Saul’s Search

Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was (A)Kish the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, son of a Benjaminite, a [a]valiant mighty man. He had a son whose name was Saul, a (B)young and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome man than he among the sons of Israel; (C)from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, had wandered off. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Now take with you one of the servants and arise, go search for the donkeys.” So he passed through (D)the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of (E)Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of (F)Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjaminites, but they did not find them.

When they came to the land of (G)Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, and let’s return, (H)or else my father will stop being concerned about the donkeys and will become anxious about us.” But he said to him, “Behold now, there is (I)a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; (J)everything that he says definitely comes true. Now let’s go there, (K)perhaps he can tell us about our journey on which we have set out.” Then Saul said to his servant, “But look, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sacks and there is (L)no gift to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” The servant answered Saul again and said, “Look, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will (M)tell us our way.” (Previously in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, “Come, and let’s go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet now was previously called (N)a seer.) 10 Then Saul said to his servant, “[b]Good idea; come, let’s go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

11 As they went up the slope to the city, (O)they found young women going out to draw water, and they said to them, “Is the seer here?” 12 They answered them and said, “He is; [c]see, he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today, because (P)the people have a sacrifice on (Q)the high place today. 13 As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, because (R)he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now then, go up, for you will find him about this time.” 14 So they went up to the city. As they came into the city, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place.

God’s Choice for King

15 Now a day before Saul’s coming, (S)the Lord had [d]revealed this to Samuel, saying, 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and (T)you shall anoint him as ruler over My people Israel; and he will save My people from the hand of the Philistines. For (U)I have considered My people, because their outcry has come to Me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord [e]said to him, “(V)Behold, the man of whom I spoke to you! This one shall rule over My people.” 18 Then Saul approached Samuel at the gateway and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.” 19 And Samuel answered Saul and said, “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today; and in the morning I will let you go, and will tell you everything that is on your mind. 20 (W)And as for your donkeys that wandered off three days ago, do not be concerned about them, for they have been found. And (X)for whom is everything that is desirable in Israel? Is it not for you and for all your father’s household?” 21 Saul replied, “(Y)Am I not a Benjaminite, of (Z)the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the [f]tribe of Benjamin? Why then have you spoken to me in this way?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant and brought them into the hall, and gave them a place at the head of those who were invited, who were about thirty men. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, “[g]Serve the portion that I gave you about which I said to you, ‘Set it [h]aside.’” 24 Then the cook (AA)took up the leg with what was on it and placed it before Saul. And Samuel said, “Here is what has been reserved! Place it before you and eat, because it has been kept for you until the appointed time, [i]since I said I have invited the people.” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 When they came down from the high place into the city, [j]Samuel spoke with Saul (AB)on the roof. 26 And they got up early; and at daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, saying, “Get up, so that I may send you on your way.” So Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Speak to the servant and have him go on ahead of us and pass by; but you stand here now, so that I may proclaim the word of God to you.”

Saul among the Prophets

10 Then (AC)Samuel took the flask of oil, poured it on [k]Saul’s head, (AD)kissed him, and said, “Has (AE)the Lord not anointed you as ruler over (AF)His inheritance? When you leave me today, then you will find two men close to (AG)Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, ‘(AH)The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. Now behold, your father has stopped talking about the donkeys and is anxious about you, saying, “What am I to do about my son?”’ Then you will go on further from there, and you will come as far as the [l](AI)oak of Tabor, and there three men going up (AJ)to God at Bethel will meet you: one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine. And they will [m]greet you and give you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from their hand. Afterward you will come to [n](AK)the hill of God where the Philistine garrison is; and it shall be as soon as you have come there to the city, that you will meet (AL)a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and a lyre in front of them, and (AM)they will be prophesying. Then (AN)the Spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and (AO)you will prophesy with them and be changed into a different man. And it shall be when these signs come to you, (AP)do for yourself what [o]the occasion requires, because (AQ)God is with you. And (AR)you shall go down ahead of me to Gilgal; and behold, I will be coming down to you to offer burnt offerings and (AS)sacrifice peace offerings. (AT)You shall wait seven days until I come to you and inform you of what you should do.”

Then it happened, when he turned his back to leave Samuel, that God (AU)changed [p]his heart; and all those signs came about on that day. 10 (AV)When they came there to [q]the hill, behold, a group of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, so that he prophesied among them. 11 And it came about, when all who previously knew him saw that he was indeed prophesying with the prophets, that the people said to one another, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? (AW)Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And a man from there responded and said, “And who is their father?” Therefore it became a saying: “(AX)Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he had finished prophesying, he came to the high place.

14 Now (AY)Saul’s uncle said to him and his servant, “Where did you go?” And he said, “(AZ)To look for the donkeys. When we saw that they were nowhere to be found, we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Please tell me what Samuel said to you.” 16 So Saul said to his uncle, “(BA)He told us plainly that the donkeys had been found.” But he did not tell him about the matter of the kingdom which Samuel had mentioned.

Saul Publicly Chosen King

17 Now Samuel called the (BB)people together to the Lord at Mizpah; 18 and he said to the sons of Israel, “(BC)This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt, and I rescued you from the hand of the Egyptians and from the [r]power of all the kingdoms that were oppressing you.’ 19 But today you (BD)have rejected your God, who saves you from all your catastrophes and your distresses; yet you have [s]said, ‘No, but put a king over us!’ Now then, (BE)present yourselves before the Lord by your tribes and by your [t]groups of thousands.”

20 So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel forward; and the tribe of Benjamin was selected by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin forward by its families, and the Matrite family was selected by lot. And Saul the son of Kish was selected by lot; but when they looked for him, he could not be found. 22 Therefore (BF)they inquired further of the Lord: “Has the man come here yet?” And the Lord said, “Behold, he is hiding himself among the baggage.” 23 So they ran and took him from there, and when he stood among the people, (BG)he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him (BH)whom the Lord has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” So all the people shouted and said, “[u](BI)Long live the king!”

25 Then Samuel told the people (BJ)the ordinances of the kingdom, and wrote them in the book, and (BK)placed it before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, each one to his house. 26 Saul also went (BL)to his house in Gibeah; and the valiant men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But certain [v](BM)useless men said, “How can this one save us?” And they despised him and (BN)did not bring him a gift. But [w]he kept silent about it.

Saul Defeats the Ammonites

11 Now (BO)Nahash the Ammonite went up and besieged (BP)Jabesh-gilead; and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, “Make (BQ)a covenant with us and we will serve you.” But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “I will make it with you on this condition, (BR)that I will gouge out the right eye of every one of you, and thereby I will inflict (BS)a disgrace on all Israel.” So (BT)the elders of Jabesh said to him, “Allow us seven days to send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. Then, if there is no one to save us, we will come out to you.” Then the messengers came (BU)to Gibeah of Saul and spoke these words in the hearing of the people, and all the people (BV)raised their voices and wept.

Now behold, Saul was coming from the field (BW)behind the oxen, and Saul said, “What is the matter with the people that they weep?” So they reported to him the words of the men of Jabesh. Then (BX)the Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and [x]he became very angry. He then took a yoke of oxen and (BY)cut them in pieces, and sent them throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, saying, “(BZ)Whoever does not come out after Saul and after Samuel, the same shall be done to his oxen.” Then the dread of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out (CA)as one person. He [y]counted them in (CB)Bezek; and the (CC)sons of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah, thirty thousand. They said to the messengers who had come, “This is what you shall say to the men of Jabesh-gilead: ‘Tomorrow, by the time the sun is hot, you will be saved.’” So the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh; and they rejoiced. 10 Then the men of Jabesh said, “(CD)Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good [z]to you.” 11 The next morning Saul put the people (CE)in three companies; and they came into the midst of the camp at the morning watch, and struck and killed the Ammonites until the heat of the day. And those who survived scattered, so that no two of them were left together.

12 Then the people said to Samuel, “(CF)Who is he that said, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ [aa](CG)Bring the men, so that we may put them to death!” 13 But Saul said, “(CH)Not a single person shall be put to death this day, for today (CI)the Lord has brought about [ab]victory in Israel.”

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come, and let us go to (CJ)Gilgal and (CK)renew the kingdom there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king (CL)before the Lord in Gilgal. There they also (CM)offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.

Samuel Addresses Israel

12 Then Samuel said to all Israel, “Behold, (CN)I have listened to your voice for all that you said to me, and I (CO)have appointed a king over you. Now, (CP)here is the king walking before you, but as for me, (CQ)I am old and gray, and (CR)my sons are here with you. And (CS)I have walked before you since my youth to this day. Here I am; testify against me before the Lord and (CT)His anointed. (CU)Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I exploited? Whom have I oppressed, or (CV)from whose hand have I taken a bribe to close my eyes with it? I will return it to you.” And they said, “You have not exploited us or oppressed us, or taken anything from anyone’s hand.” So he said to them, “The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day that (CW)you have found nothing (CX)in my hand.” And they said, “He is witness.”

Then Samuel said to the people, “It is the Lord who [ac](CY)appointed Moses and Aaron and who brought your fathers up from the land of Egypt. Now then, take your stand, (CZ)so that I may enter into judgment with you before the Lord concerning all the righteous acts of the Lord that He did for you and your fathers. (DA)When Jacob went into Egypt and (DB)your fathers cried out to the Lord, then (DC)the Lord sent Moses and Aaron [ad](DD)who brought your fathers out of Egypt and settled them in this place. But (DE)they forgot the Lord their God, so (DF)He sold them into the hand of Sisera, commander of the army of Hazor, and (DG)into the hand of the Philistines, and (DH)into the hand of the king of Moab, and they fought against them. 10 (DI)They cried out to the Lord and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have abandoned the Lord and have served (DJ)the Baals and the Ashtaroth; but (DK)now save us from the hands of our enemies, and we will serve You.’ 11 Then the Lord sent (DL)Jerubbaal, [ae](DM)Bedan, (DN)Jephthah, and (DO)Samuel, and saved you from the hands of your enemies all around, so that you lived in security.

The King Confirmed

12 But when you saw (DP)that Nahash the king of the sons of Ammon was coming against you, you said to me, ‘(DQ)No, but a king shall reign over us!’ (DR)Yet the Lord your God was your king. 13 And now, (DS)behold, the king whom you have chosen, (DT)whom you have asked for, and behold, the Lord has [af]put a king over you. 14 (DU)If you will fear the Lord and serve Him, and listen to His voice and not rebel against the [ag]command of the Lord, then both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God. 15 But (DV)if you do not listen to the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the [ah]command of the Lord, then (DW)the hand of the Lord will be against you, (DX)even as it was against your fathers. 16 Even now, (DY)take your stand and see this great thing which the Lord is going to do before your eyes. 17 (DZ)Is it not the wheat harvest today? (EA)I will call to the Lord, that He will send [ai]thunder and rain. Then you will know and see that (EB)your wickedness is great which you have done in the sight of the Lord, by asking for yourselves a king.” 18 So Samuel called to the Lord, and the Lord sent [aj]thunder and rain that day; and (EC)all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel.

19 Then all the people said to Samuel, “(ED)Pray to the Lord your God for your servants, so that we do not die; for we have added to all our sins (EE)this evil, by asking for ourselves a king.” 20 Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet (EF)do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 Indeed, you must not turn aside, for then you would go after (EG)useless things which cannot benefit or save, because they are useless. 22 For (EH)the Lord will not abandon His people (EI)on account of His great name, because the Lord (EJ)has been pleased to make you a people for Himself. 23 Furthermore, as for me, (EK)far be it from me that I would sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you; but (EL)I will instruct you in the good and right way. 24 (EM)Only [ak]fear the Lord and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider (EN)what great things He has done for you. 25 (EO)But if you still do evil, (EP)both you and your king (EQ)will be swept away.”


  1. 1 Samuel 9:1 Or man of wealth and influence
  2. 1 Samuel 9:10 Lit Your word is good
  3. 1 Samuel 9:12 Or behold
  4. 1 Samuel 9:15 Lit opened Samuel’s ear
  5. 1 Samuel 9:17 Lit answered
  6. 1 Samuel 9:21 As in some ancient versions; MT tribes
  7. 1 Samuel 9:23 Lit Give
  8. 1 Samuel 9:23 Lit with you
  9. 1 Samuel 9:24 Lit saying
  10. 1 Samuel 9:25 LXX they spread a bed for Saul on the roof
  11. 1 Samuel 10:1 Lit his
  12. 1 Samuel 10:3 Or terebinth
  13. 1 Samuel 10:4 Lit inquire of your welfare
  14. 1 Samuel 10:5 Or Gibeath-haelohim
  15. 1 Samuel 10:7 Lit your hand finds
  16. 1 Samuel 10:9 Lit for him another heart
  17. 1 Samuel 10:10 Or Gibeath
  18. 1 Samuel 10:18 Lit hand
  19. 1 Samuel 10:19 As in several mss and ancient versions; MT said to Him
  20. 1 Samuel 10:19 Or clans
  21. 1 Samuel 10:24 Lit May the king live
  22. 1 Samuel 10:27 Or wicked; lit sons of Belial
  23. 1 Samuel 10:27 A mutilated DSS fragment of uncertain reliability (4QSama) adds here that Nahash (11:1) gouged out the right eyes of Israelites
  24. 1 Samuel 11:6 Lit his anger burned exceedingly
  25. 1 Samuel 11:8 Lit mustered
  26. 1 Samuel 11:10 Lit in your sight
  27. 1 Samuel 11:12 Lit Give
  28. 1 Samuel 11:13 Or deliverance in
  29. 1 Samuel 12:6 Lit made
  30. 1 Samuel 12:8 Lit and they brought
  31. 1 Samuel 12:11 LXX and Syriac Barak
  32. 1 Samuel 12:13 Lit given
  33. 1 Samuel 12:14 Lit mouth
  34. 1 Samuel 12:15 Lit mouth
  35. 1 Samuel 12:17 Lit sounds
  36. 1 Samuel 12:18 Lit sounds
  37. 1 Samuel 12:24 Or revere

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