high place(P) today. 13 As soon as you enter the city, you will find him before he goes to the high place to eat. The people won’t eat until he comes because he must bless the sacrifice; after that, the guests can eat. Go up immediately—you can find him now.” 14 So they went up toward the city.

Saul and his servant were entering the city when they saw Samuel coming toward them on his way to the high place. 15 Now the day before Saul’s arrival, the Lord had informed Samuel,(Q) 16 “At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Anoint him ruler over my people Israel.(R) He will save them from the Philistines because I have seen the affliction of my people,(S) for their cry has come to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man I told you about;(T) he will govern my people.”

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

19 “I am the seer,” Samuel answered.[c] “Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today. When I send you off in the morning, I’ll tell you everything that’s in your heart. 20 As for the donkeys that wandered away from you three days ago,(U) don’t worry about them because they’ve been found. And who does all Israel desire(V) but you and all your father’s family?”

21 Saul responded, “Am I not a Benjaminite(W) from the smallest of Israel’s tribes and isn’t my clan the least important of all the clans of the Benjaminite tribe?(X) So why have you said something like this to me?”

22 Samuel took Saul and his servant, brought them to the banquet hall, and gave them a place at the head of the thirty[d] or so men who had been invited. 23 Then Samuel said to the cook, “Get the portion of meat that I gave you and told you to set aside.”

24 The cook picked up the thigh(Y) and what was attached to it and set it before Saul. Then Samuel said, “Notice that the reserved piece is set before you. Eat it because it was saved for you for this solemn event at the time I said, ‘I’ve invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day. 25 Afterward, they went down from the high place to the city, and Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof.[e](Z)

26 They got up early, and just before dawn, Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up, and I’ll send you on your way!” Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went outside. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us, but you stay for a while, and I’ll reveal the word of God to you.” So the servant went on.

10 Samuel took the flask of oil,(AA) poured it out on Saul’s head,(AB) kissed him, and said, “Hasn’t the Lord anointed you(AC) ruler over his inheritance?[f](AD) Today when you leave me, you’ll find two men at Rachel’s Grave(AE) at Zelzah in the territory of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you went looking for have been found,(AF) and now your father has stopped being concerned about the donkeys and is worried about you, asking: What should I do about my son?’

“You will proceed from there until you come to the oak of Tabor.(AG) Three men going up to God at Bethel(AH) will meet you there, one bringing three goats, one bringing three loaves of bread, and one bringing a clay jar of wine. They will ask how you are and give you two loaves[g] of bread, which you will accept from them.

“After that you will come to Gibeah of God(AI) where there are Philistine garrisons.[h] When you arrive at the city, you will meet a group of prophets(AJ) coming down from the high place prophesying.(AK) They will be preceded by harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres. The Spirit of the Lord will come powerfully on you,(AL) you will prophesy with them,(AM) and you will be transformed.(AN) When these signs have happened to you, do whatever your circumstances require[i](AO) because God is with you. Afterward, go ahead of me to Gilgal. I will come to you to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice fellowship offerings. Wait seven days until I come to you and show you what to do.”

When Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed his heart,[j] and all the signs came about that day. 10 When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a group of prophets met him. Then the Spirit of God came powerfully on him, and he prophesied along with them.

11 Everyone who knew him previously and saw him prophesy with the prophets asked each other, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” (AP)

12 Then a man who was from there asked, “And who is their father?” (AQ)

As a result, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” became a popular saying. 13 Then Saul finished prophesying and went to the high place.

14 Saul’s uncle(AR) asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?”

“To look for the donkeys,” Saul answered. “When we saw they weren’t there, we went to Samuel.”(AS)

15 “Tell me,” Saul’s uncle asked, “what did Samuel say to you?”

16 Saul told him, “He assured us the donkeys had been found.” However, Saul did not tell him what Samuel had said about the matter of kingship.

Saul Received as King

17 Samuel summoned the people to the Lord at Mizpah(AT) 18 and said to the Israelites, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:(AU) ‘I brought Israel out of Egypt, and I rescued you from the power of the Egyptians and all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you have rejected your God,(AV) who saves you from all your troubles and afflictions. You said to him, ‘You[k] must set a king over us.’(AW) Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and clans.”(AX)

20 Samuel had all the tribes of Israel come forward, and the tribe of Benjamin was selected. 21 Then he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward by its clans, and the Matrite clan was selected.[l] Finally, Saul son of Kish was selected.(AY) But when they searched for him, they could not find him. 22 They again inquired of the Lord,(AZ) “Has the man come here yet?”

The Lord replied, “There he is, hidden among the supplies.”

23 They ran and got him from there. When he stood among the people, he stood a head taller than anyone else.[m](BA) 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the one the Lord has chosen?(BB) There is no one like him among the entire population.”

And all the people shouted,[n] “Long live the king!” (BC)

25 Samuel proclaimed to the people the rights of kingship.(BD) He wrote them on a scroll, which he placed in the presence of the Lord.(BE) Then Samuel sent all the people home.

26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah,(BF) and brave men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But some wicked men said, “How can this guy save us?” They despised him and did not bring him a gift,(BG) but Saul said nothing.[o][p]


  1. 9:2 Lit From his shoulder and up higher than any of the people
  2. 9:8 Lit a quarter of a shekel (about a tenth of an ounce)
  3. 9:19 Lit answered Saul
  4. 9:22 LXX reads 70
  5. 9:25 LXX reads city. They prepared a bed for Saul on the roof, and he slept.
  6. 10:1 LXX adds And you will reign over the Lord’s people, and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around. And this is the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you ruler over his inheritance.
  7. 10:4 DSS, LXX read wave offerings
  8. 10:5 Or governors
  9. 10:7 Lit do for yourself whatever your hand finds
  10. 10:9 Lit God turned to him another heart
  11. 10:19 Some Hb mss, LXX, Syr, Vg read You said, ‘No, you
  12. 10:21 LXX adds And he had the Matrite clan come forward, man by man.
  13. 10:23 Lit people, and he was higher than any of the people from his shoulder and up
  14. 10:24 LXX reads acknowledged and said
  15. 10:27 DSS add Nahash king of the Ammonites had been severely oppressing the Gadites and Reubenites. He gouged out the right eye of each of them and brought fear and trembling on Israel. Of the Israelites beyond the Jordan none remained whose right eye Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had not gouged out. But there were seven thousand men who had escaped from the Ammonites and entered Jabesh-gilead.
  16. 10:27 Lit gift, and he was like a mute person

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