Saul Anointed by Samuel
1 Samuel 10:1-13
Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said…

There is a remarkable minuteness of detail in this and other narratives in Samuel, suggesting the authenticity of the narrative, and the authorship of one who was personally connected with the transactions. Everything was planned to impress on Saul that his elevation to the royal dignity was not to be viewed by him as a mere piece of good fortune. Both Saul and the people must see the hand of God very plainly in Saul's elevation, and the king must enter on his duties with a profound sense of the supernatural influences through which he had been elevated, and his obligation to rule the people in the fear, and according to the will, of God. To be thus anointed by God's recognised servant, was to receive the approval of God Himself. Saul now became God's messiah — the Lord's anointed. For the term messiah, as applied to Christ, belongs to His kingly office. Though the priests likewise were anointed, the title derived from that act was not appropriated by them, but by the kings. It was counted a high and solemn dignity, making the king's person sacred, in the eyes of every God-fearing man. Yet this was not an indelible character; it might be forfeited by unfaithfulness and transgression. The only Messiah, the only Anointed One, who was incapable of being set aside, was He whom the kings of Israel typified. It is evident that Saul was surprised at the acts of Samuel. It was reasonable that Saul should be supplied with tangible proofs that in anointing him as king Samuel had complied with the will of God. These tangible proofs Samuel proceeded to give. We must try, first, to form some idea of Saul's state of mind in the midst of these strange events. The thought of being king of Israel must have set his whole being vibrating with high emotion. He was like a cloud surcharged with electricity; he was in that state of nervous excitement which craves a physical outlet, whether in singing, or shouting, or leaping, — anything to relieve the brain and nervous system, which seem to tremble and struggle under the extraordinary pressure. But mingling with these, there must have been another, and perhaps deeper, emotion at work in Saul's bosom. He had been brought into near contact with the Supernatural. The thought of the Infinite Power that ordains and governs all had been stirred very vividly within him. The three tokens of Divine ordination met with in succession at Rachel's tomb, in the plain of Tabor, and in the neighbourhood of Gibeah, must have impressed him very profoundly. Probably he had never had any very distinct impression of the great Supernatural Being before. It is always a solemn thing to feel in the presence of God, and to remember that He is searching us. At such times the sense of our guilt, feebleness, dependence, usually comes to us, full and strong. Must it not have been so with Saul? The whole susceptibilities of Saul were in a state of high excitement; the sense of the Divine presence was on him, and for the moment a desire, to render to God some acknowledgment of all the mercy which had come upon him. When therefore he met the company of prophets coming down the hill, he was impelled by the surge of his feelings to join their company and take part in their song. But it was an employment very different from what. had hitherto been his custom. That utter worldliness of mind which we have referred to us his natural disposition would have made him scorn any such employment in his ordinary mood as utterly alien to his feelings. Too often we see that worldly-minded men not only have no relish for spiritual exercises, but feel bitterly and scornfully towards those who affect them. The reason is not far to seek. They know that religious men count them guilty of sin, of great sin, in so neglecting the service of God. To be condemned, whether openly or not, galls their pride, and sets them to disparage those who have so low an opinion of them. It is not said that Saul had felt bitterly towards religious men previous to this time. But whether he did so or not, he appears to have kept aloof from them quite as much as if he had. And now in his own city he appears among the prophets, as if sharing their inspiration, and joining with them openly in the praises of God. It is so strange a sight that every one is astonished. "Saul among the prophets!" people exclaim, "Shall wonders ever cease?" And yet Saul was not in his right place among the prophets. Saul was like the stony ground seed in the parable of the sower. He had no depth of root. His enthusiasm on this occasion was the result of forces which did not work at the heart of his nature. It was the result of the new and most remarkable situation in which he found himself, not of any new principle of life, any principle that would involve a radical change. Ordination to the ministry, or to any other spiritual office, solemnises one at first, even though one may not, be truly converted, and nerves one with strength and resolution to throw off many an evil habit. But the solemn impression wanes with time, and the carnal nature asserts its claims. How earnest and how particular men ought ever to be in examining themselves whether their serious impressions are the effect of a true change of nature, or whether they are not mere temporary experiences, the casual result of external circumstances. Alas, Saul was like the young man also in the particular that made all the rest of little effect — "One thing thou lackest."

(W. G. Blaikie, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?

WEB: Then Samuel took the vial of oil, and poured it on his head, and kissed him, and said, "Isn't it that Yahweh has anointed you to be prince over his inheritance?

King Making
Top of Page
Top of Page