And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came on him, and he prophesied among them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To the hill.—“To the hill:” more accurately rendered, to Gibeah. This was the home of Saul; the estate of the house of Kish lay evidently in the immediate vicinity of Gibeah, henceforward to be known as Saul’s royal city, “Gibeah of Saul.” “As he walked, the Spirit of God came upon him,” we read. The coming of the Spirit of God upon him may be looked on as the sequel of that Divine gift of the new heart bestowed on him in the early morning, when he left Ramah. The changed heart was a fit home for that Divine Spirit which came on him in the eventide, as he drew near to his ancestral city.
behold, a company of prophets met him; as foretold, 1 Samuel 10:5,
and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he prophesied among them; the spirit of prophecy, as the Targum, and he sung praises among them; he joined with them in their psalmody, and performed it as regularly as if he had been brought up with them. The Jews say (f) he prophesied of the world to come, of Gog and Magog, and of the rewards of the righteous, and of the punishment of the wicked.And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)10. to the hill] Rather, to Gibeah. See note on 1 Samuel 10:5. The narrator cursorily mentions the fulfilment of the first and second signs, but relates the fulfilment of the third in detail, because it has an important bearing on Saul’s preparation for his new office.Verses 10, 11. - To the hill. Hebrew, "to Gibeah," his home. He prophesied. Took part in prophetic exercises (see on Ver. 5). On seeing this, the people of Gibeah, who knew him beforetime, - Hebrew, "from yesterday and the day before," but equivalent to our phrase "for years," - asked in surprise, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? What makes him thus act in a manner unlike all our long past experience of him? Is Saul also among the prophets? From this question two things are evident: the first, that the schools founded by Samuel already held a high place in the estimation of the Israelites; the second, that Saul had not shared in that education which so raised the prophets as a class above, the mass of the people. Probably also Saul s character was not such as would have made him care for education. A young man who, while living in his neighbourhood, knew so little about Samuel (1 Samuel 9:6), could not have had a very inquiring or intellectual frame of mind. Of course Samuel could not, by gathering young men together, and giving them the best education the times afforded, gain for them also the highest and rarest of gifts, that of direct inspiration. Even when Elisha, the friend and attendant upon Elijah, asked his master for an elder son's portion of the Divine spirit, Elijah told him that he had asked a hard thing (2 Kings 2:10). The disparity then that the people remarked between Saul and the prophets was that between a rich young farmer's son, who had been brought up at home, and cared only for rustic things, and these young collegians, who were enjoying a careful education (comp. John 7:15). How good that education was is proved by the fact that at David's court all posts which required literary skill were held by prophets. No man could found schools of inspired men; but Samuel founded great educational institutions, which ended by making the Israelites a highly trained and literary people. Saul's prophesying was not the result of training, but came to him by a Divine influence, rousing the slumbering enthusiasm of an energetic but fitful nature. 1 Samuel 10:3, 1 Samuel 10:4): "Then thou shalt go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the terebinth of Tabor; and there shall meet thee there three men going up to God to Bethel, carrying one three kinds, one three loaves of bread, and one a bottle of wine. They will ask thee after thy welfare, and give thee two loaves; receive them at their hands." The terebinth of Tabor is not mentioned anywhere else, and nothing further can be determined concerning it, than that it stood by the road leading from Rachel's tomb to Gibeah.
(Note: The opinion expressed by Ewald and Thenius, that Deborah's mourning oak (Genesis 35:8) is intended, and that Tabor is either a different form of Deborah, or that Tabor should be altered into Deborah, has no foundation to rest upon; for the fact that the oak referred to stood below (i.e., to the south of) Bethel, and the three men whom Saul was to meet at the terebinth of Tabor were going to Bethel, by no means establishes the identity of the two, as their going up to Bethel does not prove that they were already in the neighbourhood of Bethel. Moreover, the Deborah oak was on the north of Gibeah, whereas Saul met the three men between Rachel's tomb and Gibeah, i.e., to the south of Gibeah.)
The fact that the three men were going up to God at Bethel, shows that there was still a place of sacrifice consecrated to the Lord at Bethel, where Abraham and Jacob had erected altars to the Lord who had appeared to them there (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3-4; Genesis 28:18-19; Genesis 35:7); for the kids and loaves and wine were sacrificial gifts which they were about to offer. לשׁלום שׁאל, to ask after one's welfare, i.e., to greet in a friendly manner (cf. Judges 18:15; Genesis 43:27). The meaning of this double sign consisted in the fact that these men gave Saul two loaves from their sacrificial offerings. In this he was to discern a homage paid to the anointed of the Lord; and he was therefore to accept the gift in this sense at their hand.
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