Saul Chosen King
91 Now there was a man of Benjamin named Kish, the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror, the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah, a Benjamite, a man of wealth. 2 He had a son named Saul, a specially good-looking young man; there was no one better-looking among the children of Israel: he was taller by a head than any other of the people.
3 Now the asses of Saul's father Kish had gone wandering away. And Kish said to his son Saul, Take one of the servants with you, and get up and go in search of the asses. 4 So they went through the hill-country of Ephraim and through the land of Shalishah, but they saw no sign of them: then they went through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there: and they went through the land of the Benjamites, but they did not come across them. 5 And when they had come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, Come, let us go back, or my father may give up caring about the asses and be troubled about us. 6 But the servant said to him, See now, in this town there is a man of God, who is highly honoured, and everything he says comes true: let us go there now; it may be that he will give us directions about our journey. 7 Then Saul said to his servant, But if we go, what are we to take the man? all our bread is gone, and we have no offering to take to the man of God: what are we to do? 8 But the servant said in answer, I have here a fourth part of a shekel of silver: I will give that to the man of God, and he will give us directions about our way. 9 (In the past in Israel, when a man went to get directions from God, he said, Come let us go to the Seer, for he who now is named Prophet was in those days given the name of Seer.) 10 Then Saul said to his servant, You have said well; come, let us go. So they went to the town where the man of God was.
11 And when they were on the way up to the town, they saw some young girls going out to get water and said to them, Is the seer here? 12 And they said, He is; in fact he is before you: go quickly now, for he has come into the town today, for the people are making an offering in the high place today: 13 When you come into the town you will see him straight away, before he goes up to the high place for the feast: the people are waiting for his blessing before starting the feast, and after that the guests will take part in it. So go up now and you will see him. 14 So they went up to the town, and when they came inside the town, Samuel came face to face with them on his way to the high place. 15 Now the day before Saul came, the word of God had come to Samuel, saying, 16 Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and on him you are to put the holy oil, making him ruler over my people Israel, and he will make my people safe from the hands of the Philistines: for I have seen the sorrow of my people, whose cry has come up to me. 17 And when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, This is the man of whom I gave you word! he it is who is to have authority over my people.
18 Then Saul came up to Samuel in the doorway of the town and said, Give me directions, if you will be so good, to the house of the seer. 19 Then Samuel said to Saul, I am the seer; go up before me to the high place and take food with me today: and in the morning I will let you go, after opening to you all the secrets of your heart. 20 As for your asses which have been wandering for three days, give no thought to them, for they have come back. And for whom are all the desired things in Israel? are they not for you and your father's family? 21 And Saul said, Am I not a man of Benjamin, the smallest of all the tribes of Israel? and my family the least of the families of Benjamin? why then do you say these words to me? 22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant into the guest room, and made them take the chief place among all the guests who were there, about thirty persons. 23 And Samuel said to the cook, Give me that part which I gave you orders to keep by you. 24 And the cook took up the leg with the fat tail on it, and put it before Saul. And Samuel said, This is the part which has been kept for you: take it as your part of the feast; because it has been kept for you till the right time came and till the guests were present. So that day Saul took food with Samuel. 25 And when they had come down from the high place into the town, where a bed was made ready for Saul, he went to rest. 26 And about dawn Samuel said to Saul on the roof, Get up so that I may send you away. So Saul got up, and he and Samuel went out together. 27 And on their way down to the end of the town, Samuel said to Saul, Give your servant orders to go on in front of us, (so he went on,) but you keep here, so that I may give you the word of God.
101 Then Samuel took the bottle of oil, and put the oil on his head and gave him a kiss and said, Is not the Lord with the holy oil making you ruler over Israel, his people? and you will have authority over the people of the Lord, and you will make them safe from the hands of their attackers round about them, and this will be the sign for you: 2 When you have gone away from me today, you will see two men by the resting-place of Rachel's body, in the land of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, The asses which you went in search of have come back, and now your father, caring no longer for the asses, is troubled about you, saying, What am I to do about my son? 3 Then you are to go on from there, and when you come to the oak-tree of Tabor, you will see three men going up to God to Beth-el, one having with him three young goats and another three cakes of bread and another a skin full of wine: 4 They will say, Peace be with you, and will give you two cakes of bread, which you are to take from them. 5 After that you will come to Gibeah, the hill of God, where an armed force of the Philistines is stationed: and when you come to the town, you will see a band of prophets coming down from the high place with instruments of music before them; and they will be acting like prophets: 6 And the spirit of the Lord will come on you with power, and you will be acting like a prophet with them, and will be changed into another man. 7 And when these signs come to you, see that you take the chance which is offered you; for God is with you. 8 Then you are to go down before me to Gilgal, where I will come to you, for the offering of burned offerings and peace-offerings: go on waiting there for seven days till I come to you and make clear to you what you have to do.
9 And it came about, that when he went away from Samuel, God gave him a changed heart: and all those signs took place that day. 10 And when they came to Gibeah, a band of prophets came face to face with him; and the spirit of God came on him with power and he took his place among them as a prophet. 11 Now when Saul's old friends saw him among the band of prophets, the people said to one another, What has come to Saul, the son of Kish? Is even Saul among the prophets? 12 And one of the people of that place said in answer, And who is their father? So it became a common saying, Is even Saul among the prophets? 13 Then going away from the prophets, he came to the house. 14 And Saul's father's brother said to him and his servant, Where have you been? And he said, Searching for the asses: and when we saw no sign of them, we came to Samuel. 15 Then he said, And what did Samuel say to you? 16 And Saul, answering him, said, He gave us word that the asses had come back. But he said nothing to him of Samuel's words about the kingdom.
17 Then Samuel sent for the people to come together before the Lord at Mizpah; 18 And he said to the children of Israel, The Lord, the God of Israel, has said, I took Israel out of Egypt, and made you free from the hands of the Egyptians and from all the kingdoms which kept you down: 19 But today you are turned away from your God, who himself has been your saviour from all your troubles and sorrows; and you have said to him, Put a king over us. So now, take your places before the Lord by your tribes and by your thousands. 20 So Samuel made all the tribes of Israel come near, and the tribe of Benjamin was taken. 21 Then he made the tribe of Benjamin come near by families, and the family of the Matrites was taken: and from them, Saul, the son of Kish, was taken: but when they went in search of him he was nowhere to be seen. 22 So they put another question to the Lord, Is the man present here? And the answer of the Lord was, He is keeping himself from view among the goods. 23 So they went quickly and made him come out; and when he took his place among the people, he was taller by a head than any of the people. 24 And Samuel said to all the people, Do you see the man of the Lord's selection, how there is no other like him among all the people? And all the people with loud cries said, Long life to the king! 25 Then Samuel gave the people the laws of the kingdom, writing them in a book which he put in a safe place before the Lord. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. 26 And Saul went to Gibeah, to his house; and with him went the men of war whose hearts had been touched by God. 27 But certain good-for-nothing persons said, How is this man to be our saviour? And having no respect for him, they gave him no offering.
Saul Defeats the Ammonites
111 Then about a month after this, Nahash the Ammonite came up and put his forces in position for attacking Jabesh-gilead: and all the men of Jabesh said to Nahash, Make an agreement with us and we will be your servants. 2 And Nahash the Ammonite said to them, I will make an agreement with you on this condition, that all your right eyes are put out; so that I may make it a cause of shame to all Israel. 3 Then the responsible men of Jabesh said to him, Give us seven days, so that we may send men to every part of Israel: and then, if no one comes to our help, we will come out to you. 4 So they sent representatives to Saul's town Gibeah, and these gave the news to the people: and all the people gave themselves to weeping.
5 Now Saul came from the field, driving the oxen before him; and he said, Why are the people weeping? And they gave him word of what the men of Jabesh had said. 6 And at their words, the spirit of God came on Saul with power, and he became very angry. 7 And he took two oxen and, cutting them up, sent them through all the land of Israel by the hand of runners, saying, If any man does not come out after Saul and Samuel, this will be done to his oxen. And the fear of the Lord came on the people and they came out like one man. 8 And he had them numbered in Bezek: the children of Israel were three hundred thousand, and the men of Judah thirty thousand. 9 Then he said to the representatives who had come, Say to the men of Jabesh-gilead, Tomorrow, by the time the sun is high, you will be made safe. And the representatives came and gave the news to the men of Jabesh; and they were glad. 10 So the men of Jabesh said, Tomorrow we will come out to you, and you may do to us whatever seems good to you. 11 Now on the day after, Saul put the people into three bands, and in the morning watch they came to the tents of the Ammonites, and they went on attacking them till the heat of the day: and those who were not put to death were put to flight in every direction, so that no two of them were together.
12 And the people said to Samuel, Who was it who said, Is Saul to be our king? give the men up, so that we may put them to death. 13 And Saul said, Not a man is to be put to death today: for today the Lord has made Israel safe. 14 Then Samuel said to the people, Come, let us go to Gilgal and there make the kingdom strong in the hands of Saul. 15 So all the people went to Gilgal; and there in Gilgal they made Saul king before the Lord; and peace-offerings were offered before the Lord; and there Saul and all the men of Israel were glad with great joy.
Samuel's Address to the People
121 And Samuel said to all Israel, You see that I have given ear to everything you said to me, and have made a king over you. 2 And now, see, the king is before you: and I am old and grey-headed, and my sons are with you: I have been living before your eyes from my early days till now. 3 Here I am: give witness against me before the Lord and before the man on whom he has put the holy oil: whose ox or ass have I taken? to whom have I been untrue? who has been crushed down by me? from whose hand have I taken a price for the blinding of my eyes? I will give it all back to you. 4 And they said, You have never been untrue to us or cruel to us; you have taken nothing from any man. 5 Then he said, The Lord is witness against you, and the man on whom he has put the holy oil is witness this day that you have seen no wrong in me. And they said, He is witness.
6 And Samuel said to the people, The Lord is witness, who gave authority to Moses and Aaron, and who took your fathers up out of the land of Egypt. 7 Keep your places now, while I take up the argument with you before the Lord, and give you the story of the righteousness of the Lord, which he has made clear by his acts to you and to your fathers. 8 When Jacob and his sons had come into Egypt, and were crushed by the Egyptians, the prayers of your fathers came up to the Lord, and the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, who took your fathers out of Egypt, and he put them into this place. 9 But they were false to the Lord their God, and he gave them up into the hands of Sisera, captain of the army of Jabin, king of Hazor, and into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the king of Moab, who made war against them. 10 Then crying out to the Lord, they said, We have done evil, because we have been turned away from the Lord, worshipping the Baals and the Astartes: but now, make us safe from those who are against us and we will be your servants. 11 So the Lord sent Jerubbaal and Barak and Jephthah and Samuel and took you out of the power of those who were fighting against you on every side, and made you safe. 12 And when you saw that Nahash, the king of the Ammonites, was coming against you, you said to me, No more of this; we will have a king for our ruler: when the Lord your God was your king. 13 Here, then, is the king marked out by you: the Lord has put a king over you. 14 If in the fear of the Lord you are his servants, hearing his voice and not going against the orders of the Lord, but being true to the Lord your God, you and the king ruling over you, then all will be well: 15 But if you do not give ear to the voice of the Lord, but go against his orders, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and against your king for your destruction, as it was against your fathers.
16 Now keep where you are and see this great thing which the Lord will do before your eyes. 17 Is it not now the time of the grain cutting? My cry will go up to the Lord and he will send thunder and rain: so that you may see and be conscious of your great sin which you have done in the eyes of the Lord in desiring a king for yourselves. 18 So Samuel made prayer to the Lord; and the Lord sent thunder and rain that day: and all the people were in fear of the Lord and of Samuel. 19 And all the people said to Samuel, Make prayer for us to the Lord your God so that death may not overtake us: for in addition to all our sins we have done this evil, in desiring a king. 20 Then Samuel said to the people, Have no fear: truly you have done evil, but do not be turned away from the Lord; be his servants with all your heart; 21 And do not go from the right way turning to those false gods in which there is no profit and no salvation, for they are false. 22 For the Lord will not give his people up, because of the honour of his name; for it was the Lord's pleasure to make of you a people for himself. 23 And as for me, never will I go against the orders of the Lord by giving up my prayers for you: but I will go on teaching you the good and right way. 24 Only go in the fear of the Lord, and be his true servants with all your heart, keeping in mind what great things he has done for you. 25 But if you still do evil, destruction will overtake you and your king.