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Saul Selected as Israel’s First King

There was a man from Benjamin named Kish, Abiel’s son, the grandson of Zeror and great-grandson of Aphiah’s son Becorath. A prominent man[a] from Benjamin, he had a son named Saul, who was a choice and handsome[b] young man. There was no one among the Israelis as handsome as he, and he was a head taller[c] than any of the other people.

The donkeys belonging to Kish, Saul’s father, were lost, and Kish told his son Saul, “Take one of the young men with you, get up, and go look for the donkeys.” He went through the hill country of Ephraim and through the region of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they went through the region of Shaalim, but they were not there. They also went through the territory of the descendants of Benjamin, but they did not find them.

When they entered the region of Zuph, Saul told the[d] young man with him, “Come on, let’s go back so my father does not stop worrying[e] about the donkeys and become anxious about us.”

The young man[f] said, “Look, there’s a man of God in this town. The man is respected, and everything he predicts happens. Now, let’s go there. Perhaps he can tell us about the[g] journey on which we have set out.”

Saul told the[h] young man, “Look, we could go, but what could we bring the man? The bread is gone from our bags, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have with us?”

The young man answered Saul again, “Look here! I have in my hand a quarter shekel[i] of silver. I’ll give it to the man of God, and he will tell us about our journey.”

(Previously in Israel, a person would say when he went to inquire of God, “Come on! Let’s go to the seer!” because the person known as a prophet[j] today was formerly called a seer.)

10 Saul told his young man, “That’s a good suggestion! Come on, let’s go!” Then they entered the town where the man of God was.

11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women going out to draw water, and they told them, “Is the seer here?”

12 They answered them: “Yes, he’s right there ahead of you. Hurry, for he came to town just today because there is a sacrifice for the people on the high place today. 13 When you come into town you can find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people don’t eat until he arrives, because he must bless the sacrifice and then after that those who are invited will eat. So go up right now because you can find him now.” 14 They went up to the town, and as they were coming to the center of the town, Samuel was coming out to meet them, on his way[k] up to the high place.

The Lord’s Revelation to Samuel

15 Now one day before Saul’s arrival, the Lord had revealed to[l] Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I’ll send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you are to anoint him as Commander-in-Chief[m] over my people Israel. He’ll deliver my people from the control[n] of the Philistines, because I’ve seen the suffering of[o] my people and because their cry has come up to me.” 17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man I told you about. This man will rule over my people.”

18 As Saul approached Samuel in the middle of the gate, he said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.”

19 Samuel answered Saul: “I’m the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place, and eat with me today. In the morning I’ll send you away and tell you everything that is on your mind. 20 Now as for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, don’t give any thought to them, because they’ve been found. Meanwhile, to whom is all Israel looking, if not to you and all of your father’s household?”

21 Saul answered: “Am I not a descendant of Benjamin from the least of the tribes of Israel? Isn’t my family the least important of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? Why have you spoken to me like this?”

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his young man and brought them to a room where he gave them a place at the head of those who were invited, of whom there were about 30 men. 23 Then Samuel told the cook, “Bring the portion that I gave you, the one I told you to set aside.” 24 The cook picked up the thigh and what was on it and set it in front of Saul. Then Samuel[p] said, “Here is what is left! Set it before you and eat, for it has been kept for you until the appointed time, about which I said,[q] ‘I’ve invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.

25 When they had come down from the high place into town,[r] Samuel[s] spoke to Saul on the roof. 26 They got up early in the morning, and about daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up and I’ll send you off.” Saul got up and the two of them, he and Samuel, went outside. 27 As they were going down to the edge of the town, Samuel told Saul, “Tell your young man to go ahead of us and when he has gone ahead, stop for a while so I may declare God’s word to you.”


  1. 1 Samuel 9:1 I.e. a man of wealth, military skill, or high reputation
  2. 1 Samuel 9:2 Or good
  3. 1 Samuel 9:2 Lit. from his shoulder up he was taller
  4. 1 Samuel 9:5 Lit. his
  5. 1 Samuel 9:5 The Heb. lacks worrying
  6. 1 Samuel 9:6 Lit. He
  7. 1 Samuel 9:6 Lit. our
  8. 1 Samuel 9:7 Lit. his
  9. 1 Samuel 9:8 I.e. about 0.1 ounces at 0.4 shekels per ounce
  10. 1 Samuel 9:9 Lit. the prophet
  11. 1 Samuel 9:14 Lit. going
  12. 1 Samuel 9:15 Lit. uncovered the ear of
  13. 1 Samuel 9:16 Lit. Nagid; i.e. a senior officer entrusted with dual roles of operational oversight and administrative authority
  14. 1 Samuel 9:16 Lit. hand
  15. 1 Samuel 9:16 So LXX; the Heb. lacks the suffering of
  16. 1 Samuel 9:24 Lit. he
  17. 1 Samuel 9:24 Lit. appointed time, saying
  18. 1 Samuel 9:25 LXX adds, they made a bed for Saul on the roof and he slept
  19. 1 Samuel 9:25 Lit. he

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