1 Samuel 9:20
And as for your asses that were lost three days ago, set not your mind on them; for they are found. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on you, and on all your father's house?
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1 Samuel 9:20. As for thine asses that were lost, &c. — This must have satisfied Saul that he was a prophet, as he hereby showed that he knew for what Saul came to him, though he had not told him. And on whom is all the desire of Israel? — That is, all Israel desire a king, and there is no one more fit for such an office than thyself. On all thy father’s house — That honour is designed for thee, and after thy death for thy family and posterity, if by thy sin thou dost not cut off the entail.9:18-27 Samuel, that good prophet, was so far from envying Saul, or bearing him any ill-will, that he was the first and most forward to do him honour. Both that evening and early the next morning, Samuel communed with Saul upon the flat roof of the house. We may suppose Samuel now convinced Saul that he was the person God had fixed upon for the government, and of his own willingness to resign. How different are the purposes of the Lord for us, from our intentions for ourselves! Perhaps Saul was the only one who ever went out to seek asses, and literally found a kingdom; but many have set out and moved their dwellings to seek riches and pleasures, who have been guided to places where they found salvation for their souls. Thus they have met with those who addressed them as if aware of the secrets of their lives and hearts, and have been led seriously to regard the word of the Lord. If this has been our case, though our worldly plans have not prospered, let us not care for that; the Lord has given us, or has prepared us for, what is far better.That he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines, etc. - These words are not very easily reconcileable with 1 Samuel 7:13. It is possible that the aggressive movements of the Philistines, after the long cessation indicated by 1 Samuel 7:13, coupled with Samuel's old age and consequent inability to lead them to victory as before, were among the chief causes which led to the cry for a king. If this were so the Philistine oppression glanced at in this verse might in a general survey be rather connected with Saul's times than with Samuel's. 20, 21. on whom is all the desire of Israel? Is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house?—This was a covert and indirect premonition of the royal dignity that awaited him; and, though Saul's answer shows that he fully understood it, he affected to doubt that the prophet was in earnest. Set not thy mind on them; trouble not thy mind about them.

On whom is all the desire of Israel? who is he that shall be that thing or person which all Israel desire to have, to wit, a king?

Is it not on thee, and on all thy father’s house? that honour is designed for thee, and, after thy death, for thy family or posterity, if by thy sin thou dost not cut off the entail. And as for thine asses that were lost three days ago,.... Which, according to Kimchi, is to be understood not of the time from whence they were lost, but to be reckoned from the time that Saul had been seeking of them; so the Targum,"as to the business of the asses, which are lost to thee, and thou art come to seek them today, these three days:''though it is probable enough that the same day they were lost Saul set out to seek them, Now Samuel telling him of the asses that were lost, and of the time of their being lost, or of his seeking them, so exactly, before ever he said a word to him about them, must at once convince him that he was a true prophet, and which must prepare him to give credit to all that he should hereafter say to him:

set not thy mind on them, for they are found; of the truth of which he could not doubt, after he had said the above words; and which he said to make his mind easy, that he might the more cheerfully attend the feast, and be the more willing to stay all night:

and on whom is all the desire of Israel? which was to have a king; in this they were unanimous, and who so fit and proper as Saul, it is intimated, whom Samuel knew God had chosen and appointed to be king over them?

is it not on thee, and on all thy father's house? not that the Israelites had their eye on Saul, and their desire after him to be their king, though he was such an one as they wished for; but that as this desire of theirs was granted, it would issue and terminate in him and his family; he should be advanced to the throne, which would be attended with the promotion of his father's house, as Abner particularly, who was his uncle's son, and was made the general of the army.

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

(l) Whom does Israel desire to be their king, but thee?

20. three days ago] Heb. “to-day three days” = “the day before yesterday,” according to the inclusive Hebrew reckoning.

set not thy mind on them] “Set not thy heart on them.” Be not anxious for them.

on whom is all the desire of Israel] Rather, For whom are all the desirable things of Israel? are they not for thee and for all thy father’s house? i.e. ‘Care not for these asses for they are found: and even if they were lost, what matter? is not the best that Israel has to give at thy service?’When they went into the town, Samuel met them on his way out to go to the high place of sacrifice. Before the meeting itself is described, the statement is introduced in 1 Samuel 9:15-17, that the day before Jehovah had foretold to Samuel that the man was coming to him whom he was to anoint as captain over his people. אזן גּלה, to open any one's ear, equivalent to reveal something to him (1 Samuel 20:12; 2 Samuel 7:27, etc.). אשׁלח, I will send thee, i.e., "I will so direct his way in my overruling providence, that he shall come to thee" (J. H. Mich. ). The words, "that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon my people, for their cry is come unto me," are not at all at variance with 1 Samuel 7:13. In that passage there is simply the assertion, that there was no more any permanent oppression on the part of the Philistines in the days of Samuel, such as had taken place before; but an attempt to recover their supremacy over Israel is not only not precluded, but is even indirectly affirmed (see the comm. on 1 Samuel 7:13). The words before us simply show that the Philistines had then begun to make a fresh attempt to contend for dominion over the Israelites. "I have looked upon my people:" this is to be explained like the similar passage in Exodus 2:25, "God looked upon the children of Israel," and Exodus 3:7, "I have looked upon the misery of my people." God's looking was not a quiet, inactive looking on, but an energetic look, which brought help in trouble. "Their cry is come unto me:" this is word for word the same as in Exodus 3:9. As the Philistines wanted to tread in the footsteps of the Egyptians, it was necessary that Jehovah should also send His people a deliverer from these new oppressors, by giving them a king. The reason here assigned for the establishment of a monarchy is by no means at variance with the displeasure which God had expressed to Samuel at the desire of the people for a king (1 Samuel 8:7.); since this displeasure had reference to the state of heart from which the desire had sprung.
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