1 Samuel 10:27
But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) The children of Belial.—More accurately, worthless men. (See Note on 1Samuel 2:12.)

And they despised him.—As above suggested, these malcontents were probably princes and leading men of the great tribes of Judah and Ephraim, displeased that the new king should be selected from the small unimportant tribe of Benjamin. It will be remembered that the tribe of Benjamin had been almost entirely destroyed in the civil war related in the concluding chapters of Judges. “They despised him,” because in no way had he made his mark, either in the arts of war or peace. From what has gone before (see 1Samuel 10:11-12 of this 1Sam) it is evident that Saul was a man of no special culture; his early years had been spent in agriculture and work on his father’s lands in the neighbourhood of Gibeah.

And brought him no presents.—These gifts were, in the East, the token of submission and homage; not to offer them to Saul was almost the same thing as to ignore his authority. Although not stated, it is clear that these malcontents were among the chiefs of the greater tribes who had assisted at the election.

But he held his peace.—Literally, he was a deaf man, acting as though he had not heard the murmurs. This prudent conduct showed great self-control and self-denial on the part of the new king and his counsellors.

1 Samuel 10:27. But the children of Belial said, &c. — Some wicked men, who hated all government, and being, it is probable, men of some rank and quality, were proud, and despised a person of such a mean family. How shall this man save us? — They would not vouchsafe so much as to call him by his name, but insolently contemned him, as a person of no note, who had no power to deliver them. They brought him no presents — As subjects in those times, and in the eastern countries, used to do to their kings when they first tendered their service to them. But he held his peace — Which was an evidence both of his great humility, and of the mercifulness of his disposition. At the same time, to dissemble his knowledge of the scorn they put upon him was an act of great prudence; for if he had taken notice of it, he must have punished it, and it would not have been safe to have begun his reign with an act of severity. Thus Christ held his peace in the day of his patience, but there is a day of recompense coming.

10:17-27 Samuel tells the people, Ye have this day rejected your God. So little fond was Saul now of that power, which soon after, when he possessed it, he could not think of parting with, that he hid himself. It is good to be conscious of our unworthiness and insufficiency for the services to which we are called; but men should not go into the contrary extreme, by refusing the employments to which the Lord and the church call them. The greater part of the people treated the matter with indifference. Saul modestly went home to his own house, but was attended by a band of men whose hearts God disposed to support his authority. If the heart bend at any time the right way, it is because He has touched it. One touch is enough when it is Divine. Others despised him. Thus differently are men affected to our exalted Redeemer. There is a remnant who submit to him, and follow him wherever he goes; they are those whose hearts God has touched, whom he has made willing. But there are others who despise him, who ask, How shall this man save us? They are offended in him, and they will be punished.Presents - The מנחה mı̂nchāh was the token of homage and acknowledgment from the subject to the sovereign, and from the tributary nation to their suzerain. (See 2 Samuel 8:2, 2 Samuel 8:6; Judges 3:17-18; 1 Kings 4:21; 2 Kings 17:4, etc.; Psalm 72:10; Isaiah 16:1.) Saul dissembled his resentment, and waited for the favorable tide which soon came with the invasion of Nahash. 27. the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents—In Eastern countries, the honor of the sovereign and the splendor of the royal household are upheld, not by a fixed rate of taxation, but by presents brought at certain seasons by officials, and men of wealth, from all parts of the kingdom, according to the means of the individual, and of a customary registered value. Such was the tribute which Saul's opponents withheld, and for want of which he was unable to set up a kingly establishment for a while. But "biding his time," he bore the insult with a prudence and magnanimity which were of great use in the beginning of his government. This man; so mean a person, and of the weakest of all the tribes.

Brought him no presents; as subjects in those times and places used to do to their kings; see 1 Kings 10:25 2 Chronicles 17:5 Matthew 2:11; and as Saul’s mean condition, herewith they upbraided him, required.

He held his peace; thereby manifesting his prudence and clemency, which was of great use in the beginning of his government.

But the children of Belial said,.... Wicked, dissolute, lawless persons; men without a yoke, as the word signifies, who did not care to be under the yoke of government, at least not under the yoke of Saul; and these might be men of wealth, and of larger tribes, and better families than Saul was of, and therefore envied him, and thought themselves better for government than he was; and in a jeering scornful manner said:

how shall this man save us? whose family is so mean, and whose tribe is so small, that they can give but little assistance to deliver us out of the hands of our enemies, the Philistines and Ammonites; intimating, that a king ought to have been of a rich family, and a large tribe, and a prince in it, whose interest and influence were great, not only in his own tribe, but in others, which would enable him to engage in war with an enemy, and protect the people; but what, as if they should say, can be expected from "this man?", this mean contemptible man, of no birth nor fortune, brought up in an obscure manner, and altogether inexpert in things civil and military?

and they despised him; on account of the above things, not only in their hearts, but spared not to speak out, and use opprobrious language, and with which their actions and conduct agreed:

and brought him no presents; as others did, and as it was usual when a king came to the throne; nor were any visits made unto him, in token of their subjection to him, and complacency in him, and by way of congratulation of him, see 1 Kings 4:21 the Targum is, they did not salute him, or ask of his welfare:

but he held his peace, or "was as one that is deaf and dumb" (o); took no notice of what they said, as if he was deaf and heard it not, and was as silent as if he had been a dumb man, which showed his wisdom and prudence; for had he taken notice of them, he must have punished them, and he judged it more advisable to use lenity and mildness, and not begin his reign with contention and bloodshed.

(o) "et fuit veluti surdus", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "fuit quasi obmutescens", Drusius; "veluti tacens aut silens", so some in Vatablus; so the Targum.

But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he {l} held his peace.

(l) Both to avoid disputing and also to win them by patience.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. the children of Belial said] Certain worthless fellows (see note on 1 Samuel 1:16) spoke disparagingly of him, and despised him.

and brought him no presents] Cp. 1 Kings 10:25; 2 Chronicles 17:5. The refusal of the customary offerings of homage was tantamount to a deliberate and contemptuous rejection of his authority.

But he held his peace] Or, And he was as one deaf, refusing to take notice of this studied insult. See however the note on 1 Samuel 11:1.

1 Samuel 10:27But as it generally happens that, where a person is suddenly lifted up to exalted honours or office, there are sure to be envious people found, so was it here: there were בליּעל בּני, worthless people, even among the assembled Israelites, who spoke disparagingly of Saul, saying, "How will this man help us?" and who brought him no present. Minchah: the present which from time immemorial every one has been expected to bring when entering the presence of the king; so that the refusal to bring a present was almost equivalent to rebellion. But Saul was "as being deaf," i.e., he acted as if he had not heard. The objection which Thenius brings against this view, viz., that in that case it would read כם היה והוּא, exhibits a want of acquaintance with the Hebrew construction of a sentence. There is no more reason for touching ויהי than ויּלכוּ in 1 Samuel 10:26. In both cases the apodosis is attached to the protasis, which precedes it in the form of a circumstantial clause, by the imperfect, with vav consec. According to the genius of our language, these protases would be expressed by the conjunction when, viz.: "when Saul also went home, ... there went with him," etc.; and "when loose (or idle) people said, etc., he was as deaf."
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