1 Samuel 9: Saul is chosen

Synopsis:

Saul, son of Kish a mighty Benjamite was sent by his father to find some asses that had been lost. He and a servant travelled through Ephraim, Salisha and Zuph but didn’t find them. The servant said – there is a man of God (a seer/prophet) who might be able to tell us. We can give him some silver as a gift. So they went to the city of Zuph and asked some maids where the seer was. They said – he is getting ready for a feast, but if you go now, you should be able to speak to him. So they found him and it was Samuel. Samuel said – I’ve been expecting you. You are to be the new king. Come with me to the feast and I will tell you all about it.

In other words: 

Samuel is told by God to name Saul king.

Favorite bit:

Saul’s dad’s name is Kish. Dunno why I like it. I just do. (1 Samuel 9:1)

2nd favorite bit:

That Samuel was waiting for Saul – as he knew he would be coming. (1 Samuel 9:15)

Interesting bit:

Saul is described, not only as a good man, but higher than any of the people – so he was apparently quite tall – most people’s heads only came up to his shoulders. (1 Samuel 9:2)


Moral Lesson Learned:

Be good and people will think highly of you. (1 Samuel 9)

1 Samuel 10: Saul is named King, but not everyone is happy

Synopsis:

As Saul goes to leave the city of Zuph, Samuel tells him to expect 3 signs. 1st, two men at Rachel’s sepulchre will tell you the asses are found. 2nd, at the plain of Tabor you will see 3 men going to sacrifice 3 lambs, 3 loaves of bread and some wine. They will give you 2 of the loaves. 3rd, you will come to the hill of God and prophets will descend from the hill and the spirit of the Lord will come over you and you will prophesy with them. This all came to pass. Everyone who knew Saul beforehand asked – is that the son of Kish? Is Saul now also among the prophets. Samuel calls the people together, tells them, you have rejected your God who had saved you of or Egypt and you have requested a king. Here he is. Saul was hiding, so they had to find him. Everyone could see him because he was taller than everyone else. It was written in the book that Saul was king and everyone went home, including Saul who went home to Gibeah. However, the children of Belial weren’t happy – how can this man save us.

In other words:

Saul is announced as king. The children of Belial doubt he can save them.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 10:12 – that – is Saul among the prophets became a well known proverb. It obviously isn't any more, but at the time this story was related, it was.

It figures:

1 Samuel 10:27 – that the children of Belial complain. There will always be some people you can’t make happy. They were like the trolls of their day.

 Moral Lesson Learned:

You can’t make everyone happy:  (1 Samuel 10:27)

1 Samuel 7: Samuel Judges Israel

Synopsis:

The men of Kirjathejearim get the Ark and put it in the house of Abinadab and Eleazor (his son, was sanctified to keep the Ark).  The Ark abode there for 20 years. Samuel spoke to Israel and told them, give up the other gods (Baal and Ashtaroth) and serve the Lord only. Gather everyone to Mizpeh and I will pray unto you.  So they did. This made the Philistine’s very nervous and they prepared for battle against Israel, but God thundered a great thunder and it scared the Philistines away. The Israelis went out and chased them until they came to Bethcar. The Philistines were subdued and Israel regained  their land and there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. Samuel would travel to all the cities of Israel, but his house was in Ramah.

In other words:

Samuel becomes the judge of Israel and they are able to defeat the Philistines and bring peace.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 7:10 – An as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them: and they were smitten before Israel.  (I imagine a large army camped and then a massive storm and flood hitting just this camp and scarying them all. A bad omen before a battle.)

2nd favorite bit:

1 Samuel 7:4 – Then the children of Israel did put away Baalim and Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only.  (Clearly, other god worship was still very common).

What’s confusing:

Why did they all rally around Samuel?  Was it because he could hear the voice of God in his head?  There were other prophets and men of God in the area that could do this and still, people continued to worship other gods.  It would be nice to know what caused people to follow him.  I suspect that it wasn't everyone, but that he was well regarded and so people were more inclined to follow him as a result.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Fair and impartial judges are essential to peace among people. (1 Samuel 7)

1 Samuel 8: Give us a King

Synopsis:

Samuel is old and he makes his sons Joel and Abiah Judges in Beersheba. His son’s however, aren’t honest and take bribes. So the people come to Samuel and tell him – we don’t want your sons to just us. We want a King. Samuel tells God this and God is a bit miffed. Tell them what will happen if I give them a King. So Samuel goes before everyone and says – look, you really don’t want a king. He will take your daughters and your harvest and set them to war. He will take a 10th of your wealth for himself and you will be his servants. If you have a King, god will not protect you. Nevertheless, the people want a King so they can be like other nations and have someone who will judge over them and fight their battles.

In other words:

People want a king. Samuel advises them against it, but the people are adamant.

What’s Interesting:

The realization that – this was a bit of a free democracy. They didn’t have rulers. They were free to decide for themselves whether to participate in a war or not. They didn’t have to pay to support a ruler. But, it had it’s downside in that they were at the mercy of judges who may be corrupt and they couldn’t organize well to fight off their enemies.

Favorite bit:

1 Samuel 8:17 – he will take a tenth of your sheep and you shall be his servants.

Least favorite bit:

That these people, in an attempt to avoid the corruption of Samuel’s sons, want a monarchy that will probably turn out just as corrupt. (1 Samuel 8:20).  It’s a bit depressing that people so willingly trade freedom for a false sense of security.

Moral Lesson Learned:

Monarchy’s are against the will of God. (1 Samuel 8)