Pastoral Commentary for 1 Samuel 10:1-11:11
Author: Pastor Bob Nordlie
As Samuel anointed Saul to rule over Israel Saul must have wondered if this was God's doing. There can be no more sure sign that a message is truly from God than fulfilled prophecy. Ordinary human beings cannot predict the weather, let alone the future. Samuel gave Saul several signs to be fulfilled that would give Saul confidence that Samuel's message was from God. Samuel told Saul that the Spirit of the LORD would come upon him and he would be a new man. God's Word was true, and everything happened exactly as Samuel had prophesied. The change is Saul was clear to all to saw him prophesying, and they wondered about what had happened to him. Saul's uncle asked him about his journey and Saul told him of Samuel's prophecy about the lost donkeys but not about his anointing. At the same time Samuel called the people of Israel and chastised them from rejecting the LORD and asking for a king. Lots were cast to determine who would be king, and the choice led to Saul, demonstrating that he was God's choice, not just Samuel's. When Saul was finally located hiding among the baggage, Samuel presented him to the people who proclaimed, "Long live the King!" Many valiant men entered into the new king's service that day, but a few others doubted and grumbled, "How can this man save us?" That question was quickly answered when the men of Jabesh who had been defeated by the Ammonites sought a treaty with them. The Ammonites wanted to disgrace Israel by gouging out their right eyes. The elders of Jabesh pleaded for time and sent word of their plight to their fellow Israelites. When Saul learned of the situation, he dismembered a pair of oxen and threatened his fellow Israelites to do the same to their animals if they would not help their countrymen. 330,000 men of Israel were mustered against the Ammonites and they were destroyed or scattered. Thus, Saul's leadership was proven early on after his anointing.