Page images
PDF
EPUB

rael ? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Wherefore then speakest thou so to me?”

Then Samuel took Saul to the solemn festival, and placed him in the chief place of honour, and caused to be set before him the best meats. That night the Prophet held long communion on the top of the house with Saul; and the next morning, rising very early, about the break of day, Samuel went forth with him, to send him away. When they had passed through the city, Samuel sent Saul's servant forward; but he bade Saul, “ Stand thou still awhile, that I may show thee the word of God.”

Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon Saul's head, and kissed him, and said, “Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be Captain over His inheritance ?" Further he said, “ When thou art departed from me today, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, “ The asses which thou wentest to seek are found; and lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son ? Then thou shalt go forward from

thence, and thou shalt come unto the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: and they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread, which thou shalt receive at their hands. After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines; and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp before them, and they shall prophesy. And the Spirit of the Lord will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man. And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee. And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal, and behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt-offerings, and to sacri. fice sacrifices of peace-offerings : seven days shalt thou tarry, until I come to thee, and show thee what thou shalt do."

And it came to pass that when Saul turned and left Samuel, “God gave him another

over us.

heart." He went on his way, and all the signs Samuel had foretold came to pass. Then at the appointed time, Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh, and said unto them, “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 the 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

Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and by your thousands."

Then out of all the tribes of Israel, Benjamin was taken, as the tribe from which God would select a king for the people. Then the families were chosen, and at length Saul was found to be the appointed king. He was not present, having hid himself, but he was soon brought to the place, and Samuel said to all the people, “See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people ?" Then they all raised a mighty shout, “GOD save the king

Then Samuel wrote a record of all that had

come to pass about the kingdom, and laid it up before the LORD. And Saul returned to Gibeah, and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. Some of the people who were lawless, bad men, despised the king, and would not serve him. They did not seem to consider that by the Commandment of their Law, (which they all professed to obey,) they were bound to obey those set in authority over them by the LORD— whether parents or rulers. The powers that be,” are, as we learn from the New Testament, set before us to obey, by that commandment which says,

“ Honour thy father and mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord hath given thee."

KING SAUL.

It was true that the people of Israel had displeased God by asking for other rulers, when He Himself vouchsafed to be their Ruler and King. But nevertheless, He had now appointed Saul to be their king, and as such He required the people to obey him. Thus when, soon after Saul was anointed, the Ammonites caused great fear among the people, so that they

acted as sheep without a shepherd, the LORD mightily convinced all men that Saul was His chosen minister. We are told in Holy Scripture that the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and taught him what to do. Accordingly, he took a yoke of oxen, and cut them in pieces, and sent parts thereof throughout all the lands where Israel dwelt, saying, “ Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen."

Then the people believed that it was the word of the LORD which Saul spake; and they came out with one consent, and fought under Saul, and utterly defeated the Ammonites.

Thus the popular feeling turned, as so often is the way of the world, to the successful person; and the people wanted to put those men to death who had opposed Saul. But Saul would not allow this. He went up to Gilgal, and there all the people did him homage, and sacrificed peace-offerings before the Lord, and rejoiced greatly.

About two years after Saul became king, he was guilty of an act of disobedience and presumption, which lost him the favour of the LORD. The Philistines were gathered together against him, and the people were sorely fright

« PreviousContinue »