And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said to him, Behold the man whom I spoke to you of! this same shall reign over my people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Behold the man.—This verse, it must be remembered, follows closely on 1Samuel 9:14, the statements of 1Samuel 9:15-16 being parenthetical. The young Saul and his servant came up to accost the seer on his way to the sacred height; Samuel, at once impressed by the great stature and splendid beauty of the stranger coming towards him, asks his Master silently, “Lord, is this then he of whom Thou whisperest me yesterday, to whom the destinies of Thy people were to be confided?” The words “Behold the man,” &c., were the silent answer of God to the silent prayer of His old servant.
Shall reign.—The word “shall reign,” which was whispered by the “Spirit” to the listening heart of the seer, should rather have been translated, “shall control,” or “shall restrain.” It was a word which—looking on to Saul’s future reign—represented it as a stern, severe rule.1 Samuel 9:17. The Lord said unto him — Most probably, by a divine, silent suggestion, or secret notification to his mind, without any voice, 1 Samuel 9:15. This same shall reign over my people — The phraseology in the original is peculiar, the word rendered reign, implying coercion and restraint; יעצר בעמי, jangzor begnammi, He shall rule my people sternly and rigidly, with an absolute, uncontrollable power. So the eastern monarchs ruled.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.
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).Unto him, in his ear, as before 1 Samuel 9:15, by secret instinct, so as none but he could hear it.
the Lord said unto him; by a still small voice, or by an impulse upon his mind:
behold the man whom I spake to thee of; yesterday, this is he:
this same shall reign over my people; be their king, as they have desired: or "shall restrain" (k) them, keep them in due bounds, in the discharge of their duty to God and man; and keep them from doing that which is evil, or walking in evil ways, which is the business of a good king; or who shall restrain them from having their own will, but shall rule over them in an absolute manner, according to his own arbitrary will and pleasure.And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. the Lord said unto him] Lit. Jehovah answered him; answered his mental question. Is this the man? 1 Samuel 9:17 is in close connexion with 1 Samuel 9:14, 1 Samuel 9:15-16 forming a parenthesis.
shall reign over my people] Lit. “shall restrain my people.” A peculiar word, contrasting the restraints of a settled government with the license of the time in which “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Jdg 21:25).Verse 17. - Jehovah said unto him. Literally, "Jehovah answered him." When Samuel saw the young stranger, struck by his towering height, he wondered within himself whether this were the destined hero who was to win freedom for Israel. The affirmation, therefore, came in answer to the question asked by his heart. The same shall reign over my people. More literally, the margin, "restrain in," i.e. coerce, control. The A.V., preferring as usual a general to an exact rendering, loses this plain indication that Soul's would be a strict and stern rule.
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