9 There was a Benjaminite man named Kish son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah of Benjamin. He was a prominent person. 2 He had a son named Saul, a handsome young man. There was no one among the Israelites more handsome than he was; he stood head and shoulders above all the people.
3 The donkeys of Saul’s father Kish wandered off, 1 so Kish said to his son Saul, “Take one of the servants with you and go 2 look for the donkeys.” 3 4 So Saul 4 crossed through the hill country of Ephraim, passing through the land of Shalisha, but they did not find them. So they crossed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then he crossed through the land of Benjamin, and still they did not find them.
5 When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come on, let’s head back before my father quits worrying about the donkeys and becomes anxious about us!” 6 But the servant said to him, “Look, there is a man of God in this town. He is highly respected. Everything that he says really happens. 5 Now let’s go there. Perhaps he will tell us where we should go from here.” 6 7 So Saul said to his servant, “All right, 7 we can go. But what can we bring the man, since the food in our bags is used up? We have no gift to take to the man of God. What do we have?” 8 The servant went on to answer Saul, “Look, I happen to have in my hand a quarter shekel 8 of silver. I will give it to the man of God and he will tell us where we should go.” 9 9 (Now it used to be in Israel that whenever someone went to inquire of God he would say, “Come on, let’s go to the seer.” For today’s prophet used to be called a seer.) 10 So Saul said to his servant, “That’s a good idea! 10 Come on. Let’s go.” So they went to the town where the man of God was.
11 As they were going up the ascent to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water. They said to them, “Is this where the seer is?” 12 They replied, “Yes, straight ahead! But hurry now, for he came to the town today, and the people are making a sacrifice at the high place. 13 When you enter the town, you can find him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people won’t eat until he arrives, for he must bless the sacrifice. Once that happens, those who have been invited will eat. Now go on up, for 11 this is the time when you can find him!”
14 So they went up to the town. As they were heading for the middle of the town, Samuel was coming in their direction 12 to go up to the high place. 15 Now the day before Saul arrived, the Lord had told 13 Samuel: 16 “At this time tomorrow I will send to you a man from the land of Benjamin. You must consecrate 14 him as a leader over my people Israel. He will save my people from the hand of the Philistines. For I have looked with favor on my people. Their cry has reached me!”
17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said, 15 “Here is the man that I told you about! He will rule over my people.” 18 As Saul approached Samuel in the middle of the gate, he said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.”
19 Samuel replied to Saul, “I am the seer! Go up in front of me to the high place! Today you will eat with me and in the morning I will send you away. I will tell you everything that you are thinking. 16 20 Don’t be concerned 17 about the donkeys that you lost three days ago, for they have been found. Whom does all Israel desire? Is it not you, and all your father’s family?” 18
21 Saul replied, “Am I not a Benjaminite, from the smallest of Israel’s tribes, and is not my family clan the smallest of all the tribes of Benjamin? Why do you speak to me in this way?”
22 Then Samuel brought 19 Saul and his servant into the room and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited. There were about thirty people present. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Give me the portion of meat that I gave to you – the one I asked you to keep with you.”
24 So the cook picked up the leg and brought it and set it in front of Saul. Samuel 20 said, “What was kept is now set before you! Eat, for it has been kept for you for this meeting time, from the time I said, ‘I have invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 When they came down from the high place to the town, Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof. 26 They got up at dawn and Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get up, so I can send you on your way.” So Saul got up and the two of them – he and Samuel – went outside. 27 While they were going down to the edge of town, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.” So he did. 21 Samuel then said, 22 “You remain here awhile, so I can inform you of God’s message.”
10 Then Samuel took a small container of olive oil and poured it on Saul’s 1 head. Samuel 2 kissed him and said, “The Lord has chosen you 3 to lead his people Israel! You will rule over the Lord’s people and you will deliver them from the power of the enemies who surround them. This will be your sign that the Lord has chosen 4 you as leader over his inheritance. 5 2 When you leave me today, you will find two men near Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah on Benjamin’s border. They will say to you, ‘The donkeys you have gone looking for have been found. Your father is no longer concerned about the donkeys but has become anxious about you two! 6 He is asking, “What should I do about my son?”’
3 “As you continue on from there, you will come to the tall tree of Tabor. At that point three men who are going up to God at Bethel 7 will meet you. One of them will be carrying three young goats, one of them will be carrying three round loaves of bread, and one of them will be carrying a container of wine. 4 They will ask you how you’re doing and will give you two loaves of bread. You will accept them. 5 Afterward you will go to Gibeah of God, where there are Philistine officials. 8 When you enter the town, you will meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place. They will have harps, tambourines, flutes, and lyres, and they will be prophesying. 6 Then the spirit of the Lord will rush upon you and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person.
7 “When these signs have taken place, do whatever your hand finds to do, for God will be with you. 9 8 You will go down to Gilgal before me. I am going to join you there to offer burnt offerings and to make peace offerings. You should wait for seven days, until I arrive and tell you what to do.”
9 As Saul 10 turned 11 to leave Samuel, God changed his inmost person. 12 All these signs happened on that very day. 10 When Saul and his servant 13 arrived at Gibeah, a company of prophets was coming out to meet him. Then the spirit of God rushed upon Saul 14 and he prophesied among them. 11 When everyone who had known him previously saw him prophesying with the prophets, the people all asked one another, “What on earth has happened to the son of Kish? Does even Saul belong with the prophets?”
12 A man who was from there replied, “And who is their father?” Therefore this became a proverb: “Is even Saul among the prophets?” 13 When Saul 15 had finished prophesying, he went to the high place.
14 Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant, “Where did you go?” Saul 16 replied, “To look for the donkeys. But when we realized they were lost, 17 we went to Samuel.” 15 Saul’s uncle said, “Tell me what Samuel said to you.” 18 16 Saul said to his uncle, “He assured us that the donkeys had been found.” But Saul 19 did not tell him what Samuel had said about the matter of kingship.
17 Then Samuel called the people together before the Lord at Mizpah. 18 He said to the Israelites, “This is what the Lord God of Israel says, ‘I brought Israel up from Egypt and I delivered you from the power 20 of the Egyptians and from the power of all the kingdoms that oppressed you. 19 But today you have rejected your God who saves you from all your trouble and distress. You have said, “No! 21 Appoint a king over us.” Now take your positions before the Lord by your tribes and by your clans.’”
20 Then Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel near, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21 Then he brought the tribe of Benjamin near by its families, and the family of Matri was chosen by lot. At last Saul son of Kish was chosen by lot. But when they looked for him, he was nowhere to be found. 22 So they inquired again of the Lord, “Has the man arrived here yet?” The Lord said, “He has hidden himself among the equipment.” 22
23 So they ran and brought him from there. When he took his position among the people, he stood head and shoulders above them all. 24 Then Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the one whom the Lord has chosen? Indeed, there is no one like him among all the people!” All the people shouted out, “Long live the king!”
25 Then Samuel talked to the people about how the kingship would work. 23 He wrote it all down on a scroll and set it before the Lord. Then Samuel sent all the people away to their homes. 26 Even Saul went to his home in Gibeah. With him went some brave men whose hearts God had touched. 27 But some wicked men 24 said, “How can this man save us?” They despised him and did not even bring him a gift. But Saul said nothing about it. 25
11 Nahash 2 the Ammonite marched 3 against Jabesh Gilead. All the men of Jabesh Gilead said to Nahash, “Make a treaty with us and we will serve you.”
2 But Nahash the Ammonite said to them, “The only way I will make a treaty with you is if you let me gouge out the right eye of every one of you and in so doing humiliate all Israel!”
3 The elders of Jabesh said to him, “Leave us alone for seven days so that we can send messengers throughout the territory of Israel. If there is no one who can deliver us, we will come out voluntarily to you.”
4 When the messengers went to Gibeah (where Saul lived) 4 and informed the people of these matters, all the people wept loudly. 5 5 Now Saul was walking behind the 6 oxen as he came from the field. Saul asked, “What has happened to the people? Why are they weeping?” So they told him about 7 the men of Jabesh.
6 The Spirit of God rushed upon Saul when he heard these words, and he became very angry. 7 He took a pair 8 of oxen and cut them up. Then he sent the pieces throughout the territory of Israel by the hand of messengers, who said, “Whoever does not go out after Saul and after Samuel should expect this to be done to his oxen!” Then the terror of the Lord fell on the people, and they went out as one army. 9 8 When Saul counted them at Bezek, the Israelites were 300,000 10 strong and the men of Judah numbered 30,000. 11
9 They said to the messengers who had come, “Here’s what you should say to the men of Jabesh Gilead: ‘Tomorrow deliverance will come to you when the sun is fully up.’” When the messengers went and told the men of Jabesh Gilead, they were happy. 10 The men of Jabesh said, “Tomorrow we will come out to you 12 and you can do with us whatever you wish.” 13
11 The next day Saul placed the people in three groups. They went to the Ammonite camp during the morning watch and struck them 14 down until the hottest part of the day. The survivors scattered; no two of them remained together.
12 Then the people said to Samuel, “Who were the ones asking, ‘Will Saul reign over us?’ Hand over those men so we may execute them!” 13 But Saul said, “No one will be killed on this day. For today the Lord has given Israel a victory!” 14 Samuel said to the people, “Come on! Let’s go to Gilgal and renew the kingship there.” 15 So all the people went to Gilgal, where 15 they established Saul as king in the Lord’s presence. They offered up peace offerings there in the Lord’s presence. Saul and all the Israelites were very happy.