In the NIV Application Commentary, Arnold says:
We should take from this passage (1 Samuel 10) the means by which God leads his people. The anointing of Saul is parallel to another passage familiar to Christians because of its use by Jesus early in his ministry: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach god news to the poor” (Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18). Thus, our passage about King Saul has three features in common with this verse spoken by the Lord’s Messiah (or “Anointed One”): Both were given the Spirit of the LORD; both were anointed; and both were commissioned for a specific task – Saul to serve as Israel’s first king and the Messiah to proclaim good news to the poor (an agenda spelled out more clearly in the rest of the Isaiah passage, Isa. 61:2-7). Anointing and reception of God’s Spirit are indispensable for service in his kingdom.
Finally, Saul is one of the best examples of personal transformation because of the work of God’s Spirit in one’s life, even though God eventually withdrew his approval and blessing from Saul. In this first unit introducing us to Saul, we learn of his anointing and confirmation as Israel’s first king. But this passage lays special stress on Saul’s change of character. One’s personal conduct and moral character are central not only in one’s standing before God but also for leadership among God’s people. Furthermore, as the long and sordid story of Saul continues, we will see that God apparently does not long bestow his Spirit where there is no continued change of character.
1 Samuel 10
1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him, saying, “Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance?[a] 2When you leave me today, you will meet two men near Rachel’s tomb, at Zelzah on the border of Benjamin. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you set out to look for have been found. And now your father has stopped thinking about them and is worried about you. He is asking, “What shall I do about my son?”’
3 “Then you will go on from there until you reach the great tree of Tabor. Three men going up to worship God at Bethel will meet you there. One will be carrying three young goats, another three loaves of bread, and another a skin of wine. 4They will greet you and offer you two loaves of bread, which you will accept from them.
5 “After that you will go to Gibeah of God, where there is a Philistine outpost. As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. 6 The Spirit of the LORD will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person. 7Once these signs are fulfilled, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.
8“Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”
Saul Made King
9 As Saul turned to leave Samuel, God changed Saul’s heart, and all these signs were fulfilled that day. 10 When he and his servant arrived at Gibeah, a procession of prophets met him; the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he joined in their prophesying. 11When all those who had formerly known him saw him prophesying with the prophets, they asked each other, “What is this that has happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?”
12 A man who lived there answered, “And who is their father?” So it became a saying: “Is Saul also among the prophets?” 13After Saul stopped prophesying, he went to the high place.
14Now Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where have you been?”
“Looking for the donkeys,” he said. “But when we saw they were not to be found, we went to Samuel.”
15Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.”
16Saul replied, “He assured us that the donkeys had been found.” But he did not tell his uncle what Samuel had said about the kingship.
17 Samuel summoned the people of Israel to the LORD at Mizpah 18 and said to them, “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘I brought Israel up out of Egypt, and I delivered you from the power of Egypt and all the kingdoms that oppressed you.’ 19But you have now rejected your God, who saves you out of all your disasters and calamities. And you have said, ‘No, appoint a king over us.’ So now present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes and clans.”
20 When Samuel had all Israel come forward by tribes, the tribe of Benjamin was taken by lot. 21 Then he brought forward the tribe of Benjamin, clan by clan, and Matri’s clan was taken. Finally Saul son of Kish was taken. But when they looked for him, he was not to be found. 22So they inquired further of the LORD, “Has the man come here yet?”
And the LORD said, “Yes, he has hidden himself among the supplies.”
23 They ran and brought him out, and as he stood among the people he was a head taller than any of the others. 24Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the LORD has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.”
Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
25Samuel explained to the people the rights and duties of kingship. He wrote them down on a scroll and deposited it before the LORD. Then Samuel dismissed the people to go to their own homes.
26 Saul also went to his home in Gibeah, accompanied by valiant men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some scoundrels said, “How can this fellow save us?” They despised him and brought him no gifts. But Saul kept silent.
- What does Saul do that shows he is changed by God?
- Where does Saul hide? Why do you think he did this?
- How did Saul respond to those who despised him?
- What is the role of the Holy Spirit in spiritual transformation?
- How is a person’s character related to God’s blessing today?