We are here told, 1. What a good family Saul was of, 1 Sam. 9:1. He was of the tribe of Benjamin; so was the New-Testament Saul, who also was called Paul, and he mentions it as his honour, for Benjamin was a favourite, Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5. That tribe had been reduced to a very small number by the fatal war with Gibeah, and much ado there was to provide wives for those 600 men that were the poor remains of it out of that diminished tribe, which is here called, with good reason, the smallest of the tribes of Israel, 1 Sam. 9:21. Saul sprang as a root out of a dry ground. That tribe, though fewest in number, was first in dignity, God giving more abundant honour to that part which lacked, 1 Cor. 12:24. His father was Kish, a mighty man of power, or, as the margin reads it, in substance; in spirit bold, in body strong, in estate wealthy. The whole lot of the tribe of Benjamin coming to be distributed among 600 men, we may suppose their inheritances were much larger than theirs who were of other tribes, an advantage which somewhat helped to balance the disadvantage of the smallness of their number. 2. What a good figure Saul made, 1 Sam. 9:2. No mention is here made of his wisdom or virtue, his learning or piety, or any of the accomplishments of his mind, but that he was a tall, proper, handsome man, that had a good face, a good shape, and a good presence, graceful and well proportioned: Among all the children of Israel there was not a goodlier person than he; and, as if nature had marked him for pre-eminence and superiority, he was taller by the head and shoulders than any of the people, the fitter to be a match for the giants of Gath, the champions of the Philistines. When God chose a king after his own heart he pitched upon one that was not at all remarkable for the height of his stature, nor any thing in his countenance but the innocence and sweetness that appeared there, 1 Sam. 16:7, 12. But when he chose a king after the people’s heart, who aimed at nothing so much as stateliness and grandeur, he pitched upon this huge tall man, who, if he had no other good qualities, yet would look great. It does not appear that he excelled in strength so much as he did in stature; Samson did, and him they slighted, bound, and betrayed into the hands of the Philistines; justly therefore are they now put off with one who, though of uncommon height, is weak as other men. They would have a king like the nations, and the nations commonly chose portly men for their kings.
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