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countable to God for all his actions. In further confirmation to Saul, that he would certainly be placed on the throne of Israel, Samuel predicted some circumstances which would occur in his journey, which would by their completion prove, that Samuel was really inspired. He then told Saul, that « he should meet a company of prophets,” &c.
Saul immediately on his departure from Samuel felt that God had made him another man : « * A new fire . was kindled in his breast ; his mind panted with ar• dent desire to perform great exploits, and from a hus
bandman he found himself changed to a general, a statesman, and a prince.' Full of these exalted thoughts, he arrived at a place called God's Hill (on account of its being the residence of the prophets); here he met a company of 'the sons or disciples of the prophets, with their sacred music; and the Spirit of the LORD came suddenly upon him, so that he was able to join, without any previous instruction, in exalting the name of the LORD with holy rapture.
Saul's neighbours might well be astonished at finding him engaged in such an employment; but one of them 6 answered and said, who is their father?' which is supposed to mean, is not God their instructor ? who could make Saul a prophet as well as the rest.
Before Saul returned home, he went to the high place, or place of public worship, to offer up his thanksgivings, and did not boast of the honour that had been conferred on him, being at that time filled with religious fervour.
There is something very wonderful in this transacrion, which shews the over-ruling Providence of God,
* Henry's Annotations.
who can bring about great events by the most trifling
Saul sought his father's a38es, and found a kingdom. How frequently does it happen in common life that those who are disappointed in some of their wishes, are recompensed by unexpected blessings.
SAMUEL ASSEMBLETH THE PEOPLE-CASTETH LOTS
FOR A KING, AND SAUL 1'S CHOSEN-THE ISRA EL
AND Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh ; and said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you.
And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations': and 'ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the Lord, by your tribes, and by your thousands.
And when Samuel had 'caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken.
When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken : and when they sought him he could not be found.
Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither : and the Lord answered, Behold he hath hid himself
the stuff. And they ran and fetched him thence : and when he P3
stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people, from his shoulders and upward.
And Samuel said to the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.
Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up
before he LORD; and Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.
And Saul also went home to Gibeah, and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.
But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us ? And they despised him, and brought him no presents : but he held his peace.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Though Samuel knew the will of God, and had al. ready anointed Saul, he gave the people the satisfaction of casting lots, that they might be convinced that Saul was really appointed by the LORD, who alone could determine the lot to fall agreeably to Samuel's election. It is probable, Saul apprehended that the people would reject him with scorn and contempt, as he was of the meannest of the tribes, which made him resolve to con. ceal himself, till the matter was determined. What Samuel wrote was a covenant between the king and the people, in which the king promised to govern them agreeably to the will of the LORD, and the people to pay him allegiance as their sovereign.
A learned author * thinks, that the Prophet made a register to testify to the people if they should afterwards * Bishop Patrick
be unhappy under the arbitrary government of their kings, that they had brought the evils upon themselves, and were justly punished for rejecting the LORD, who had delivered them out of the hand of those that oppressed them, and saved them out of all their tribulations.
It is very certain that all events are ordered by an overruling providence, yet the will of man is left free. In the case of Saul, God yielded to the people's desire : He suffered them to have a nominal king, and He allotted for them exactly such an one as they wished for, one that, if left to himself, would rule them after the manner of the other nations : but we shall find that the LORD did not cease to govern Israel as their King, though they had rejected him ; he maintained his own honour by keeping the supreme
command over them.
Saul was no other than the Lord's vice gerent, sitting on the throne of the Lord; and bound to rule by the Divine Law, and to obey the commands of the Lord in all things relating to the government of the nation, and to the making of peace or war with the heathen nations. His duty was to follow the directions for the conduct of a king of Israel, recorded by Moses ; but his inclination was, as we read afterwards, to rule with arbitrary sway, without regard to the divine will.
THE AMMONITES ENCAMP AGAINST JABESH-GILEAD
SAUL DELIVERS THEM OUT OF THEIR HANDS, AND
From 1 Samuel, Chap. xi. Then Nahash the Ammonite came up, and encamped against Jabesh-gilead : and all the men of Ja
besh said unto Nahash, Make a covenant with us, and we will serve thee.
And Nabash the Ammonite answered them, On this condition will I make a covenant with you, that I may thrust out all your right eyes, and lay it for a reproach
upon all. Israel.
And the elders of Jabesh said unto him, give us seven days respite, that we may send messengers unto all the coasts of Israel : and then if there be no man to save us, we will conse out to thee.
Then came the messengers to Gibeah of Saul, and told the tidings in the ears of the people : and all the people lift up their voices, and wept.
And behold, Saul came after the herd out of the field, and Saul said, What aileth the people that they weep? And they told him the tidings of the men of Jabesh.
And the Spirit of God came upon Saul, when he heard those tidings, and his anger was kindled greatly.
And he took a yoke of oxen, and hewed them in pieces, and sept them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul, and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen : and the fear of the LORD fell on the people, and they came out with one consent.
And when he numbered them in Bezek, the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the - men of Judah thirty thousand.
And they said unto the messengers that came, Thus shall ye say unto the men of Jabesh-gilead, To-morrow, by that time the sun be hot, ye shall have help. And the messengers came and shewed it to the men of Jabesh, and they were glad. Therefore the men of Jabesh said, To-morrow we