Dave Burnette's Commentary

1 Samuel Chapter 10

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: Samuel Anoints Saul to be King (v 1-27)

1 Samuel 10 Commentary

(10:1) Saul is Anointed - When an Israelite king took office, he was not only crowned but anointed as well. The coronation was the political act of establishing the king as ruler; the anointing was the religious act of making the king God's representative to the people. A king was always anointed by a priest or prophet. The special anointing oil was a mixture of olive oil, myrrh, and other expensive spices. It was poured over the king's head to symbolize the presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God in his life. This anointing ceremony was to remind the king of his great responsibility to lead his people by God's wisdom and not his own.

(10:6) Saul Starts Well - How could Saul be so filled with the Spirit and yet later commit such evil acts? Throughout the Old Testament, God's Spirit "came upon" people temporarily so that God could use them for great acts. This happened frequently to Israel's judges when they were called by God to rescue the nation (Judges 3:8-10). This was not always a permanent, abiding influence but sometimes a temporary manifestation of the Holy Spirit. The Old Testament also records that, at times, the Spirit even came upon unbelievers to enable them to do unusual tasks (Numbers 24; 2 Chronicles 36:22-23). The Holy Spirit gave these people power to do what God asked, but he did not always produce the other fruits of the Spirit in them, such as self-control. Saul, in his early years as king, was a different person (1 Samuel 10:1-10) as a result of the Holy Spirit's work in him. As Saul's power grew, however, so did his pride. After a while, he refused to seek God, the Spirit left him (16:14), and he turned away from a life of obedience to God.

(10:10-11) God Wants Leaders to Instruct - A prophet is someone who speaks God's words. While God told many prophets to predict certain events, what he wanted most was for them to instruct and inspire people to live in faithfulness to him. When Saul's friends heard inspired words coming from Saul, they exclaimed, "Is Saul also among the prophets?" This was an expression of surprise at Saul's sudden enthusiastic devotion to God. It is equivalent to "What? Has he gone religious?"

(10:19) God Wants to Be Your King - God was Israel's true king, but the nation demanded another. Can you imagine wanting a human being instead of God as your guide and leader? Throughout history, men and women have rejected God, and they continue to do so today. Are you rejecting God by pushing him aside and acknowledging someone or something else as your "king" or your top priority? You may be living under a governing authority, but first and foremost you are under God as your king. Pay attention to these stories of Israel's kings so that you don't push God aside.

(10:20) Israel Seeks God for Their King - The Israelites chose their first king by casting lots, probably by using the Urim and Thummim, two plates or flat stones carried by the high priest. The fact that Saul was chosen may seem like luck, but it was really the opposite. Only the high priest could use the Urim and Thummim, which were designed to give only yes or no answers. God had instructed the Israelites to use the Urim and Thummim for the specific purpose of consulting him in times such as this (Exodus 28:30; Numbers 27:12-21). By using the Urim and Thummim, the Israelites were taking the decision out of their own hands and turning it over to God.

(10:22) Saul Was Afraid of Failure - When the Israelites assembled to choose a king, Saul already knew he was the one (10:1). Instead of coming forward, however, he hid among the stuff (baggage). Often we hide from important responsibilities because we are afraid of failure, afraid of what others will think, or perhaps unsure about how to proceed. Prepare now to step up to your future responsibilities. Count on God's provisions rather than your feelings of inadequacy.

(10:24) A Strange Choice to Be a King - Saul, who not long before had been a farmer searching for donkeys, was now king. Although he was tall, handsome, and wealthy, it seems surprising that he was God's first choice to be king, especially since he lacked any great spiritual heritage and was probably not a deeply religious man. But God does not always choose people according to human expectations. He may not even choose the person best qualified for the task but rather the one who will best fulfill his larger purpose. Sometimes this means choosing a poor leader to teach people a valuable lesson.

God may want to use you for a great work, or he may choose someone else who seems unfit. In either case, try to look for God's greater purpose.

(10:25) Israel's King Answers to God - Unlike kings of other nations, the kings of Israel had specific duties and regulations outlined for them (Deuteronomy 17:14-20). Pagan kings were considered gods; they made their own laws and answered to no one. By contrast, Israel's kings had to answer to a higher authority, the Lord of heaven and earth. The Israelites now had a king like everyone else, just as they wanted. But Samuel, in his charge to both the king and the people, wanted to make sure that the rule of Israel's king would be different from that of his pagan counterparts. "Laid it up before the Lord" means that Samuel put the book, as a witness to the agreement, in a special place at Mizpeh.

(10:26-27) Saul Overlooks the Critics - Some men became Saul's constant companions, while others ("the children of Belial") despised him. Criticism will always be directed toward those who lead because they are out in front. At this time, Saul took no notice of those who seemed to be against him, although later he would become consumed with jealousy (19:1-3; 26:17-21). As you lead, listen to constructive criticism, but don't spend valuable time and energy worrying about those who will always oppose you. Instead, focus your attention on those who are ready and willing to help, and choose your friends and advisers wisely.

(10:26) Saul Moves to Gibeah - Since Israel had no political capital at this time, Saul returned to Gibeah, his hometown, which eventually became the first capital of the united kingdom of Israel. Saul's move to Gibeah marked the first time that the political center of Israel was separated from the religious center. During this time, the religious center was in Ramah


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Pride Cometh Before a Fall

 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 10. In our text,  we see Samuel anointing Saul to be King, and the people accept Saul as King. What catches my eye today is how Saul was anointed and filled with the Spirit of God when taking this position. Saul later transitioned into His pride to a point where God's removed His Spirit from Him. In applying this to our lives, we see the principle of pride coming before a fall. We, too, are blessed by the Lord when we humble ourselves and abide in God's Word. It is His Spirit that provides our blessings. If we are not careful, we will follow the pattern of Saul, believing we did the work of God in our lives versus the truth of us receiving the blessings of God. How about you? Do you see yourself taking credit for God blessing your life? Let us learn from our text today and realize our benefits come from God, and Pride cometh before a fall.


1 Samuel 10

1 Samuel 10

 1Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?

 2When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel's sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?

 3Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:

 4And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands.

 5After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy:

 6And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.

 7And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee, that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.

 8And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal; and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings: seven days shalt thou tarry, till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.

 9And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel, God gave him another heart: and all those signs came to pass that day.

 10And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

 11And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?

 12And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?

 13And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place.

 14And Saul's uncle said unto him and to his servant, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses: and when we saw that they were no where, we came to Samuel.

 15And Saul's uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you.

 16And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.

 17And Samuel called the people together unto the LORD to Mizpeh;

 18And said unto the children of Israel, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I brought up Israel out of Egypt, and delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all kingdoms, and of them that oppressed you:

 19And ye have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a king over us. Now therefore present yourselves before the LORD by your tribes, and by your thousands.

 20And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken.

 21When he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families, the family of Matri was taken, and Saul the son of Kish was taken: and when they sought him, he could not be found.

 22Therefore they enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold he hath hid himself among the stuff.

 23And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.

 24And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, God save the king.

 25Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.

 26And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched.

 27But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought no presents. But he held his peace.