1 Samuel 10:3
Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor.—The accurate translation of the Hebrew is “to the terebinth or oak of Tabor.” There was evidently a history, now lost, connected with the “terebinth of Tabor.” Ewald suggests that “Tabor” is a different form for Deborah, and that this historic tree was the oak beneath which Deborah, the nurse of Rachel, was buried (Genesis 35:8).

Going up to God to Beth-el.—This since the old patriarchal days had been a sacred spot. Samuel used to visit it as judge, and hold his court there annually, no doubt on account of the number of pilgrims who were in the habit of visiting it. These men were evidently on a pilgrimage to the old famous shrine.

1 Samuel 10:3. Thou shalt come to the plain — Not that at the foot of mount Tabor, which was far from these parts; but another, belonging to some other place. Beth-el — Properly so called, which was in Ephraim, where there was a noted high place, famous for Jacob’s vision there, (Genesis 28:19,) and where it is probable they offered sacrifices, in this confused state of things, when the ark was in one place, and the tabernacle in another.

10:1-8 The sacred anointing, then used, pointed at the great Messiah, or Anointed One, the King of the church, and High Priest of our profession, who was anointed with the oil of the Spirit, not by measure, but without measure, and above all the priests and princes of the Jewish church. For Saul's further satisfaction, Samuel gives him some signs which should come to pass the same day. The first place he directs him to, was the sepulchre of one of his ancestors; there he must be reminded of his own mortality, and now that he had a crown before him, must think of his grave, in which all his honour would be laid in the dust. From the time of Samuel there appears to have been schools, or places where pious young men were brought up in the knowledge of Divine things. Saul should find himself strongly moved to join with them, and should be turned into another man from what he had been. The Spirit of God changes men, wonderfully transforms them. Saul, by praising God in the communion of saints, became another man, but it may be questioned if he became a new man.The plain of Tabor - It should be "the oak or terebinth"" of Tabor" (Judges 4:11 note). It has been ingeniously conjectured that "Tabor" is either a different form of "Deborah," or a corruption of it, and that the "oak," or "terebinth of Tabor," is the same as "Allon-bachuth," the oak under which Deborah was buried, and which lay "beneath Bethel" Genesis 35:8. The terebinth, where the three men came upon Saul, must have been at some point previous to that where the road leading northward from Jerusalem branches; when they reached that point they would go on with their offerings to Bethel, he would pursue his journey to Gibeah. 3. the plain—or, "the oak of Tabor," not the celebrated mount, for that was far distant.

three men going up to God to Beth-el—apparently to offer sacrifices there at a time when the ark and the tabernacle were not in a settled abode, and God had not yet declared the permanent place which He should choose. The kids were for sacrifice, the loaves for the offering, and the wine for the libations.

To the plain of Tabor; not that at the foot of Mount Tabor, which was far from these parts; but another belonging to some other place, or man, called Tabor. Beth-el; properly so called, which was in Ephraim, where there was a noted high place, famous for Jacob’s vision there, Genesis 28:19, where it is probable they offered sacrifices in this confused state of things, when the ark was in one place, and the tabernacle, if not destroyed, in another. Or, to the house of God, i.e. to Kirjath-jearim, where the ark, the habitation of God, now was, 1 Samuel 7:1,2,16.

Loaves of bread might be offered, either by themselves, as Leviticus 2:4, or with other sacrifices.

A bottle of wine; which was poured forth in drink-offerings. See Leviticus 23:13 Numbers 15:5.

Then shall thou go on forward from thence,.... From Zelzah and Rachel's sepulchre there:

and thou shall come to the plain of Tabor; not that which lay at the bottom of the famous and well known mountain Tabor; for that was in the tribe of Zebulun, at a great distance from hence: but a plain, so called perhaps from the name of the owner of it:

and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel: the same with Luz, where Jacob built an altar, and called upon God; and so Elohimbethel here is the same with Elbethel, Genesis 35:6. Here was an high place as at Ramah, whither in those times, when there was no fixed place for worship, the tabernacle at one place, and the ark at another, the people went up to worship; and they might the rather choose this, because it was a place devoted to the worship and service of God by their father Jacob; so the Targum paraphrases it,"going up to worship God in Bethel;''so Josephus (c), they were going thither to pray, and, as it seems by what follows, to sacrifice: one carrying three kids; which were used in sacrifice, and were a pretty heavy load if carried far; though, according to Josephus (d), it was but one kid:

and another carrying three loaves of bread; for the minchah, the meat offering, or rather bread offering, Leviticus 2:4.

and another carrying a bottle of wine; for the drink offering, the fourth part of an hin of wine being required for each kid, Numbers 15:5. This bottle, Ben Melech says, was a bottle made of skin, a leathern bottle or bag, or a potter's vessel or pitcher; the Targum renders it, a flagon of wine.

(c) Antiqu. l. 6. c. 4. sect. 2.((d) lbid.

Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the plain of Tabor] Rather, the oak of Tabor. It has been ingeniously conjectured that this is to be identified with the oak under which Rebekah’s nurse Deborah was buried “under Bethel” (Genesis 35:8), and the palm tree between Ramah and Bethel under which Deborah judged Israel (Jdg 4:5), Tabor being either a corruption or dialectic variation for Deborah; but nothing certain is known about the place.

going up to God to Bethel] On the sanctuary at Bethel see note on 1 Samuel 7:16. As yet the presence of God was only connected with holy places, or the Ark, and the Omnipresence of God scarcely realised. See Genesis 28:16 and 1 Samuel 14:36.

a bottle of wine] i.e. a skin bottle: Sept. ἀσκός. Cp. 1 Samuel 1:24.

Verse 3. The second sign was to be the presenting of an offering to him out of their sacrificial gifts by three men going on a pilgrimage to Bethel. He would meet them not in the plain of Tabor, but at the oak, elon, of Tabor. Many attempt to connect this elon-Tabor with the allon, or oak, under which Deborah, Rachel's nurse, was buried (Genesis 35:8), and suppose that Tabor is a corruption of the name Deborah. This is scarcely possible, and it is better to acknowledge that we know nothing of the site of this tree, except that it was on the road to Bethel. This was one of the places which Samuel used to visit as judge (1 Samuel 7:16); but these men were on a pilgrimage thither because since the days of Jacob it had been a sacred spot, and a chief seat of the old patriarchal worship, for which see 1 Samuel 9:12. 1 Samuel 10:3The second sign (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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