After a frustrating three-day search and still not being able to find the donkeys, Saul recommended that the search be called off. He rationalized that his “father will stop thinking about the donkeys and start worrying about us.” Saul’s servant asked they seek Samuel’s help in their search.
It seems odd that Saul, the future king of Israel, had such profound ignorance of Samuel. Although Samuel lived nearby and was known to “all Israel” (1 Samuel 3:20; 4:1), even Saul’s slave, he was unknown to Saul. His ignorance of caused him to not to seek divine help in finding the donkeys. It was Saul’s slave, not Saul himself, who recognized the need for Samuel’s help in coping with their problems. The future king’s life at this point was devoid of a spiritual sensitivity that looked to the Lord for help. Saul assumed that spiritual favors had to be bought.
Particularly striking is the spiritual unfitness of the man who would serve as Israel’s first king. Sadly, Saul is spiritually, “a king such as all the other nations have.” Though Samuel was the most famous and honored spiritual leader in Israel since the time of Moses, when Saul looked at him he saw only a stranger.
The contrast between Saul and Samuel is striking: Samuel, the man of spiritual insight, knew all about an obscure young man even before he met up with him; Saul, the epitome of spiritual blindness, knew nothing of the most famous man in Israel even after he encountered him.