1 Samuel 9:26-10:13

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As Samuel sends Saul and his servant on their way he takes Saul aside, sending the servant ahead. He anoints Saul and explains that God has chosen Saul to be over the people. Samuel gives Saul several prophecies for his trip home, and they all come true. God gives Saul another heart as he returns home, and Samuel says he will prophecy and be a new man while prophesying.


Samuel, Saul, Saul’s servant, the Lord, the people of the Lord, their surrounding enemies, two men at Zelzah, Saul’s father, three men near Bethel, a garrison of Philistines, a group of prophets, the Spirit of God, and all who knew Saul previously

Key Verse

1 Samuel 10:1 “Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head and kissed him and said, “Has not the Lord anointed you to be prince over his people Israel? And you shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their surrounding enemies. And this shall be the sign to you that the Lord has anointed you to be prince over his heritage.” (Followed by several signs that will occur as Saul returns home that do, indeed, occur.)

Cross References

1 Samuel 9:16-17 “Tomorrow about this time I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have seen my people, because their cry has come to me.” When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, “Here is the man of whom I spoke to you! He it is who shall restrain my people.””

1 Samuel 16:13 “Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed [David] in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.”

2 Samuel 2:4a “And the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah.”

1 Kings 1:34, 39 “And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel. Then blow the trumpet and say, ‘Long live King Solomon!’…There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet, and all the people said, “Long live King Solomon!””

2 Kings 9:1, 3, 6 “Then Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, “Tie up your garments, and take this flask of oil in your hand, and go to Ramoth-gilead…Then take the flask of oil and pour it on his head and say, ‘Thus says the Lord, I anoint you king over Israel.’ Then open the door and flee; do not linger.”…So he arose and went into the house. And the young man poured the oil on his head, saying to him, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, I anoint you king over the people of the Lord, over Israel.”

Psalm 2:10-12 “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Deuteronomy 32:9 “But the Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage.”

Psalm 78:70-72 “He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance. With upright heart he shepherded them and guided them with his skillful hand.”


God chooses Saul and David both as kings, shepherds, and leaders of Israel. But God is still the ultimate ruler. He is in charge of all things, sovereign. The way that these two lead obviously matters, as the last Psalm mentions David’s upright leading. We will come to see how both of them lead in the upcoming chapters.

Being anointed sets each of these apart as chosen by God. These are people chosen by God rather than by other men.

Jesus in the Old Testament

“The instructions consist of a two-part charge. First, as soon as the confirming signs are fulfilled, Saul is to “do what your hand finds to do,” assured that “God is with you” (10:7). In light of the context, it seems clear that Saul should attack the Philistine garrison mentioned in 10:5 (cf. Jonathan’s deed in 13:3) and thereby come to public attention as Israel’s new leader.”*

1 Samuel 13:3 “Jonathan defeated the garrison of the Philistines that was at Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying “Let the Hebrews hear.””

“Secondly, as the effect of such an action would be to anger Israel’s archenemies, the Philistines, and provoke a war, Saul is to rendezvous with Samuel, in order to receive further instruction from the Lord (10:8). How well Saul accommodates himself to this all-important authority structure whereby God continues to rule will be a key test of Saul’s fitness to be king in Israel.”*

As a leader in our work, in our family, in our church, or wherever we find ourselves leading it is all-important to rely on God’s instructions at all times.

“In the event, Saul fails to execute the first part of his charge, despite being “turned into another man” (10:6), or given “another heart” (10:9). Such language is not to be understood in New Testament terms as spiritual regeneration, but as a temporary alteration of Saul’s normal behavior, in order that all the signs might be fulfilled (10:9). To prophesy was so out of character for Saul that those who knew him were astonished (10:11-13). And they coined an expression for such situations: “Is Saul also [or, Is even Saul] among the prophets?” This saying will recur in 19:24, where the ironic contrast between outward appearance and inward reality will be obvious. The consistent call of the gospel is to focus not on outward appearance but on the true condition of the heart (cf. 16:7; Rom. 2:28; 2 Cor. 5:12).”*

1 Samuel 19:24 “And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”

Romans 2:28-29 “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”

2 Corinthians 5:12 “We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart.”

*Note: I am using the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible for the Jesus in the Old Testament section, so these are paraphrases and quotes from the commentary with my own ideas sprinkled in.

Thank you for reading. I am excited to hear your key verses, observations, and thoughts! Please take a moment to leave a comment to share them with us.

Next Week: 1 Samuel 10:14-27

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Author: Annie Liss

Currently a mother and a wife who loves reading. Formerly a middle school math teacher who kept too busy and stressed out to read. My husband and I are missionaries in Lebanon.

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