Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 9

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Samuel, Nathan, & Gad 
Date Penned: (931-975 BC)
Overview: Samuel, Israel's Last Judge (c 1-31)
Theme: Samuel and Saul (c 8-15)
Message: Saul Hunts for His Father's Donkeys (v 1-27)

1 Samuel 9 Commentary

(9:3-27. We may think that circumstances "just happen" to us, but as we learn from this story about Saul, God can use common occurrences to lead us. It is important to evaluate all situations as potential "divine appointments" designed to shape our lives. Think of all the good and bad circumstances that have affected you lately. Can you see God's purpose in them? Perhaps he is building a certain quality in you or leading you to serve him in a new area.

(9:3) Saul's father sent him on an important mission--to find their stray donkeys. Donkeys were all-purpose animals, the "pickup trucks" of the biblical world. Used for transportation, hauling, and farming, they were considered a necessity. Even the poorest of families probably owned one. To own many donkeys was a sign of wealth, and to lose them was a disaster. Saul's father was wealthy, and his many donkeys were evidence of that wealth.

(9:6) The city where the servant said the prophet lived was probably Ramah, where Samuel had moved after the Philistine battle near Shiloh (7:17). Saul's lack of knowledge about Samuel showed his ignorance of spiritual matters. Saul and Samuel even lived in the same territory (Benjamin). Saul may have been chosen by God as Israel's first king (9:15-16), but his lack of spiritual knowledge would plague him all his life.

(9:8-21) Saul looked pessimistically at his circumstances and did not realize the resources he now had with God's help. He was so intent on finding the lost animals that he did not understand that soon he would have all the wealth of Israel at his disposal. Remember that God sees you in light of your potential. The more you rely on him for strength, the more you will realize the potential that God sees in you and created you to fulfill. Don't let your past experiences or present pressures keep you from seeing yourself as God sees you and experiencing the new kind of life you can enjoy in light of his available resources.

(9:21) "Wherefore then speakest thou so to me?" Saul's outburst reveals a problem he would face repeatedly--feeling inferior. Like a leaf tossed about by the wind, Saul vacillated between his worries and his convictions. Everything he said and did was selfish because he was worried about himself. For example, Saul said his family was "the least" in the smallest tribe in Israel, but 9:1 says his father was "a mighty man of power." (The tribe of Benjamin was the smallest because they were nearly wiped out as punishment for their immorality--see Judges 19-21.) Saul didn't want to face the responsibility God had given him. Later, Saul kept some war plunder that he shouldn't have taken and then tried to blame his soldiers (1 Samuel 15:21), claiming that they had really taken it to sacrifice to God (15:15). Although Saul had been chosen by God and had a mission in life, he struggled constantly with jealousy, insecurity, arrogance, impulsiveness, and deceit. He did not decide to be wholeheartedly committed to God. Because Saul would not trust God to lead him fully, he never became the leader God wanted him to be.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Divine Appointments


Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter, making application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Today we continue in the book of 1st Samuel with Chapter 9. In our text, we see how God uses common occurrences to teach us life's lessons. We see this in our story with Saul, who has a "divine appointment" with God, which shapes his life. In applying, we see how God takes situations in our lives to place us in a position to serve and grow in the Lord. It reminds me of a flat tire we had on our trip to see a friend in the hospital. We broke down beside a gas station by a busy intersection where a man stayed to help travelers in need. He offered to fix our tire, and we were able to give him a Bible and share the Gospel with him. It was one of those "divine appointments," as we see Saul in our text today. How about you? Do you see the divine appointments he puts in your life each day? Let us learn from our text today to look for the divine appointments of our Lord.


1 Samuel 9

1 Samuel 9

 1Now there was a man of Benjamin, whose name was Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Bechorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a mighty man of power.

 2And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.

 3And the asses of Kish Saul's father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.

 4And he passed through mount Ephraim, and passed through the land of Shalisha, but they found them not: then they passed through the land of Shalim, and there they were not: and he passed through the land of the Benjamites, but they found them not.

 5And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.

 6And he said unto him, Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.

 7Then said Saul to his servant, But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? for the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?

 8And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.

 9(Beforetime in Israel, when a man went to enquire of God, thus he spake, Come, and let us go to the seer: for he that is now called a Prophet was beforetime called a Seer.)

 10Then said Saul to his servant, Well said; come, let us go. So they went unto the city where the man of God was.

 11And as they went up the hill to the city, they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?

 12And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place:

 13As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.

 14And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.

 15Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying,

 16To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.

 17And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.

 18Then Saul drew near to Samuel in the gate, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is.

 19And Samuel answered Saul, and said, I am the seer: go up before me unto the high place; for ye shall eat with me to day, and to morrow I will let thee go, and will tell thee all that is in thine heart.

 20And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago, set not thy mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house?

 21And Saul answered and said, Am not I a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin? wherefore then speakest thou so to me?

 22And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place among them that were bidden, which were about thirty persons.

 23And Samuel said unto the cook, Bring the portion which I gave thee, of which I said unto thee, Set it by thee.

 24And the cook took up the shoulder, and that which was upon it, and set it before Saul. And Samuel said, Behold that which is left! set it before thee, and eat: for unto this time hath it been kept for thee since I said, I have invited the people. So Saul did eat with Samuel that day.

 25And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house.

 26And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.

 27And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on before us, (and he passed on), but stand thou still a while, that I may shew thee the word of God.