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THE EARLY MONARCHY
Saul Anointed by Samuel (1 Sam. ix. ; x. 1-16; xi. 1–11,15). Now there was a man of Gibeah, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a man well to do. And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.
And the asses of Kish Saul's father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son: "Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses." And they passed through the hill country of Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and they passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not. When they were come to the land of Zeph, Saul said to his servant that was with him: "Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us."
And he said unto him: "Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go." Then said Saul to his servant: "But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man ? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?" And the servant answered Saul again, and said: "Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that shalt thou give to the man of God, to tell us our way." (Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake: "Come, and let us go to the seer:" for he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a seer.) Then said Saul to his servant: "Well said; come, let us go." So they went unto the city where the man of God was.
And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, "Is the seer here?" And they answered them, and said: "He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to-day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to-day in the high. place: as soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because
he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him." And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.
Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying: "To-morrow about this time I will send thee a
1 high place. Beginning as a natural place for burnt-offerings, the barren hilltop above a town would in time become its sanctuary. Every Canaanite town had such a spot for the worship of its Baal and Ashtart, fitted up with altar, pillar-stones or mazzebahs and sacred poles or asherahs. With the Hebrew settlement of Canaan these local sanctuaries were taken over almost without change and became the regular places of Jehovah worship. But since their rites almost inevitably retained features of the old heathen cults, they were finally attacked by Hosea and other eighth-century prophets as seats of idolatry.
2 It was part of the sacrificial rite to eat the victim's flesh, after its blood and fat had been offered.
man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me." And when Samuel
1 Chapters vii., viii., and xii. present a view of the kingship so different from that expressed here, and give Samuel so much more prominent a position before Israel, that it is better to take their account as a distinct whole :
And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Beth-el, and Gilgal, and Mizpeh, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house; and there he judged Israel; and there he built an altar unto the Lord.
And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abijah: they were judges in Beer-sheba. And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, and said unto him: " Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations."
But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said: "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. 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. Now therefore hearken unto their voice: how beit yet protest solemnly unto them, and shew them the manner of the king that shall reign over them."
And Samuel told all the words of the Lord unto the people that asked of him a king. And he said: "This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots. And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots. And he will take your daughters to be perfumers, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants. And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, to his servants. And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest cattle, and your asses, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants. And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day." Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said: "Nay; but we will have a king over us; that we also may be like all the nations; and that our kings may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles."
And Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he rehearsed them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel: "Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king." And Samuel said unto the men of Israel: "Go ye every man unto his city."
And Samuel called the people together unto the Lord to Mizpeh; and said unto the children of Israel: "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all the kingdoms that oppressed you: and ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your
saw Saul, the Lord said unto him: "Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people." Then
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." And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken. When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken; and Saul the son of Kish was taken.
And when they sought him, he could not be found. Therefore they enquired of the Lord further, Did the man come thither? And the Lord answered, "Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff." And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people: "See ye him 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."
And Samuel said unto all Israel: "Behold, I have hearkened unto your voice in all that ye said unto me, and have made a king over you. And now, behold, the king walketh before you: and I am old and grayheaded; and behold, my sons are with you: and I have walked before you from my childhood unto this day. Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before his anointed: whose ox have I taken ? or whose ass have I taken ? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you." And they said: "Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken aught of any man's hand." And he said unto them: "The Lord is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found aught in my hand." And they answered, "He is witness."
And Samuel said: "Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen! and behold, the Lord hath set a king over you. If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God: but if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, and against your king. Now therefore stand and see this great thing, which the Lord will do before your eyes. Is it not wheat harvest to-day ?1 I will call unto the Lord, and he shall send thunder and rain; that ye may perceive and see that your wickedness is great, which ye have done in the sight of the Lord, in asking you a king."
So Samuel called unto the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people greatly feared the Lord and Samuel. And all the people said unto Samuel: "Pray for thy servants unto the Lord thy God, that we die not: for we have added unto all our sins, this evil, to ask us a king." And Samuel said unto the people: "Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart; and turn ye not aside after vain things, which cannot profit nor deliver; for they are vain. For the Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake: because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his people. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
1 About the end of May, when rain is so rare that a thunderstorm would be a miracle.
Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said: "Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is." And Samuel answered Saul, and said: "I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to-day, and to-morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart. And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on thy father's house?" And Saul answered and said: "Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?"
And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlor,' and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons. And Samuel said unto the cook :
66 Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee." And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said: "Behold that which is before thee, and eat: for unto this time have we waited for thee to eat with the people."
So Saul did eat with Samuel that day. And when they were come down from the high place into the city they spread a couch for Saul upon the top of the house, and he lay down. And it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying: "Up, that I may send thee away." And Saul arose, and they went out, he and Samuel, abroad. And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul: "Bid the servant pass on before us, but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God."
Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head,
But if ye shall still do wickedly, ye shall be consumed, both ye and your king."
Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him the men of valor whose hearts God had touched. But the children of Belial said, "How shall this man save us?" And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.
1 parlor. Rather, the 'dining-hall' adjoining the sanctuary, where the sacrificial meal was eaten.