1 Samuel 9:16
To morrow about this time I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked on my people, because their cry is come to me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) The Philistines.—This statement evidently points to the fact—of which, a little later, we have such ample evidence—that at this juncture the Philistines were again harassing the Israelite territory with their destructive raids. The power of the Philistines was broken, but by no means destroyed, in the great battle of Mizpeh. We know that all through King Saul’s reign, and in the early days of King David, these invasions were repeated with varying success. The statement of 1Samuel 7:13 must be understood not as representing that the victory of Mizpeh once and for all destroyed the Philistine power, but that from that day the power of these determined enemies of Israel began to decline. The words of 1Samuel 7:13 must be taken as including the ultimate result of the great Hebrew victory. It is clear that the annoyance of these Philistine raids and incursions were the immediate cause of the prayer for a king. The desire for this form of government, no doubt, for a very long while had existed among the people, but this pressing need for a younger and more warlike leader than their old prophet. judge prompted the request to Samuel.

1 Samuel 9:16. To-morrow I will send thee a man, &c. — This shows still that all was done by God’s direction. Out of the hand of the Philistines — Though driven out of the country by Samuel, they were now ready, as appears by the following history, to invade it again; and being the constant and nearest enemies of the Israelites, they were most dreaded by them. And from these did Saul in some measure save them, and would have saved them much more, if his and the people’s sins had not hindered. For I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me — Though he would not hear their cry to relieve them from the oppressions of their kings, (1 Samuel 8:18,) yet he was so gracious as to make those kings instruments of their deliverance from the oppression of their cruel neighbours.9:11-17 The very maid-servants of the city could direct to the prophet. They had heard of the sacrifice, and could tell of the necessity for Samuel's presence. It is no small benefit to live in religious and holy places. And we should always be ready to help those who are seeking after God's prophets. Though God had, in displeasure, granted Israel's request for a king, yet he sends them a man to be captain over them, to save them out of the hand of the Philistines. He does it, listening graciously to their cry.That he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines, etc. - These words are not very easily reconcileable with 1 Samuel 7:13. It is possible that the aggressive movements of the Philistines, after the long cessation indicated by 1 Samuel 7:13, coupled with Samuel's old age and consequent inability to lead them to victory as before, were among the chief causes which led to the cry for a king. If this were so the Philistine oppression glanced at in this verse might in a general survey be rather connected with Saul's times than with Samuel's. 1Sa 9:15-27. God Reveals to Samuel Saul's Coming, and His Appointment to the Kingdom.

15, 16. Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear a day before—The description of Saul, the time of his arrival, and the high office to which he was destined, had been secretly intimated to Samuel from heaven. The future king of Israel was to fight the battles of the Lord and protect His people. It would appear that they were at this time suffering great molestation from the Philistines, and that this was an additional reason of their urgent demands for the appointment of a king (see 1Sa 10:5; 13:3).

I will send thee a man; I will by my secret providence so dispose of matters, and of the hearts of Saul and his father, that Saul shall come to thee, though with another design.

That he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines; for though they were now most pressed with the Ammonites, as we read, 1 Samuel 12:12, yet they looked upon these as a land-flood, which they hoped would be soon up, and soon down again; but the Philistines, their constant, inveterate, and nearest enemies, they most dreaded. And from these Saul did in some measure save them, and should have saved them much more, if his and the people’s manifold sins had not hindered it.

I have looked on my people, to wit, with compassion and resolution to help them; a usual synecdoche.

Their cry, i.e. their earnest prayers to me for help. Tomorrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin,.... Who without any thought or design of his own, but merely directed by the providence of God, should come to him, not expecting a kingdom; at most only to hear of his father's asses, and which way he should take to find them; missing the finding of which would and did bring him thither:

and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel; the leader, ruler, and governor of them; to which high office he was to be appointed by pouring oil upon him, and was the first king on whom this ceremony was performed, and from whence he was called the Lord's anointed:

that he may save my people out of the hands of the Philistines; who, since Samuel was grown old, made encroachments upon them, built garrisons on their borders, and made, it is very probable, incursions upon them, and ravages and oppressions of them:

for I have looked upon my people; with an eye of pity and compassion:

because their cry is come unto me; by reason of the oppressions of the Philistines, and the war they were threatened with by the Ammonites; though Abarbinel thinks this refers to their importunate cry, supplication, and request to have a king set over them.

To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may {i} save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.

(i) Despite their wickedness, yet God was ever mindful of his inheritance.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. out of the hand of the Philistines] See note on 1 Samuel 7:13.

I have looked upon my people] Sept. “I have looked upon the affliction, of my people.” The word might easily have fallen out of the Hebrew text. Cp. Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9.Verse 16. - That he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines. Though Samuel had lightened the yoke of the Philistines by his victory at Mizpah, yet he had by no means altogether broken their power. It is so constantly the habit of the historical books of the Bible to include the distant and ultimate results of an act in their account of it, that we must not conclude that what is said in 1 Samuel 7:13-15 was the immediate consequence of Samuel's victory. Especially, when it said that "the hand of Jehovah was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel," it is plain that Soul's successful wars are included in the writer's summary of events, inasmuch as Samuel's life was prolonged until nearly the close of that monarch's reign. The words further show that Soul's office was essentially military, though this is too much emphasised in the A.V., which renders by captain a word which really means prince, chief. Saul, as a Benjamite, belonged to the bravest and most warlike tribe of Israel, and one whose country was the seat of perpetual combat with the Philistines. Their cry is come unto me. Plainly, therefore, Israel was again suffering from Philistine domination. Before proceeding with the further progress of the affair, the historian introduces a notice, which was required to throw light upon what follows; namely, that beforetime, if any one wished to inquire of God, i.e., to apply to a prophet for counsel from God upon any matter, it was customary in Israel to say, We will go to the seer, because "he that is now called a prophet was beforetime called a seer." After this parenthetical remark, the account is continued in 1 Samuel 9:10. Saul declared himself satisfied with the answer of the servant; and they both went into the town, to ask the man of God about the asses that were lost.
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