And Saul said to his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spoke, he told him not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He told him not.—It has been suggested ingeniously that this reply was prompted by the characteristic Israelite caution—the fear of betraying prematurely an important secret. It is, however, far better to assume that Samuel had given the young Saul to understand that the revelation respecting his future, and the great state change involved in it, was, in the first instance, for him alone; no other man was as yet to share that great secret with him. In His own good time God would signify His sovereign will and pleasure to Israel; till then, Saul was strictly to keep his own counsel in this important matter. To have imparted the secret to any one would have at once opened the door to secret intrigues and party plotting; one like Abner, especially, would not have been slow in devising schemes to compass so great an end as the placing the crown of Israel on the head of one of his own family.
The modesty and humility, as well as the wisdom, of Saul in these early days of his greatness is remarkable. The “changed heart” was indeed an acknowledged fact with him. Wordsworth quotes here how, “in like manner, Samson, in the early days of his humility, told not his parents of the lion. (See Judges 14:6.) So Saul of Tarsus spake not of his visions and revelations of the Lord till he was constrained to do so by his enemies.” (See 2Corinthians 12:1.)1 Samuel 10:16. He told him not — In obedience to Samuel, who enjoined him to keep it secret, and from an humble modesty.1 Samuel 9:19 was going on at this time, in which the prophets had been taking part. 1 Samuel 10:22; and partly, in prudence, lest by an unseasonable publishing of it he should raise envy in some, disbelief and contempt in others, &c.
he told us plainly the asses were found; or "in telling told us" (h); not only plainly in so many words, but he affirmed it with the greatest certainty that the asses were found, and we need not give ourselves further trouble about them:
but of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not; he said not one word about that, which is commonly ascribed to his modesty; or he might conceal it, as Josephus (i) observes, because he thought it would not be believed by his relations, or might create in them envy to him; and besides, he knew it was the pleasure of Samuel that it should be kept a secret until the election by lot was over, lest it should be thought to proceed from Samuel himself; and Saul chose it should remain so, that it might not be thought to be of his own seeking; and by keeping it from his relations and friends, it would be a clear case that he did not make interest for it.And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)16. But of the matter &c.] Modesty, humility, caution, have been variously assigned as his motive for silence. But Samuel’s manner had clearly implied that his election was to be a secret for the present, even if he had given no direct injunction to that effect.1 Samuel 10:5, and is defined by the further expression "to Gibeah" (Eng. version, "to the hill:" Tr.). The rendering ἔκειθεν (lxx) does not warrant us in changing שׁם into משּׁם; for the latter would be quite superfluous, as it was self-evident that they came to Gibeah from the place where they had been in the company of Samuel.
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