1 Samuel 10:21
When 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) The family of Matri was taken.—In none of the Benjamite genealogies connected with the royal house of Saul does this name occur. We cannot account for the omission. Ewald conjectures that the name Matri is a corruption from “Bikri” (see 1Chronicles 7:8).

1 Samuel 10:21. When they sought him, he could not be found — Having withdrawn himself, either out of feebleness of spirit, as some think, or rather out of modesty, he declined so high an authority unless imposed upon him. Or perhaps he was discouraged, and even affrighted, when he heard Samuel still representing God as offended with them for asking a king; which he might think was to reject his government.

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.The family of Matri - This name occurs nowhere else among the families of Benjamin, or in the genealogy of Saul. (See 1 Samuel 9:1 note.) 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. No text from Poole on this verse.

And when he had caused the tribe of Benjamin to come near by their families,.... By the heads of them, to have lots cast for them, out of which of the families the king should be chosen:

the family of Matri was taken; that is, by lot; the lot fell upon that family for the choice of a king out of them: in the account of the families of the tribe of Benjamin, 1 Chronicles 8:1 no mention is made of this family, nor any where else, and yet no doubt there was such a family, and Saul was of it; it seems to have its name from the butt or mark arrows were shot at; some of the Benjamites being famous for their skill in darting and slinging, and perhaps this family might be so:

and Saul the son of Kish was taken; the lot being cast upon the men in the family of Matri, though it is not expressed, fell upon Saul; for though he was not there, as Jarchi observes, the lot fell upon him; for their names were written on a piece of paper, and put into a box, and the prophet put in his hand and took out one, and on that was the name of Saul, and this was the manner of the lot:

and when they sought him, he could not be found; because he had hid himself, as in the next verse; it is very probable, and indeed plain, that he was in this assembly at the first opening of it; and knowing what Samuel had said and done to him, and perceiving in what way the lot was going concerning the same, the tribe of Benjamin being taken, he concluded how it would issue, and therefore left the assembly, and hid himself, as follows.

When 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. the family of Matri] The family of the Matrites is nowhere else mentioned. It has therefore been conjectured that we should read Bikrites, or descendants of Becher the son of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 7:6).

Saul the son of Kish was taken] The description of the process of casting lots is abridged. The family taken would be brought by houses, and the house taken then brought by persons. The Sept. inserts “and they bring the family of Mattari man by man,” which must be understood, as in Joshua 7:17, to mean the heads of houses only, not all the individuals of the family, which would be far too long a process. In this way Kish would be taken, and finally, when he brought his household forward man by man, Saul was taken.

he could not be found] Natural feelings of modesty and humility prompted Saul to hide himself. He knew already that he was the object of God’s choice, but he would not appear to court advancement, or in any way put himself forward for the royal dignity.

Verse 21. - The family of Matri, or of the Matrites. Matri is not mentioned anywhere else; and numerous as are the omissions in the genealogies, we can scarcely suppose that the name of the head of one of the main subdivisions of a tribe could be passed over. The conjecture, therefore, is probable that Matri is a corruption of Bikri, i.e. a descendant of Becher, for whom see 1 Chronicles 7:8. After the lot had fallen upon this family they would next cast lots upon its smaller subdivisions, as in Joshua 7:17, 18, until at last they came to households, when first Kish, and finally Saul was taken. The latter, foreseeing that this would happen, had concealed himself. For though a noble change had taken place in him (ver. 9), yet no really worthy man was ever promoted to high office without having to overcome his own unwillingness, and no one probably ever worthily discharged solemn duties without having felt oppressed and humbled with the consciousness of his own unfitness to undertake them. As a matter of fact, Saul was now called to a most weighty responsibility, and he failed and was rejected, though not without proving that he was a man of extraordinary genius and power. And it never can be said of him that presumption was the cause of his fall, or that he hastily undertook serious duties in the spirit of light-hearted levity. 1 Samuel 10:21After 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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