1 Samuel 10

Vv. 1-10

God gives the people what they cry for, as he always does. Then they cry because of the rulers they have.

V. 1, Samuel anoints Saul to be captain over his inheritance. Captain, not king:

First, to me, captain denotes a leader – one who leads the people into battle. On the other hand, king denotes a ruler – one who drives his people into battle from the safety of the rear.

Second, captain means that he was to follow orders, not make the orders as a king would do.

Third, Saul was to be captain over his inheritance, not king. The people already had a king — the Lord God.

Fourth, his inheritance. At the very first, it is made clear that the people belonged to the Lord, not to Saul to do with as he pleased. Saul was to lead the people in the way pleasing to their king, Jehovah God. Romans 13 tells us the same thing — God is the one who establishes rulers over the people; the people do not belong to the rulers; and the rulers are to watch after the people by establishing and enforcing good and evil from God's word.

Thus a "ruler" is to realize he is watching over a "flock" that is not his, but that "flock" belongs to the Lord. Thus the one in authority will be held to a much higher standard of accountability than will members of the "flock."

Vv. 2-6, Samuel prophesies of a strange order of events that will take place in Saul's life within a very short period of time.

V. 6, turned into another man. David did not need to be turned into another man, for his heart already followed the Lord. And though Saul was turned into another man for a period of time, he soon reverted to what he had been all his life – a man who did his own thing.

One of the major qualifications of a leader was that his background had to be throughly checked out.

Leaders in "democracies" are elected according to their present words. And thus we place very corrupt "leaders" in authority. In other words, they are turned into another man long enough to get elected, and then they fall back into their old self.

The people cared nothing about Saul's background, only that he was tall and appealed to the eye; they were more concerned with being like or better than the pagans around them than they were about being the Lord's people.

V. 7, evidently, Saul had quite a bit of disbelief in what he was being told by Samuel, and the order of events that was about to take place would confirm that the Lord had indeed set him aside as captain.

V. 8, after Saul has had everything come to pass to prove to him that he is the one raised up by the Lord to lead the Lord's people, Saul will be tested on what he has learned. Though he has been given authority by the Master, he must exercise self-control in using that authority — he was to wait seven days, and then Samuel would come show him what to do.

Seven days shalt thou terry, or wait, until Samuel came. Seven is a very significant number in Scripture — it is a number of completion. Saul was to wait upon the Lord before he offered the offerings and sacrifices.

Terry — to wait, hope, expect.

Evidently, Samuel referres to 1 Samuel 13:8, where Saul tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed, which Saul failed to do:

The difficulty in question bas been solved on the whole quite correctly by Brentius. "It is not to be supposed," he says, "that Samuel was directing Saul to goat once to Gilgal as soon as he should go away from him, and wait there for seven days; but that he was to do this after he had been chosen king by public lot, and having conquered the Ammonites and been confirmed in the kingdom, was about to prepare to make war upon the Philistines, on whose account chiefly it was that he lad been called to the kingdom. For the Lard had already spoken thus to Samuel concerning Saul: ‘He will save my people from the hands of the Philistines, because I have looked upon my people.' This is the meaning therefore of Samuel's command: Thou hast been called to the kingdom chiefly for this purpose, that thou mayest deliver Israel from the tyranny of the Philistines. When therefore thou shalt enter upon this work, go down into Gilgal and wait there seven days, until it shall come to thee: for thou shalt then offer a holocaust, though not before I come to thee, and I will show thee what mast be done in order that our enemies the Philistines may be conquered. The, account of this is given below in ch. xiii., where we learn that Saul violated this command." (Keil)

Jehovah, being the King over His people and Saul being His servant, was the only one to send His people into battle against the Philistines. Samuel, God's prophet, was to tell the servant, Saul, what he was to do concerning the battle. However, as we know, Saul saw his distressed army fleeing before the battle even started, and while he waited for Samuel.

April 11, 2000

Wait upon the Lord is the hardest thing in the world to do, especially when we see people "fleeing" from us, as I have found. I have two serious areas that the only message I can get from the Lord is wait:

1) is with the church – for the last several years it seems to have been downhill, and the more I ask of the Lord what is going on and what I am to do, the more He tells me to wait. My offer to Him has been to resign, but He keeps telling me to wait.

2) is with Carol – November the IBC cancer was diagnosed, and it moves extremely fast; six months and it is starting in the other breast. Both her and I have sought the Lord in prayer about what way to go with her treatment, and she just has no peace at this point about the traditional method, but at this point, the alternative has not stopped the spread.

The only answer I have been able to get for both of the above situations has been wait upon the Lord. This phrase is found twice: Isaiah 30:18 and Isaiah 40:31.

Isaiah 30:18 ¶ And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of judgment: blessed are all they that wait for him. 19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: thou shalt weep no more: he will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer thee. 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: 21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. 22 Ye shall defile also the covering of thy graven images of silver, and the ornament of thy molten images of gold: thou shalt cast them away as a menstruous cloth; thou shalt say unto it, Get thee hence. 23 Then shall he give the rain of thy seed, that thou shalt sow the ground withal; and bread of the increase of the earth, and it shall be fat and plenteous: in that day shall thy cattle feed in large pastures. 24 The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan. 25 And there shall be upon every high mountain, and upon every high hill, rivers and streams of waters in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.

The prophecy of this chapter seems to relate (as that in the foregoing chapter) to the approaching danger of Jerusalem and desolations of Judah by Sennacherib's invasion. (MH) Matthew Henry's opening comments for this chapter are excellent:

I. A just reproof to those who, in that distress, trusted to the Egyptians for help, and were all in a hurry to fetch succours from Egypt #Isa 30:1-7.

II. A terrible threatening against those who slighted the good advice which God by his prophets gave them for the repose of their minds in that distress, assuring them that whatever became of others the judgment would certainly overtake them #Isa 30:8-17.

III. A gracious promise to those who trusted in God, that they should not only see through the trouble, but should see happy days after it, times of joy and reformation, plenty of the means of grace, and therewith plenty of outward good things and increasing joys and triumphs (#Isa 30:18-26), and many of these promises are very applicable to gospel grace.

IV. A prophecy of the total rout and ruin of the Assyrian army, which should be an occasion of great joy and an introduction to those happy times #Isa 30:27-33...

Some interesting points from Isaiah 30:

1) v. 1, the people took counsel, but the counsel was not the Lord's counsel. In doing so, they added sin to sin.
2) v. 2, the counsel told them to go down to Egypt for their strength and safety rather than depend upon the Lord. In other words, do "it" the world's way, and you will "live long and prosper."
3) vv. 3-6, the result, however, would be that what they gained from Egypt would be their shame and confusion; it would be a reproach upon them that they sought Egypt instead of the Lord. Though Egypt appeared to have help in their time of distress, they would be greatly disappointed — Egypt could not help, for the Lord was their enemy because of sin.
4) v. 7, the Lord was sending the enemy against them for their sins, so their strength was to sit still and yield to the hands of the enemy.

Those that trust in God, in his power, providence, and promise, are never made ashamed of their hope; but those that put confidence in any creature will sooner or later find it a reproach to them. God is true, and may be trusted, but every man a liar, and must be suspected. The Creator is a rock of ages, the creature a broken reed. We cannot expect too little from man nor too much from God. (MH)

IV. The use and application of all this (#Isa 30:7):

"Therefore have I cried concerning this matter, this project of theirs. I have published it, that all might take notice of it. I have pressed it as one in earnest. Their strength is to sit still, in a humble dependence upon God and his goodness and a quiet submission to his will, and not to wander about and put themselves to great trouble to seek help from this and the other creature."

If we sit still in a day of distress, hoping and quietly waiting for the salvation of the Lord, and using only lawful regular methods for our own preservation, this will be the strength of our souls both for services and sufferings, and it will engage divine strength for us. We weaken ourselves, and provoke God to withdraw from us, when we make flesh our arm, for then our hearts depart from the Lord. When we have tired ourselves by seeking for help from creatures we shall find it the best way of recruiting ourselves to repose in the Creator. Here I am, let him do with me as he pleases.

A second passage is,

Isaiah 40:1 ¶ Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the LORD'S hand double for all her sins. 3 ¶ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. 6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. 9 ¶ O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! 10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. 11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. 12 ¶ Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? 13 Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? 14 With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? 15 Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. 16 And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt offering. 17 All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity. 18 ¶ To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him? 19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains. 20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved. 21 Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth? 22 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in: 23 That bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity. 24 Yea, they shall not be planted; yea, they shall not be sown: yea, their stock shall not take root in the earth: and he shall also blow upon them, and they shall wither, and the whirlwind shall take them away as stubble. 25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. 26 Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. 27 ¶ Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

1 Samuel 10: 9, God gave him another heart. God did not have to do this for David, for David's heart already sought the Lord.

Then the series of events take place according to Samuel's words, showing Saul that he had indeed been chosen by God to be the king.

V. 11, Is Saul also among the prophets?

This expression presupposes that Saul's previous life was altogether different from that of the disciples of the prophets. (Keil)

V. 12, But who is their father—that is, Do they have the prophetic spirit by virtue of their birth, or as a free gift from God? And if this is a gift from God, there is no reason why Saul should not have it. The people spoke with astonishment that such a drastic change should come over Saul. And it became a proverb (saying) whenever someone appeared outside his sphere of life which was altogether strange to him: "Is Saul also among the prophets? (Keil) (See Amos 7:14.)

Just coming through the 2000 elections (January 23, 2001, I went back and edited this chapter), I can identify with the amazement expressed in vv. 11& 12—that is, men and women who are wicked at all other times suddenly become very religious during election time, e.g., Hillery Clinton, Ted Kennedy. Those of us who are familiar with what is required of a Christian can say, "Is he or she really among the prophets of God?"

So these verses tell us that Saul was not the kind of man God would have chosen to guide his people; he was quite a bit less than a godly man, but the people wanted his kind of man because this is what the pagans had. (He might be comparable with Bill Clinton, who looked and sounded nice, but was everything a man should not be otherwise.) And of course, the contrast is with David, who was a godly young man in private as well as public.

And thus we see here that it God changed him, and gave him another heart, proved by turning him into something he was not, a prophet who praised and glorified God. The change happened again in 19:24, giving David time to escape Saul's attempt on his life.

But the change did not last, and only the Lord knows why it did not last. How many people today has God changed, and the change is permanent, i.e., genuine Christian conversion?

This begs the question: Why was not Saul's change permanent?

Vv. 14-16, Saul hid the words of Samuel about the kingdom from his family. Maybe because he was fearful or maybe because he was ashamed and embarrassed. Already we see that Saul was a very weak man, though tall and masculine looking. Strength and "manliness" are not defined by looks, but by actions.

Vv. 17-27

Samuel reproves the people for casting off God's government through His prophet, and desiring man's government.

Samuel calls the people together at Mizpeh, the place of a great victory over the Philistines, 7:5ff. V. 18, the significance of the location at this time—it is a very visible reminder to the people of God's providential care as their King, for He gave the glorious victory at this palace. And all would know what happened here. Meeting at Mizpeh proved to them their lack of the need of man's government, a king to lead them into their battles, at this time. Yet they still made the demand.

V. 19, the cry of the people was, "We are tired of the Lord ruling over us. He demands too much. Give us a man, a king, to rule over us." Samuel again clearly tells the people what they are doing. This day rejected... What a sad commentary of a people. We can rest assured, however, that someone will rule over people – either God through his word or man through his word. God wants to rule, but he will permit man to rule.

When men are rebellious against God and reject Him, He will give them leaders after their own hearts. In their rebellion, they demanded a king, so God gave them a rebellious man as their king, Saul.

V. 19, note:

1 Samuel 8:7 And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.
1 Samuel 10:19 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.
1 Samuel 15:23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
1 Samuel 15:26 And Samuel said unto Saul, I will not return with thee: for thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel.
1 Samuel 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

The lot was cast to chose the king, and the final lot fell upon Saul, the son of Kish. However, we have already seen that Saul was not a godly man; his life proved that he had rejected the word of the Lord, for the people were surprised when he prophesied.

Vv. 22, 23, he was higher... none like him... Physical stature was important to people in a king. And Saul fit the description that they desired. He was not a godly man, but that did not matter; he looked good.

V. 24, the Lord chose Saul to be the king, but why did the Lord choose a self-willed, stubborn man? The people rejected the Lord God, who had proved His love and care for them at Mizpeh, in demanding a king, so the Lord gives them a man as a king who also rejected the Lord God.

It would take a while for the truth to come out, but it did many times over. In fact, Saul lost the kingdom for the same reason he got it—rebellion.

V. 24, whom the Lord hath chosen. The people had clamored for a king like the heathens around them had. They looked for a man to do for them what the Lord had said he would do. Now the Lord gave them a king after their own heart, which was not a godly heart.

The king is elected, and the people go home. They took no thought of how the king was to be supported. The general attitude seems to be, "Now we have a king, and we have no more worry. We will just leave everything up to him." The people here seem to turn everything over to their new king, feeling that they have no responsibility – "Our king will take care of everything as we go on about our business." They seem to see a king as a release from their own personal responsibility to care for God and to care for their national well being. We do know that they saw a king as a replacement for their responsibility toward their God.

Sadly, this seems to be the attitude today in our society.

V. 26, men whose heart God had touched. There were a few who saw their responsibility – a king had been chosen, and that choice involved more than everyone going on about his own business.

Whatever good there is in us, or is done by us, at any time, it must be ascribed to the grace of God. If the heart bend at any time the right way, it is because he has touched it. One touch is enough, when it is divine. (MH)

God must touch the heart for men to truly follow the true king, King Jesus, or to follow God's man.

V. 27, there were some who refused to yield to the new king. They said, "How shall this man save us?" However, their statement was not based upon their fear of God, for God had made it plain that no man can save anyone through force of arms or even spiritual strength. Their statement was based on their rejection of God's now appointed authority – they were children of Belial.

There are three types of men here: 1) Those who are indifferent to the whole matter – they got what they wanted, a king to do their responsibilities, and now they go home. 2) Those whose hearts the Lord had touched – they united to the king, taking up their duties. 3) Those whose hearts were stubborn and unyielding – they despised him, and brought him no presents.

Thus we have the three general attitudes toward the King of kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. By far the more people are indifferent to the whole matter of King Jesus – "Just leave us alone as we pursue our own interests of making a good life for our loved ones." It seems there are very few whose hearts have been touched by the Spirit, who will follow the King wherever he leads.

The King holds his peace for now, but he will not be silent forever.


10:19, compare with Exodus 19:8. We profess our love for the Lord and our desire for Him to rule and reign over us. He rules over us by our willingly following his word.

Notice here: the Ten Commandments and their implications only explain how love works. If we love our neighbor, we will not covet from him, steal, murder, &c. If we love God, we will not have any other gods before him, use his name in vain, &c. The five books of the law only explain love in action, and the Pharisees forgot this was the reason for the law. They thought it was only to control the outside; but the purpose of the law was to reveal the love toward God and man.

The people at mount Sinai said, "We love you Lord, and want to please you. God said, "OK, if you love me, here is how you prove it." And he gave the Commandments. These cannot be kept without the true love of Jesus Christ living in us.

Is not this what Christ said? "If you love me, keep my commandments" because they are only love in action.