1 Samuel 9:26
And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send you away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(26) And they arose early.—The English translation of this verse is misleading. It should run thus “And they arose early, namely, when the morning dawned. Samuel called for Saul upon the roof, Get up, that I may send thee, &c.” The English rendering seems to suppose that they rose first, and afterwards, about the spring of the day (the morning dawn), Samuel called Saul—the fact being that, as is frequent in Hebrew narration, the second clause simply related the same event as the first clause had already done, only with greater detail. The sense then is obvious. Saul, evidently weary after the exciting scene and revelations of the day before, slept soundly, probably heavily, on his couch spread on the roof of the prophet’s house. From this roof-top Samuel calls Saul in the early morning, wishing to conduct him himself out of the city, as he had a yet more important communication to make to his amazed and awe-struck visitor.

9:18-27 Samuel, that good prophet, was so far from envying Saul, or bearing him any ill-will, that he was the first and most forward to do him honour. Both that evening and early the next morning, Samuel communed with Saul upon the flat roof of the house. We may suppose Samuel now convinced Saul that he was the person God had fixed upon for the government, and of his own willingness to resign. How different are the purposes of the Lord for us, from our intentions for ourselves! Perhaps Saul was the only one who ever went out to seek asses, and literally found a kingdom; but many have set out and moved their dwellings to seek riches and pleasures, who have been guided to places where they found salvation for their souls. Thus they have met with those who addressed them as if aware of the secrets of their lives and hearts, and have been led seriously to regard the word of the Lord. If this has been our case, though our worldly plans have not prospered, let us not care for that; the Lord has given us, or has prepared us for, what is far better.To the top of the house - "On the top." The bed on which Saul slept was on the top of the house. It is very common in the East to provide extra sleeping accommodation by placing a tent or awning on the house-top. 25-27. Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house—Saul was taken to lodge with the prophet for that night. Before retiring to rest, they communed on the flat roof of the house, the couch being laid there (Jos 2:6), when, doubtless, Samuel revealed the secret and described the peculiar duties of a monarch in a nation so related to the Divine King as Israel. Next morning early, Samuel roused his guest, and conveying him on his way towards the skirts of the city, sought, before parting, a private interview—the object of which is narrated in the next chapter. Samuel called Saul to the top of the house a second time, to impart something more to him.

That I may send thee away; prepare thyself for thy departure and journey.

He and Samuel, abroad; Samuel accompanying Saul part of his way. And they arose early,.... Neither of them being able to sleep, as Abarbinel supposes; not Samuel for thinking what he was to do the next morning, anoint Saul king over Israel; nor Saul for what Samuel had hinted to him about the desire of all Israel being upon him, and for the honour done him at the feast, and because of the conversation they had together afterwards:

and it came to pass about the spring of the day; or the "ascents of the morning" (x), when day was about to break, before the sun was up:

that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house; where they had conversed together the evening before:

saying, up, that I may send thee away; meaning not rise from his bed, for he was risen; but that he would prepare to set out on his journey, that Samuel might take his leave of him for the present, when he had accompanied him some part of his way, as he intended; and he was the more urgent upon him, because there was something to be done before people were stirring:

and Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad; out of Samuel's house, without doors, into the street.

(x) "circa ascendere auroram", Montanus; "quum ascenderet aurora", Junius & Tremellius.

And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the {p} top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad.

(p) To speak with him secretly: for the houses were flat above.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
26. about the spring of the day] “spring,” i.e. “rising” of the day = dawn. Cp. “dayspring,” Luke 1:78.

called Saul] Rather, “called to Saul.” Samuel had slept in the house, Saul on the roof.

abroad] In the language of the E. V. ‘abroad’ means simply ‘out of the house.’

27 a while] Now. The E. V. follows the Vulg. paulisper.Verses 26, 27. - It came to pass about the spring of the day. This is not a separate act from they arose early; for the A.V. is wrong in translating the next clause, "Samuel called Saul to the top of the house." Saul had slept there, and, wearied out with his long wanderings and the excitement of the previous day, was fast asleep when Samuel came to him. The Hebrew is, "And they rose early; for at the spring of the day Samuel called to Saul upon the house top, saying," etc. And no sooner had Saul risen than they started upon his journey home, and as soon as they had left the city, at some fitting spot, Samuel bade the servant go forward, and as soon as he and Saul were alone he spake unto him the word of God. And by that Divine word he who had left his father's house in search of lost asses was summoned to a post which, if one of the greatest dignity, was full also of danger, and burdened with solemn responsibility. And while on the human side Saul proved not unworthy of a royal crown, in his relation towards God he failed, because he let self-will and earthly policy prevail in his heart over obedience and trust in God.



Samuel replied, "I am the seer: go up before me to the high place, and eat with me to-day; and to-morrow I will send thee away, and make known to thee all that is in thy heart." Letting a person go in front was a sign of great esteem. The change from the singular עלה to the plural אכלתּם may be explained on the ground that, whilst Samuel only spoke to Saul, he intended expressly to invite his servant to the meal as well as himself. "All that is in thine heart" does not mean "all that thou hast upon thy heart," i.e., all that troubles thee, for Samuel relieved him of all anxiety about the asses at once by telling him that they were found; but simply the thoughts of thy heart generally. Samuel would make these known to him, to prove to him that he was a prophet. He then first of all satisfied him respecting the asses (1 Samuel 9:20): "As for the asses that were lost to thee to-day three days (three days ago), do not set thy heart upon them (i.e., do not trouble thyself about them), for they are found." After this quieting announcement, by which he had convinced Saul of his seer's gift, Samuel directed Saul's thoughts to that higher thing which Jehovah had appointed for him: "And to whom does all that is worth desiring of Israel belong? Is it not to thee, and to all thy father's house?" "The desire of Israel" (optima quaeque Israel, Vulg.; "the best in Israel," Luther) is not all that Israel desires, but all that Israel possesses of what is precious or worth desiring (see Haggai 2:7). "The antithesis here is between the asses and every desirable thing" (Seb. Schmidt). Notwithstanding the indefinite character of the words, they held up such glorious things as in prospect for Saul, that he replied in amazement (1 Samuel 9:21), "Am not I a Benjaminite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel? and my family is the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin (בן שׁבטי is unquestionably a copyist's error for בן שׁבת); and how speakest thou such a word to me?" Samuel made no reply to this, as he simply wanted first of all to awaken the expectation in Saul's mind of things that he had never dreamt of before.
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