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1 Samuel 9-10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 9

Saul. There was a powerful man from Benjamin named Kish, who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite. He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. There was no other Israelite more handsome than Saul; he stood head and shoulders above the people.

The Lost Donkeys. Now the donkeys of Saul’s father, Kish, had wandered off. Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go out and hunt for the donkeys.” So they went through the hill country of Ephraim, and through the land of Shalishah. Not finding them there, they continued through the land of Shaalim without success. They also went through the land of Benjamin, but they failed to find the animals. When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Come, let us turn back, lest my father forget about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” The servant replied, “Listen! There is a man of God in this city, a man held in high esteem; everything he says comes true. Let us go there now! Perhaps he can advise us about the journey we have undertaken.” But Saul said to his servant, “If we go, what can we offer the man? The food in our bags has run out; we have no present to give the man of God. What else do we have?” Again the servant answered Saul, “I have a quarter shekel of silver.[a] If I give that to the man of God, he will advise us about the journey.” (In former times in Israel, anyone who went to consult God used to say, “Come, let us go to the seer.” For the one who is now called prophet was formerly called seer.) 10 Saul then said to his servant, “You are right! Come on, let us go!” So they headed toward the city where the man of God lived.

Meeting the Young Women. 11 As they were going up the path to the city, they met some young women coming out to draw water and they asked them, “Is the seer in town?” 12 The young women answered, “Yes, there—straight ahead. Hurry now; just today he came to the city, because the people have a sacrifice today on the high place.[b] 13 When you enter the city, you may reach him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not eat until he arrives; only after he blesses the sacrifice will the invited guests eat. Go up immediately, for you should find him right now.”

Saul Meets Samuel. 14 So they went up to the city. As they entered it—there was Samuel coming toward them on his way to the high place. 15 The day before Saul’s arrival, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: 16 At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin whom you are to anoint as ruler of my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. I have looked upon my people; their cry has come to me. 17 When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the Lord assured him: This is the man I told you about; he shall govern my people. 18 Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said, “Please tell me where the seer lives.” 19 Samuel answered Saul: “I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today. In the morning, before letting you go, I will tell you everything on your mind. 20 As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, do not worry about them, for they have been found. Whom should Israel want if not you and your father’s family?” 21 Saul replied: “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the smallest of the tribes of Israel,[c] and is not my clan the least among the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why say such things to me?”

The Meal.[d] 22 Samuel then took Saul and his servant and brought them into the room. He seated them at the head of the guests, of whom there were about thirty. 23 He said to the cook, “Bring the portion I gave you and told you to put aside.” 24 So the cook took up the leg and what went with it, and placed it before Saul. Samuel said: “This is a reserved portion that is set before you. Eat, for it was kept for you until this time; I explained that I was inviting some guests.” Thus Saul dined with Samuel that day. 25 When they came down from the high place into the city, a mattress was spread for Saul on the roof, 26 and he slept there.

Saul’s Anointing. At daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up, and I will send you on your way.” Saul got up, and he and Samuel went outside the city together. 27 As they were approaching the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us, but you stay here for a moment, that I may give you a word from God.”

Chapter 10

Then, from a flask he had with him, Samuel poured oil on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying: “The Lord anoints you ruler over his people Israel. You are the one who will govern the Lord’s people and save them from the power of their enemies all around them.

The Signs Foretold. “This will be the sign[e] for you that the Lord has anointed you ruler over his heritage: When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb[f] at Zelzah in the territory of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you went to look for have been found. Now your father is no longer worried about the donkeys, but is anxious about you and says: What shall I do about my son?’ Farther on, when you arrive at the oak of Tabor,[g] three men will meet you as they go up to God at Bethel; one will be bringing three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and the third a skin of wine. They will greet you and offer you two elevated offerings of bread, which you should accept from them. After that you will come to Gibeath-elohim, where the Philistine garrison[h] is located. As you enter that city, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the high place. They will be preceded by lyres, tambourines, flutes, and harps, and will be in prophetic ecstasy. The spirit of the Lord will rush upon you, and you will join them in their prophetic ecstasy and will become a changed man. When these signs have come to pass, do whatever lies to hand, because God is with you. Now go down ahead of me to Gilgal, for I shall come down to you, to offer burnt offerings and to sacrifice communion offerings. Wait seven days until I come to you; I shall then tell you what you must do.”[i]

The Signs Come to Pass. As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed his heart. That very day all these signs came to pass…. 10 [j]From there they arrived at Gibeah, where a band of prophets met Saul, and the spirit of God rushed upon him, so that he joined them in their prophetic ecstasy. 11 When all who had known him previously saw him in a prophetic state among the prophets, they said to one another, “What has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?” 12 And someone from that district responded, “And who is their father?” Thus the saying arose, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13 When he came out of the prophetic ecstasy, he went home.

Silence About the Kingship. 14 Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where have you been?” Saul replied, “Looking for the donkeys. When we could not find them, we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me, then, what Samuel said to you.” 16 Saul said to his uncle, “He assured us that the donkeys had been found.” But Saul told him nothing about what Samuel had said about the kingship.

Saul Chosen King. 17 Samuel called the people together to the Lord at Mizpah 18 and addressed the Israelites: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: It was I who brought Israel up from Egypt and delivered you from the power 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 evils and calamities, by saying, ‘No! You must appoint a king over us.’ Now, therefore, take your stand before the Lord according to your tribes and families.” 20 So Samuel had all the tribes of Israel come forward, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen.[k] 21 Next he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward by clans, and the clan of Matri was chosen, and finally Saul, son of Kish, was chosen. But when they went to look for him, he was nowhere to be found. 22 Again they consulted the Lord, “Is there still someone else to come forward?” The Lord answered: He is hiding among the baggage. 23 They ran to bring him from there; when he took his place among the people, he stood head and shoulders above all the people. 24 Then Samuel addressed all the people, “Do you see the man whom the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people!” Then all the people shouted out, “Long live the king!”

25 Samuel next explained to the people the rules of the monarchy,[l] wrote them in a book, and placed them before the presence of the Lord. Samuel then sent the people back to their own homes. 26 Saul also went home to Gibeah, accompanied by warriors whose hearts the Lord had touched. 27 But some worthless people said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no tribute.[m]

Footnotes:

  1. 9:8 A quarter shekel of silver: about a tenth of an ounce of silver.
  2. 9:12 On the high place: the local sanctuary on the top of a hill, where the sacrifice was offered and the sacrificial meal eaten.
  3. 9:21 Smallest of the tribes of Israel: Saul’s objection is a common element in call narrative, e.g., Ex 3:11; 4:10; Jgs 6:15.
  4. 9:22–24 At this ritual meal, Samuel treats the youthful Saul as if he were already king. Saul receives the part of the sacrificed animal reserved for the priest and his family, perhaps the sheep’s fat tail. Legal texts (Ex 29:22; Lv 3:9; 7:3–4) require the priest to burn this portion of the sheep on the altar.
  5. 10:1 The sign: the role of the new ruler is confirmed by specific signs; cf. Ex 7:9.
  6. 10:2 Here, as in Jer 31:15, Rachel’s tomb is placed at Ramah, north of Jerusalem. Later tradition understood Ephrath (Gn 35:19–20) as Bethlehem and placed the tomb farther south (Mt 2:16–18).
  7. 10:3 Oak of Tabor: or terebinth. Such a tree often indicates a shrine.
  8. 10:5 The Philistine garrison: the Hebrew word for “garrison” has been explained alternatively to mean a stele established to mark the Philistine occupation, or an inspector or officer for the collection of taxes. Prophetic ecstasy: a condition of religious enthusiasm often induced by communal rituals of music and dancing.
  9. 10:8 By inserting this verse, with its seven days, an editor has named in the very context of Saul’s anointing the condition which in a later narrative will be the grounds for the rejection of the dynastic character of Saul’s kingship (13:8–15).
  10. 10:10 An editor has abridged a longer version of this story by omitting mention of the first two signs Samuel has given (vv. 2–4).
  11. 10:20 Was chosen: probably by casting lots; cf. 14:40–42; Jos 7:14, 17.
  12. 10:25 Rules of the monarchy: a charter describing the relationship between the king and the people.
  13. 10:27 Tribute: a gift to honor a new ruler as a pledge of one’s loyalty; see Gn 32:14; Jgs 3:15; 2 Sm 8:2.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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