Saul crowned king
1 Samuel 9-10 MSG
Saul—Head and Shoulders Above the Crowd
1-2There was a man from the tribe of Benjamin named Kish. He was the son of Abiel, grandson of Zeror, great-grandson of Becorath, great-great-grandson of Aphiah—a Benjaminite of stalwart character. He had a son, Saul, a most handsome young man. There was none finer—he literally stood head and shoulders above the crowd!
3-4Some of Kish's donkeys got lost. Kish said to his son, "Saul, take one of the servants with you and go look for the donkeys." Saul took one of the servants and went to find the donkeys. They went into the hill country of Ephraim around Shalisha, but didn't find them. Then they went over to Shaalim—no luck. Then to Jabin, and still nothing.
5When they got to Zuph, Saul said to the young man with him, "Enough of this. Let's go back. Soon my father is going to forget about the donkeys and start worrying about us."
6He replied, "Not so fast. There's a holy man in this town. He carries a lot of weight around here. What he says is always right on the mark. Maybe he can tell us where to go."
7Saul said, "If we go, what do we have to give him? There's no more bread in our sacks. We've nothing to bring as a gift to the holy man. Do we have anything else?"
8-9The servant spoke up, "Look, I just happen to have this silver coin! I'll give it to the holy man and he'll tell us how to proceed!" (In former times in Israel, a person who wanted to seek God's word on a matter would say, "Let's visit the Seer," because the one we now call "the Prophet" used to be called "the Seer.")
10"Good," said Saul, "let's go." And they set off for the town where the holy man lived.
11As they were climbing up the hill into the town, they met some girls who were coming out to draw water. They said to them, "Is this where the Seer lives?"
12-13They answered, "It sure is—just ahead. Hurry up. He's come today because the people have prepared a sacrifice at the shrine. As soon as you enter the town, you can catch him before he goes up to the shrine to eat. The people won't eat until he arrives, for he has to bless the sacrifice. Only then can everyone eat. So get going. You're sure to find him!"
14They continued their climb and entered the city. And then there he was—Samuel!—coming straight toward them on his way to the shrine!
15-16The very day before, God had confided in Samuel, "This time tomorrow, I'm sending a man from the land of Benjamin to meet you. You're to anoint him as prince over my people Israel. He will free my people from Philistine oppression. Yes, I know all about their hard circumstances. I've heard their cries for help."
17The moment Samuel laid eyes on Saul, God said, "He's the one, the man I told you about. This is the one who will keep my people in check."
18Saul came up to Samuel in the street and said, "Pardon me, but can you tell me where the Seer lives?"
19-20"I'm the Seer," said Samuel. "Accompany me to the shrine and eat with me. In the morning I'll tell you all about what's on your mind, and send you on your way. And by the way, your lost donkeys—the ones you've been hunting for the last three days—have been found, so don't worry about them. At this moment, Israel's future is in your hands."
21Saul answered, "But I'm only a Benjaminite, from the smallest of Israel's tribes, and from the most insignificant clan in the tribe at that. Why are you talking to me like this?"
22-23Samuel took Saul and his servant and led them into the dining hall at the shrine and seated them at the head of the table. There were about thirty guests. Then Samuel directed the chef, "Bring the choice cut I pointed out to you, the one I told you to reserve."
24The chef brought it and placed it before Saul with a flourish, saying, "This meal was kept aside just for you. Eat! It was especially prepared for this time and occasion with these guests."
Saul ate with Samuel—a memorable day!
25Afterward they went down from the shrine into the city. A bed was prepared for Saul on the breeze-cooled roof of Samuel's house.
26They woke at the break of day. Samuel called to Saul on the roof, "Get up and I'll send you off." Saul got up and the two of them went out in the street.
27As they approached the outskirts of town, Samuel said to Saul, "Tell your servant to go on ahead of us. You stay with me for a bit. I have a word of God to give you."
"You'll Be a New Person"
1-2Then Samuel took a flask of oil, poured it on Saul's head, and kissed him. He said, "Do you see what this means? God has anointed you prince over his people.
"This sign will confirm God's anointing of you as prince over his inheritance: After you leave me today, as you get closer to your home country of Benjamin, you'll meet two men near Rachel's Tomb. They'll say, 'The donkeys you went to look for are found. Your father has forgotten about the donkeys and is worried about you, wringing his hands—quite beside himself!'
3-4"Leaving there, you'll arrive at the Oak of Tabor. There you'll meet three men going up to worship God at Bethel. One will be carrying three young goats, another carrying three sacks of bread, and the third a jug of wine. They'll say, 'Hello, how are you?' and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept.
5-6"Next, you'll come to Gibeah of God, where there's a Philistine garrison. As you approach the town, you'll run into a bunch of prophets coming down from the shrine, playing harps and tambourines, flutes and drums. And they'll be prophesying. Before you know it, the Spirit of God will come on you and you'll be prophesying right along with them. And you'll be transformed. You'll be a new person!
7"When these confirming signs are accomplished, you'll know that you're ready: Whatever job you're given to do, do it. God is with you!
8"Now, go down to Gilgal and I will follow. I'll come down and join you in worship by sacrificing burnt offerings and peace offerings. Wait seven days. Then I'll come and tell you what to do next."
9Saul turned and left Samuel. At that very moment God transformed him—made him a new person! And all the confirming signs took place the same day.
Saul Among the Prophets
10-12When Saul and his party got to Gibeah, there were the prophets, right in front of them! Before he knew it, the Spirit of God came on Saul and he was prophesying right along with them. When those who had previously known Saul saw him prophesying with the prophets, they were totally surprised. "What's going on here? What's come over the son of Kish? How on earth did Saul get to be a prophet?" One man spoke up and said, "Who started this? Where did these people ever come from?"
That's how the saying got started, "Saul among the prophets! Who would have guessed?!"
13-14When Saul was done prophesying, he returned home. His uncle asked him and his servant, "So where have you two been all this time?"
"Out looking for the donkeys. We looked and looked and couldn't find them. And then we found Samuel!"
15"So," said Saul's uncle, "what did Samuel tell you?"
16Saul said, "He told us not to worry—the donkeys had been found." But Saul didn't breathe a word to his uncle of what Samuel said about the king business.
"We Want a King!"
17-18Samuel called the people to assemble before God at Mizpah. He addressed the children of Israel, "This is God's personal message to you:
18-19"I brought Israel up out of Egypt. I delivered you from Egyptian oppression—yes, from all the bullying governments that made your life miserable. And now you want nothing to do with your God, the very God who has a history of getting you out of troubles of all sorts.
"And now you say, 'No! We want a king; give us a king!'
"Well, if that's what you want, that's what you'll get! Present yourselves formally before God, ranked in tribes and families."
20-21After Samuel got all the tribes of Israel lined up, the Benjamin tribe was picked. Then he lined up the Benjamin tribe in family groups, and the family of Matri was picked. The family of Matri took its place in the lineup, and the name Saul, son of Kish, was picked. But when they went looking for him, he was nowhere to be found.
22Samuel went back to God: "Is he anywhere around?"
God said, "Yes, he's right over there—hidden in that pile of baggage."
23They ran and got him. He took his place before everyone, standing tall —head and shoulders above them.
24Samuel then addressed the people, "Take a good look at whom God has chosen: the best! No one like him in the whole country!"
Then a great shout went up from the people: "Long live the king!"
25Samuel went on to instruct the people in the rules and regulations involved in a kingdom, wrote it all down in a book, and placed it before God. Then Samuel sent everyone home.
26-27Saul also went home to Gibeah, and with him some true and brave men whom God moved to join him. But the riffraff went off muttering, "Deliverer? Don't make me laugh!" They held him in contempt and refused to congratulate him. But Saul paid them no mind.
Saul Is Crowned King
Nahash, king of the Ammonites, was brutalizing the tribes of Gad and Reuben, gouging out their right eyes and intimidating anyone who would come to Israel's help. There were very few Israelites living on the east side of the Jordan River who had not had their right eyes gouged out by Nahash. But seven thousand men had escaped from the Ammonites and were now living safely in Jabesh.
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