1 Samuel 10:20
And when Samuel had caused all the tribes of Israel to come near, the tribe of Benjamin was taken.
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(20) The tribe of Benjamin was taken.—How the “lots” were taken is not said; usually it was by throwing tablets (Joshua 18:6; Joshua 18:8), but sometimes by drawing from a vessel or urn, as in Numbers 33:54. The latter, from the Hebrew word used, was probably the method employed on this occasion.

1 Samuel 10:20. Benjamin was taken — Which tribe was now preferred before Judah, because the kingdom was freely promised by God to Judah, and was to be given to him in love; but now the kingdom was in a manner forced from God, and given them in anger, and therefore conferred upon an obscure tribe.

10:17-27 Samuel tells the people, Ye have this day rejected your God. So little fond was Saul now of that power, which soon after, when he possessed it, he could not think of parting with, that he hid himself. It is good to be conscious of our unworthiness and insufficiency for the services to which we are called; but men should not go into the contrary extreme, by refusing the employments to which the Lord and the church call them. The greater part of the people treated the matter with indifference. Saul modestly went home to his own house, but was attended by a band of men whose hearts God disposed to support his authority. If the heart bend at any time the right way, it is because He has touched it. One touch is enough when it is Divine. Others despised him. Thus differently are men affected to our exalted Redeemer. There is a remnant who submit to him, and follow him wherever he goes; they are those whose hearts God has touched, whom he has made willing. But there are others who despise him, who ask, How shall this man save us? They are offended in him, and they will be punished.Caused ... to come near ... was taken - The Hebrew phrases are exactly the same as in Joshua 7:16-17, where the King James Version renders the first has "brought."17-25. Samuel called the people together … at Mizpeh—a shaft-like hill near Hebron, five hundred feet in height. The national assemblies of the Israelites were held there. A day having been appointed for the election of a king, Samuel, after having charged the people with a rejection of God's institution and a superseding of it by one of their own, proceeded to the nomination of the new monarch. As it was of the utmost importance that the appointment should be under the divine direction and control, the determination was made by the miraculous lot, tribes, families, and individuals being successively passed until Saul was found. His concealment of himself must have been the result either of innate modesty, or a sudden nervous excitement under the circumstances. When dragged into view, he was seen to possess all those corporeal advantages which a rude people desiderate in their sovereigns; and the exhibition of which gained for the prince the favorable opinion of Samuel also. In the midst of the national enthusiasm, however, the prophet's deep piety and genuine patriotism took care to explain "the manner of the kingdom," that is, the royal rights and privileges, together with the limitations to which they were to be subjected; and in order that the constitution might be ratified with all due solemnity, the charter of this constitutional monarchy was recorded and laid up "before the Lord," that is, deposited in the custody of the priests, along with the most sacred archives of the nation. To come near unto the place appointed for the casting of lots. This tribe was now preferred before Judah, because the kingdom was freely promised by God to Judah, and was to be given to him in love; but now the kingdom was in a manner forced from God, and given to them in anger, Hosea 13:11, and therefore conferred upon an obscure tribe.

And when Samuel had caused all the tribes to come near,.... The heads and representatives of them, to the place where the lots were cast:

the tribe of Benjamin was taken; the lot fell upon that tribe for the choice of a king out of it; not the tribe of, Reuben, who was the firstborn, nor the tribe of Judah, to whom the kingdom was promised, but the tribe of Benjamin, the least of all the tribes, and which sprung from the youngest son of Jacob, contrary, as it were probable, to the expectation of all.

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

(h) That is, by casting of lot.

20. We are not told expressly by what process the selection was made, but it was probably by casting lots. Compare Joshua 7:14 ff. The lot was in common use among all nations of antiquity. It is regarded in Scripture not as a chance decision, but as a legitimate method of ascertaining the divine will (Proverbs 16:33). We read of its being used—

(1) To select an attacking force (Jdg 20:9-10).

(2) For the allotment of conquered territory or spoil (Joshua 18:10; cp. Joel 3:3).

(3) To detect criminals (Joshua 7:14; 1 Samuel 14:42).

(4) For the choice of officers, &c. (1 Chronicles 24:5; Luke 1:9; Acts 1:26).

(5) For the selection of the scape-goat (Leviticus 16:8; Leviticus 16:10).

(6) For the settlement of disputes generally (Proverbs 18:18).

1 Samuel 10:20After this warning, Samuel directed the assembled Israelites to come before Jehovah (i.e., before the altar of Jehovah which stood at Mizpeh, according to 1 Samuel 7:9) according to their tribes and families (alaphim: see at Numbers 1:16); "and there was taken (by lot) the tribe of Benjamin." הלּכד, lit. to be snatched out by Jehovah, namely, through the lot (see Joshua 7:14, Joshua 7:16). He then directed the tribe of Benjamin to draw near according to its families, i.e., he directed the heads of the families of this tribe to come before the altar of the Lord and draw lots; and the family of Matri was taken. Lastly, when the heads of the households in this family came, and after that the different individuals in the household which had been taken, the lot fell upon Saul the son of Kish. In the words, "Saul the son of Kish was taken," the historian proceeds at once to the final result of the casting of the lots, without describing the intermediate steps any further.

(Note: It is true the Septuagint introduces the words καὶ προσάγουσι τὴν φυλὴν Ματταρὶ εἰς ἄνδρας before ויּלּכד, and this clause is also found in a very recent Hebrew MS (viz., 451 in Kennicott's dissert. gener. p. 491). But it is very evident that these words did not form an integral part of the original text, as Thenius supposes, but were nothing more than an interpolation of the Sept. translators, from the simple fact that they do not fill up the supposed gap at all completely, but only in a very partial and in fact a very mistaken manner; for the family of Matri could not come to the lot εἰς ἄνδρας (man by man), but only κατ ̓ οἴκους (by households: Joshua 7:14). Before the household (beth-aboth, father's house) of Saul could be taken, it was necessary that the גּברים (ἄνδρες), i.e., the different heads of households, should be brought; and it was not till then that Kish, or his son Saul, could be singled out as the appointed of the Lord. Neither the author of the gloss in the lxx, nor the modern defender of the gloss, has thought of this.)

When the lot fell upon Saul, they sought him, and he could not be found.

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