Page images

However, the prophet led him unto the feast, || and the third will follow them, carrying a bota and made him sit down, him and his servant | tle of wine. These men will salute thee, and that followed bim, above the other guests that speak kindly to thee, and will give thee two were invited, which were seventy in oumber.* of their loaves, which thou shalt accept and And he gave order to the servants to set the thence thou shalt come to a place called Raz royal portion before Saul. But when the chel's Monument, where thou shalt meet with time of going to bed was come the rest rose those that will tell thee thy asses are foubd : up, and every one of them went home; but after this, when thou comest to Gabatha, thop Saul and his servant stayed with the prophet, shalt overtake a company of prophets, and and slept with him.

thou shalt be seized with the Divine Spirit; As soon as it was day, Samuel raised up and prophesy along with them, till everyone Saul out of his bed, and conducted himn home- that sees thee shall be astonished, and wonward : and when he was out of the city, heder, and say, Whence is it that the son of desired him to cause his servant to go before,+ | Kish has arrived at this degree of happiness? but to stay behind himself, for that he had | And when these signs have happened to thee, somewhat to say to him, when nobody else know that God is with thee; then do thou'sal was present. Accordingly Saul sent away his late thy father, and thy kindred. Thou shalt servant that followed him. Then the pro- also come when I send for thee to Gilgal, that phet took a vessel of oil, and poured it upon we may offer thank-offerings to God for these the head of the young man, § and kissed him, blessings.” When Samuel had said this, the

and said, “ Be thou a king, by the ordination sent the young man away: and all things fell of God, against the Philistines, and for aveng-1 out to Saul according to the prophecy of ing the Hebrews for what they have suffered Samuel. by them. Of this thou shalt have a sign which But as soon as Saul came into the house of I would bave thee notice: As soon as thou art bis kinsman Abder, he was asked by him condeparted hence, thou wilt find three men upon cerning his journey, and what accidents had the road, going to worship the God of Bethel : | happened to him therein : and he concealed the first thou wilt see carrying three loaves of none of the other things from him, no, not bis bread; the second carrying a kid of the goats; coming to Samuel the prophet, nor how he

* It seems not improbable, that these 70 guests of Sa- symbol of conveying a regal authority, we are no where muel, as here and in the Septuagint, with himself at the informed. It is true, that God directed Moses to conse. head of them, were a Jewish Sanhedrim, and that hereby I crate Aaron to the high-priest's office, by: anointing his Samuel intimated to Saul, that these 71 'were to be his head with oil, Exod. xxix. 7. But the anointing of kings, .constant counsellors, and that he was not to act like a sole we may presume, was of a prior date. Unction, indeed, monarch, but with the advice and direction of these 71 in the days of«Jacob, was the common method of setting members of that Jewish Sanhedrim upon all occasions, apart from common use even things animate, „Genesis which yet we never read that he consulted afterwards. xxviii. 18. and therefore it may well be supposed that

+ This was with design to' let Saul understand, that persons of such designation, as kings were, were all along what he was going to do was by the Divine order and ap- admitted by the same ceremuny, which might be lof Die pointment; and that when it should come to the casting vine appointment, perbaps at the first institution of goof lots, as it did afterwards, 1 Sam. x. 20. he might per-vernment, in the antediluvian world, and thence handed ceive that he was not .chosen king by chance of a lot. down, by a long tradition, to future generations. This There might be likewise this further reason for Samuel's || rite of unction, in short, was so much the Divine care, bidding Saul to send away his servants, viz. Jest the peo. that we find God giving Moses a prescription how to make ple suspecting Samuel to du this by his own will, more the consecrated oil, Exod. xxx. 23. But though Solomon ihan by God's appointment, might be inclined to mutiny. was anointed with the oil taken from the tabernacle, yet Since ihis royal unction, ihen, was only designed for Saul's since Samuel was no priest, and could not therefore have private satisfaction, it was necessary not to have it pub- any access to the tabernacle, which at this time was at lished before the people had proceeded to a.public elec some distance from bim, it is more reasonable to think, tjon ottheir king. Howell's Hist, in the notes. B. though some Jewish doctors will have it otherwise, that * 1 Sam. ix. 27.

what he made use of, upon this occasion, was no more than § We read of no express command for the anointing of common oil. Patrick's Comment. B. kings, and yet it is plain from the parable of Jotham, ll An instance of this Divine fury we have after this in Judg. ix.8, that this was a custom two hundred years before Saul, 1 Sam, xi. 6. See the like, Judg. iii. 10, vi. 34. xi. this time Why oil, rather than any other liquid, was the 29. xiii, 25. xiv. 6.


[ocr errors]

told hin' thelasses were found; but he said || over himself, and of modesty, that while the nothing about the kingdom, and*'what belong- greatest part are not able to contain their joy, ed thereto which he thought would procure even in the gaining of small advantages, but bím envy, and when such things are heard presently shew them publicly to all men; this they are not easily believed. Nor did he think man did not only evince nothing of thatinait prudent to tell those things to bim, although ture, when he was appointed to be lord over so be appeared very friendly, and one whom he many and so great tribes, but crept away, and loved above the rest of his relations, consider-concealed himself from those he was to reign ing, I suppose, what human nature really is; over, and made them seek him with a good that no one is a firm friend, neither among deal of trouble. So when the people were at our intimates, nor of our kindred ; nor do they | a loss, and solicitous, because Saul disappear: preserve that kind disposition when God ad- || ed ; the prophet besought God to shew where vances men to great prosperity, but they are the young man was, and to produce him bestill ill-natured and envious at those that are in fore them. So when they had learned the eminent stations.

place where Saul was hidden, they sent men Then Samúel called the people together to to bring him ; and when he was come, they the city Mispeh ; and spake to them by the set him in the midst of the multitude. Now command of God in the words following: 1 was hé taller than all of them, and his stature

.“ When God had granted you a state of li was very majestic. berty, and brought your enemies into subjec Then said the prophet, “God gives you this tion, you became unwindful of his benefits, man to be your king. See how he is higher and rejected him, that he should not be your than all the people, and worthy of this doking ; not considering that it would be most minion.t. So as soon as the people had made for your advantage to be presided over by the acclamation, "

“God save the king," the proBest of beings ; for God is the best of beings : || phet wrote down what would come to pass, but

you choose to have a man for your king: in a book, and read it in the hearing of the though kings will use their subjects as beasts, kióg, and laid by the book in the tabernacle according to the violence of their own wills of God's to be a witness to future generationsand inclinations, as wholly carried away with of what he had foretold. So when Samuel the last of power : but will not endeavor so bad finished this matter, he dismissed the to preserve the race of mankind, as their own multitude : and came himself to the city Ra. workmanship and creation ; which, for that mah, in his own country.": Saut also went to very reason, God would take care of. Since, Gibeab, where he was born : and many good however, you have come to a fixed resolution, men there were who paid him the respect and this injurious treatment of God has quite that was due to him ; but the greater part prevailed over you, dispose yourselves by your were ill men, who despised him and derided tribes, and cast lots."

the others; who neither brought him presents, When the Hebrews had so done, the lot fell || nor attempted in affection, or even in words, upon the tribe of Benjamin; and when the lot to please him. was cast for the families of this tribe, that which was called Matri was taken ; and when the lot

CHAP. V. was cast for the single persons of that family, Saul the son of Kish was taken for their king.


MONITES, AND HIS SIGNAL VICTORY OVER THEM. When the youńg man knew this, be prevented their sending for him, and immediately A had with Nahash, king of the Ammouites,

FTER one month, the war which Saul went away and hid himself. I suppose it was because he would not have it thought that he obtained him respect from all the people. For willingly took the government upon him. this Nahash had done a great deal of mischief Nay he shewed such a degree of command to the Jews, that lived beyond Jordan; by the

* 1 Sam. x. 16.

it. I Sam. X. 24.


expedition he had made against them, with a Nahash, contemning the multitude of the great and warlike army. He also reduced Gileadites, and the answer they gave, allow their cities into slavery, and that not only by ed them a respite, and gave them leave to. subduing them for the present, which he did send to whomsoever they pleased for assist by force and violence; but weakening them ance. So they immediately sent to the by subtilty and cunning, that they might not Israelites, city by city; and informed them be able afterward to get clear of their slavery; what Nahash had threatened to do, and what for he put out the right * eyes of those that great distress they were in.

Now the people either delivered themselves to him upon fell into tears and grief, at the hearing of what terms, or were taken by him in war; and the ambassadors from Jabesh said; and the this he did that when their left eyes were co terror they were in permitted them to do novered with their shields, they might be wholly thing more. But when the messengers were useless in war. Now when the king of the come to the city of king Saul, and declared Ammonites had served those beyond Jordan the danger in which the inhabitants of Jabesha in this manner, he led his army against those were, the people were in the same affliction that were called Gileadites; and having as those in the other cities : for they lamented pitched his camp at the metropolis of his ene- the calamity of those related to them. And mies, which was the city Jabesh, he sent am- when Saul was returned from his husbandry, bassadors to them, cominanding them either into the city, he found his fellow citizens to deliver themselves up, on condition to have weeping ; and when, upon inquiry, he had their right eyes plucked out: or to undergo a learned the cause of the confusion and sadness siege, and to have their cities overthrown. they were in, he was seized with a divine fury, He gave them their choice whether they and sent away the ambassadors from the inbawould cut off a small member of their body, bitants of Jabesh, promising to come to their or universally perish. However, the Gileadites assistance on the third day, and to beat their were so affrighted at these offers, that they enemies before sun-rising that the sun, upon had not courage to say any thing to either of its rising, might see that they had already conthem : neither that they would deliver them- quered, and were freed from the fears they selves up, nor that they would fight him. were under. But he bade some of them But they desired that he would give them remain, to conduct him the right way to seven days' respite,f that they might send Jabesh. ambassadors to their countrymen, and entreat So being desirous to excite the people to assistance : and if they came to assist them. this war against the Ammonites, by fear of they would fight: but if that assistance were the losses they should otherwise undergo; and impossible to be obtained, they would deliver that they might the more suddenly be gatherthemselves up to suffer whatever he pleased ed together; he cut the sinews of his oxen, to inflict on them.§

and threatened to do the same to all such as

* Take here Theodoret's note, cited by Dr. Hulson; vice, or acquiring the tribute for him, which he expected He that exposes his shield to the enemy with his left from them. Calmet's Comment. B. hand thereby hides bis left eye, and looks at the enemy | It may seem a little strange, that this barbarous with bis right eye. He, therefore, that plucks out that prince should be willing to allow the Jabeshites the reright eye, makes men useless in war."

spite of seven days; but Josephus 'assigns this reason for + The reason why Nahash was for having their right | it

, viz. that he had so mean an opinion of the people, that eye put out, was not only to bring a reproach upon Israel, he made no difficulty to comply with their request

. Saul, as himself declares, but to disable them likewise from indeed, had been appointed king ; but having not as yet serving in war ; for, as the manner of fighting in those | taken upon him the government, he lived, just as he did days was chiefly with bow and arrow, sword and shield, before, in a private condition, 1 Sam. xi. 5. So that had be, the loss of the right eye made them incapable of either, upon this notice, endeavored to levy an army, he could because, in combat, the left eye is covered with the shield, not think it possible to be done in so short a space as seven and, in shooting with the bow, it is usual to wink with it; | days; and therefore be thought he might grant them these so that depriving them of their right eye made them use-conditions without any danger, and without driving them less in war : and yet this barbarous king thought it not to desperation, as he might have done, had he denied them proper to put out both their eyes; for then he would their request. Patrick's Comment. B.have made them utterly incapable of doing him the ser § 1 Sam. xi. 3.


did not come with their armor to Jordan the then of a friendly disposition, and to betake next day, and follow him and Samuel the themselves to feasting. prophet, whithersoever they should lead them. When Samuel had told them that they ought So they came together, out of fear of the to confirm the kingdom to Saul by a second losses they were threatened with, at the ap- ordination of him, they all came together to pointed time. And the multitude were num- | the city, Gilgal; for thither did he command bered at the city Bezek. And he found the them to come.t So the prophet anointed number of those that were gathered together, Saul with the holy oil, in sight of the multibesides that of the tribe of Judah, to be seven tude, and declared him to be king the second hundred thousand; while those of that tribe time. And so the government of the Hewere seventy thousand. So be passed over brews was changed into a regal government. Jordan, and proceeded in marching all that For in the days of Moses, and his disciple Joight, thirty furlongs; and came to Jabesh shua, who was their general, they continued before sun-rising. So he divided the army under an aristocracy. But after the death of into three companies, and fell upon their ene- Joshua, for eighteen 5 years in all, the multimies suddenly and unexpectedly on every tude had no settled form of government, but side; and joining battle with them, they slew were in an anarchy. After which they returna great many of the Ammonites, together with ed to their former government ; they then their king Nahash. This glorious action was permitting themselves to be judged by him performed by Saul, and was related with great who appeared to be the best warrior and commendation of him to all the Hebrews : most courageous : whence it was that they and he thence gained a wonderful reputation called this interval of their government the for his valor. For although there were some Judges. that contemned him before, they now.changed

Then did Samuel call another assembly their minds, and honored and esteemed him also, and said to them, “I solemnly adjure as the best of men. For he did not content you by God Almighty, who brought those exhimself with having merely saved the inhabit- cellent brethren, I mean Moses and Aaron, ants of Jabesh ; but he made an expedition into the world ; and delivered our fathers from into the country of the Ammonites, and laid the Egyptians, and from the slavery they enit all waste, and took a large prey, and then dured under them; that you will not speak returned to his own country triumphantly. what you say to gratify me, nor suppress any So the people were greatly pleased at these thing out of fear of me, nor be overborne by any excellent performances of Saul, and rejoiced other passion ; but say, what have I ever done that they had constituted him their king. that was cruel or unjust? or what have I done They also made a clamor against those who out of lucre, or covetousness, or to gratify pretended he would be of no advantage to others ? Bear witness against me if I have their affairs : and they said, “Where now are taken an ox, or a sheep, or any such thing : these men ? : let them be brought to punish- which yet, when they are taken to support ment : * with all the like things that multi-men, it is esteemed blameless. Or have I tudes usually say, when elevated with prospe- taken an ass for mine own use, of any one, to rity, against those that lately had despised the his grief? Lay some one such crime to my authors of it. , But Saul, although he took the charge, now we are in your king's presence. good will and the affection of these men very But they unanimously exclaimed, that no such kindly, yet did he swear that he would not thing had been done by him; but that he had see any of his countrymen slain that day: | presided over the nation, after a holy and since it was absurd to mix this victory which righteous manner. God had given them, with the slaughter of When this testimony had been given him those that were of the same lineage with them- | by them all, Samuel said, “Since you all selves : and that it was more agreeable to be grant that you are not able to lay any ill thing

* 1 Sam. xi. 12.
+ 1 Sam. xi, 14.

| From An. 1467 to 1449, B. C.



to my charge hitherto, come on now, and thunder and lightning, and the descent of hail, hearken while I speak with great freedom to as attested the truth of all the propbet shad you. You have been guilty of great impiety said :f insomuch that they were amazed and against God, in asking you a king. It be- terrified, and.confessed they had sinned, and hoves you to remember, that our grandfather had fallen into that, sip through ignorance ; Jacob came down into Egypt by reason of:a and besought the prophet; as one that was a famine, with seventy souls only of our family, tender and gentle father, to render Gods and that their posterity multiplied there to merciful as to forgive this sin, which they had many ten thousands, whom the Egyptians added to those other offences whereby they brought into slavery, and hard oppression; had affronted him, and transgressed against that God bimself, upon the prayers of our fa-:| him. So he promised that he would; beseech thers, sept Moses and Aaron, who were bre-God, and persuade him to forgive them their thren, and gave them power to deliver the sins. However, he advised them to be rightemultitude out of their distress, and this with ous, and ever to remember the miseries that out a king. These brought us into this very had befallen them on account of their deparland which you now possess. And when you ture from virtue; as also to remember the enjoyed these advantages from God, you be strange signs that God bad shewed, and the trayed his worship and religion : nay, when body of laws that Moses had given them; if you were brought under the hauds of your they had any desire of being preserved, and enemies, he delivered you, first by rendering made happy with their king. But he said, you superior to the Assyrians, and their if they should grow careless of these things, forces; he then made you to overcome the great judgments would come from God upon Ammonites, and Moabites, and last of all the them, and upon their king. And when SaPhilistines, And these things have been muel bad thus prophesied to the Hebrews, he achieved under the conduct of Jephtha and dismissed them to their own homes; having Gideon. What madness therefore possessed confirmed the kingdom to Saul the second you to fly from God, and to desire to be under time. a king ? yet bave I ordained him for king whom he chose for you. However, that I

CHAP. VI. may make it plain to you that God is angry

OF AN EXPEDITION OF THE PHILISTINES AGAINST THE and displeased at your choice of regal government, I will so dispose bim, that he shall declare this very plainly to you, by strange Now Saut chose out of the multitude before, I mean a * winter-storm in the midst two thousand of them to be his own bodyof harvest, I will entreat of God, and will make guards, and abode in the city Bethel ; bat she it visible to you.”+ Now as soon as he bad gave the rest of them for guards to Jonathan said this, God gave such strange signals by his son, and sent him to Gibeah, where he


* Mr. Reland observes here, and proves elsewhere, in them of all the comforts of life, as they justly deserv. bis Note on III. 1, that although thunder and lightninged, for their rejecting him and his prophet, who was with us happen usually in summer, yet in Palestine and so powerful with him, as, by his prayers, to produce Syria they are chiefly confined to winter. Josephus takes such wonders. Patrick's, Calmer's, and Le Clerc's Comnotice of the same thing again, Of the War, IV.4. Seementaries. B. also Antiq. II. 14.

1 Sam. xij. 18. + It is an observation of St. Jerome, that this harvest in § Josephus here omits the first words of this history; Judea began about the end of June, or the beginning of as does the Septuagint, 1 Sam. xiii. 1. The text runs July, in which season thunder and rain were never known, thus in the present Hebrew: Saul was..... 1 years old but only in the spring and autumn; the one called the when he began to reign, and he reigned two years. former, and the other the latter rain : and therefore Şa-Where in one, if not in both places, the decads are want. muel, by this preamble, Is it not wheat hardest to day? ing. Nor is it fit to invent idle excuses, and far-fetchchap. xii. 17, meant to signify the greatness of the mira- ed interpretations, in order to evade such difficul. cle God was going to work; that he could, in an instant, ties; as the learned and judicious Dr: Wall has freand in a time when they least of all expected it, deprive quently. observed, in his very valuable; but .posthumous


« PreviousContinue »