Saul came to a meeting with Samuel to find out about his father’s donkeys. He came away from the meeting with far more than he requested. Instead of being given directions to the Samuel’s house, Saul was given Samuel himself. He also received a prestigious invitation to a sacrificial meal and free information regarding the lost donkeys. Instead of learning about his father’s donkeys, he would learn about himself. The prophet’s words contained a subtle critical note, but they were on the whole extremely positive. At the same time, they were perplexing to Saul.
Saul was curious, “Why would Israel want him, a Benjamite, to be king? Benjamin was an infamous tribe that had been nearly eliminated by the other 11 Hebrew tribes. Saul was estimating his own spiritually. He knew his clan was the least spiritual clan of the most sin-stained tribe. Saul’s tribe had committed one of the most heinous crimes in Israelite history (Judges 19:22–26).
Samuel brought Saul to the worship center and gave him a seat of honor (1 Samuel 9:22). Since the Lord had told Samuel that he was sending him a guest (1 Samuel 9:16), the faithful prophet had prepared for the visitor’s arrival, even setting aside the choicest portion of the sacrificial animal for Saul to enjoy.
Following the meal Saul and the prophet Samuel had a his home. The next day, rising about daybreak, Samuel and his servant prepared to return home, Samuel sent Saul’s servant ahead so that he could give Saul a message from God.
1 Samuel 10:1–8 is Samuel’s longest recorded speech to an individual (147 Hebrew words), Samuel accomplished three things:
- He revealed that Saul was God’s choice to be Israel’s first king,
- He laid out for Saul a series of signs to confirm this revelation,
- He suggested to Saul the proper relationship that was to exist between king and prophet in Israel.
Samuel’s “message from God” first took the form of anointing, an action before this moment, reserved for sacred objects and Hebrew priests. The act of pouring a flask of specially prepared olive oil on Saul’s head apparently symbolized the staking of a divine claim on him, as well as the outpouring of the Lord’s empowering Spirit into the newly designated king’s life.