1Samuel 9

 

1Samuel 9:1–27

The First Meeting Between Samuel and Saul


These studies are designed for believers in Jesus Christ only. If you have exercised faith in Christ, then you are in the right place. If you have not, then you need to heed the words of our Lord, Who said, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son, so that every [one] believing [or, trusting] in Him shall not perish, but shall be have eternal life! For God did not send His Son into the world so that He should judge the world, but so that the world shall be saved through Him. The one believing [or, trusting] in Him is not judged, but the one not believing has already been judged, because he has not believed in the Name of the only-begotten [or, uniquely-born] Son of God.” (John 3:16–18). “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life! No one comes to the Father except through [or, by means of] Me!” (John 14:6).


Every study of the Word of God ought to be preceded by a naming of your sins to God. This restores you to fellowship with God (1John 1:8–10). If there are people around, you would name these sins silently. If there is no one around, then it does not matter if you name them silently or whether you speak aloud.


These exegetical studies are not designed for you to read each and every word. For instance, the Hebrew exegesis is put into greyish tables, so that if you want to skip over them, that is fine. If you question a translation, you can always refer back to the appropriate Hebrew tables to sort it all out.

 

The intent is to make this particular study the most complete and most accurate examination of 2Samuel 21 which is available in writing. The idea is to make every phrase, verse and passage understandable; and to make application of all that is studied.

 

Besides teaching you the doctrinal principles related to this chapter, this commentary is also to help bring this narrative to life, so that you can understand the various characters, their motivations, and the choices that they make. Ideally, you will be able to visualize the peoples and armies as they move across the landscape of the Land of Promise.


Outline of Chapter 9:

 

       vv.    1–5        Saul and his Servant Search for Two Donkeys

       vv.    6–10      Saul and his Servant Decide to Visit the Man of God in a Nearby City

       vv.   11–14      Saul and his Servant Enter the City

       vv.   15–16      God Previously Told Samuel of Saul’s Coming

       vv.   17–21      Saul and Samuel Meet

       vv.   22–24      Saul is the Foreknown Guest of Honor at the Foreordained Feast

       vv.   25–27      Saul Remains in the City Until the Next Morning


Charts and Maps:

 

       v.      1           Two Suggested Lines to Saul

       v.      4           Map of Saul’s Journey in Search of the Donkeys

       v.      5           The Possible Meanings of Dâag

       v.      9           What Does this Mean—the Prophet Was Previously Called a Seer?

       v.     10           Revised English Bible Translates 1Sam. 9:7–10

       v.     12           Is This the City of Ramah?

       v.     12           Where is Saul’s Hometown?

       v.     12           Where is the Tomb of Rachel?

       v.     12           Alternate Theories

       v.     12           Problems with Israel’s Worship

       v.     13           Various Translations of 1Sam. 9:13b

       v.     13           A Comparative Translation of 1Sam. 9:8–13

       v.     16           The Time Frame of the Philistine Oppression of Israel

       v.     16           Comparative Chronology Chart

       v.     16           Summary of Chronologies

       v.     22           The Treatment of a Servant in Israeli Society

       v.     27           The Contemporary English Version’s 1Sam. 9:22–25

       v.     27           The Times that God Spoke to Samuel


Doctrines Covered

 Location of the Tomb of Rachel

The High Places


I ntroduction: Sometimes, in a movie, the camera might follow one person or situation and then follow another, and then these two converge. This is what we will find in this chapter. We will follow Saul as a young man, traveling with a servant, looking for some of his father’s livestock. Then, at about the same time, we have Samuel being told by God that God was going to drop into his lap the first king of Israel (this second scene is much shorter and less detailed). And then Saul walks into town and he searches out Samuel, as the behest of his personal servant.


In this chapter, we will meet Saul, who would be God’s choice for king over Israel, a man who begins as a popular king. However, in his latter years, Saul would become carnal, wilfully disobedient, insanely jealous, and bloodthirsty. Footnote However, at this point, these characteristics are not found in Saul. In fact, the Saul of the next few chapters is a man who appears to be honorable and brave and a born leader.


It is in 1Sam. 9, that we meet Saul for the first time. He is a very tall man, probably 6'6" or taller. He is also extremely handsome. He is the kind of a man who appears to be a king—he is tall, strong, handsome (vv. 1–2), charismatic and brave (this will come out in Saul’s battles with the Philistines in subsequent chapters), albeit incredibly shy before crowds (as we will see in chapter 10).


We begin this chapter with the scenario that two donkeys belonging to Saul’s father turn up missing. Given the financial status of the Israelites at that time, this representing a reasonable portion of the Kish family fortune. So Saul was sent with a servant to recover the animals (vv. 3–5). After they had searched for an undetermined period of time (a couple days to a week?), Saul’s servant suggests that they go visit a prophet in a nearby city. This city is unnamed, but we can reasonably assume that it is Ramah (see exegesis for v. 6). Now, although to Saul and his servant, this deviation is a last minute decision, Samuel already knew that they were coming and set up a banquet in honor of Saul, who would be the next king of Israel. These things would fall upon Saul as if he had just walked into the Twilight Zone. He’s out looking around for his father’s donkeys, but ends up going to a city where there is a prophet, and comes to find that the prophet is waiting for him and has set up a dinner in his honor because Saul was to be the next king of Israel. Samuel might just as well of slammed Saul in the head with a 2x4. When Samuel reveals this to Saul, Saul tries to reason with him, saying that he comes from the most insignificant family of the least tribe of Israel (v. 21). Samuel appears to ignore his argument and they go to the banquet where the choicest piece of meat is given to Saul. The key is that Samuel had told his cook to set this piece of meat aside for Saul before Saul had even stepped foot into town (vv. 22–24). This chapter ends with Samuel sending Saul on his way (vv. 26–27), although there is really no reason for a chapter division at this point.


Barnes makes one short comment to introduce this chapter: The absence of all chronology or note of time is remarkable. Footnote The book of Samuel is filled with chronological clues, including the location of the Ark and the Tent of God (1Sam. 1:3 4:3–4); references to time (1Sam. 2:19 5:3 6:1 7:2 11:3); references to people’s ages or to their approximate ages (1Sam. 2:22 3:1–2 4:15, 18, 19 7:13, 15 8:2 13:1); etc. I do not recall any specific references to particular dates in this book (compare 1Kings 15:1 or I1Chron. 16:1). However, in 1Sam. 9–10, there are none of these sorts of references to time.


In the introduction, I mentioned how much of the history found in the book of Samuel seems to change point of view, as if there are different authors. For the next two chapters, Saul seems most in view, and there are incidents with him and his servant which are known only to him and his servant. The next several chapters center on Saul, and portions of them are things witnessed only by Saul. If Samuel wrote these chapters, then much of what he wrote came from direct interview or from documents prepared by Saul (i.e., a history of the King of Israel). Now, when I say direct interview, I don't mean like a magazine or television show interviews a celebrity; but this would be information which Samuel gleaned from Saul in the course of a normal conversation, which information he wrote down, recognizing its importance and historicity. In case authorship interests you, recall that we covered this back in the Introduction to the Book of 1Samuel.


Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Saul and his Servant Search for Two Donkeys


Slavishly literal:

 

Moderately literal:

And so he is a man from Benjamin and his name, Kish ben Abiel ben Zeror ben Becorath ben Aphiah [possibly Abiah] a son of a man of a Benjamite, a man of strength.

1Samuel

9:1

And [there] was a man from Benjamin and his name [was] Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, the son of a man of a Yamin [or, a Benjamite], a man of wealth.

There was a man from the tribe of Benjamin whose name was Kish. He was the son of Abiel, who was the son of Zeror, who was the son of Becorath, who was the son of Aphiah, who was the son of a powerful and wealthy Benjamite.


First, let’s see how others have rendered this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he is a man from Benjamin and his name, Kish ben Abiel ben Zeror ben Becorath ben Aphiah [possibly Abiah] a son of a man of a Benjamite, a man of strength.

Septuagint                             And a man of Benjamin, and his name Kis, the son of Abiel, the son of Jared, the son of Machir, the son of Aphec, the son of a Benjamite, a man of might.

 

Significant differences:          None. Let me explain: Kish = Kis. In the Greek, there is no h in the middle of a word. We do have an h at the beginning of some words, as it is the rough breathing of a vowel. Zeror = Jared. These are transliterations, and sometimes, not as well-done as we would like. In the English, we read Jared. There is no j in the Greek or the Hebrew (you know all of those j saints? Jeremiah, Joseph, John? That is not even a good transliteration because there is no j in either primary original language). In the case of Jared, the Greek is actually Sared (Σαρεδ); which is a reasonable transliteration from the Hebrew. What about the ending, you say? The d (ד) and r (ר) in the Hebrew are very similar and often confounded, which is what happened here.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       Kish was a wealthy man who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin. His father was Abiel, his grandfather was Zeror, his great-grandfather was Becorath, and his great-great-grandfather was Aphiah.

TEV                                       There was a wealthy and influential man named Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin; he was the son of Abiel and grandson of Zeror, and belonged to the family of Becorath, a part of the clan of Aphiah.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         There was a man from the tribe of Benjamin whose name was Kish. He was a son of Abiel, grandson of Zeror, and great-grandson of Becorath, whose father was Aphiah, a descendant of Benjamin. Kish was a powerful man.

JPS (Tanakh)                        There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a man of substance.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now there was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, the son of a Benjamite, a mighty man of valor.

Young's Literal Translation    And there is a man of Benjamin, and his name is Kish, son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, mighty of valour,...


What is the gist of this verse? The line of Saul is given.


1Samuel 9:1a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

Ben yemîynîy (י.ני.מי־ן∵) [pronounced ben-yemee-NEE]

son of [my] right hand and is rendered Benjamite

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #1145 BDB #122


Translation: And [there] was a man from Benjamin... Benjamin which means son of [my] right hand. Benjamin was the last son of Jacob, born of Rachel, the woman whom he loved. She suffered greatly during childbirth and died as a result of it. Prior to her death, she named her son Ben-oni, which means son of my sorrow; Jacob named the boy Benjamin (Gen. 35:18). Benjamin, of course, was one of the twelve tribes of Israel.


The man from the tribe of Benjamin will be Saul's father, Kish.


1Samuel 9:1b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

qîysh (שי .ק) [pronounced keesh]

transliterated Kish

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7027 BDB #885


Translation: ...and his name [was] Kish... Or, the complete verse: And so [there] was a man of Benjamin and his name [was] Kish. Saul's line will be given in this verse, and we begin with his father and work backward.


1Samuel 9:1c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Ăbîyel (ל∵אי.בֲא) [pronounced ub-vee-EL]

El (God) is [my] father; transliterated Abiel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #22 BDB #3

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Tserôwr (ררצ) [pronounced tzer-OHR]

pebble; to show hostility toward; to bind, to tie up; and is transliterated Zeror

masculine proper noun

Strong's #6872 BDB #866


Translation: ...son of Abiel son of Zeror... When then follows is ben Abiel, ben Zeror... Although the Hebrew ben means son, it is not a literal son, but, more properly, ancestor of. Abiel is probably equivalent to Jeiel (1Chron. 8:29 9:35) and he is actually the grandfather of Kish. Zeror is only mentioned here.


The very slight differences between the Greek and Hebrew were discussed earlier where the two translations are placed side-by-side.


1Samuel 9:1d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Bekôwrath (ת-רכ) [pronounced bek-oh-RAHTH]

firstborn; transliterated Becorath

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #1064 BDB #114

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Ăphîyach (-חי.פֲא) [pronounced ahf-EE-yahkh]

transliterated Aphiah

masculine proper noun

Strong's #647 BDB #66

 

Translation: ...son of Becorath son of Aphiah,... When then follows is ...ben Becorath, ben Aphiah... which could also be rendered ...[who was] the son of Becorath [who was] the son of Aphiah... As we have seen many times, the word bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane] means son, descendant. Some to have problems with this word and take it far too literally to mean son when it is not meant to be used that way (the CEV and the Message take this word very literally, as can observe: There was a man from the tribe of Benjamin named Kish. He was the son of Abiel, grandson of Zeror, great-grandson of Becorath, great-great-grandson of Aphiah--a Benjaminite of stalwart character—the Message). A Jew today can be rightly called the son of Abraham (or, ben Abvraham), even though there are an intervening 5000 years between them. On the other hand, this does not mean that bên cannot be taken to mean a literal son of. It would make more sense to find the direct and most recent ancestors here rather than in 1Chron. 8 (which would help account for the lines of Saul being so different).


As a side note, if you ever had the urge to study the first 9 or 10 chapters of Chronicles and you have become confused as to the difference between the ancestral lines found there as opposed to elsewhere in Scripture, a good rule of thumb is: 1Chronicles tends to look at these lines from a distance. Who was the actual father and actual grandfather is often left out, and Chronicles focuses more on the key men found in this or that chronology. When examining a chronology listed in an historical book, where the actual record is close in time to the events, then that writer will pay more attention to the recent line of any given man, and then suddenly jump back in time to which tribe they are from.


A second thing you should grasp about genealogy is, as you move backward in time, your ancestors increase in number. That is, you have 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, etc. Therefore, at times, one study can follow a line through this particular set of ancestors and another line may follow a different set of ancestors. Both lines could lead back to Benjamin, ultimately (in this case). My point is, there is no contradiction between this line and the line leading to Saul in 1Chron. 8 and 9. This is not to say that there are problems when we compare lines and that these general points do not solve all of the problems; however, it does take care of, say, 80% of them.


By the way, Becorath and Aphiah are only found in this verse.


1Samuel 9:1e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Yemîynîy (י.ני.מי) [pronounced yemee-NEE]

[my] right hand and is transliterated Jamite, Jamin, Yamin

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #3228 BDB #412

These three nouns taken together are sometimes rendered a Benjamite. Strong's #1145 BDB #122.

gibbôwr (ר  ̣) [pronounced gib-BOAR]

strong man, mighty man, soldier, warrior, combatant, veteran

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1368 BDB #150

chayil (ל̣יַח) [pronounced CHAH-yil]

army, strength, valour, power, might; efficiency; and that which is gotten through strength—wealth, substance

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #2428 BDB #298


Translation: ...the son of a man of Jamin [or, a Benjamite], a man of wealth. This last guy, Aphiah, is called a son of a man of Benjamin, which is actually, in the Hebrew, the son of a man in Yamin. Since Saul will later call himself a Benjamite (1Sam. 9:21), it is not clear if this is a reference to Benjamin (in this verse) or whether it refers to Yamin (or Jamin), which would be an intervening person in this line between Aphiah and Benjamin. In any case, Benjamin at the beginning of this verse is not written the same as a son of a man in Yamin at the end of this verse. My thinking is, they are equivalent and that Yamin might reasonably be another name for Benjamin. In any case, with would be awkward to say ben Benjamin, as you would be repeating yourself.


The writer gets a little descriptive, calling someone a man of wealth (or, strength). This gives us: And [there] was a man from Benjamin and his name [was] Kish son of Abiel son of Zeror son of Becorath son of Aphiah, the son of a man of a Yamin [or, a Benjamite], a man of wealth. There are two ways of looking at this last phrase: one way is noted in my looser rendering of this verse: the son of a powerful and wealthy Benjamite. Note how this man is viewed: he is wealthy and powerful, but is unnamed. It’s like being an heir to the Ford or Rockefeller fortunes without knowing the name of the initial wealthy man. The other interpretation, of course, is that Kish is this man of strength or wealth.


I am probably examining this in much too much detail, but let me take this just a little further. If the wealth and power belongs to this unnamed ancestor, then that ancestor cannot be Benjamin, as whatever wealth he may or may not have enjoyed in Egypt (which information is unknown in Scripture), would not be pertinent, as the Jews were put into bondage to Egypt while they lived there. So, no wealth would have been passed down from Benjamin, as such wealth would have been confiscated by the Egyptians. However, I believe the proper interpretation of this verse is: Kish is the wealthy man in view here and that his line is traced back to Benjamin, which is actually mentioned twice in this verse (he is called a man of Benjamin and his line is also traced back to Benjamin). .


In the next verse, we will meet Saul, the son of Kish; but first, we ought to go to 1Chron. 8 and exegete that chapter, which is the line of Benjamin, the tribe from which Saul came and probably the most screwed up line in Scripture.


There are several problems with the line of Saul—just exactly how does Kish and Ner and Abner all fit into the picture of Saul’s line. I have offered below what I believe to be the best suggestion; however, I have added the line suggested by Geisler and Howe as well.

Two Suggested Lines to Saul

Benjamin

Aphiah [possibly equivalent to Abiah (or Abijah) of 1Chron. 7:8]*

Becorath

Zeror

Jeiel (or Abiel)

┌───────────────┬──────────────┼───────────────┬──────────────┐

Abdon Zur Kish1 Baal Ner

┌─────────┴────────┐

Kish2 Abner

Saul

┌────────────┬──────────────┬────────────────┬───────────────┴───┬────────────┐

Jonathan Malachi-shua Abinadab (or Ishvi) Eshbaal (or Ishbosheth) Merib Michal

    │

Merib-baal

The bulk of this line was derived from 1Sam. 9:1 14:50–51 and 1Chron. 8:30, 33. It is my opinion that 1Sam. 14:50 tells us that Abner is Saul’s uncle (there are examples in Scripture which would allow Saul’s uncle to modify either Abner or Ner in that passage).

By the way, don't have a cow because there are two Kish's in this line. People are named after their uncle all of the time. It is not some freakish, weird coincidence.

* The main problem with this assumption is that Aphiah, a man who is a relatively unknown person in the line of Benjamin, is mentioned is 1Sam. 9:1, whereas his more slightly more famous father, Becher (Gen. 46:21 1Chron. 7:7–8) is not mentioned in that passage.

When Critics Ask had a short article on Ner and just exactly where did Ner fit into the line of Saul. Their explanation, which agrees with Edersheim, requires having two Ner’s but one Kish. My line has a pair of Kish’s but one Ner. Part of their problem was they failed to note that 1Chron. 8:30 should have included Ner (see 1Chron. 9:36), making the family line easier to follow. I’ve include their chart for another viewpoint. Essentially the different viewpoints concerning this portion of Saul’s genealogy hinges upon whether it is Ner or Abner who is the uncle of Saul in 1Sam. 14:50. There is, however, another reason that my line might be more accurate: in Esther 2:5 we have Mordecai, who was descended from Jair who was descended from Shimei who was descended from Kish, a Benjamite. Although this could obviously be another Kish completely outside of this line, this likely refers to Kish1 in my line (which accounts for Saul not being mentioned in Esther 2:5).

Ner1

Abiel

┌─────────── ┴──────────┐

     Kish                                    Ner2

                                            

     Saul                                    Abner Footnote

I have gone into greater detail in 1Chron. 8 on the subject of Benjamin’s genealogy.


Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Apart from Saul, there is very little that we know of his ancestors. The little we know was covered in 1Chron. 8 already. Now, you may be concerned that Saul’s line looks one way in 1Sam. 9 and looks another in 1Chron. 8. This is not anything to be worried about. Everyone has two parents, who came from 4 grandparents, who came from 8 great grandparents, who came from 16 great, great grandparents. So, you can follow someone’s line backwards and list a whole passel of ancestors that someone else might leave out. When investigating my own roots, there were many occasions that I would wonder in what direction should I go. Do I go backwards through the line of this great, great grandparent, or through another? Since Saul is a Benjamite, all his lines will lead back to Benjamin—however, there are a myriad of ways to get there.


And, as mentioned before, a genealogy mentioned in an historical book like Samuel will focus on the most recent ancestors, as the writing of the book is close in time to the events recorded. The book of Chronicles was written long after the fact and based upon a number of written sources rather than upon eyewitness accounts; so we would expect the genealogies there to focus on key people in the genealogy. Let me try this in another way. If I examine my own chronology, I am going to primarily look at my parents and grandparents and perhaps my great grandparents. However, let's say that I become famous and someone 200 years from now studies my line—what is going to come to their mind might be my parents and then some ancestors who stood out for whatever reason.


And to him was a son and his name Saul—a young man and good and there [was] no man from sons of Israel good from he. From his shoulder and upward taller from all the people.

1Samuel

9:2

And he had a son and his name [was] Saul, [who was] a pleasant [or, handsome] and choice young man and there [was] no man from the sons of Israel [who were] more pleasant [or, handsome] than he. From his shoulder and up, [he was] taller than all the people.

And he had a son whose name was Saul, and Saul was a very pleasant young man in the prime of life and there was no one else in Israel more pleasant than Saul. He was a head taller than anyone else in Israel.


Let’s first see what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And to him was a son and his name Saul—a young man and good and there [was] no man from sons of Israel good from he. From his shoulder and upward taller from all the people.

Septuagint                             And this man [had] a son, and his name was Saul, of great stature, a goodly man; and there was not among the sons of Israel a goodlier than he, high above all the land from above his shoulders and upward.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

NEB                                       He was a man of substance, and had a son named Saul, a young man in his prime; there was no better man among the Israelites than he. Hew as a head taller than any of his fellows. [v. 1b is included]

NIV                                        He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man without equal among the Israelites—a head taller than any of the others.

TEV                                       He had a son named Saul, a handsome man in the prime of life. Saul was a foot taller than anyone else in Israel and more handsome as well.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         He had a son named Saul, a handsome, young man. No man in Israel was more handsome than Saul. He stood a head taller than everyone else.

JPS (Tanakh)                        He had a son whose name was Saul, an excellent young man; no one among the Israelite was handsomer than he; he was a head taller [lit., taller from his shoulders up] than any of the people.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Amplified Bible                Kish had a son named Saul, a choice young man and handsome; among all the Israelites there was not a man more handsome than he. He was a head taller than any of the people.

NASB                                     And he had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders up he was taller than any of the people.

Young's Updated LT              ...and he has a son, and his name is Saul, a choice youth and goodly, and there is not a man among the sons of Israel goodlier than he—from his shoulder and upward, higher than any of the people.


What is the gist of this verse? One of Kish's sons is named Saul, who looked good and was quite tall.


1Samuel 9:2a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW]

to be, is, was, are; to become, to come into being; to come to pass

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #1961 BDB #224

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119


Translation: And he had a son... We begin with a common Hebraism: it literally reads: And to him [there] was..., which can be reasonably rendered and he had... Then we have the word for son.


1Samuel 9:2b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shêm (ם ֵש) [pronounced shame]

name, reputation, character

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #8034 BDB #1027

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

 

Translation: ...and his name [was] Saul,... The proper noun Saul is, in the Hebrew, Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL], and his name means asked for. This has caused some to suppose that Saul was either the firstborn or an only child. That is, his parents prayed for a son and they got Saul. This is a reasonable supposition, as the other word that shâûwl is similar to means hades. Two parents are more likely to name their son [the one] asked for rather than hades. And to him was a son and his name, Saul...


Now, what has occurred here is unusual. If you are on the one year, read through your Bible program, then you breezed right through vv. 1–2a without giving them a second thought. Out of nowhere, we begin talking about this guy Saul and we are given his pedigree. Most of the time, the average Charlie Brown in the Bible is simply mentioned, and sometimes not even by name (e.g., the man of God in 1Sam. 2:27–36). Most often, just their first name is given (e.g., Hannah from 1Sam. 1–2) and, occasionally, their first name and their father’s name is given, often to distinguish them from anyone else with the same name (e.g., Eleazar ben Abinadab in 1Sam. 7:1). But here, in this passage, before we know anything about Saul, we know his family tree. Whenever this occurs, we are speaking of a very important person in the plan of God (for instance, Samuel’s family background is given in 1Sam. 1:1). This way, as you read, you don’t see that this guy Saul is chosen to be king over Israel and you stop and remark, “Now, just who the hell is this Saul character? Where did he come from?” That information is given to us right up front.


1Samuel 9:2c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

bâchûr (רחָ) [pronounced baw-KOOR]

a youth, young man, unmarried man; young man [who is a warrior]; the flower of youth, the quintessence of adult life

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #970 BDB #104

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine singular adjective which can act like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

 

Translation:...[who was] a pleasant [or, handsome] and choice young man... The noun here is bâchûr (רח ָ) [pronounced baw-KOOR], which means young man, choice young man, a man in the prime of his life, the flower of youth, the quintessence of adult life. This gives us: ...a [choice] young man and a pleasant [young man]... He was the right age to be king and the people, as a whole, would accept him. There would be some detractors, certainly (see 1Sam. 10:27), but as a whole, Israel will see Saul as the kingly sort, someone to whom they would be willing to subject themselves.


I mentioned age, so we should discuss that. In 1Sam. 13:1, in the NASB and in the KJV, Saul is said to be 40 years old (which is not found in the Hebrew or in the Greek). In late Septuagint manuscripts, Saul is said to be 30. Here, he is said to be a man in the prime of his life. On the one hand, we would reasonably assume that he is around 40 because at the beginning of his reign, Jonathan, his son, is functioning as a military commander (his position is implied by 1Sam. 13:3). Saul can’t be 30 years old, because that would make Jonathan about 14 at the oldest. If Saul is 40, then Jonathan would be about 20—a little young to command a crack military force, unless, of course, you are the king’s son. This also gives us the idea that, relative to the position of king of Israel, Saul was a young man in the prime of his life. Relative to a different situation, Saul may not be so referred to. However, even as a king, no one would consider 40 to be a yong man. Even 35; therefore, it would be more reasonable for Saul to be 25–30, which would make him a young man. That has an impact on Samuel’s prophecy concerning Gilgal and upon the time and sequence of the events found in 1Sam. 13–14. We will discuss this in greater detail when we get to 1Sam. 13:2. By the way, the Vulgate sidesteps this entire discussion by calling Saul a chosen one (electus), which is not exactly the meaning of the Hebrew adjective.


Let me see if I can explain this a little better: Saul is not going to be king tomorrow. Therefore, he can be 25–35, become king after several years pass (even as many as 10), and that would allow for his son to be a top military commander.


1Samuel 9:2d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

êyin (ן̣י̤א) [pronounced AYH-yin]

in the condition of being not = without, nothing, no, not

negative construct

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun

Strong's #376 BDB #35

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine plural construct

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine singular adjective which can act like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

This is probably the comparative use of the min preposition. So, no one else in Israel is going to be more pleasing to the public than Saul.


Translation: ...and there [was] no man from the sons of Israel [who were] more pleasant [or, handsome] than he. Or, There [was] no man from the sons of Israel better than he. We already know that it is God’s preference that the people of Israel not have a king. Samuel has strongly expressed this preference himself. However, God has bowed to the wishes of His people and He has agreed to give Israel a king. Now, we might expect God to choose a vicious and cruel tyrant to illustrate just how bad of a choice Israel has made. God does not do that. God chooses a man who is pleasing both me man and to God—in fact, God chooses a man who is more pleasing or more agreeable to the general public than anyone else in Israel. Samuel will confirm this in 1Sam. 10:24: “Do you see him whom Jehovah has chosen? Surely there is no one like him among all the people.” God will then choose even a better king to follow him (King David) and then choose a man of great wisdom to follow King David.


The people want a king; however, this does not mean that they will accept just anyone as their king. God is careful to choose someone that the people will see as a king. The second king of Israel will be a much more subtle choice. Even David's own father will not see David as kingly material.


1Samuel 9:2e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

shekem (שְכֶם) [pronounced shek-EHM]

shoulder; upper part of back below neck; back; [elevated] track of land

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #7926 BDB #1014

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ma׳elâh (הָלע-מ) [pronounced mawģe-LAW]

higher, upwards, taller, higher [than]; farther; more, onward

adverb with hê local

Strong’s #4605 BDB #751

gâbôhah (-ֹבָג) [pronounced gawb-VOH-ah]

high, exalted; proud, arrogant; powerful

feminine singular adjective

#1362, #1364 BDB #147

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all of, the entirety of, all; can also be rendered any of

masculine singular construct followed by a definite article

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766


Translation: From his shoulder and up, [he was] taller than all the people. Leadership is an interesting thing. There are times in history where height plays a key role, and a leader is someone whom the people literally look up to. Footnote This seems to indicate that Saul was the tallest man in Israel by a head. 1Sam. 10:23b confirms this: When he stood up among the people, he was taller than any of the people from his shoulders upward.

 

McGee comments on his appearance: This boy Saul was handsome. Physically he looked like a king but he was an actor that played a part. He was not a king at heart. The people, however, were choosing their king by his outward appearance and not according to his character. It is this “outward appearance” that places our nation in such a dangerous position today. The most dangerous enemy we have is the television. The man that will ultimately control this country is the man who has a good TV appearance. Why? Because we choose men by the way they look and the way they talk rather than by their character. If only we had an X-ray—instead of the TV—that would reveal the true character of a man! This children of Israel wanted a king and they liked Saul. He was handsome. He was tall. He was fine looking. There wasn’t a more kingly looking man in the nation. He could have been both a TV and a movie star. He looked the part and could play the part; the trouble was he was not a king at heart. Footnote


And so are lost the donkeys to Kish, a father of Saul, and so said Kish unto Saul his son, “Take please with you one of from the young men and arise, go, look for the donkeys.”

1Samuel

9:3

Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, became lost, so Kish said to his son, Saul, “Please take with you one of the servants and arise [and] go [and] look for the donkeys.”

One day, two donkeys belonging to Kish strayed, so that Kish said to his son Saul, “Take a servant, arise and go find the donkeys.”


Let’s see how others handled the translation:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so are lost the donkeys to Kish, a father of Saul, and so said Kish unto Saul his son, “Take please with you one of from the young men and arise, go, look for the donkeys.”

Septuagint                             And the asses of Kis the father of Saul were lost; and Kis said to Saul his son, “Take with you one of the young men and arise and go and seek the asses.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         Some of Kish's donkeys got lost. Kish said to his son, "Saul, take one of the servants with you and go look for the donkeys."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        Once the asses of Saul’s father Kish went astray, and Kish said to his son Saul, “Take along one of the servants and go out and look for the asses.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to his son Saul, “Take now with you one of the servants, and arise, go search for the donkeys.”

Young's Updated LT              And the asses of Kish, father of Saul, are lost, and Kish says unto Saul his son, ‘Take, I pray you, with you, one of the young men, and rise, go, seek the asses.’


What is the gist of this verse? Kish has some donkeys which run off, or get lost somehow, and he asks his son Saul to take a personal servant and to go find them.


1Samuel 9:3a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âbad (דַבָא) [pronounced awb-VAHD]

to be lost, to lose oneself, to wander; to perish, to be destroyed; to be ready to perish, to be wretched [miserable or unfortunate]

3rd person feminine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6 BDB #1

This verb is often rendered to perish; its use here in context gives us a better understanding of its nuance.

âthôwn (ןתָא) [pronounced aw-THORN]

ass, she-ass, donkey

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #860 BDB #87

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Qîysh (שי .ק) [pronounced keesh]

transliterated Kish

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7027 BDB #885

âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982


Translation: Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, became lost,... We are not told how many donkeys are lost nor do we know the circumstances of how they are lost. My guess is, this is a herd of donkeys that somehow have wandered off. However, we know that God has caused them to wander off, setting this act in motion a billion years previous.


Saul and David are often contrasted, if not directly, then indirectly. Here, Saul is associated with a herd of asses that don't belong to him, whereas David will first be known as a shepherd of sheep. Even from the first impression, we can see the parallels between David and our Lord.


1Samuel 9:3b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Qîysh (שי .ק) [pronounced keesh]

transliterated Kish

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7027 BDB #885

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

bên (ן ֵ) [pronounced bane]

son, descendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1121 BDB #119

lâqach (חַקָל) [pronounced law-KAHKH]

take, seize, take away, take in marriage; send for, fetch, bring, receive

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #3947 BDB #542

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

now; please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

echâd (ד ָח א) [pronounced eh-KHAWD]

one, first, certain, only; but it can also mean a composite unity; possibly particular

numeral adjective

Strong's #259 BDB #25

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654


Translation: ...so Kish said to his son, Saul, “Please take with you one of the servants... Kish was a relative wealthy man who had both servants and donkeys. However, he was not necessarily rich beyond belief. I recall seeing some statistics the other day listing some of the differences between 1900 and 2000, and one of the most interesting stats was that 23% of the households in 1900 had a servant. Now, I know that just in 100 years the amount of personal wealth has grown immensely and ownership of little gadgets as well; however, one area in which we have fallen far behind our great great grandparents is that of servant ownership. My point being is that one did not have to be incredibly wealthy in Israel to own slaves or servants. Even at this point in time, I know of other countries where many average families have a servant, a cook and/or a maid.


One of the social issues in this country is, no matter how far in debt a person gets, even if they walk away from it, the consequences are generally limited. In fact, people can file bankruptcy and still hold on to their homes and certain other possessions, regardless of the value of these things. Their punishment is limited. There is no jail for them and they can walk away from debt without having to ever pay it off. If there was some sort of enforced servitude here, the number of people who are careless with their debt would likely decrease substantially. One of the other social issues in this country is minimum wage; people must receive a minimum amount of money. Another issue restricted legal movement into this country by foreigners. If these issues were dealt with differently in this country, then we would have a lot more servants in this country—a position which is not demeaning or wrong in any sense. If debtors were given the choice between working off their debts in servitude or being cast into prison, I think the amount of indebtedness in this country would be reduced, as well as frivolous spending as the result of the lusts of the old sin nature. If minimum wage laws were loosened with regards to personal servants and if people from other countries were allowed to move here to the US to act as servants, I believe we would see a significant rise in this profession as well.


Law and societal norms ideally are set up to protect our freedoms and to pose certain restrictions on the old sin nature. Here, a young person or a young couple can literally run up a mountain-load of debt in a very short amount of time—buy almost anything that their eyes desire—and then they can walk away from this with relatively few restrictions placed upon them (apart from having their credit hurt). Our society, at this point in time, sees that as a lesser evil than a debtor's prison or enforced (but reasonable) servitude.


1Samuel 9:3c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

qûwm (םק) [pronounced koom]

to stand, to rise up, to get up; to establish, to establish a vow, to cause a vow to stand, to confirm or to fulfill a vow

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative

Strong’s #6965 BDB #877

bâqash (שַקָ) [pronounced baw-KAHSH]

seek, search out, desire, strive after, attempt to get, require, demand, ask, seek with desire and diligence

2nd person masculine singular, Piel imperative

Strong’s #1245 BDB #134

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

âthôwn (ןתָא) [pronounced aw-THORN]

ass, she-ass, donkey

feminine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #860 BDB #87


Translation: ...and arise [and] go [and] look for the donkeys.” We have an unusual construction here (unusual for English, anyway), which is found primarily with imperative verbs in the Hebrew. We would expect a series of verbs punctuated with conjunctions; however, we have a series of imperative verbs without being interspersed conjunctions of any sort, which is common in the Hebrew. Literally, this reads: “...and then get up, go, seek out the donkeys.” This lack of wâw conjunction’s is called an asyndeton [pronounced a-SYN-de-ton], and it moves the action along. Bullinger: We are not detained over the separate statements, and asked to consider each in detail, but we are hurried on over the various matters that are mentioned, as though they were of no account, in comparison with the great climax to which they lead u, and which alone we are thus asked by this figure to emphasize. Footnote Finding the donkeys is of the utmost importance and this seems to indicate less of leading up to something and more of a demand for a quick response. Kish does not expect his son to say, “Just as soon as Leave It To Beaver is over. However, on the other hand, this is the usual way for imperatives to be strung together in the Hebrew. It is more likely to be found in this format than with conjunctions. However, the force of this construction can still be understood in the same way: Kish expects his son to get after these donkeys right now or a minute ago.


The NIV Study Bible suggests that there is an analogy here. Saul is first introduced as a man sent out to find some donkeys which had strayed from the fold—symbolizing Israel in their rebelliousness against God in asking for a king. They add that David is himself introduced as a shepherd caring for his father’s flock and then later pictured as the shepherd over the Lord’s flock (2Sam. 5:2 7:7–8 Psalm 78:71–72). Footnote I don’t really buy the former, as Saul never really puts Israel on the right track. He is a good leader, particularly at first, but as for accomplishments, they were minimal. However, considering that he never does find the donkeys himself, perhaps the analogy is apt.

 

McGee points out the better analogy: I know that the Lord has a sense of humor. You just cannot miss it because it is in too many places in the Word of God. Saul is out looking for the asses of his father, and the asses of Israel are looking for a king. They are bound to get together, friend, and they do. The Lord must smile when a thing like this takes place. What a commentary on the human race!  Footnote


And so he passed through in a hill country of Ephraim and so he passed through in a land of Shalishah and he did not find [them]. And so they passed through in a land of Shaalim and nothing. And so they passed through in a land of Benjamin and they could not find [them].

1Samuel

9:4

So he passed through the hill-country of Ephraim and then he passed through the land of Shalishah and they did not find [them]. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim and [they found] nothing. Then he passed through the land of Benjamin [lit., Yamin] but they did not find [them].

They searched the hill country of Ephraim, the land of Shalishah, the land of Shaalim and through the territory of Benjamin, but they did not find the donkeys.


Let’s see what others have done first:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he passed through in a hill country of Ephraim and so he passed through in a land of Shalishah and he did not find [them]. And so they passed through in a land of Shaalim and nothing. And so they passed through in a land of Benjamin and they could not find [them].

Septuagint                             And they went through mount Ephraim, and they went through the land of Selcha, and they found them not; and they passed through the land of Segalim, and they were not there; and they passed through the land of Jamin, and found them not.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         Saul took one of the servants and went to find the donkeys. They went into the hill country of Ephraim around Shalisha, but didn't find them. Then they went over to Shaalim--no luck. Then to Jabin, and still nothing.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        He passed into the hill country of Ephraim. He crossed the district of Shalishah, but they did not find them. They passed through the district of Shaalim, but they were not there. They traversed the [entire] territory of Benjamin, and still they did not find them.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. Then they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not find them.

Young's Updated LT              And he passes over through the hill-country of Ephraim, and passes over through the land of Shalisha, and they have not found; and they pass over through the land of Shaalim, and they are not; and he passes over through the land of Benjamin, and they have not found.


What is the gist of this verse? The movement of Saul and his servant are given as they search for the donkeys of Kish.


1Samuel 9:4a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to pass over, to pass through, to pass on, to pass, to go over, to cross, to cross over

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

har (ר ַה) [pronounced har]

hill; mountain, mount; hill-country

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #2042 (and #2022) BDB #249

Epherayim (ם̣י -רפ ∵א) [pronounced ef-RAH-yim]

to bear fruit, to be fruitful; transliterated Ephraim

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #669 BDB #68


Translation: So he passed through the hill-country of Ephraim... Ephraim is 3–4 times larger than Benjamin and is directly north of the territory of Benjamin. Even though we are not told here where the Kish clan lives, we may assume that they live near the northern border of Benjamin, because Saul looks in both Ephraim and Benjamin. Back in 1Chron. 8, we found that Saul’s ancestors lived in Gibeon, which is near the northern border of Benjamin.


One of the obvious differences between the Greek and the Hebrew is that the Greek consistently uses the masculine plural throughout this verse and the Hebrew uses mostly the masculine singular, but has one verb in the masculine plural. So, in the Hebrew, we are primarily tracking Saul's movements and actions; and in the Greek, we are tracking the movements of Saul and his servant. So, even though the number is different, the meaning is essentially the same.

 

In this portion of v. 4, we have the masculine singular construct of har (ר ַה) [pronounced har], which means hill, mountain, hill-country. It is generally used in conjunction with a specific proper noun and in such a case refers to a particular mountain (e.g., Mount Hermon). However, by itself, it can refer to a mountain range or a mountainous area; or, as most translators render this, as hill country. This explains this being rendered both mount Ephraim and the hill country of Ephraim. My thinking is, Saul and his servant are searching through some of the hill country in Ephraim. From his home, he would be traveling in an east or northeast direction to reach the hill country of Ephraim, which continues down into Benjamin.


1Samuel 9:4b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to pass over, to pass through, to pass on, to pass, to go over, to cross, to cross over

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Shâlishâh (הָש̣לָש) [pronounced shaw-lih-SHAW]

the third, the third part; and is transliterated Shalishah

proper noun; location

Strong's #8031 BDB #1027


Translation: ...and then he passed through the land of Shalishah... The land of Shalishah is not mentioned enough in Scripture to get a fix on where it is (it is only found here and it may be synonymous with Baal-shalisha found in I1Kings 4:42). Even though we surely don’t know where this place is, Eusebius and Jerome place it north of Lydda (Lod). Since Lydda is in Benjamin, north of Benjamin would either take it outside of Benjamin into Ephraim or we would be in northern Benjamin, which is certainly logical. In any case, this is in full agreement with Saul’s search (and quite possibly the reason for their choice). Barnes tells us that Shalisha was somewhere near Gilgal and writes It is thought to derive its name from three (Shalosh) wadys which unite in the wady of Karawa. Footnote


1Samuel 9:4c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect; pausal form

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592


Translation: ...and they did not find [them]. Altogether, this gives us: So he passed through the hill-country of Ephraim and then he passed through the land of Shalishah and they did not find [them]. The Greek has masculine plural’s throughout this verse: So they passed through the hill-country of Ephraim and then they passed through the land of Shalishah and they did not find [them]. With all of Saul's searching, they have come up empty.


1Samuel 9:4d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to pass over, to pass through, to pass on, to pass, to go over, to cross, to cross over

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Sha׳elîym (םי.לע-ש) [pronounced shahģe-LEEM]

foxes; and is transliterated Shaalim

proper noun location

Strong's #8171 BDB #1043

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

ayin (ן̣י-א) [pronounced AH-yin]

naught, nothing; it can be a particle of negation: no, not; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; there is no [none, no one, not]

negative/negative substantive

Strong’s #369 BDB #34


Translation: Then they passed through the land of Shaalim and [they found] nothing. Shaalim is mentioned only here and it is close in form to Shaalbim, which is in Dan, which is itself probably identical to Shaalabbin (Joshua 19:42 Judges 1:35). There is not enough information for us to state this with any certainty, nor does it help us much even if they are all equivalent. Furthermore, this would indicate a sudden westward movement over quite a distance, which does not seem logical. We would expect, if these places are named, that we would be able to see a reasonable movement from one place to the next, without a great deal of intervening territory. Furthermore, this would have been a long ways for the donkeys to go.


Because Shaalim means foxes and Shual means fox, some make these two areas equivalent. The Macmillan Bible Atlas places Shual in southern Ephraim, still in the hill country, south of Ophrah and north of Rimmon (and further north of Mishmash). Footnote Barnes suggests that this is about 9 miles north of Gibeah, Footnote and all of this is in full agreement with 1Sam. 13:17 where will have a military maneuver discussed. This theory of Shaalim's location makes much more sense.


1Samuel 9:4e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, then

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

Owen mistakenly has a wâw conjunction here.

׳âbar (ר ַב ָע) [pronounced ģawb-VAHR]

to pass over, to pass through, to pass on, to pass, to go over, to cross, to cross over

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #5674 BDB #716

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

Yemîynîy (י.ני.מי) [pronounced yemee-NEE]

[my] right hand and is transliterated Jamite, Jamin, Yamin

gentilic adjective

Strong’s #3228 BDB #412

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592


saulsdonkeysearch.jpgThis map was scanned from The MacMillan Bible Atlas; 3rd Edition; Aharoni, Avi-Yonah, Rainey, and Safrai; MacMillan; ©1993 by Carta; p. 70.

Translation: Then he passed through the land of Benjamin [lit., Yamin] but they did not find [them]. We have the 3rd person masculine singular (again, the Septuagint and Vulgate have a masculine plural here), Qal imperfect of to pass through followed by [the] land of Benjamin followed by and did not find [them], giving us: Then they passed through the land of Benjamin but they did not find [them]. Saul is taking in quite a large area in his search. He has traveled through parts of Ephraim, Benjamin and possibly Dan, and has not located these wayward beasts.


The Macmillan Bible Atlas puts the time of this search at 1035 b.c. and has the movement of Saul and his servant as somewhat of a circle (which we would expect—you first go to where you expect the donkeys to be, and then move in an ever-widening circle around that place). This allows us to roughly locate some of the cities or areas, whose location would be otherwise unknown to us. The map I have scanned in here may or may not be an accurate representation of Saul's movement, but it is a reasonable map and completely in synch with the context.


They [even] they came into a land of Zuph and Saul said to his young man who [was] with him, “Come and let us return lest cease my father from the donkeys and he has been anxious [concerned or fearful] for us.”

1Samuel

9:5

[When] they came into the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who [was] with him, “Come and let us return so that my father does not cease [being anxious] about the donkeys and become anxious concerning us.”

When they came into the land of Zuph, Saul said to his personal servant, “Come—we will return so that my father does not forget about the donkeys and become overly anxious about us.”


First, what other have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       They [even] they came into a land of Zuph and Saul said to his young man who [was] with him, “Come and let us return lest cease my father from the donkeys and he has been anxious [concerned or fearful] for us.”

Septuagint                             And when they come to Siph, then Saul said to his young man that was with him, “Come and let us return, lest my father leave the asses, and take care for us.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         When they got to Zuph, Saul said to the young man with him, "Enough of this. Let's go back. Soon my father is going to forget about the donkeys and start worrying about us."


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

 

God’s Word™                         When they came to the territory of Zuph, Saul told his servant who was with him, “Let’s go back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us [instead].”

JPS (Tanakh)                        When they reached the district of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, “Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the asses and begin to worry about us.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, and let us return, lest my father cease to be concerned about the donkeys and become anxious for us.”

Young's Updated LT              They have come in unto the land of Zuph, and Saul has said to his young man who is with him, ‘Come, and we turn back, lest my father leave off from the asses, and has been sorrowful for us.’


What is the gist of this verse? Saul suggests to his servant that they return home, before his father begins to stop looking for the donkeys and begin looking for them.


1Samuel 9:5a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

erets (ץ ר א) [pronounced EH-rets]

earth (all or a portion thereof), land

feminine singular construct

Strong's #776 BDB #75

tsûwph (ףצ) [pronounce tzoof]

honeycomb; and is transliterated Zuph

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #6689 BDB #847


Translation: [When] they came into the land of Zuph,... We do not begin with a wâw consecutive or even a wâw conjunction, which is a rarity in Hebrew prose. The land of Zuph probably refers to the area around Ramah (also known as Ramathaim). Footnote The short version is that this area originally belonged to Benjamin and was taken in by Ephraim. They [even] they had come into the land of Zuph...


As we have seen from the previous map, Zuph is the area which includes Mizpeh and Ramah and apparently an area settled by the family of Samuel, which name came from one of his ancestors (we discussed this way back in 1Sam. 1:1).


1Samuel 9:5b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

׳îm (ם̣ע) [pronounced ģeem]

with, at, by, near

preposition of nearness and vicinity; with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5973 BDB #767


Translation: ...Saul said to his servant who [was] with him,... Or, ...and Saul said to his boy who [was] with him... We have a completely negative connotation of the idea of a personal servant. However, most of us view the job of a personal assistant as being a reasonable job. There is not really a lot of difference here. This is a young man who was either purchased as a slave or put himself into servitude to Saul's family, and he and Saul apparently got along quite well. Although he probably belonged to Saul's family, he would be considered Saul's personal assistant nowadays.


Periodically, I like to stop and ask myself just exactly who is recording this information? Saul first comes to mind, as he is essentially the subject of this material. However, the most reasonable guess is Samuel, whose life will cross paths with Samuel’s in the very near future. What occurred on this trip with Saul would have been told to Samuel so that he would be able to record it several years later.


1Samuel 9:5c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

go, come, depart, walk; advance

2nd person masculine singular, Qal imperative; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

shûwb (בש) [pronounced shoobv]

to return, to turn, to turn back, to reminisce, to restore something, to bring back something, to revive, to recover something, to make restitution

1st person plural, Qal imperfect; with the voluntative hê

Strong's #7725 BDB #996


Translation:...“Come and let us return... Saul is not asking permission, per se, from his personal servant. However, it will be clear with what follows that his personal servant has some say in this matter. We have been given a false view of slavery with regards to its positive aspects and all most people know are the horrors of it (which horrors certainly existed, but not universally). In fact, with regards to our own country, it is said that the Blacks enjoyed a better life in the south as slaves than they did as freemen in the north. Footnote


1Samuel 9:5d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

pen (ן∵) [pronounced pen]

lest, peradventure, or else, in order to prevent, or, so that [plus a negative]

conjunction

Strong's #6435 BDB #814

châdal (לַדָח) [pronounced khaw-DAHL]

to cease and desist, to leave off, to cease, to leave, to forsake

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #2308 BDB #292

âb (ב ָא,) [pronounced awbv]

father, both as the head of a household or clan

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1 BDB #3

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, away from, out from, out of from, off, on account of, since, above, than, so that not, above, beyond, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

âthôwn (ןתָא) [pronounced aw-THORN]

ass, she-ass, donkey

feminine plural noun with the definite article

Strong’s #860 BDB #87

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

dâag (ג-אָ) [pronounced daw-AHG]

to be anxious, to be concerned, to fear

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1672 BDB #178

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

 

Translation: ...so that my father does not cease [being anxious] about the donkeys and become anxious concerning us.” The final verb in this portion of v. 5 is 3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect of dâag (ג-אָ) [pronounced daw-AHG], which means to be anxious, to be concerned, to fear. Dâag only occurs 7 times in Scripture, so we should be able to get a better fix on it.


The Possible Meanings of Dâag

Scripture

Passage

to be anxious

to be concerned

to fear

1Sam. 9:5

“...lest my father cease from the donkeys and have dâag-ed for us”

reasonable and likely

reasonable and likely

reasonable and likely (not in the sense of startled)

1Sam. 10:2

“...you father has forsaken the donkeys and has been dâag-ed for you...”

reasonable and likely

reasonable and likely

reasonable and likely (not in the sense of startled)

Psalm 38:18

For my iniquity I will confess; I dâag from my sin.

reasonable and likely

reasonable and likely

reasonable and likely (not in the sense of startled)

Isa. 57:11

“...and whom have you dâag-ed and so you fear that you lie and did not remember Me and you have not placed upon your heart?”

reasonable

reasonable

reasonable and likely

Jer. 17:8

“And he is like a tree being planted by water and by a stream: he sends out his roots and is not afraid when the heat comes and his leaves are green. And in the year of drought, he is not dâag and he does not cease from bearing fruit.”

reasonable

reasonable

reasonable and likely

Jer. 38:19

Then said the king Zedekiah to Jeremiah, “I am dâag-ing the Jews who have deserted to the Chaldeans lest they give me into their hand and they abuse me.”

reasonable

reasonable

reasonable and likely

Jer. 42:16

“And the sword which you are fearing from it there will overtake you in the land of Egypt; and the famine which you are dâag-ing from it there will follow after you [in] Egypt and you will die.”

reasonable

reasonable

reasonable and likely

What I had really hoped to find in this chart is a reason to abandon two of the meanings and hold to the third. However, in all instances, all three meanings are apropos, although to fear (in the sense of being anxious about something and fearing the worst) seems to be the most applicable throughout.


This gives us: “Come and let us return lest my father cease [being anxious] from the asses and has become anxious [or, fearful] about us.” I believe that it is from this passage that we get the saying, he can’t find his own ass with both hands and a map. Footnote After 3 days of searching, it occurs to Saul that his father might become more worried about his whereabouts than the missing donkeys.


Chapter Outline

Return to the Chart and Map Index


Saul and His Servant Decide to Visit the Man of God in a Nearby City


And so he said to him, “Behold, please, a man of God in the city the this and the man is being honored; all which he says, a coming, he comes. Now, let us go there; perhaps he will declare to us the journey which we have gone upon her.”

1Samuel

9:6

Then he [the servant] said to him, “Listen, if you would: [there is] a man of God in this city and the man is honored—all that he says comes to pass. Therefore, let us go there and perhaps he will make clear to us the [reason for] the journey on which we have gone.”

Then the servant said to Saul, “Listen, if you would: there is a man of God in this city and he is greatly respected. Whatever he says, it comes to pass. Therefore, let us go there and perhaps he will explain to us the reason for this journey that we have gone.”


First, the other translations:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so he said to him, “Behold, please, a man of God in the city the this and the man is being honored; all which he says, a coming, he comes. Now, let us go there; perhaps he will declare to us the journey which we have gone upon her.”

Septuagint                             And the young man said to him “Behold now, there is a man of God in this city, and the man is of high repute; all that he speaks will surely come to pass; now then, let us go, that he may tell us our way on which we have set out.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       "Wait!" the servant answered. "There's a man of God who lives in a town near here. He's amazing! Everything he says comes true. Let's talk to him. Maybe he can tell us where to look."

The Message                         He replied, "Not so fast. There's a holy man in this town. He carries a lot of weight around here. What he says is always right on the mark. Maybe he can tell us where to go."

TEV                                       The servant answered, “Wait! In this town there is a holy man who is highly respected because everything he says comes true. Let’s go to him, and maybe he can tell us where we can find the donkeys.”


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        But he replied, “There is a man of God in that town, and the man is highly esteemed; everything that he says comes true. Let us go there; perhaps he will tell us about the errand on which we set out.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     And he said to him, “Behold now, there is a man of God in this city, and the man is held in honor; all that he says surely comes true. Now let us go there, perhaps he can tells us about our journey on which we have set out.”

Young's Updated LT              And he says to him, ‘Lo, I pray you, a man of God is in this city, and the man is honoured; all that he speaks does certainly come; now, we will go there, it may be he does declare to us our way on which we have gone.’


What is the gist of this verse? Saul's servant suggests that they go see this man of God (Samuel) who is nearby and that they could ask him about their journey.


Like the rest of this chapter, this verse is moderately lengthy, but it is easy to figure out.


1Samuel 9:6a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

nâ (אָנ) [pronounced naw]

now; please, I pray you, I respectfully implore (ask, or request of) you, I urge you

particle of entreaty

Strong's #4994 BDB #609

Although BDB gives a list of several passages where these are found together (Gen. 12:11 16:2 18:27, 31 19:2, 8, 19, 20 27:2 Judges 13:3 19:9 1Sam. 9:6 16:15 2Sam. 13:24 2Kings 2:16, 19 4:9 Job 13:18 33:2 40:15–16), all they offer is behold, I pray as a translation of the two together. Gesenius offers behold, now!


Translation: Then he [the servant] said to him, “Listen, if you would:... See, this servant is not afraid to speak up; he is not afraid to express an opinion. Even though we have a false concept of the master-slave relationship, this is not the relationship which we find here. Even though he is employed by Saul's family, he is a thinking human being with a place in that family as such. Saul is going to take into consideration what this man says. Saul is not going to say, "Dude, you're just a servant. Shut up and carry the pack and let's go back like I already said."


I may hire someone to do a particular job for me—say a remodeling job. This person works for me and I pay him. I may have an idea as to what I want done; however, if I ignore his suggestions and input, then I am the one who is being stupid.


Application: There are people in authority in businesses, in schools, in organizations and in government. It is not their job to simply give orders from the top down and watch the ants underneath them scramble to execute their mandates. If you are a person in authority and this is your idea of exercising your authority, you are an idiot. Now, of course there are times to be autocratic—when authority must be exerted and must be followed. However, if this is the only style that you know as a person in authority, then you are too stupid to be in authority—you do not belong there. A person in authority must be able to listen to the opinions of those below him (or her). Now, I don't mean that you gather everyone together, ask for their input, and then just go ahead and do what you wanted to do in the first place. I am not talking about manipulation, I am talking about true leadership. Saul and his servant were master and slave. At this point in Saul's life, he is able to listen to the opinion of one who below him or under his authority. As Saul gets older, he becomes much less open to the opinions of others, much to his detriment.


1Samuel 9:6b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

zôth (תאֹז) [pronounced zoth]

here, this, thus

feminine singular of zeh; demonstrative pronoun, adverb; with the definite article

Strong’s #2063 (& 2088, 2090) BDB #260


Translation:...[there is] a man of God in this city... This is followed by a man of God in this city. Moses is given the title man of God in Deut. 33:1 and Elisha in I1Kings 5:8. This might give you an idea as to how God's will functions. Saul took one of the servants with him and went searching for a herd of donkeys which had apparently wandered off. There is no reason to think that this donkey exit is supernatural. Supernatural is the easy way for God to do something. What is more impressive is, from the beginning of the world, God set things in motion so that somehow, for whatever reason, these donkeys would wander off. Then, God pairs Saul with this particular servant. Although we do not know anything about this servant, we might speculate that he does not get out of the Kish household very much—that his freedom is restricted to some degree—and that, he now finds himself right outside the city of Samuel. This servant is motivated to meet Samuel, something he is apparently unable to do. I imagine that he was unable to attend whatever feasts were observed at this time (as we discussed in 1Sam. 1, we don't know if Israel was observing the feasts as prescribed in Scripture). In any case, this servant is strongly motivated to meet Samuel, indicating positive volition toward God; and Saul will assent to his wishes (Saul does not appear to have the same enthusiasm as his servant). There is nothing in any of this which requires a miraculous event; God is able, from the foundation of the world, to set things in motion so that Saul is brought to Samuel, without several miraculous events occurring and without a bending of Saul's volition.


Application: Although there are certain miracles in Scripture (although, I suspect far fewer than you suppose), they are not an everyday event. If you go to a church or follow some ministry where miracles are emphasized (or anything which is supernatural), then you are in the wrong place. I don't care how much you adore the leader, I don't care how sweet and loving and kind that he is, or how many tremendous works that he does for God (which I suspect are far fewer than you realize), any emphasis upon the supernatural does not line up with Scripture. Miracles, or things which are spectacular and unusual events, occurred at specific times in history for specific reasons. In Egypt, the Jews lived in slavery for 400 years without observing any miracles. When they were led out of Egypt, they observed some very unusual events done by God at the hand of Moses (not all of which were actually miracles). These events were a necessary part of the exodus; and, there were but a handful of them over a period of 40 years. So, even during a time which we see as miraculous, the actual number of miracles averaged out to be less than one every two years. Furthermore, not all of these extraordinary events were miracles (i.e., violations of what we see as natural or scientific law).


Application: At first, prior to salvation, all you need is positive volition. That will get you to God. You do not have to go on some kind of retreat or on some desert search for God. These two men are looking for a herd of donkeys, not for some kind of enlightenment. However, it is in God's plan for them to come face to face with Samuel. I am making the assumption that both Saul and his servant have differing amounts of positive volition at this point—however, both have positive volition. The servant clearly wants to speak to this man of God; and Saul will agree to that.


1Samuel 9:6c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

kâbêd (ד ֵב ָ) [pronounced kawb-VADE]

[who is; what is] honored, respected, held in honor, glorified; abundant, rich

Niphal participle

Strong's #3513 BDB #457


Translation: ...and the man is honored [or, respected]... Samuel is honored in Israel. This means that he is seen as a man of God—he is seen as one who knows God and knows God's will and is in charge of spiritual things in Israel. Furthermore, as we have already seen, Samuel was a judge and held court in a few cities (1Sam. 7:16). For a judge to have any effect, both he and his rulings must be respected, which appears to be the meaning of kâbêd here (to some extent, anyway). The very fact that Samuel is seen as a man of God indicates that he is honored and respected for that fact. This does not mean grace is not an issue—all that Samuel is, is because of grace.


1Samuel 9:6d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kôl (לֹ) [pronounced kohl]

the whole, all, the entirety, every

masculine singular noun

Strong’s #3605 BDB #481

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

Together, kôl ăsher mean all whom, all that [which]; whomever, all whose, all where, wherever.

dâbar (רַבָד) [pronounced dawb-VAHR]

to speak, to talk [and back with action], to give an opinion, to expound, to make a formal speech, to speak out, to promise, to propose, to speak kindly of, to declare, to proclaim, to announce

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperfect

Strong’s #1696 BDB #180

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive absolute

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Owen mistakenly calls this the 2nd person masculine singular. Footnote

When a verb is doubled, this is the Hebrew mode of expressing intensity, repetition, or emphasis.


Translation: ...—all that he says comes to pass. We have the same verb twice in this phrase: we have the Qal infinitive absolute followed by the 3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect of the verb bôw (א) [pronounced boh], which means to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter. Literally, this means a coming he will come, which obviously doesn’t make a lot of sense. The masculine singular refers back to all and the idea is, all that he says, it comes to pass. This gives us: Then he said to him, “Listen, please—[there is] a man of God in this city and the man is honored; all that he says comes to pass.”

 

It is curious that Saul’s servant knows about the man of God, but that Saul does not. It is indicative of his spiritual state. Gordon comments: Apparently as ignorant of the existence of the holy man as he is of his own high destiny, the young Saul is, nevertheless, led unerringly on to his meeting with Samuel by an unseen divine hand. The inconvenience of the lost asses, like all the fortuitous conjunctions of verses 3–14, turns out to e serving a higher purpose. It is a small matter that the Old Testament lacks a word for ‘providence’ when it can subscribe so heartily to the concept in a passage like the present one. Footnote


Gnana Robinson tries to make something out of Saul not knowing who Samuel is, even though Samuel was certainly well-known throughout all of Israel. In all actuality, there is nothing here which indicates that Saul is completely ignorant of who Samuel is. It is possible that he did not know where Samuel’s hometown was; it is possible that he did not realize that they were so close to Samuel’s city; and, of course, it is possible that Saul did not know of Samuel. You would be amazed if you walked down any street in the United States and asked various people who the Vice President is; or, better yet, who the Secretary of State is. Knowing their hometown might be a bit of knowledge that less than 5% of our population might know. What Saul is aware of (as we will ascertain at the end of this chapter) is that there has been a lot of talk in Israel about appointing a king over Israel. However, if Saul has not had an occasion to go before Samuel as a judge; if Saul has given little thought to God, God’s servants and the office of prophet; then Saul is probably ignorant about most things connected to Samuel and his person. Certainly the implication is that his servant knows more about the man of God than does Saul. This should not cause us a problem either.


In the days of slavery in these United States, the heathen Africans were introduced to Jesus Christ as their Savior. A huge number believed in Him and, within 100 years or so, the percentage of Blacks who were believers in the United States was possibly greater than the percentage of Caucasians who were believers. Footnote It is also just as reasonable for the average African-American to develop a greater appreciation for and knowledge of the doctrines of Christianity than the average Caucasian. My point being, there is no problem with the servant of Saul being more spiritually aware than Saul. Saul was apparently not even a believer at this point in time (see 1Sam. 10:10).


We have already been told that Samuel grew and Jehovah was with him and He let none of his words fail (1Sam. 3:19). That Saul’s servant says this, confirming 1Sam. 3:19, and given the fact that we have actually seen very little of what Samuel had to say (one of the few exceptions was his opinion of Israel’s desire for a king); this would indicate that Samuel had a lot to say and what he said was accurate. When he spoke of things which would come to pass (which he will do with Saul in what appears to be a natural progression of things), they came to pass. This would lead me to conclude that there was a lot which Samuel said which was not recorded. However, given what Samuel was to predict (i.e., what Saul could expect when he left Samuel—1Sam. 10:2–6), we may assume that much of what he said was very specific and did not have a wide enough application for the Holy Spirit to record those things in Scripture.


I guess this strikes me as a rather trivial matter to go see a man of God about—a few donkeys. However, Saul is not there for himself, but he is doing this for his father. Therefore, it is not trivial for that reason.


The city here is not named. We do not know if it was Samuel’s hometown of Ramah or whether we are speaking of one of the cities on his judgship route (Bethel, Gilgal or Mizpah) or whether this was a special occasion where Samuel was in a Levite city (Shiloh would be unlikely, as it had probably been razed by this time). We do know from the previous verse that we are in the Land of Zuph, and the servant knew that Samuel the prophet was in this nearby city. Samuel’s father was from Ramathaim-zophim in the hill country of Ephraim and he was a descendant of Zuph (1Sam. 1:1). It appears that the short name for this city was Ramah (1Sam. 1:19) and that Samuel lived in Ramah and built an altar to God in Ramah (1Sam. 7:17). Therefore, it would be most reasonable that the Land of Zuph received its name from the blood ancestor of Samuel and that the city that we are speaking of is Samuel’s birthplace of Ramah. The fact that the servant of Saul’s knew this would indicate that we are not necessarily speaking of a special occasion in some odd city but that this is Samuel’s customary home when he was not acting as a circuit judge.


Application: There is also a hidden lesson here. Samuel is God’s man and, for all intents and purposes, he is in semi-retirement. His sons function as judges on his behalf and Samuel is considered old (1Sam. 8:2–5). Although I suspect that he is not completely retired and that he continues to do what God has for him, he does less than what he would have done 20 years ago. Nevertheless, God had a plan for Samuel and that plan continued. For the next 20 years, Samuel will be among the three most important people to the nation Israel—there will be Saul, David and Samuel and God will continue use Samuel for the entirety of his life and, even after he has died, God will use Samuel. The point is that God will use any of us if we have doctrine and positive volition. Our lives continue with meaning long after our retirement. Your age does not decrease your service to God. There does not appear to be a retirement age for that.


Application: Now, I am not saying here that if you are a pastor, you should stand in the pulpit until you drop dead. We have different ministries and different functions at different ages. If you have growing in grace and in the knowledge of God's Word, then you are going to be flexible and you are not going to be confused by God's change of plans for you as you get older. It is better to understand this as, when you leave your pulpit, your ministry has not expired. Furthermore, there is no reason to assume that your ministry must remain a ministry of communication. J. Vermon McGee went from the pulpit to communicating the Word of God to millions of people on the radio (which ministry continued long past his death). Another pastor might find himself go from teaching the Word of God to a positive congregation to a ministry of prayer. Samuel is in semi-retirement at this point, but God still has a plan for his life and Samuel will continue to play a major part in the history of Israel.


1Samuel 9:6e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person plural, Qal imperfect with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027


Translation: Therefore, let us go there... I want you to recognize the human dynamic here. This servant generally does not leave the Kish compound. Now he is traveling all over Israel. He may or may not have a chance like this again. Therefore, this is an opportunity to see the sights and what more interesting thing to see than a man of God who speaks and whatever he says happens? Obviously, this is strong positive volition on his part.


1Samuel 9:6f

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

ûwlay (יָלא) [pronounced oo-LAHY]

perhaps, peradventure

adverb/conjunction

Strong’s #194 BDB #19

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

dereke (ר) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, path; journey, course; direction, towards; manner, habit, way [of life]; of moral character

feminine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #1870 BDB #202

Dereke is found in the feminine gender only here and in Judges 18:5.

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person plural, Qal perfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

׳al (ל ַע) [pronounced ģahl ]

upon, beyond, on, against, above, over, by, beside

preposition of proximity with the 3rd person feminine singular suffix

Strong’s #5920, #5921 BDB #752


Translation: ...and perhaps he will make clear to us the [reason for] the journey on which we have gone.” Did you notice what a total mess some of the loose translations made of this verse. They are still talking about the damn donkeys! This trip was not about donkeys! Sure, Saul thought that his father sent him out to find this herd of donkeys; but that is not why God has sent Saul out. There is a purpose for Saul and his servant to be where they are at this point in time, and the servant recognizes that fact. He says, “Perhaps he can declare to us our journey that we have gone upon.” Actually, it ends ...have gone upon her (referring back to the journey), but that makes less sense in the English.


Now, the idea is not to explain to Saul and his young man about where physically they had gone and what they could have done, but I think what is more implied here is why did we go on this journey? There must be more to it than simply looking for a couple of donkeys. I mean, obviously, it was not to find the donkeys, because they hadn’t.


Application: It is difficult to know when positive volition will come upon you. It seems to come during this or that point in one's life. When you are interested in God and in His Word, then you will find yourself at the right place at the right time. This is where Saul and his servant are—they have a varying interest in God, and here they find themselves, right outside the city of Samuel.


And so said Saul to his young man, “And [if] we go and what will we bring to the man? For the bread is exhausted from our receptacles and a journey-gift [there is] not to bring to a man of the God. What [is there] from us?”

1Samuel

9:7

Then Saul said to his servant, “If we go, then what will be bring to the man? For the bread is gone from our rucksacks and [there is] no present to bring to the man of God. What [is there] from us?”

Then Saul said to his servant, “What would we bring to this man if we go? We have no bread left in our sacks and we did not bring a present for the man of God. What do we have to give him?”


Let’s see how others dealt with this:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so said Saul to his young man, “And [if] we go and what will we bring to the man? For the bread is exhausted from our receptacles and a journey-gift [there is] not to bring to a man of the God. What [is there] from us?”

Septuagint                             And Saul said to his young man that was with him, “Lo, then, we will go; but what shall be bring the man of God? For the loaves are spent out of our vessels and we have nothing more with us that belongs to us to bring to the man of God.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         Saul said, "If we go, what do we have to give him? There's no more bread in our sacks. We've nothing to bring as a gift to the holy man. Do we have anything else?"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         “If we go,” Saul asked his servant, “what could we bring the man since the food in our sacks is gone? There’s no present we can bring the man of God. What do we have?”

JPS (Tanakh)                        “But if we go,” Saul said to his servant, “what can we bring the man? For the food in our bags is all gone, and there is nothing we can bring to the man of God as a present. What have we got?


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Saul said to his servant, “But behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is gone from our sack and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?”

Young's Updated LT              And Saul says to his young man, ‘And lo, we go, and what do we bring in to the man? For the bread has gone from our vessels, and a present there is not to bring in to the man of God—what is with us?’


What is the gist of this verse? Saul says that they cannot go to the man of God because they do not have a present to give him.


1Samuel 9:7a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

Hinnêh can be used as a particle of incitement.

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229


Translation: Then Saul said to his servant, “If we go,... Saul will come up with an excuse not to go to this man of God. As I mentioned earlier, Saul and his servant have varying degrees of positive volition.


1Samuel 9:7b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why; what [thing]; anything, something, whatever

interrogative; exclamatory particle; indefinite pronoun; relative pronoun

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to take in, to bring, to come in with, to carry

1st person plural, Hiphil imperfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

kâbêd (ד ֵב ָ) [pronounced kawb-VADE]

to be honored, to be held in honor, to be glorified; to show oneself to be great or glorious [reflexive use], to be heavy, to be abundant, to be rich

Niphal participle

Strong's #3513 BDB #457


Translation: ...then what will be bring to the man? From the beginning, this reads: Then Saul said to his young man, “But listen, [if] we go, then what do we bring to the man?” There was such a thing as gracious giving even in the Old Testament. You simply did not inquire of a man of God apart from an offering of some sort. It is difficult to determine at this point whether Saul is expressing negative volition, or whether he is simply following respectful protocol.


1Samuel 9:7c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lechem (םחל) [pronounced LEH-khem]

literally means bread; used more generally for food

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #3899 BDB #536

âzal (לַזָא) [pronounced aw-ZAHL]

to go, to be gone, to go away; to go about; to be exhausted, to be used up [gone, evaporated]

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #235 BDB #23

min (ן ̣מ) [pronounced min]

from, off, out from, out of, away from, on account of, since, than, more than

preposition of separation

Strong's #4480 BDB #577

kelîy (י.ל) [pronounced kelee]

manufactured good, artifact, article, utensil, vessel, weapon, armor, furniture, receptacle; baggage, valuables

masculine plural noun with a 1st person plural suffix

Strong’s #3627 BDB #479

 

Translation: For the bread is gone from our rucksacks... At this point, Saul goes over their exhausted supply list. The noun kelîy (י.ל) [pronounced k'lee], means manufactured good, artifact, article, utensil, vessel, weapon, furniture, receptacle. It is an all-purpose word standing for anything which has been manufactured, made, finished, or produced. Here it refers to their containers for bread. Tupperware would be a reasonable translation. This gives us: “For the bread is exhausted from our receptacles...” This gives us a clue as to why Saul began to talk of going back home. They ran out of food. This is also his excuse for not going to see the man of God—they have no food to bring him.


1Samuel 9:7d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

teshûwrah (ה-רש ) [pronounced teshoo-RAH]

a gift, a present

feminine singular noun

Strong’s #8670 BDB #1003

Unfortunately, this occurs only here and there are no cognates. BDB calls the meaning dubious and suggests a thing brought [on a journey].

êyn (ןי̤א) [pronounced ān]

nothing, not, [is] not; not present, not ready; expresses non-existence, absence or non-possession; there is no [none, no one, not]

particle of negation; substantive of negation

Strong’s #369 BDB #34

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to take in, to bring, to come in with, to carry

Hiphil infinitive construct

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #430 BDB #43

 

Translation: ...and [there is] no present to bring to the man of God. We have a Hebrew word here which occurs here and here only: the feminine singular noun teshûwrah (ה-רש) [pronounced teshoo-RAH], which means a gift, a present. BDB calls the meaning dubious and suggests a thing brought [on a journey]. Generally speaking, when one goes to see a man of God, they do not wander about the countryside and then suddenly decide, hey, let’s go see the man of God. One would go on such a journey with the primary purpose of seeing the man of God, and they would bring along with them a gift of sorts with the intention of giving that to the man of God. What they would bring would be a journey-gift; something brought along specifically to be given. That is the idea behind this word, which is very similar to a word for to journey.


Now, you will note that Samuel here is being called the man of God here, and not Samuel. Why is that? Keep that in the back of your mind as we move forward in this chapter.


1Samuel 9:7e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

mâh (ה ָמ) [pronounced maw]

what, how, why; what [thing]; anything, something, whatever

interrogative; exclamatory particle; indefinite pronoun; relative pronoun

Strong’s #4100 BDB #552

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

with, at, near, by, among, directly from

preposition (which is identical to the sign of the direct object); with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #854 BDB #85

There are two early printed editions which insert a then in this phrase: What then [is there] from us?


Translation: What [is there] from us?” Most of what Saul says, reads: “What will be bring to the man? For the bread is gone from our rucksacks and a journey-gift [there is] not to bring for the man of God. What [is there] from us?” Now, although nowhere in Scripture are we told that we must bring a gift to a man of God, there was a precedent set when Jehovah visited Gideon (see Judges 6:18–19; see also Judges 13:17 1Kings 14:3 I1Kings 5:15 8:8–9). However, what is clear is that those who serve God are to be supported by man. God set up a tithe for the Levites who served the Aaronic priesthood in the Tent of God (Num. 18: 19–20, 24). And most importantly, a church was to financial support those who teach them, as per I Tim. 5:17–18. Saul was doing the polite thing here. He did not even know that the man of God lives there nor does he know Samuel by name, but he knows that some kind of a gift is in order.


The worst thing that an evangelist can do is pass the plate.

Application: Now, don't be confused by this. Despite the fact that God did set up financial remuneration for those who serve Him, this is not ever the responsibility of the unbeliever. There is no reason for an unbeliever to give money to any church or Christian organization of any kind. The worst thing that an evangelist can do is pass the plate. If an evangelist is presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ, then it should be clear that this is completely and totally free. If an evangelist passes the plate, then he should make it clear that this is support only from those who have believed in Jesus Christ and that no one who has shown up simply to hear him or as invited by a friend should give anything. The unbeliever should be evangelized for free. There should never be a cost put on it. Otherwise, the gospel is easily obscured. Besides, it is not the number of dollars which comes into a ministry which supports it; God either supports or does not support a ministry. When money is given by unbelievers, it has absolutely no spiritual value whatsoever—not for them and not for the organization that they give it to.


And so added the young man to answer Saul and so he said, “Behold, found with me a fourth part of a shekel of silver and I will give [it] to a man of the God and he has declared to us our way.”

1Samuel

9:8

Then the young man augmented to answer Saul, saying, “A fourth of a shekel of silver is found with me; you will give [this] to the man of God and [then] he will declare to us [the purpose and end] of our journey.”

Then the young servant again answered Saul, saying, “I have a half dollar with me; you can give this to the man of God, and then he will declare to us the true reason for our journey.”


What others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so added the young man to answer Saul and so he said, “Behold, found with me a fourth part of a shekel of silver and I will give [it] to a man of the God and he has declared to us our way.”

Septuagint                             And the young man answered Saul again, and said, “Behold, there is found in my hand a fourth part of a shekel of silver; and you will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

CEV                                       “I have a small piece of silver,” the servant answered. “We can give him that, and then he will tell us where to look for the donkeys.”

The Message                         The servant spoke up, "Look, I just happen to have this silver coin! I'll give it to the holy man and he'll tell us how to proceed!" .


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        The servant answered Saul again, “I happen to have a quarter-shekel of silver. I can give that to the man of God and he will tell us about our errand.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           And the young man again answered Saul, and said— Lo! there is found in my hand, the fourth part of a shekel of silver, —which thou canst give to the man of God, and he will tell us our way.

NASB                                     And the servant answered Saul again and said, “Behold, I have in my hand a fourth of a shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us our way.”

Young's Updated LT              And the young man adds to answer Saul, and says, ‘Lo, there is found with me a fourth of a shekel of silver; and I have given to the man of God, and he has declared to us our way.’


What is the gist of this verse? The servant finds a spot of money hidden away to give to Samuel in order to find out the reason for their journey.


1Samuel 9:8a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

yâçaph (ף ַס ָי) [pronounced yaw-SAHPH]

to add, to augment, to increase, to multiply; to add to do = to do again

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil imperfect

Strong's #3254 BDB #414

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: Then the young man augmented to answer Saul, saying,... Or, more loosely: So the young man again answered Saul, saying,... The young man has found a solution, which he will share with Saul.


1Samuel 9:8b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

those acquired, those found, those present

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal perfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

yâd (דָי) [pronounced yawd]

generally translated hand

feminine singular noun with the 1st person singular suffix

Strong's #3027 BDB #388

This combination of the bêyth preposition and hand means with me; through me, by me, by means of me; at my hand [i.e., before me, in my sight].

reba׳ (ע-ב∵ר) [pronounced reb-VAHĢ]

a quarter, a fourth part; a side [i.e., one of four sides]

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #7253 BDB #917

sheqel (ל∵ק∵ש) [pronounced SHEH-kehl]

0.4 ounces or 11 grams and is transliterated shekel

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #8255 BDB #1053

keçeph (ף∵ס∵) [pronounced KEH-sef]

silver, money

masculine singular noun; pausal form

Strong’s #3701 BDB #494


Translation:...“A fourth of a shekel of silver is found with me;... It is difficult to ascertain the value of this; according to Scofield, this would be roughly $0.16, mid-19th century American money. In the year 2000, perhaps we are talking $.50. Footnote The Open Bible puts the weight of this piece of silver at approximately 0.1 ounces (or 3 grams). Footnote I should add that we are not speaking of a coin here but of a particular weight of silver. On the one hand, we are speaking of a very small amount of money; on the other hand, and note this carefully, this servant apparently was paid something for his services—otherwise, how could he have any money?


1Samuel 9:8c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâthan (ן ַתָנ) [pronounced naw-THAHN]

to give, to grant, to place, to put, to set

1st person singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #5414 BDB #678

In the LXX, this is in the 2nd person masculine singular. The servant is saying, "You will give this to the man of God."

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: ...you will give [this] to the man of God... In the Hebrew, this is: “And I will give [this] to the man of God.” In the Septuagint, the servant tells Saul that he can give the silver to the man of God (i.e., this is a 2nd person masculine singular in the Greek). That is, they are not going to the man of God and then the servant gives him the money. That would be insulting to Saul. Saul will give the man of God the money.


Now, I went off on this tangent about how unbelievers should not be giving money to any religious organization, and yet we have a probably un-evangelized Saul here giving money. First of all, it is not really Saul giving the money, but his servant. Secondly, Israel was a theocracy—a nation ruled by God; and the nation was taxed in order to support the spiritual portion of their nation (the Levites). So, all people of Israel, believers and unbelievers alike, gave money to support the spiritual part of their church.


1Samuel 9:8d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

nâgad (ד ַג ָנ) [pronounced naw-GAHD]

to make conspicuous, to make known, to expound, to explain, to declare, to inform, to confess, to make it pitifully obvious that

3rd person masculine singular, Hiphil perfect

Strong's #5046 BDB #616

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 1st person plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

dereke (ר) [pronounced DEH-reke]

way, distance, road, path; journey, course; direction, towards; manner, habit, way [of life]; of moral character

feminine singular noun with the 1st person plural suffix

Strong's #1870 BDB #202

Dereke is only found in the feminine gender once and awhile.


However unsuccessful an endeavor might appear to be does not mean that it was a meaningless endeavor.

Translation: ...and [then] he will declare to us [the purpose and end] of our journey.” Then the servant gives the expected result of giving this gift: the man of God will make clear to them why they have gone on this journey. He will declare to Saul and his servant the purpose of their journey. Bear in mind that they have tromped all over the general area and have been quite unsuccessful in locating the donkeys of Saul’s father. However unsuccessful an endeavor might appear to be does not mean that it was a meaningless endeavor. There was a reason that Saul and his servant had spent the previous couple of months looking for donkeys, and this might be declared to them by this man of God.


To faces in Israel thus said the man in his going to inquire of God, “Come and let us go as far as the seer.” (For to the prophet was called to faces the seer).

1Samuel

9:9

Before, in Israel, so spoke a man when he went to inquire of God: “Come let us go to the seer” (for the prophet [of] today was formerly called a seer).

Previously in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he would say, “Let’s go to the seer” (because the prophet of today was at one time called a seer).


First, what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       To faces in Israel thus said the man in his going to inquire of God, “Come and let us go as far as the seer.” (For to the prophet was called to faces the seer).

Septuagint                             Now beforetime in Israel every one in going to inquire of God said, “Come and let us go to the seer;” for the people beforetime called the prophet, the seer.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         (In former times in Israel, a person who wanted to seek God's word on a matter would say, "Let's visit the Seer," because the one we now call "the Prophet" used to be called "the Seer.").


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         (Formerly in Israel, when a person went to ask God [a question], he would say, “Come, let’s go to the seer,” because a person we now call a prophet used to be called a seer.)

JPS (Tanakh)                        —Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he would say, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for the prophet of today was formerly called a seer,—


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he used to say, “Come, and let us go to the seer”; for he who is called a prophet now was formerly called a seer.)

Young's Updated LT              Formerly in Israel, thus said the man in his going to seek God, ‘Come and we go unto the seer,’ for the ‘prophet’ of today is called formerly ‘the seer.’


What is the gist of this verse? The prophet of today was previously called a seer.


1Samuel 9:9a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

Yiserâêl (לֵאָר ׃̣י) [pronounced yis-raw-ALE]

transliterated Israel

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #3478 BDB #975

kôh (הֹ) [pronounced koh]

so, thus, here, hence

adverb

Strong’s #3541 BDB #462

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #376 BDB #35

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

The infinitive construct, when combined with the bêyth preposition, can often take on a temporal meaning and may be rendered when [such and such happens]. It can serve as a temporal marker that denotes an event which occurs simultaneously with the action of the main verb.

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

dârash (שַרָ) [pronounced daw-RASH]

to seek, to make inquiries concerning, to consult, to investigate, to study, to follow, to inquire

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #1875 BDB #205

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: Before, in Israel, so spoke a man when he went to inquire of God:... Or, Formerly in Israel thus said the man when he went to inquire of God:... This is the mark of an editor. Prior to the time that this was recorded as the Word of God, there was a specific term used for a prophet. The editor is letting the reader know this. This is something which had immediate application to them at that time, but appears to have little application to us today. Wrong! This tells us that the history that we find here was the result of the work of an editor. That is, the person writing this is not Saul or his servant, but someone who is writing this later, based upon documents that he has gathered. As I mentioned in the introduction to this book, Samuel probably wrote the final draft of the first half of 1Samuel, but he certainly based his writings on the accounts of others. Samuel was not an eyewitness to this conversation between Saul and his servant. However, it is recalled to us as though Samuel were there. No doubt, his conversation with Saul or the servant; or referring later to a document of the palace (assuming that Saul has a palace when he rules), Samuel accurately reconstructs these events.


1Samuel 9:9b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

go, come, depart, walk; advance

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person plural, Qal imperfect; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

as far as, even to, up to, until

preposition

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

a seer, perceiver

Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong's #7200 BDB #906


Translation:...“Come let us go to the seer”... What follows is what a man would say when going to inquire of God. There was a period of time when, if a person was going to go see a man of God, a prophet of God, they referred to this man as a seer.


1Samuel 9:9c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Additional meanings of the lâmed preposition: with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to.

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

nâbîy (אי̣בָנ) [pronounced nawb-VEE]

spokesman, speaker, prophet

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5030 BDB #611

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to be named; to be called, to be proclaimed; to be called together [assembled, summoned]; to be read aloud, to be recited

3rd person masculine singular, Niphal imperfect

Strong's #7121 BDB #894

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

a seer, perceiver

Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong's #7200 BDB #906


Translation:...(for the prophet [of] today was formerly called a seer). Here is an aside of explanation. Now, how are we to understand this? What is the writer telling us? First of all, the term nâbîy (prophet) is found as far back as Gen. 20:7 Ex. 7:1 Num. 11:29 12:6 Deut. 13:1, 3, 5 18:15, 18, 20, 22 34:10 Judges 6:8 1Sam. 3:20. We might get away with nâbîy simply meaning spokesman at first, but Deut. 13 contains the classic test of a prophet, which is, does whatever he predict actually come to pass 100% of the time?


At this point, we should talk about this gloss; that is,...

What Does this Mean—the Prophet Was Previously Called a Seer?

1.    Now, the term seer occurs nowhere previously in Scripture (the Qal active participle of rââh does occur, but not in that sense).

2.    Throughout the book of Samuel, we find the terms seer and prophet both used (1Sam. 9:9 10:5, 10–12 19:20, 24 22:5 28:6, 15 2Sam. 7:2 12:25 24:11 1Kings 1:8, 10, 22, 23, 32, 34, 38, 44, 45 11:29 etc. for prophet and 1Sam. 9:9, 11, 18, 19 2Sam. 15:27 1Chron. 9:22 26:28 29:29 I1Chron. 16:7, 10 Isa. 30:10 for the seer). Nâbîy is used a great deal for prophet both before and after this verse, and seer is used only occasionally, and only after this verse.

3.    The NIV Study Bible explains that the term seer was used often during the time of Saul, but prophet was used at the time of the writing of Samuel** (or at the time of the final editing of Samuel).

4.    If the book of Samuel was assembled sometime after the writings upon which it was based were written, that would allow for Samuel to have written a portion of this book. The meaning refers to popular terminology and was apparently of interest to the editor, although it is unlikely that this comment appeared in the original text.

5.    A second cleaner, but less-agreeable possibility is that the ones who edited the final copies of the Law and the History of Israel replaced the word seer with the word prophet. A problem here is that this would reek havoc with the verbal-plenary view of the inspiration of Scripture. Also, this would not be in agreement with 1Chron. 9:22, where Samuel is called a seer (and conservative and liberal theologians both agree that Chronicles was put together long, long after the book of Samuel).

6.    A third explanation would be that the term seer was used for about a hundred years (or whatever time period) prior to the writing of this book, although the term prophet was used prior to and following that time period (as well as seer). In other words, we are dealing with a term, seer, as being popular for a time. It does not replace the term prophet, but simply overshadows it for a short time in history, during the time period during which Samuel was written. This explanation goes along with that found in the NIV Study Bible. In any case, neither term entirely supplanted the other.

7.    Barnes adds: Re: this verse This is manifestly a gloss inserted in the older narrative by the later editor of the sacred text, to explain the use of the term in vv. 11, 18, 19. It is one among many instances which prove how the very letter of the contemporary narratives was preserved by those who in later times compiled the histories.† Barnes' explanation is by far the simplest explanation, and this could have been added by Samuel or even by a copyist hundreds of years later, and that would fit with Barnes' remarks.

There is another word translated seer which is built upon the word behold. 2Sam.  24:11 1Chron. 21:9 I1Chron. 19:2 Isa. 29:10 Amos 7:12.

** The NIV Study Bible; ©1995 by The Zondervan Corporation; p. 386.

†  Barnes’ Notes; 1Samuel to Esther; F. C. Cook, editor; reprinted 1996 by Baker Books; p. 23.


Chapter Outline

Charts, Graphics and Short Doctrines

 

Whedon does a good job of laying out the differences: According to the strict etymology of these words a prophet (nabi) is one who announces a divine oracle, a seer (roeh) one who sees some supernatural vision, or sees in some marvellous or supernatural way. The former would thus take his name from the fact of his communicating a divine message to others; the latter from the manner of his receiving a divine revelation. Seer is said to have been the more ancient or archaic name, but Abraham was called a prophet, (Genesis 20:7,) and in the days of Asa, king of Judah, more than a hundred years after Samuel, Hanani was called a seer. 2Chronicles 16:7. The Septuagint reads: “The prophet the people ( ο λαος) were formerly accustomed to call the seer,” as if seer was the popular as well as the ancient name. Probably the name of seer lingered long after the name of prophet became the more common and popular title, for no common word goes out of use but by slow degrees. Samuel’s honoured ministry seems to have wrought this change of names. When he appeared in Israel the word of God was rare; there was no open vision. 1Samuel 3:1. But there were probably plenty of seers — men not endowed with the divine gift of prophecy, nor established as prophets of Jehovah, as Samuel was, but shrewd and practiced observers of men and things, who were skilled in solving many of the doubts and difficulties of the common people. These were not honoured with the lofty title of prophet, which, the people of that time associated only with such saintly personages as Moses and Abraham, for the seers probably pretended to no divine mission or special inspiration from Jehovah. But from Samuel’s time onward the Lord spake often by prophets, and that office and order became an institution in Israel to offset the dangerous tendencies of the monarchy; and so the name seer gradually became obsolete. Footnote


And so says Saul to his young man, “Good your word—come, let us go.” And so they go unto the city where there [was] a man of the God.

1Samuel

9:10

Then Saul said to his servant, “Your word [is] good—come, let us go.” So they went into the city where the man of God [was].

Then Saul said to his servant, “What you have said is agreeable to me; come then, we will go.”


First, let’s see what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so says Saul to his young man, “Good your word—come, let us go.” And so they go unto the city where there [was] a man of the God.

Septuagint                             And Samuel said to his servant, “Well said, come and let us go.” And they went to the city where the man of God was.

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         "Good," said Saul, "let's go." And they set off for the town where the holy man lived.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        Saul said to his servant, “A good idea; let us go.” And they went to the town where the man of God lived.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

NKJV                                     Then Saul said to his servant, “Well said [lit., your word is good]; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.

Young's Updated LT              And Saul says to his young man, ‘Your word is good; come, we go;’ and they go into the city where the man of God is.


What is the gist of this verse? Saul decides that his servant and he are properly prepared, so they go to the city where the man of God is.


1Samuel 9:10a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

na׳ar (ר-ע-נ) [pronounced NAH-ģahr]

boy, youth, young man, personal attendant

masculine singular noun with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #5288 & #5289 BDB #654

ţôwb (בט) [pronounced tohbv]

pleasant, pleasing, agreeable, good, better; approved

masculine singular adjective which can act like a substantive

Strong’s #2896 BDB #373

dâbâr (רָבָ) [pronounced dawb-VAWR]

word, saying, doctrine, thing, matter, command

masculine singular noun with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #1697 BDB #182


Translation: Then Saul said to his servant, “Your word [is] good—...” Or, So Saul said to his servant, “Your word [i.e., what you said] [is] agreeable.” It is not so much that Saul likes what his servant said, nor is it that what the servant said was a great idea; what his servant suggested is agreeable; it is a reasonable proposition. Therefore, Saul is up to going to talk to the man of God.


Recall that, the servant was going to give Saul the money to give to the man of God, which would have been proper protocol for that time. It would not have looked good for the master and servant to show up together and the servant brings a present but the master does not.


1Samuel 9:10b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

go, come, depart, walk; advance

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

1st person plural, Qal imperfect; with the voluntative hê

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229


Translation: ...come, let us go.” Colloquially, we might render this: “So, come on now, we’ll go.”


Now, to give you an idea as to how far apart the various readings are and the significance of these differences, this phrase is found in two different ways. It reads: “Come, let us go” in the Massoretic text and “Come and let us go” in an early printed edition and the Septuagint. I mention that because when you hear of the number of differences found in the various manuscripts, most of them are minor, like this, and do not affect the meaning.


1Samuel 9:10c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

hâlake ( ַל ָה) [pronounced haw-LAHKe]

to go, to come, to depart, to walk; to advance

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #1980 (and #3212) BDB #229

el (לא) [pronounced el]

unto, in, into, toward, to, regarding, against

directional preposition (respect or deference may be implied)

Strong's #413 BDB #39

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

ăsher (ר ש ֲא) [pronounced ash-ER]

that, which, when, who

relative pronoun

Strong's #834 BDB #81

shâm (ם ָש) [pronounced shawm]

there; at that time, then; therein, in that thing

adverb

Strong’s #8033 BDB #1027

The two word ăsher + shâm can be rendered where, in what place, to what place when found together. Sometimes, the addition of the verb to be might be appropriate to smooth out the phrasing.

îysh (שי ̣א) [pronounced eesh]

a man, a husband; anyone; a certain one; each, each one, everyone

masculine singular construct

Strong's #376 BDB #35

Ělôhîym (מי̣הֹלֱא) [pronounced el-o-HEEM]

gods, foreign gods, god; God; rulers, judges; superhuman ones, angels; transliterated Elohim

masculine plural noun with the definite article

Strong's #430 BDB #43


Translation: So they went into the city where the man of God [was]. It is a little weird that we keep hearing this city, which is not given by name; and Samuel is not named either. I am not sure why that is. It could be nothing more than the writing style of the author (the original eyewitness); or it could have been the way that Saul and his servant talked with one another.


The REB transposes vv. 9–10, which seems to make reasonable sense:

Revised English Bible Translates 1Sam. 9:7–10

7Saul said, ‘If we go, what shall we offer him? There is no food left in our packs and we have no present to give the man of God, nothing at all.’ 8The servant answered him again, ‘Wait! I have here a quarter-shekel of silver. I can give that to the man, to tell us the way.’ 10Saul said, ‘Good! Let us go to him.’ So they went to the town where the man of God lived. 9(In Israel in days gone by, when someone wished to consult God, he would say, ‘Let us go to the seer.’ For what is nowadays called a prophet used to be called a seer.)

You will note that the flow of the English is quite good with this change. At one time I was concerned when the REB would change the order of a verse and footnote it as Verses 9 and 10 transposed with no other explanation. However, they are simply pointing out what they did, rather than giving any sort of justification for it. In other words, this is not the result of research, but simply a change in the order made more English sense.


Chapter Outline

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What we have so far is that the servant suggests to Saul that they go to a nearby city where a man of God, a prophet is. This prophet is Samuel and the city is likely Ramah. The first concern was whether or not they had a gift to bring the prophet. Once that was established, they were bound for the city. What they did not know is that Samuel was expecting them.


Saul and His Servant Enter the City


They [even] they were going up in the ascent of the city and they have come upon maidens coming out to a drawing of waters; and so they say to them, “Is there in here the seer?”

1Samuel

9:11

[As] they went up the embankment around the city, they happened upon young women coming out of the city to draw water, and they said to them, “Is there a seer in here?”

As they began to walk up the embankment which surrounded the city, they crossed paths with some young women who had come out to get water, so they asked them, “Does the seer reside here and is he at home?”


The quote at the end sounds like a colloquialism. Let’s see what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       They [even] they were going up in the ascent of the city and they have come upon maidens coming out to a drawing of waters; and so they say to them, “Is there in here the seer?”

Septuagint                             As they went up the ascent to the city, they find damsels come out to draw water, and they say to them, “Is the seer here?”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         As they were climbing up the hill into the town, they met some girls who were coming out to draw water. They said to them, "Is this where the Seer lives?"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         As they were going up the hill to the city, they met girls coming out to get water. They asked the girls, “Is the seer here?”

JPS (Tanakh)                        As they were climbing the ascent to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and they asked them, “Is the seer in town?”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     As they went to up the slope to the city, they found young women going out to draw water, and said to them, “Is the seer here?”

Young's Updated LT              They are going up in the ascent of the city, and have found young women going out to draw water, and say to them, ‘Is the seer in this place?”


What is the gist of this verse? Saul and his servant go up the ill of the city and the come across some young women who were going to draw water. They ask the women if the seer is in this city.


1Samuel 9:11a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

masculine plural, Qal active participle

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

No Strong’s # BDB #88

ma׳ălêh (ה∵לֲע-מ) [pronounced mah-ģuh-LEH]

ascent, a trail or road going up; a higher place [summit, stage, platform]; an acclivity, a hill

masculine singular construct

Strong’s #4608 BDB #751

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: [As] they went up the embankment around the city,... Or, They were going up the ascent of the city... Most cities were located upon a hill (or a tell), which afforded the city some sort of initial protection. Often, the reason for this was, they built their city upon previously built cities. That is the way this city has been built, and Saul and his servant go up this tell.


1Samuel 9:11b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

3rd person masculine plural, Qal perfect; pausal form

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

na׳ărâh (הָרֱעַנ) [pronounced nah-ģar-AWH]

female attendants, maids; girls, young women, women of marriageable age

feminine plural noun

Strong’s #5291 BDB #655

Na׳ărâh can refer to a prostitute (Amos 2:7), an engaged girl (Deut. 22:25, 27), a little girl (I1Kings 5:2) or a mistress (Judges 19:3–6). It refers to female attendants or maids only when in the plural (Gen. 24:61 Ex. 2:5 Prov. 9:3). This is essentially an unmarried woman.

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

feminine plural, Qal active participle

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

shâab (ב-אָש) [pronounced shaw-AHBV]

to draw [water]; to take from the surface

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #7579 BDB #980

mayim (ם̣יַמ) [pronounced MAH-yim]

water, waters

masculine plural noun

Strong's #4325 BDB #565


Translation: ...they happened upon young women coming out of the city to draw water,... Or, ...and they had come upon young women coming out to a drawing of waters... One of the most important aspects to our daily lives is the use of water. It is so important that we have developed a very complex system to bring the water into our homes. In the ancient world, they required water as well, but had to bring it into their homes by hand. Footnote This job fell upon the young women of the household—at least in this instance. You may recall that when the Gibeonites fooled Joshua, he made them hewers of wood and drawers of water, two of the more menial jobs in the ancient world.


The first half of this verse indicates that we are at a typical ancient city. The ancient cities were generally built upon a hill, as that made for a better defense. However, the city had to be located near a water source, often a well located just outside the city limits (to me, it would seem that having a water supply within the city gates would be preferred). What will be mentioned later is their entrance into the city. An ancient city was generally surrounded by a protective wall with a gate which might remain open from dawn to perhaps an hour past dusk. When Saul and his servant were said to enter into the city (vv. 13–14), this means that they went through the front gate of the city.


1Samuel 9:11c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition with the 3rd person feminine plural suffix

No Strong’s # BDB #510

hă ( ֲה) [pronounced heh]

interrogative particle which acts almost like a piece of punctuation, like the upside-down question mark which begins a Spanish sentence. The verb to be may be implied.

Strong’s #none BDB #209

yêsh (שֵי) [pronounced yaysh]

being, substance, existence; used as a substitute for to be (without reference to number or tense); to be present, to be ready, to exist; the verb to be may be implied

substantive

Strong’s #3426 BDB #441

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

zeh (ה ז) [pronounced zeh]

here, this, thus

demonstrative adjective

Strong’s #2063, 2088, 2090 BDB #260

Together, be zeh mean in this [place], here, with this, on these conditions, herewith, thus provided, by this, through this, for this cause, in this manner, on this one.

rââh (ה ָאָר) [pronounced raw-AWH]

a seer, perceiver

Qal active participle with the definite article

Strong's #7200 BDB #906


Translation: ...and they said to them, “Is there a seer in here?” Or,...so they said to them, “Is there here the seer?” That is perhaps too literal, and we might render this “Does the seer live here?” or “Is the seer here?” There are two things that they are getting straight—does the seer or prophet of Israel live in this city, and is he in town right now? After all, this journey was predicated on the word of the servant, who, one would presume, didn’t get out much.


And so they answer them, and so they say, “There [is]; behold, to your faces. Hurry now for the day he had come to the city for a sacrifice of the day for the people in the high place.

1Samuel

9:12

Then they answered them, saying, “There [is a seer here]; look, [he is] in front of you. Hurry, now, for today he has come into the city because the sacrifice today for the people [is] in the high place.

Then the young women answered, “The seer is here; in fact, he is straight ahead. You will need to hurry because he was come into the city because of the ceremonial sacrifice today for the people in the high place.


Let’s see how others handled the translation of this verse:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they answer them, and so they say, “There [is]; behold, to your faces. Hurry now for the day he had come to the city for a sacrifice of the day for the people in the high place.

Septuagint                             And the virgins answered them, and they say to them, “He is; behold, before you; now he is coming to the city, because of the day, for today, [there is] a sacrifice for the people in Bama.

 

Significant differences:          Apart from hurry now, there are no significant differences between the Greek and Hebrew. Bama is a transliteration for high place.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         They answered, "It sure is--just ahead. Hurry up. He's come today because the people have prepared a sacrifice at the shrine.

NLT                                        “Yes,” they replied. “Stay right on this road. He is at the town gates. He has just arrived to take part in a public sacrifice up on the hill.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        “Yes,” they replied, “He is up there ahead of you. Hurry, for he has just come to the town because the people have a sacrifice at the shrine today.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:


 

The Emphasized Bible           And the young women [Lit., they (feminine)] answered them and said,: He is, lo! before you now even as ║to-day║ hath he entered the city, for the people have a sacrifice to-day, in the high place.

NASB                                     And they answered them and said, “He is; see [or, behold], he is ahead of you. Hurry now, for he has come into the city today, for the people have a sacrifice on the high place today.

Owen’s translation                They answered them (and said), “He is. Behold, he is just ahead of you. Make haste for just now he has come to the city because a sacrifice today to the people in the high place.” [You will notice that in Owen’s translation the phrase he is occurs twice—that is approximately two times more than it actually occurs in the Hebrew, as we will see].

Young's Updated LT              And they answer them and say, ‘He is; lo, before you! Hurry, now, for today he has come in to the city, for the people have a stated sacrifice in a high place.


What is the gist of this verse? The women answer that the prophet has indeed come to this city and is going to offer a sacrifice in a high place.


1Samuel 9:12a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳ânâh (הָנָע) [pronounced ģaw-NAWH]

to answer, to respond; to speak loudly, to speak up [in a public forum]; to testify; to sing, to chant, to sing responsively

3rd person feminine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #6030 BDB #772

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

3rd person feminine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #559 BDB #55

yêsh (שֵי) [pronounced yaysh]

being, substance, existence; used as a substitute for to be (without reference to number or tense); to be present, to be ready, to exist

substantive; the verb to be may be implied

Strong’s #3426 BDB #441

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces countenance; presence

masculine plural noun (plural acts like English singular); with the 2nd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean before you, before your face, in your presence, in your sight, in front of you. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in Your judgment.


Translation: Then they answered them, saying, “There [is a seer here]; look, [he is] in front of you. We obviously have some differences in the Septuagint, and there are differences as to how the Septuagint should be rendered as well. The young women answer the question posed them with the substantive yêsh. This is a perfectly normal response. They asked is there and the young women replied, there is.


The men are walking up the embankment toward the city’s front gates; therefore, they are pointed toward the entrance of the city. The prophet is possibly going to sacrifice some animals right there at the entrance (which is where a lot of meetings and various congregations took place). In any case, the prophet is behind the women and in front of the two men. Or, simply stated, they just passed the prophet Samuel.


1Samuel 9:12b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

mâhar (ר ַה ָמ) [pronounced maw-HAHR]

to hasten, to hurry, to make haste; its transitive use is to prepare quickly, to bring quickly, to do quickly

3rd person masculine singular, Piel imperative

Strong’s #4116 BDB #554

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

Additional meanings of the lâmed preposition: with reference to, as to, with regards to, belonging to.

The meanings of the lâmed preposition broken down into groups: ➊ to, towards, unto; it is used both to turn one’s heart toward someone as well as to sin against someone; ➋ to, even to;  in this sense, it can be used with a number to indicate the upper limit which a multitude might approach (nearly). ➌ Lâmed can be equivalent to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς), meaning into, as in transforming into something else, changing into something else (Gen. 2:7). This use of lâmed after the verb hâyâh (ה ָי ָה) [pronounced haw-YAW] (Strong’s #1961 BDB #224) is one thing becoming another (Gen. 2:7). ➍  Its fourth use is the mark of a dative, after verbs of giving, granting, delivering, pardoning, consulting, sending, etc. This type of dative is broken down into several categories, but one includes the translation by, which would be apropos here. ➎ With regards to, as to. Similar to the Greek preposition eis (εἰς) plus the dative. [Numbering from Gesenius]. ➏ On account of, because, propter, used of cause and reason (propter means because; Gesenius used it). ➐ Concerning, about, used of a person or thing made the object of discourse, after verbs of saying. ➑ On behalf of anyone, for anyone. ➒ As applied to a rule or standard, according to, according as, as though, as if. ➓ When associated with time, it refers to the point of time at which or in which anything is done; or it can refer to the space of time during which something is done (or occurs); at the time of.

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: Hurry, now, for today he has come into the city... Keil and Delitzsch argue from this passage that this was not Ramah, the hometown of Samuel, but another city that he had just entered into for this sacrifice. Although that is definitely a possibility (the city is never named in this passage), Samuel could have returned from his circuit (1Sam. 7:16) to his hometown for this sacrifice.


Is This the City of Ramah?

Yes

No

1.    Even Saul’s servant knew that the prophet would be in this city (1Sam. 9:6). It would be more likely that Samuel’s whereabouts would be known if he lived in this particular city.

2.    Samuel had built an altar in Ramah upon which to offer sacrifices (1Sam. 7:17).

3.    Samuel recent arrival to this city could have simply been his returning from his circuit as a judge to his hometown for the sacrifice.

4.    It is implied that Samuel had a home in this city (1Sam. 9:6, 18, 25–26).

5.    The disagreement over this location is actually based, to a certain degree, upon confusion as to where Rachel is buried. There is a traditional location which is incorrect. It is this traditional location (which is marked with a Moslem-like structure) near to Bethlehem which is misleading. We are nowhere near Bethlehem; and neither are Rachel’s bones.

1.    The young ladies that Saul and his servant talk to indicate that Samuel has just entered the city because of the sacrifice of that day (1Sam. 9:12).

2.    This city is never named; it would make sense to mention the name of this city if it were Ramah.

3.    Ramah is not the only place where sacrifices were offered. Samuel offered sacrifices in Mizpah (1Sam. 7:9) and Gilgal (1Sam. 10:8 13:8–10) as well—therefore, there is no reason why this must be Ramah.

4.    Although there is an implication that Samuel had a house, that is never stated outright; and it is Saul who inquires as to the residence of the prophet in v. 18, which in no way proves that Samuel had a permanent residence there.

5.    This location of Ramah would not jive with the traditional Tomb of Rachel, which is where Saul will go to next.

What is important to note is that Saul and his servant will be going by Rachel’s Tomb in order to return to Gibeah, which is Saul’s likely home. We should expect that Saul’s route would reasonably take him from wherever he is right now past Rachel’s Tomb and then to his father’s house. It might also be appropriate to note that some translations assume that Saul came from Gibeah and arrives here in Ramah. Footnote

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This leads us to two important questions:

Where is Saul’s Hometown?

Where is the Tomb of Rachel?

This is the easy one—Saul’s hometown was Gibeah and that is his final destination after leaving Samuel. In 1Sam. 10:10, we have Saul coming into Gibeah (also translated the hill). This is discussed further in the exegesis of that passage and confirmed in 1Sam. 10:26 where Saul goes to his house in Gibeah.

This is a tougher question which is going to involve several points and three pages of material—therefore, let’s go to the Doctrine of the Location of the Tomb of Rachel. The short answer is probably a mile or so just outside of Ramah. It would be along a road that Saul and his servant would naturally have taken in order to go from Ramah to Gibeah.

Our conclusion is simple. Samuel is residing in Ramah, and that is where we are right now. Saul and his servant will leave Ramah, travel past the tomb of Rachel, which is obviously fairly close, and along the road established between Ramah and Gibeah, Saul’s hometown. Such a view is completely in agreement with Scripture (see the Doctrine of the Location of the Tomb of Rachel to verify this) and invokes no internal contractions in the Bible. This view does, however, contradict the traditional site for the tomb of Rachel, which is found just outside of Bethlehem.

racheltomb.jpgThis is a picture of the traditional location of Rachel’s tomb. See the doctrine for the actual location of Rachel’s tomb.

 

This picture was scanned from The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia; James Orr, Editor; ©1956 Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.; Ⓟ by Hendrickson Publishers; Vol. IV; p. 2524.

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Alternate Theories

1.    One of the alternate theories is that Saul is not in Ramah, but to the southwest of Bethlehem. Therefore, everything easily falls together. That is, the location of Rachel’s tomb, Saul’s eventful return trip, etc. Keil and Delitzsch advance this proposition, which allows Rachel’s tomb to be at its traditional location. However, even they have to hedge somewhat on this assertion. They claim that Saul did not actually go to the Tomb of Rachel, but to Zelzah, which was nearby (v. 2). Their explanation is that the Tomb of Rachel would have been well-known at that time; therefore, adding the phrase at Zelzah would have been superfluous, if the location of Zelzah was the same as the location of the Tomb of Rachel.* Obviously, they hold to this theory because they believe the Tomb of Rachel to be in its traditional location. The fault I find with this is, how did Saul’s servant know that Samuel was southwest of Bethlehem if Bethlehem (or this other city) was not Samuel’s hometown, and it was not among his circuit of cities? The point that I make here is tenable, but not unarguable. One point that I can make in favor of Keil and Delitzsch’s theory is, Saul goes to two major places on his way home, so a longer trip, from the vicinity of Bethlehem to Gibeah is more likely than the shorter trip between Ramah and Gibeah. But an argument against that is simply, why the heck is Saul that far away from home if he is looking for these escaped donkeys?

2.    Thenius (some old Greek guy) supposes that Ephrath is not equivalent to Bethlehem and that the phrase that is Bethlehem crept into Gen. 35:19 48:7 as a gloss. Therefore, he apparently has Saul and Samuel meeting in Ephrath, which he locates southwest of Bethlehem. Even though Keil and Delitzsch dispute his position, their theories are actually quite similar.

*Keil & Delitzsch’s Commentary on the Old Testament; ©1966 Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.; Vol. 2, pp. 428–429.

Now, you may wonder why I go to all the trouble of taking a position, such as the location of Rachel’s Tomb or the meeting place of Saul and Samuel, argue these points passionately, and then allow that, yeah, well, I could be wrong; here’s what someone else thinks. Here’s the deal: what I want to offer is a reasonable explanation is to how does this all fit together. The autographs of Scripture must be completely without error with regards to everything, including geography. Therefore, I want you to be comfortable with at least one reasonable explanation of how it could have all come down. I make every attempt to make my theories in matters of time and geography to be reasonable and tenable; however, these assertions are not things that I would fight to the death over. Now, on matters of theology, on the other hand...


1Samuel 9:12c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

zebach (ח ַב ז) [pronounced ZEHB-vakh]

slaughtered animal [used in a sacrificial offering], slaughter, sacrifice, slaughtering, sacrificial animal

masculine singular construct

Strong's #2077 BDB #257

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article)

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

bâmâh (הָמָ) [pronounced baw-MAW]

a high place, elevation, height, mountain; fortress, castle; legitimate altar [built in a high place]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1116 BDB #119


Translation: ...because the sacrifice today for the people [is] in the high place. Now we have the reason for the seer’s coming into the city: the sacrifice which would be offered. I’ve got to admit to initially being moderately confused at this point. The high places are generally associated with heathen worship and we have these young women telling Saul that the seer is in the city because there are sacrifices today for the people in the high places. Given the context, my more reasonable explanation is that the worship of God did incorporate some heathen aspects insofar as place. Or, for whatever reason, a higher elevation was associated with God apart from heathen considerations. Therefore, at this point, we need to refer to the Doctrine of the High Places.


From this doctrine, we observe that the worship in the high places was primarily heathen worship; and that the worship of God was to be in a localized place. However, this was not always the case and sacrifices were offered, particularly during this time period, at a number of different cities.


Having examined the Doctrine of the High Places, it is fair to note that we are no longer carefully following the prescriptions of worship laid down for us in the Law of God. There is one place designed by God for sacrificial worship. In fact, there was a potential civil war which was brewing over this very thing (Joshua 22). A different area of worship, another high place, is mentioned in the next chapter (1Sam. 10:5), which goes against the commandments given by Moses (Deut. 12:2–7, 13–15). No matter how we slice it, there is a problem here of some sort. Let’s take this in points:

Problems with Israel’s Worship

1.    There is an ideal for Israel’s worship. The Tent of God is to be erected in one place, along with the various articles of furniture, including the Ark of God, all of which are to be found in one place at one time. It is here where proper worship occurs and males were to gather here thrice yearly for Jehovah worship.

2.    Here are the problems:

       a.    The Ark and the Tent of God are separated. We do not know exactly where the Tent of God is (Shiloh has been destroyed, but the Tent apparently escaped destruction—1Chron. 16:37, 39–40); but we do know where the Ark is—it is being kept by the family of Abinadab in Kiriath-jearim, which is really not too far away from Ramah (1Sam. 7:1–2a 2Sam. 6:4).

       b.    Second problem is that we have worship on a high place here, which was traditionally associated with heathen worship. One of the things which the Catholic Church has done over the centuries is to integrate heathen festivities with Christian doctrine and the result has been things like Easter and Christmas. We probably have a similar thing going on here. The high places are not completely destroyed, but re-associated with Jehovah worship. Now, it is not clear whether the word high place here refers to a higher elevation or whether that became a synonym in that time for a legitimate place of worship. In any case, the deal is, we have some sort of mixture of Godly worship and heathenism.

       c.     The third problem is that we have two different worship areas. We have Samuel offering up a sacrifice in Ramah, but in the next chapter, there will be three prophets involved in worship on a high place which is near the tomb of Rachel.

       d.    Israel has not fallen into deep reversionism. However, there are simply signs of their moving in that direction.

3.    As has been discussed several times in the past, we do not know where the Tent of God is nor do we know whether or not it was functioning. Samuel was a great man of his day, but he did not get the worship of Israel completely back on track. Given that the Philistines had destroyed the city of Shiloh, which was their worship city, and given the fact that, even though Israel had gotten back the Ark, there were many who died because of the Ark, it was not surprising that Israel did not return completely to the worship that God had designed for them. Because of these circumstances, don’t place all of the blame on Samuel’s shoulders. He functioned as a priest and as a judge and he was faced with the aforementioned serious problems.

4.    Remember that Samuel was not in the line of Aaron. He was probably part Levite. Therefore, his function as a priest came about because the sons of Eli were first, total jerks; and second, dead. However, Samuel did not seem to pick up exactly where Eli left off, for the reasons already mentioned.

5.    Given that Samuel was not in the line of Aaron, we should not be surprised that God does not require him to function in precise accordance with the Law.

6.    Even with the Aaronic priesthood, we do not find Israel always obeying the ceremonial Law of God in every way. They did not observe their Sabbath years, for instance.

7.    It would take King David to bring the Ark to Jerusalem. However, he did not put the Ark and the Tent of God together. His desire was to build a permanent structure for God, but that was not for him to do.

8.    David’s son Solomon will build the Temple for God and he will bring the Ark and the Tent of God and the furniture of the Tent all together.


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Next topic of discussion: which sacrifice is this? We are not really told; however, we do not seem to have the gathering of the tribes of Israel. The NASB and the NIV Study Bible, by their references, suggest that we are possibly looking at the sacrifice of the new moon (or, the new month, if you’d rather). This is discussed in Num. 28:11–15. In any case, it is a set of sacrifices with which the townsfolk appear to be familiar (the young women were aware of it, quite obviously).


The next item for discussion is where are we? I think that it would be reasonable that we are in Samuel’s hometown of Ramah, where he built his home and an altar (1Sam. 7:16–17). Now, why is the name of the city not given? At first, Samuel’s name is not given. He is known simply as the seer. However, this would be Ramah (1) because this is where Samuel built an altar; therefore, this is where he would offer sacrifices. (2) Saul’s servant knew that this is where they would find Samuel. Someone who did not have access to Samuel’s schedule would associate him with Bethel, Gilgal and Mizpah for a portion of the year (while he was on circuit) and with Ramah for most of the rest of the year (as that was his home). He would not be associated with just any city where he drops in suddenly, offers some sacrifices and splits.


Sometimes, when something is not outright stated, we have to follow the reasonable clues. As has been mentioned in a previous chapter (1Sam. 6–7), Shiloh has been destroyed, although Scripture does not record the actual incident. We can pretty much assume that Shiloh was destroyed on Samuel’s watch. In 1Sam. 3, we have Samuel and Eli, his mentor, functioning in the Tent of God in Shiloh. In 1Sam. 4, the Ark is removed from the Tent to provide the Israelites good luck in battle, and then the Ark is taken (1Sam. 4–5). By the time the Ark has been returned to Israel, seven months later (1Sam. 6:1), it gets moved around, but it is not taken back to Shiloh, nor is there any connection between the Ark and the Tent of God ever again. In the final verse of 1Sam. 7, Samuel builds an altar in his hometown of Ramah, and in this chapter we have him offering sacrifices on behalf of the people. However, nothing is said about the Ark, the Tent of God or Shiloh. King David, about 40 years later, will fetch the Ark and there will be quite a ceremony over that. However, nothing will be said of Shiloh or the Tent of God. Finally, when Solomon offers a thousand sacrifices in the high place, this is excused because there was no house of Jehovah built (1Kings 3:2–4). When Solomon does build the Temple, he also gets the original Tent of God and the remaining furnishings as well (1Kings 6–8). All these things taken together, along with later references to the destruction of Shiloh, indicate that Shiloh was destroyed after 1Sam. 4 and prior to 1Sam. 9. Even though I arrived at these conclusions independently, I am not the only person who put the time line together like this. The NIV Study Bible writes: At this time the central sanctuary was not functioning because the ark of God was separated from the tabernacle; Shiloh had been destroyed, and the priestly family, after the death of Eli’s sons, was apparently still inactive. Footnote


As your entering of the city then you will find him before he goes up the high place-ward to eat for will not eat the people until his coming as he [even] he will bless the slaughtered animal after so will eat the called ones. And now go up because [of] him and the day you will discover him.”

1Samuel

9:13

As you enter the city, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, as he [even] he will bless the sacrifice; afterwards, the called ones will eat. Now go up at this time to him for you will find him today.”

When you enter in through the city gates, you will probably locate him prior to going up to the high place to eat. The meal will not begin without him. He must first bless the sacrifice, and then those whom he called will eat. Now, go up into the city, and you will run into him immediately.”


These young women had a lot to say. We get a fairly extended quote from them and the reason that they seem to talk for a long time is twofold: (1) these are young women; and (2) Saul is the tallest and possibly the handsomest man that they have ever spoken to. Therefore, you would expect them to give a longer answer to him than to some unsavory type.


There is one portion of this verse which is very scrambled at the end. Of course, in your translation, it comes out smooth, but it didn’t begin that way. Let’s see how others translated this:



Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       As your entering of the city then you will find him before he goes up the high place-ward to eat for will not eat the people until his coming as he [even] he will bless the slaughtered animal after so will eat the called ones. And now go up because [of] him and the day you will discover him.”

Septuagint                             “As soon as you enter into the city, so you will find him in the city, before he goes up to Bama to eat; for the people will not eat until he comes in, for he blesses the sacrifice, and afterwards the guests eat; now then go up, for you will find him because of the holiday.”

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences. There is a repetition of in the city in the Greek.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         As soon as you enter the town, you can catch him before he goes up to the shrine to eat. The people won't eat until he arrives, for he has to bless the sacrifice. Only then can everyone eat. So get going. You're sure to find him!"


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the shrine to eat; the people will not eat until he comes; for he must first bless the sacrifice and only then will the guests eat. Go up at once, for you will find him right away.”


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     “As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore go up for you and will find him at once.”

NKJV                                     “As soon as you come into the city, you will surely find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, because he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those who are invited will eat. Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.”

Owen's translation                 “As soon as you enter the city you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for will not eat the people till he comes since he must bless the sacrifice—afterward will eat those who are invited. Now go up for him immediately—you will meet him.”

Young's Updated LT              At your going in to the city so you do find him; before he goes up in to the high place to eat; for the people do not eat till his coming, for he blesses the sacrifice; afterwards they eat, who are called, and now, go out for at this time you find him.”


What is the gist of this verse? The young women tell Saul that they will run into the priest as he goes up to the high place, as he must go up there, because no one will eat until he arrives.


1Samuel 9:13a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kaph or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke]

like, as, according to; about, approximately

preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #453

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct with the 2nd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

The kaph preposition, or ke ( ׃) [pronounced ke], which means like, as, according to, when this is combined with an infinitive, it can also take on the meaning as, often, when, as soon as. It carries with it a temporal connotation.

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

ţerem (םרט) [pronounced TEH-rem]

before that, previously; before the beginning, not yet

adverb

Strong’s #2962 (and #2958) BDB #382

With the bêyth preposition, it means before, before that, previously, prior to.

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

bâmâh (הָמָ) [pronounced baw-MAW]

a high place, elevation, height, mountain; fortress, castle; legitimate altar [built in a high place]

feminine singular noun with the definite article and the hê locale

Strong’s #1116 BDB #119

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #398 BDB #37


Translation: As you enter the city, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat,... They are told to walk through the front doors of the city and they will practically run into the man of God.


Then we have an explanation as to why they would run into him. We actually have more conversation recorded here than I would have expected. I would have expected a sparse “Walk straight ahead; you can’t miss him.” The richness of the conversation suggests to me that Saul (or his servant) passed along this conversation to whomever recorded it, which is likely Samuel. Another is that the young women recalled exactly what they said and later repeated it enough to where it found its way into Scripture. You may think that far-fetched, but we are speaking of young women who have come across a tall, personable, self-effacing handsome young man Footnote with a servant (indicating that he was reasonably well-off) and that this conversation may have been retained for its imagined romanticism at first. When Saul was named king over all Israel, they would recall it because that was the man with whom they spoke.


The next phrase is: “...before he goes up to the high place to eat...” We tend to think back upon the days of the Jews as times of fasting and prayer, but their religious festivals were centered around sacrifices of animals which were then eaten in a large feast. Apparently, the High Priest, or the spiritual authority of that time, would eat first, which would signal to the others that it was time to partake.


Since the destruction of Shiloh and the taking down of the Tent of God, there are a lot of details that we have to fill in. First of all, there is nothing said in Scripture about the Tent of God being taken to Ramah or being erected in Ramah. Although there is a possibility of that occurring, it seems unlikely as we have groups of priests gathered elsewhere (1Sam. 21:1–6). In any case, the implication of this phrase is that the high place is literally a high place; that is, it is not simply an area set aside for religious worship, but a place where Samuel would have to go up to (we have similar phrasing in the next verse as well). Barnes suggests that there was a citadel erected somewhere in the city and that this citadel also had a place for sacrificing and for dining. It could have simply been a hill or high elevation within the city limits.


Application: Now, you might object vehemently and decide that Samuel has no business conducting any sort of worship on a high place—it is just incongruous. Well, you'd be wrong. God is apparently with Samuel, as He continues to speak to Samuel and guide him. If God so chose, they would simply raze this cite and erect the Tabernacle—however, this is not what God chose for Samuel to do. Besides, when the was the last time you attended a Christmas or an Easter service? Are there any commandments for us to attend those services? Absolutely not. Are there any commandments for us to participate in those holidays? There are none. This is a situation where an apostate church fused Christianity with some heathen practices and came up with these two holidays. Should we therefore repudiate Christmas and Easter and all who celebrate it? Not necessarily. That is not what Live each day alike means (in fact, I have misquoted it; it comes from Rom. 14:5, which reads: One indeed esteems a day above another day; and another esteems every day alike. Let each one be fully assured in his own mind). If you are concerned with the materialism and origins of Christmas, you do not need to celebrate it. However, if you have children and all of their friends are getting presents, there is nothing wrong with you celebrating Christmas in that way either. When you focus on this, you are focusing on that which is unimportant, trivial.


1Samuel 9:13b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

lô (אֹל or אל) [pronounced low]

not, no

negates the word or action that follows; the absolute negation

Strong’s #3808 BDB #518

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person masculine singular, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

׳am (ם ַע) [pronounced ģahm]

people; race, tribe; family, relatives; citizens, common people; companions, servants; entire human race; herd [of animals]

masculine singular collective noun with the definite article

Strong’s #5971 BDB #766

׳ad (דַע) [pronounced ģahd]

while; until, so long as; even to; even that, so that

conjunction

Strong’s #5704 BDB #723

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

This preposition must have some specialized use with the Qal infinitive construct, but I cannot determine what it is. The translations gave the rendering until, till.


Translation: ...for the people will not eat until he comes,... This is more by way of explanation. Samuel is the honored guest to any meal which involves sacrifices to God; and no one can eat until he arrives—that is simple protocol.


1Samuel 9:13c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

when, that, for, because

explanatory conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

hûw (אה) [pronounced hoo]

he, it

3rd person masculine singular, personal pronoun

Strong’s #1931 BDB #214

Hûw is also used as a masculine singular, demonstrative pronoun and is rendered that; this.

bârake (ַרָ) [pronounced baw-RAHKe]

to invoke God, to praise, to celebrate, to adore, to bless [God]; to bless [men], to invoke blessings; to bless [as God, man and other created things], therefore to cause to prosper, to make happy; to salute anyone [with a blessing]; to curse

3rd person masculine singular, Piel perfect

Strong’s #1288 BDB #138

zebach (ח ַב ז) [pronounced ZEHB-vakh]

slaughtered animal [used in a sacrificial offering], slaughter, sacrifice, slaughtering, sacrificial animal

masculine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #2077 BDB #257


Translation: ...as he [even] he will bless the sacrifice;... This was the protocol: the spiritual leader was to show up for the sacrifice and offer a blessing before anyone was to partake in eating the sacrifice. This indicates that Samuel functioned, to a certain degree, as a priest over Israel. However, this verse says nothing about him offering the sacrifice, so it is unclear whether that is done by the head of a family or whether someone else had that priestly function. It is not clear whether we have an Old Testament precedent for this; however, we find several instances of a meal being blessed in the New (Matt. 26:26–27 Luke 9:16 John 6:11, 23 I Tim. 4:3–5).


1Samuel 9:13d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

achar (ר ַח ַא) [pronounced ah-KHAHR]

after, following, behind

preposition

Strong’s #310 BDB #29

kên (ן ֵ) [pronounced kane]

so, thus; upright, honest; rightly, well; [it is] so, such, so constituted;

properly, an active participle; used primarily as an adverb

Strong's #3651 BDB #485

Together, achar and kên mean after so (literally) or afterward, afterwards.

âkal (ל ַכ ָא) [pronounced aw-KAHL]

to eat; to devour, to consume, to destroy

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #398 BDB #37

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

the called ones, the assembled [summoned] ones; the chosen ones

masculine plural, Qal passive participle

Strong's #7121 BDB #894


Translation: ...afterwards, the called ones will eat. It is interesting that this language is used. You may not have realized that believers in the Old Testament were called the called ones. However, this is a reference to them being summoned to the meal. This was a celebration, and it celebrated the new king, who was just arriving, unawares of the activity taking place.


1Samuel 9:13e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

׳attâh (ה ָ ַע) [pronounced ģaht-TAWH]

now, at this time, already

adverb of time

Strong’s #6258 BDB #773

When followed by an imperative or an interrogative, we + the adverb ׳attâh mean and so, thus, things being so, therefore, now therefore. Sometimes, the concept of time is lost when this combination is used to incite another.

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperative

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

kîy (י̣) [pronounced kee]

for, that, because; when, at that time, which, what time

explanatory or temporal conjunction; preposition

Strong's #3588 BDB #471

Kîy, like many of the small words in Hebrew, has a large number of uses: ➊ It is used as a relative conjunction, particularly after the verbs seeing, hearing, speaking, knowing, believing remembering, forgetting and in such cases means that. ➋ Although kîy is used for consecution and effect and rendered to that, that; it sometimes has an intensifying force and is rendered so that, so even, even. This is how it is used in this context. ➌ The connective can be used of time and be rendered at that time, which, what time, when. ➍ Kîy can be used of time, but in such a way that it passes over to a demonstrative power where it begins an apodosis (then, so). ➎ It can be used as a relative causal particle: because, since, while, on account that. When we find it several times in a sentence, it can mean because...and or for...and. ➏ It can also have a continuous disjunctive use here and be rendered for...or...or (when the second two kîy’s are preceded by conjunctions). ➐ After a negative, it can mean but (the former must not be done because the latter is to be done).

This conjunction kîy has several meanings, depending upon the context. Gesenius calls this one of the oldest words found in the Hebrew, which means that it will have a variety of meanings. Some of the uses of kîy are as follows:➊ kîy is used for consecution and effect and rendered to that, that; and sometimes it has an intensifying force and is rendered so that, so even, even. Secondly, ➋ this connective can be used of time and be rendered at that time, which, what time, when. ➌ Kîy can be used of time, but in such a way that it passes over to a demonstrative power where it begins an apodosis (then, so). ➍ It can be used as a relative causal particle: because, since, while, on account that. Keil and Delitzsch disagree, saying to the particle י. does not mean if, as or when, nor is it to be regarded as a copyist’s error.

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine singular suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84

Now I have combed the lexicons under kîy and under the sign of the direct object (as well as under its prepositional use) and cannot find anything which deals with this combination.


Translation: Now go up at this time to him... Now the young maidens, who have actually been talking for awhile, may have noticed that these two men were hanging on their every word. Literally, we have “And now go up for with him...” or “And now go up that him...” Do you get the impression that these gals are sort of babbling at this point? Some women are very taken by a man and cannot seem to shut up in their excitement. I am not complaining, as it happens to me all the time; I am simply making an observation.


1Samuel 9:13e

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

mâtsâ (א ָצ ָמ) [pronounced maw-TSAW]

to attain to, to find, to detect, to happen upon, to come upon, to find unexpectedly, to discover

2nd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong’s #4672 BDB #592

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

untranslated mark of a direct object; occasionally to, toward

affixed to a 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong's #853 BDB #84


Translation: ...for [lit., and] you will find him today.” Or, more completely: “And now go up because of him and today you will meet him.”


You will no doubt note that a literal translation makes little sense for the latter portion of v. 13. And, no matter which translation that you use, you probably did not realize that there was any problem with the text. I would have expected Rotherham to tell us that he translated according to the Septuagint or according to some alternate manuscripts. I would have expected another translation to say that the Hebrew was unintelligible at this point. However, I believe that it is important for you to know what goes on behind the scenes, as it were.

Various Translations of 1Sam. 9:13b

Literal #1

“And now go up because of him and today you will meet him.”

Literal #2

“And now go up because of with him and today you will meet him.”

Suggested Literal

“And now go up for today you will meet him.”

The Amplified Bible

So go on up, for about now you will find him.

The Emphasized Bible

║Now║ therefore, go up, for <about this very time> shall ye surely find him.

God’s Word™

Go. You should be able to find him now.

NASB

Now therefore go up for you will find him at once.

NKJV

Now therefore, go up, for about this time you will find him.

NRSV

Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.

REB

Go up now, and you will find him at once.

Septuagint

Now then go up, for you will find him because of the holiday.

Young’s Literal Translation

...and now, go out for at this time you find him.

Possible Explanation: in the Hebrew, we find kîy (for, because, that) followed by the demarcation of a direct object (this same word doubles as a conjunction and can mean with). Affixed to the direct object sign is the 3rd person masculine singular suffix. After this, we have a wâw conjunction. We do not find this combination of words referred to in BDB or in Gesenius. Taken in a strictly literal sense, they make no sense, as you see in the two literal translations of this phrase (most combined prepositions do make some sense, even when taken literally). Let me suggest to you that the sign of the direct object, its 3rd person masculine singular suffix and the wâw conjunction were borrowed from elsewhere and inserted by a very tired copyist (this is one of the most common types of errors made by copyists). At the end of this verse we have the sign of the direct object, the 3rd person masculine singular suffix and a wâw consecutive (which, prior to the Massorites, looked exactly like a wâw conjunction). It would not be unreasonable for the copyist to see that, insert it here, and then to copy it correctly a few words later. You will note that most of the translations—even the most literal ones—ignored all or portions of this phrase, and, surprisingly enough, none of them footnoted it with an explanation or a reference (I really expected Rotherham to make mention of this).


Chapter Outline

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That there is a problem with the Hebrew text and that it is smoothed out as early as the Septuagint should not cause us any problems with our faith. This is rather simple; there is a problem which was probably introduced early on in the copying of this verse, and one which persists to this day. Dozens of translators have chosen to essentially ignore all of the Hebrew at this point, and choose the words which they see as fitting. It is even possible that the translators of the Septuagint did the same thing. You may protest: if the words made no sense in the Hebrew, why didn’t the copyist catch that? Two possible reasons: (1) If you have ever re-read your own writing, Footnote you will come across phrases and sentences which are messtup. I find this all the time in my own writing. It is not that I don’t know how to English speak; it is just that my brain does not always have a complete connection to my fingers of typing. Therefore, grammatical and spelling errors creep into what I write (often with great abundance). (2) The second explanation is this: at some point in time, the Biblical Hebrew was becoming more and more of an unused or semi-used language. It is not completely unlikely that a copyist of 100 or 200 b.c. did not have a firm grasp of all the nuances of early Hebrew. In fact, he may not have even been able to communicate in Hebrew (although he probably could speak it, just as some Catholics speak Latin during mass). Therefore, his lack in the realm of Hebrew would allow for such an error to be made. By the way, why do you think a translation into Greek was made and why do you think all of the Apostles (except for possibly Matthew) used the Greek translation? That was the language that they spoke; ancient Hebrew was not. In other words, we should not become troubled whenever there is a glitch in the Hebrew of a verse. From things like this came the great science of Biblical criticism.


Several translations change the verse order. Although some may look at that as tampering with the original, there was no verse division in the original Hebrew. Therefore, since no one has a serious problem with exact word order, we should further have no problem with changing the order of the verses to better fit the English sense.

A Comparative Translation of 1Sam. 9:8–13

Semi-Literal

TEV

CEV

8 Then the young man augmented to answer Saul, saying, “A fourth of a shekel of silver is found with me; you will give [this] to the man of God and [then] he will declare to us [the purpose and end] of our journey.” 9 Before, in Israel, so spoke a man when he went to inquire of God: “Come let us go to the seer” (for the prophet [of] today was formerly called a seer).

10 Then Saul said to his servant, “Your word [is] good—come, let us go.” So they went into the city where the man of God [was].

11 [As] they went up the embankment around the city, they happened upon young women coming out of the city to draw water, and they said to them, “Is there a seer in here?”

12 Then they answered them, saying, “There [is a seer here]; look, [he is] in front of you. Hurry, now, for today he has come into the city because the sacrifice today for the people [is] in the high place.

13 As you enter the city, you will find him before he goes up to the high place to eat, for the people will not eat until he comes, as he [even] he will bless the sacrifice; afterwards, the called ones will eat. Now go up for you will find him today.”

8 The servant answered, “I have a small silver coin. I can give him that, and then he will tell us where we can find them.”

9–11 Saul replied, “A good idea! Let’s go.” So they went to the town where the holy man lived. As they were going up the hill to the town, the met some girls who were coming out to draw water. They asked the girls, “Is the seer in town?”

(At that time a prophet was called a seer, and so whenever someone wanted to ask God a question, he would say, “Let’s go to the seer.”)

12–13 “Yes, he is,” the girls answered. “In fact, he is just ahead of you. If you hurry, you will catch up with him. As soon as you go into town, you will find him. He arrived in town today because the people are going to offer a sacrifice on the altar on the hill. The people who are invited won’t start eating until he gets there, because he has to bless the sacrifice first. If you go now, you will find him before he goes up the hill to eat.”

8 ”I have a small piece of silver,” the servant answered. We can give him that, and then he will tell us where to look for the donkeys.”

9–10 “Great!” Saul replied. “Let’s go to the man who can see visions!” He said this because in those days God would answer questions by giving visions to prophets.

Saul and his servant went to the town where the prophet lived. 11 As they were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to get water, and the two men said to them, “We’re looking for the man who can see visions. Is he in town?”

12 “Yes, he is,” they replied. “He’s in town today because there’s going to be a sacrifice and a sacred meal at the place of worship. In fact, he’s just ahead of you. Hurry 13 and you should find him right inside the town gate. He’s on his way out to the place of worship to eat with the invited guests. They can’t start eating until he blesses the sacrifice. If you go now, you should find him.”

You will note that the CEV gives a whole different understanding to vv. 9–10. Traditionally, the parenthetical v. 9 simply tells us that the popular word for prophet during this time was seer. You will note that the sense of the CEV is that people would go to the prophet to answer questions based upon the visions that God would give him.


Chapter Outline

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And so they went up the city. They are entering the midst of the city and behold, Samuel coming out to encounter them to go up the high place.

1Samuel

9:14

So they went up into the city. They are entering the city [lit., the midst of the city], and look, [and there is] Samuel coming out to encounter them, to go up to the high place.

They therefore went up into the city and suddenly, in front of them, was Samuel, coming out to meet them and to go up to the high place.


First, what others have done:




Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And so they went up the city. They are entering the midst of the city and behold, Samuel coming out to encounter them to go up the high place.

Septuagint                             And they go up to the city; and as they were entering into the midst of the city, behold, Samuel came out to meet them, to go up to Bama.

 

Significant differences:          There are no significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         They continued their climb and entered the city. And then there he was--Samuel!--coming straight toward them on his way to the shrine!

NEB                                       So they went up to the city, and just as they were going in, there was Samuel coming towards them on his way up to the shrine.


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

JPS (Tanakh)                        So they went up to the town; and as they were entering the town, Samuel came out toward them, on his way up to the shrine.


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

The Emphasized Bible           So they went up into the city. <As they were entering into the midst of the city> lo! ║Samuel║ coming out over against them [or, to meet them], to ascend the high place.

NASB                                     So they went up to the city. As they came into the city, behold, Samuel was coming out toward them to go up to the high place.

Young's Updated LT              And they go up into the city, and lo, Samuel is coming out to meet them, to go up to the high place;...


What is the gist of this verse? Saul and his servant enter into the city and run right into Samuel, who is about to go up to the high place.


1Samuel 9:14a

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

3rd person masculine plural, Qal imperfect

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: So they went up into the city. Saul and his servant are at the foot of the hill going to the city, or part way up. They have been told by the young women to simply walk through the gates of the city in order to find Samuel.


1Samuel 9:14b

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

hêmmâh (ה ָ ֵה) [pronounced haym-mawh]

they, those; themselves; these [with the definite article]

3rd person masculine plural personal pronoun

Strong’s #1992 BDB #241

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

the one entering [coming, one going] [in]; he who enters [goes, comes (in)]

Qal active participle with the mps

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

be (׃) [pronounced beh]

in, into, through; at, by, near, on, upon; with, before, against; by means of; among; within

a preposition of proximity

Strong’s #none BDB #88

tâveke (ו ָ) [pronounced taw-VEKE]

midst, among, middle

masculine singular construct

Strong's #8432 BDB #1063

With the bêyth preposition, tâveke can mean in the middle of, in the midst of; into, among. With the 2nd person masculine plural suffix, it can mean in your midst, among you.

׳îyr (רי ̣ע) [pronounced ģeer]

encampment, city, town

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong's #5892 BDB #746


Translation: They are entering the city [lit., the midst of the city], ... So far, this gives us: So they went up the city. [As] they were entering the city... So they go up the hill, the enter in through the gates of the city, and the walk towards the middle of the city. As they approach the middle of the city...


1Samuel 9:14c

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

we (or ve) (ו) [pronounced weh]

and, even, then; namely; when; since, that, so that; though

simple wâw conjunction

No Strong’s # BDB #251

hinnêh (הֵ ̣ה) [pronounced hin-NAY]

lo, behold, or more freely, observe, look here, look, listen, pay attention, get this, check this out

interjection, demonstrative particle

Strong’s #2009 (and #518, 2006) BDB #243

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

yâtsâ (אָצָי) [pronounced yaw-TZAWH]

to go out, to come out, to come forth; to rise; to flow, to gush up [out]

Qal active participle

Strong's #3318 BDB #422

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

qârâ (א ָר ָק) [pronounced kaw-RAW]

to encounter, to befall, to meet; to assemble [for the purpose of encountering God or exegeting His Word]; to come, to assemble

Qal infinitive construct with the 3rd person masculine plural suffix

Strong’s #7122 & #7125 BDB #896

This is a homonym; the other qârâ means to call, to proclaim, to read, to assemble.

The lâmed with an infinitive construct generally expresses purpose or result, although it can have three other common uses with the infinitive: (1) It can have a gerundial or adverbial sense to explain the circumstances of a previous action; (2) it can act as a periphrastic future in nominal clauses; and, (3) it can behave as a gerund, in the sense of is to be, must be, ought to be. Footnote (4) Lâmed with the infinitive can connote shall or must. Footnote


Translation: ...and look, [and there is] Samuel coming out to encounter them,... Then we finally have the proper noun Samuel; this is the first time that he is mentioned by name in this chapter. So, why is that? Why isn’t Samuel’s name mentioned back in v. 6 or 7 or 8 or 10 where he is called the man of God? The author is telling us something here by not using Samuel’s name until we come to Samuel himself. Saul did not know Samuel’s name—he did not know that this was the city of Samuel and he did not know enough about Samuel to even know his name. Saul had little or no interest in spiritual things at this time, which is going to make the saying Is Saul among the prophets? (1Sam. 10:11b) even more ironic.


Now was Samuel expecting them? Not exactly. To be more precise, Samuel knew they were coming; he just did not know exactly when. It states that he is coming out to encounter them, which makes It sound as though there is a purpose here. There is a purpose—this is God’s purpose that they run into one another at exactly this time. God expects them to meet up because He orchestrated it. Saul and his young man were not just wandering out in the hill country for no reason. And, we will find out in the next couple of verses, Samuel was expecting at any time to run into Saul.


1Samuel 9:14d

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

lâmed (ל) [pronounced le]

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

׳âlâh (ה ָל ָע) [pronounced ģaw-LAWH]

to go up, to ascend, to come up, to rise, to climb

Qal infinitive construct

Strong's #5927 BDB #748

bâmâh (הָמָ) [pronounced baw-MAW]

a high place, elevation, height, mountain; fortress, castle; legitimate altar [built in a high place]

feminine singular noun with the definite article

Strong’s #1116 BDB #119


Translation: ...to go up to the high place. Samuel was there for two things. He was going up to this gathering in the high place for the sacrifice; however, he was in the city waiting on Saul—even though Saul did not realize this. Saul is the guest of honor at this banquet; not Samuel.


Chapter Outline

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God Previously Told Samuel of Saul’s Coming


And Yehowah had revealed [to] an ear of Samuel a day one to a facing of Saul, to say...

1Samuel

9:15

And Yehowah revealed to the ear of Samuel one day previous of a coming of Saul, saying...

Now Jehovah had revealed the following to Samuel the day previous to Saul’s coming:...


First, what others have done:


Ancient texts:

 

Masoretic Text                       And Yehowah had revealed [to] an ear of Samuel a day one to a facing of Saul, to say...

Septuagint                             And the Lord uncovered the ear of Samuel one day before [or, the day before] Saul came to him, saying...

 

Significant differences:          No significant differences.


Thought-for-thought translations; paraphrases:

 

The Message                         The very day before, GOD had confided in Samuel,...


Mostly literal renderings (with some occasional paraphrasing):

 

God’s Word™                         Now, the Lord had revealed the following message to Samuel one day before Saul came:

JPS (Tanakh)                        Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed the following to Samuel:...


Literal, almost word-for-word, renderings:

 

NASB                                     Now a day before Saul’s coming, the Lord had revealed [lit., uncovered the ear] this to Samuel saying,...

Young's Updated LT              ...and Jehovah had uncovered the ear of Samuel one day before the coming of Saul, saying,...


What is the gist of this verse? The previous day, God had spoken to Samuel concerning Saul.


1Samuel 9:15

Hebrew/Pronunciation

Common English Meanings

Notes/Morphology

BDB and Strong’s Numbers

wa (or va) (ַו) [pronounced wah]

and so, and then, then, and

wâw consecutive

No Strong’s # BDB #253

YHWH (הוהי) [pronunciation is possibly yhoh-WAH]

transliterated variously as Jehovah, Yahweh, Yehowah

proper noun

Strong’s #3068 BDB #217

gâlâh (ה ָלָ) [pronounced gaw-LAWH]

to uncover, [one’s ear to hear something]; to reveal, to disclose, to make naked; to remove, to depart; to make [a land] naked of inhabitants, to emigrate, to be led into exile

3rd person masculine singular, Qal perfect

Strong's #1540 BDB #162

êth (ת ֵא) [pronounced ayth]

generally untranslated; occasionally to, toward

indicates that the following substantive is a direct object

Strong's #853 BDB #84

ôzen (ן∵זֹא) [pronounced OH-zen]

ear

feminine singular construct

Strong’s #241 BDB #23

Shemûwêl (ל̤אמש) [pronounced she-moo-ALE]

which means heard of El; it is transliterated Samuel

proper masculine noun

Strong’s #8050 BDB #1028

yôwm (םי) [pronounced yohm]

day; time; today (with a definite article); possibly immediately

masculine singular noun with a definite article

Strong’s #3117 BDB #398

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

pânîym (םי̣נָ) [pronounced paw-NEEM]

face, faces, countenance; presence

masculine plural construct (plural acts like English singular)

Strong’s #6440 BDB #815

Together, they mean upon the face of, before, before the face of, in the presence of, in the sight of, in front of. When used with God, it can take on the more figurative meaning in the judgment of. This can also mean forwards; the front part [or, the edge of a sword]. Lepânîym (םי.נָפל) can take on a temporal sense as well: before, of old, formerly, in the past, in past times.

bôw (א) [pronounced boh]

to come in, to come, to go in, to go, to enter

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #935 BDB #97

Shâûwl (לאָש) [pronounced shaw-OOL]

which is transliterated Saul; it means asked for

masculine proper noun

Strong’s #7586 BDB #982

lâmed (ל) (pronounced le)

to, for, towards, in regards to

directional/relational preposition

No Strong’s # BDB #510

âmar (ר ַמ ָא) [pronounced aw-MARH]

to say, to speak, to utter; to say [to oneself], to think

Qal infinitive construct

Strong’s #559 BDB #55


Translation: And Yehowah revealed to the ear of Samuel one day previous of a coming of Saul, saying... Or, And Yehowah revealed [to the] ear of Samuel one day previous of a coming of Saul, to say... This is an odd place for this verse to end, as it is a part of the verse which follows.


Recall that Samuel is a prophet and God communicated to him. I have had various thoughts about God’s communication to man and the recording of same. With Moses and probably with Joshua, I believe that almost every time God communicated with them, they took notes (if only mental ones) and later recorded it accurately, indicating that this was a direct communication from God. However, with Samuel, there appear to be times that God communicated with him where he did not write down the details. This example right here appears to be mentioned off-handedly, as in, oh, yeah, and God had said this to Samuel the day before. We will find the lives of Samuel and Saul intertwined throughout the remainder of this book, even after the death of Samuel. Saul looked good and he starts well, but eventually he will go far afield and Samuel will be there as his guide.

 

McGee comments on divine inspiration: The question is often asked, “Just how did God communicate in the Old Testament when it says, ‘The Lord spake?’ “ I think that when it says the Lord spake, He spoke. That is the way communication came. It came by words. It is the words of Scripture that are inspired, not the thoughts. We are given an inkling of how God communicated when it says, “Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear...” What I hear in my ears are words. That is the only thing that makes sense and that, of course, is what Samuel heard. Footnote


“As the time tomorrow I will send unto you a man from a land of Benjamin and you have anointed him for a prince over My people Israel and he has delivered My people from a hand of Philistines for I have seen My people for has come their cry unto Me.”

1Samuel

9:16

“About this time tomorrow, I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin and you will anoint him as crown-prince [or, king-designate] over My people Israel. He will deliver My people from the hand of the Philistines, for I have looked upon My people and [lit., and] their cry has come to Me.”

“About this time tomorrow, I will send to you a man from the territory of Benjamin and you will anoint him as the crown-prince over My people Israel. He will deliver My people from the aggression of the Philistines, for, when I looked down upon My people, their cry came up to Me.”


As we examine this, recall what was typical during the time of the judges: Israel will move away from God, often indulging in idolatry of one form or another. God would then get their attention by putting another country or people over them (now, this would be for portions of Israel, and not the entirety of the land). The Israelites would suffer under this slavery and cry out to God. God would hear them and send a deliverer. We are still in the period of the judges. Eli was the High Priest; Samuel was a judge (1Sam. 7:15 8:1, 7). Samuel was also a prophet (1Sam. 3:21 8:10–18). And Samuel had spiritual responsibilities which involved sacrifices to God on behalf of the people (1Sam. 9:12–13). So, what we have here is a repeat of the process which was a part of the time period of the judges. Now, since Samuel wore many hats, he was also a transitional figure, taking Israel from the period of the judges to the period of the monarchy when God spoke to Israel (and to the kings) through prophets. This is important to recognize, as there have been several instances of a transitional period in God’s plan. The most important to us is the book of Acts, which covers a transitional period of God placing the responsibility of the dissemination and preservation of His Word in the hands of the Church rather than under Israel’s responsibility. There were a great ma