Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see the man the Lord has chosen? There is no one like him among all the people.” Then the people shouted, “Long live the king!” (1 Samuel 10:24 NIV)
Chapters 9-11 form a neat trilogy of the rise of the king. Chapter 10 is the truly transformative stage of the process.
It’s one thing to be identified by God, it’s another to acknowledge that. When Saul and his servant went looking for his Dad’s donkeys he could never have guessed what was in store for him. His encounter with Samuel was life-changing to the fullest meaning of the term.
Following the outline of this episode is fascinating. Samuel taking Saul aside in private anoints him to be king. Such a monumental occasion taking place so discreetly is remarkable. What’s also intriguing is that this is a clear designation of what God expects from Saul – it’s his divine assignment.
Having commissioned him, Samuel then describes future events with such clarity and foresight it’s not as though he’s describing something that will happen, it’s as though it has already happened. Those activities in their specification are an unusual path to kingship – but each step on the journey verifies the commission he receives, especially the part where he is found in the company of the prophets.
Samuel saying that is one thing, but there is something intriguing mentioned when Saul leaves that remains so pivotal to the rise of the king. God changed Saul’s heart. That’s not doing something against Saul’s will, that’s persuading Saul to be in the place to see what had been spoken fulfilled. It’s not just the ears that have heard, it’s the heart that’s prepared. For whatever God commissions a man to do, He prepares the heart of the man for it.
What’s humorous about this, however, is how tight-lipped Saul remains on the matter. By the way things transpire, Saul doesn’t tell anyone about what Samuel said and did. That is to say the brand new king of Israel, now the most powerful man in the land kept it quiet even from his own relatives. Even to the point that when it came to time to present the new king, God had to tell the people where he was hiding! Despite the powerful signs and clear confirmation, Saul was not rushing for the spotlight. In as much as some can seek to avoid it, when God has commissioned you there will be no hiding place.
So at last, the people have what they asked for – here is there king. As the verse quoted above states, God has made an outstanding candidate His selection – something that inspires others to join him.
The episode in this chapter ends on a very interesting note. Just because Samuel has said this is the king, not everyone is pleased with the appointment. The level of discontent and dissent by some is audible. How will the king respond? It appears he’s not saying anything on the matter … for now …
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden