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William Shepard

Saul Is Chosen King

There was a man of the tribe of Benjamin whose name was Kish. He had a son named Saul, who was a tall and handsome man. One day some of the asses that belonged to Kish strayed away from his fields and were lost. And Kish told Saul to go in search of them. Saul wandered for some time about the country from place to place without learning anything about the asses. Fearing his father might grow uneasy at his stay, he thought of returning home, when his servant advised him to go to Samuel the prophet, and perhaps he could tell them where they should look. Saul was pleased with the advice, and he went to the city of Ramah and asked the way to the prophet's house. Some maidens pointed it out to him, and told him at the same time that he must make haste, for the prophet was just about to sit down to a great feast. Now the fact was that Samuel was giving this feast in honor of Saul. For the day before, when he was praying, God told him that on the morrow, at that very hour, he would send to him the man who was to be king of Israel. And Samuel was now expecting the visitor,—for the hour named had almost arrived. And when Saul appeared, Samuel knew him to be the man, and rose and invited him in to the feast. And he made him and his servant sit down above all the other guests, who were seventy in number, and he gave orders that the best of everything was to be set before Saul. When the time for going to bed had come, the others left, but Saul remained with the prophet and slept with him.

Early next morning Samuel woke Saul from his sleep, and accompanied him part of the way home. When they were out of the city, he asked Saul to send his servant before him, as he had something he wished to say to him only. Samuel then took out a small vial of oil, and pouring it upon the head of Saul, he saluted him, and said,—

"God hath appointed you king over His people, to avenge them against the Philistines. And as a sign that what I say is true, you will meet at a short distance from here three men, who will salute you and speak kindly to you, and offer you bread and wine. And a little farther on you will meet two men, who will inform you that the asses are found. And afterwards you will meet a company of prophets coming down from the hill, and the Spirit of the Lord shall seize you, and you will begin to prophesy with them and be changed into another man."

And everything happened as Samuel had said.

Then Samuel called all the tribes together at Mizpeh, and informed them that since they had rejected God, and chosen to have a king instead, they must throw lots to find out who the person was. The lot first fell upon the tribe of Benjamin, then upon the family of Metri, and lastly upon the person of Saul himself.

But Saul was not in the assembly, for he knew beforehand that the lot would fall upon him, and he did not want to seem anxious to be king. Messengers were sent to fetch him, and when he arrived Samuel presented him to the people. And when they saw how tall and strong and handsome he was they were well pleased, and cried out, "God save the king!" But there were some who murmured and did not like this new king.