- A short account of Saul, verse 1, 2.
- Seeking his father's asses, he is advised to consult Samuel, verse 3-10.
- He is directed to him, verse 11-14.
- Samuel being informed of God concerning him, treats him with respect, and prepares him for the news, that he must be king, verse 15-27.
Goodly - Comely and personable. Higher - A tall stature was much valued in a king in ancient times, and in the eastern countries.
The asses - Which were there of great price, because of the scarcity of horses, and therefore not held unworthy of Saul's seeking, at least in those ancient times, when simplicity, humility, and industry were in fashion among persons of quality.
Honourable men - One of great reputation for his skill and faithfulness. Acquaintance with God and serviceableness to the kingdom of God, makes men truly honourable. The way - The course we should take to find the asses. He saith, peradventure, because he doubted whether so great a prophet would seek, or God would grant him a revelation concerning such mean matters: although sometimes God was pleased herein to condescend to his people, to cut off all pretence or occasion of seeking to heathenish divination.
A present - Presents were then made to the prophets, either as a testimony of respect: or, as a grateful acknowledgement: or, for the support of the Prophets themselves: or, of the sons of the prophets: or, of other persons in want, known to them.
Seer - Because he discerned and could discover things secret and unknown to others. And these are the words, either of some later sacred writer, who after Samuel's death, inserted this verse. Or, of Samuel, who, being probably fifty or sixty years old at the writing of this book, and speaking of the state of things in his first days, might well call it before time.
Came to-day to the city - He had been travelling abroad, and was now returned to his own house in Ramah. High place - Upon the hill mentioned verse 11, and near the altar which Samuel built for this use.
Find him - At home and at leisure. To eat - The relicks of the sacrifices. Doth bless - The blessing of this sacrifice seems to have consisted both of thanksgiving, this being a thank-offering, and of prayer to God for its acceptance.
His ear - That is, secretly, perhaps by a still small voice.
Philistines - For though they were now most pressed with the Ammonites, yet they looked upon these as a land-flood, soon up, and soon down again: but the Philistines, their constant and nearest enemies, they most dreaded. And from these did Saul in some measure save them, and would have saved them much more, if his and the people's sins had not hindered.
On whom - Who is he that shall be that, which all Israel desire to have, namely, a king. Father's house - That honour is designed for thee, and, after thy death, for thy family or posterity, is by thy sin thou dost not cut off the entail.
The smallest - For so indeed this was, having been all cut off except six hundred, Judges 20:46-48, which blow they never recovered, and therefore they were scarce reckoned as an entire tribe, but only as a remnant of a tribe; and being ingrafted into Judah, in the division between the ten tribes and the two, they in some sort lost their name, and together with Judah were accounted but one tribe.
Chief place - Thereby to raise their expectation, and to prepare them for giving that honour to Saul, which his approaching dignity required.
I said - When I first spake that I had invited the people to join with me in my sacrifice, and then to partake with me of the feast, I then bade the cook reserve this part for thy use.
Communed - Concerning the kingdom designed for him by God.
Pass on - That thou and I may speak privately of the matter or the kingdom. Which Samuel hitherto endeavoured to conceal, lest he should be thought now to impose a king upon them, as before he denied one to them; and that it might appear by the lot mentioned in the next chapter, that the kingdom was given to Saul by God's destination, and not by Samuel's contrivance. Word of God - That is, a message delivered to me from God, which now I shall impart to thee.