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Scripture reading – 1 Samuel 10-11

1 Samuel 10

Saul’s Anointing to be King (1 Samuel 10:1)

1 Samuel 9 introduced us to Saul, a physically imposing man (1 Samuel 9:2; 1 Samuel 10:23-24), and one whom the LORD directed Samuel to anoint as Israel’s king (1 Samuel 9:15-16; 1 Samuel 10:1). Having anointed Saul with a vial of oil, Samuel “kissed him, and said, Is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain [ruler]over his inheritance [Israel]?” (1 Samuel 10:1)

Three Assurances for Saul’s Calling to be King (1 Samuel 10:2-8)

Samuel then revealed three signs to Saul to affirm he was the man whom the LORD had chosen to rule Israel. The first sign Saul would encounter two men, and they would tell him his father had recovered the donkeys and was worried about him (1 Samuel 10:2). A second sign would be three men, bearing three baby goats, three loaves of bread, and a bottle of wine, and they would salute him and give him two loaves of bread. The third sign would follow as Saul neared a Philistine garrison, and there he would “meet a company of prophets…[and] the Spirit of the Lord [would] come upon [him], and [he would] prophesy with them, and…be turned into another man” (1 Samuel 10:5-6).

The Prophetic Signs Accomplished and Saul’s Return to Home (1 Samuel 10:9-16)

When Saul turned from Samuel, “God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day” (1 Samuel 10:9). When the people saw Saul prophesying, they were astounded, and “said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?…[and] it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?” (1 Samuel 10:11-12)

Saul’s Public Inauguration (1 Samuel 10:17-25)

Samuel then gathered the children of Israel at Mizpeh (a military outpost) and rehearsed all the LORD had done for Israel. He reminded them that they had rejected God as King and demanded a man to rule over them (1 Samuel 10:17-19). Though he knew the LORD’s will, Samuel cast lots and began with the tribes. The lot fell upon Benjamin, the smallest tribe (1 Samuel 10:20). Samuel then cast lots by clans and finally by families (1 Samuel 10:21).

Yet, when Samuel sought Saul, he was hiding (10:22). So the people ran and brought him, “and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward” (1 Samuel 10:23). Samuel then declared, “See ye him [Saul] whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king” (1 Samuel 10:24).

A Stirring of Opposition in Israel (1 Samuel 10:26-27)

1 Samuel 10 revealed that all was not well in Israel (1 Samuel 10:27). Though the people had demanded a king, wicked, immoral men described as “the children of Belial” scoffed at Saul. They said, “How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he [Saul] held his peace” (1 Samuel 10:27).

1 Samuel 11 – A Summons to War in Israel

Jabesh-Gilead’s Humiliation (1 Samuel 11:1-3)

Israel soon faced its first test under Saul’s leadership when the Ammonites “came up, and encamped against Jabesh-gilead” (1 Samuel 11:1). The men of Jabesh-gilead foolishly sought a covenant of peace with the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:1) who demanded every man of Jabesh-gilead would seal the peace covenant with the sacrifice of his right eye (1 Samuel 11:2). Dismayed at the demand, the people appealed for seven days reprieve to see if any men of Israel would come to their aid (1 Samuel 11:3). 

Saul Rallied Israel to Come to Jabesh-Gilead’s Aid (1 Samuel 11:4-8)

Messengers were then sent, and word came to Saul, who had returned to his father’s fields and flocks after he was presented as Israel’s king. When the news of the calamity facing the people of Jabesh-gilead reached him (1 Samuel 11:4-5), we read that “the Spirit of God [came] upon [Saul]…and his anger” stirred him to action (1 Samuel 11:6). He then took two oxen, and cut them in pieces, and “sent them throughout all the coasts of Israel by the hands of messengers, saying, Whosoever cometh not forth after Saul and after Samuel, so shall it be done unto his oxen. And the fear of the Lord fell on the people, and they came out with one consent” (1 Samuel 11:7). Three hundred and thirty thousand men gathered for war against the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:8).

Israel’s Great Victory Confirmed Saul’s Regin as King (1 Samuel 11:9-15)

Saul divided Israel’s army into three companies. Under his leadership, the nation achieved a great victory over the scattered Ammonites (1 Samuel 11:9-11). Exulting over their first victory under Saul, the people rallied together, and all of Israel acknowledged him as king (1 Samuel 11:12-13).

Closing thoughts:

Following their victory over Ammon, Israel gathered at Gilgal to renew the nation’s relationship with the LORD (1 Samuel 11:14-15). Our following devotion will consider Samuel’s closing challenge to Israel, as he resigned the nation’s governing to Saul (1 Samuel 12).

Questions to consider:

1) What did Samuel do to confirm that God had chosen Saul to be king? (1 Samuel 10:1)

2) How did God prepare Saul to be king? (1 Samuel 10:9)

3) As proof of his humility, what did Saul fail to reveal to his uncle when he was questioned? (1 Samuel 10:16)

4) What did Saul do when Samuel cast lots to reveal whom God had chosen to be king? (1 Samuel 10:22-23)

5) What condition did Nahash the Ammonite propose for Jabesh-Gilead to surrender to him? (1 Samuel 11:2)

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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