Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. — 1 Samuel 9:15-16
George Washington Carver was a famous African-American botanist. He developed over four hundred synthetic substances, among them a milk substitute made from peanuts and sweet potatoes. In a lecture, he revealed his secret of success:
“I asked, ‘Dear Creator, please tell me what the universe was made for?’
“The great Creator answered, ‘You want to know too much for that little mind of yours. Ask something more your size.’
“Then I asked, ‘Dear Mr. Creator, tell me what man was made for.’
“Again the great Creator replied, ‘Little man, you still ask too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.’
“So then I asked, ‘Please, Mr. Creator, will you tell me why the peanut was made?’
“‘That’s better, but even then it’s infinite. What do you want to know about the peanut?’
“‘Mr. Creator, can I make milk out of the peanut?”
“‘What kind of milk do you want, good Jersey milk or just plain boarding-house milk?’
“And then the great Creator taught me how to take the peanut apart and put it together again.” (1)
George Washington Carver knew that if a person communicated with God, God would direct him. Samuel knew that too, and the focus verse indicates that on this occasion, the Lord “told Samuel in his ear” what he should do.
God may not show us how to take the peanut apart or instruct us to anoint a king. However, He will be faithful to direct us if we will communicate with Him.
In order to do that, we will need to make sure we are obeying Him and heeding His Word. We will need to develop a relationship of regular prayer and thanksgiving. Then we can follow George Washington Carver’s advice and “walk and talk with God and let Him direct your path.” (2)
This chapter marks the shift of focus from Samuel to Saul. The first two verses of the chapter show that Saul’s family had prestige and that, from man’s perspective, Saul appeared to be an excellent choice for a king. It is important to remember that God directed Samuel to anoint Saul, but it was only God’s permissive will, because the Children of Israel insisted on having a king.
Saul’s father had sent him on a mission to find their lost donkeys. In Biblical times, donkeys were considered necessities and were used for many purposes, including farming, hauling, and transportation. Even the poorest families owned at least one. To own a number of donkeys indicated wealth, and losing them was a disaster. Kish, Saul’s father, was wealthy, as evidenced by his many donkeys.
In verse 6, Saul and his servant prepared to travel to the city where Samuel the prophet lived — believed to be Ramah. The phrase, “All that he saith cometh surely to pass” confirms Samuel as a true prophet according to Deuteronomy 18:22.
Before Saul arrived, God had revealed to Samuel that he was to anoint Saul to be captain over Israel. He also told him about the missing donkeys. Although Samuel’s heart was heavy because of Israel’s insistence upon having a king, he obeyed God and prepared for Saul’s anointing. Because the maidens were preparing to draw water, we know that Saul and his servant arrived at the city in the evening. The “high place” these young women referred to (verse 12) was a place for sacrifice and prayer. It evidently also had a banquet hall (“parlour” in verse 22), and thirty people were invited to the special meal that Samuel had arranged.
Saul did not understand at this time the full implications of all Samuel said to him. However, he did humbly protest that his family was “the least in the smallest” tribe in Israel. Samuel disregarded that comment; he knew that was not important to God.
The right shoulder of the animal was the portion of the offering that went to the priest, yet Samuel had reserved it for Saul. After the feast, Samuel had Saul spend the night with him so they could talk. By the time Saul left Samuel, he clearly knew what was happening.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The reign of Saul
A. The rise of King Saul
2. The anointing of Saul to be King
a. Saul’s ancestry and stature (9:1-2)
b. Saul’s encounter with Samuel (9:3-27)
(1) The search for the donkeys (9:3-4)
(2) The request for Samuel’s aid (9:5-14)
(a) The suggestion of Saul’s servant (9:5-10)
(b) The directions of the women (9:11-14)
(3) The preparation of Samuel (9:15-17)
(4) The meeting of Saul and Samuel (9:18-27)
When God gives you direction, listen and obey! God’s way is always the best way!
1. William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen, “Mr. Creator, Who Made the Peanut?” 100 Amazing Answers to Prayer, p. 212-213.
2. Petersen and Petersen, p. 213