1 Samuel 9:8
And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) The fourth part of a shekel of silver.—“Probably this shekel of silver was roughly stamped, and divided into four quarters by a cross, and broken when needed. What was its proportionate value in Samuel’s days we cannot tell, for silver then was rare.”—Dean Payne Smith.

9:1-10 Saul readily went to seek his father's asses. His obedience to his father was praise-worthy. His servant proposed, that since they were now at Ramah, they should call on Samuel, and take his advice. Wherever we are, we should use our opportunities of acquainting ourselves with those who are wise and good. Many will consult a man of God, if he comes in their way, that would not go a step out of their way to get wisdom. We sensibly feel worldly losses, and bestow much pains to make them up; but how little do we attempt, and how soon are we weary, in seeking the salvation of our souls! If ministers could tell men how to secure their property, or to get wealth, they would be more consulted and honoured than they now are, though employed in teaching them how to escape eternal misery, and to obtain eternal life. Most people would rather be told their fortune than their duty. Samuel needed not their money, nor would he have denied his advice, if they had not brought it; but they gave it to him as a token of respect, and of the value they put upon his office, and according to the general usage of those times, always to bring a present to those in authority.The fourth part of a shekel - In value about sixpence. Probably the shekel, like our early English silver coins, was divided into four quarters by a cross, and actually subdivided, when required, into half and quarter shekels. 8. the fourth part of a shekel of silver—rather more than sixpence. Contrary to our Western notions, money is in the East the most acceptable form in which a present can be made to a man of rank. The fourth part of a shekel of silver was near a groat; which, though now it may seem a contemptible gift, yet in those ancient times it was certainly of far more worth, and better accepted than now it would be, when the covetousness, and pride, and luxury of men have raised their expectations and desires to far greater things. And the servant answered Saul again, and said,.... As he had answered him before, when Saul proposed to return home, by telling him there was an honourable man of God in the city near at hand, that might possibly be able to direct them which way they should go to find the asses: so he answers him again with respect to the present it was proper to carry with them, and what he had in his hands to make:

behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: a "zuze" of silver, as the Targum, four of which made a shekel, about seven pence halfpenny of our money, and scarce so much:

that will I give to the man of God to tell us our way; that they should go to find the asses: which he would give him very freely for that purpose: both Saul and his servant must entertain a mean opinion of prophets, and men of God, and especially of so great a man as Samuel, that he should be employed at any time in directing persons in such cases, and take money for so doing, and so small a gratuity as this before mentioned; though it seems as if, at some times, something of this kind was done by prophets, and men of God, which might be permitted to keep the people from going to diviners and soothsayers.

And the servant answered Saul again, and said, Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a {e} shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.

(e) Which is about five pence, read Ge 23:15.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. the fourth part of a shekel of silver] Worth rather more than sixpence according to the present price of silver: but we have no clue to its real value in the time of Samuel.

that will I give] Sept. “And thou Shalt give it;” certainly a more natural reading, as the present would be made by the master.Verse 8. - The fourth part of a shekel. Apparently the shekel, roughly stamped, was divided into four quarters by a cross, and broken when needed. What was its proportionate value in Samuel's days we cannot tell, for silver was rare; but in size it would be somewhat bigger than a sixpence, and would be a very large fee, while the bread would have been a small one. It very well marks the eagerness of the servant that he is ready to part with the considerable sum of money in his possession in order to consult the seer. The whole conversation is given in a very lively and natural manner. Saul searches for his father's asses. - 1 Samuel 9:1, 1 Samuel 9:2. The elaborate genealogy of the Benjaminite Kish, and the minute description of the figure of his son Saul, are intended to indicate at the very outset the importance to which Saul attained in relation to the people of Israel, Kish was the son of Abiel: this is in harmony with 1 Samuel 14:51. But when, on the other hand, it is stated in 1 Chronicles 8:33; 1 Chronicles 9:39, that Ner begat Kish, the difference may be reconciled in the simplest manner, on the assumption that the Ner mentioned there is not the father, but the grandfather, or a still more remote ancestor of Kish, as the intervening members are frequently passed over in the genealogies. The other ancestors of Kish are never mentioned again. חיל גּבּור refers to Kish, and signifies not a brave man, but a man of property, as in Ruth 2:1. This son Saul (i.e., "prayed for:" for this meaning of the word, comp. 1 Samuel 1:17, 1 Samuel 1:27) was "young and beautiful." It is true that even at that time Saul had a son grown up (viz., Jonathan), according to 1 Samuel 13:2; but still, in contrast with his father, he was "a young man," i.e., in the full vigour of youth, probably about forty or forty-five years old. There is no necessity, therefore, to follow the Vulgate rendering electus. No one equalled him in beauty. "From his shoulder upwards he was higher than any of the people." Such a figure as this was well adapted to commend him to the people as their king (cf. 1 Samuel 10:24), since size and beauty were highly valued in rulers, as signs of manly strength (see Herod. iii. 20, vii. 187; Aristot. Polit. iv. c. 24).
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