1 Samuel 9:3
And the asses of Kish Saul's father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses.
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1 Samuel 9:3. The asses of Kish were lost — Asses were there of great price, because of the scarcity of horses, and therefore were not thought unworthy to be sought by Saul, especially in these ancient times, when simplicity, humility, and industry were in fashion among persons of quality.

9:1-10 Saul readily went to seek his father's asses. His obedience to his father was praise-worthy. His servant proposed, that since they were now at Ramah, they should call on Samuel, and take his advice. Wherever we are, we should use our opportunities of acquainting ourselves with those who are wise and good. Many will consult a man of God, if he comes in their way, that would not go a step out of their way to get wisdom. We sensibly feel worldly losses, and bestow much pains to make them up; but how little do we attempt, and how soon are we weary, in seeking the salvation of our souls! If ministers could tell men how to secure their property, or to get wealth, they would be more consulted and honoured than they now are, though employed in teaching them how to escape eternal misery, and to obtain eternal life. Most people would rather be told their fortune than their duty. Samuel needed not their money, nor would he have denied his advice, if they had not brought it; but they gave it to him as a token of respect, and of the value they put upon his office, and according to the general usage of those times, always to bring a present to those in authority.The genealogy of Saul is here given as far as Aphiah ("Abiah," 1 Chronicles 7:8), who was of the house of Becher the son of Benjamin Genesis 46:21. "Kish" 1 Chronicles 9:35-39 was the son of "Ner" the son of "Jehiel," (or, "Abiel" here and 1 Samuel 14:51), the first settler ("father," 1 Chronicles 9:35) at Gibeon, or Gibeah of Saul, and who married "Maachah," a daughter or granddaughter of Caleb. If so, it is obvious that the names of several generations are omitted between Kish and Abiel, and among them that from which the family of Matri 1 Samuel 10:21 was called. 3. the asses of Kish Saul's father were lost. And Kish said to Saul … arise, go seek the asses—The probability is that the family of Kish, according to the immemorial usage of Oriental shepherds in the purely pastoral regions, had let the animals roam at large during the grazing season, at the close of which messengers were despatched in search of them. Such travelling searches are common; and, as each owner has his own stamp marked on his cattle, the mention of it to the shepherds he meets gradually leads to the discovery of the strayed animals. This ramble of Saul's had nothing extraordinary in it, except its superior directions and issue, which turned its uncertainty into certainty. Which were there of great price and use, Judges 10:4 Judges 12:14, because of the scarcity of horses, Deu 17:16, and therefore not held unworthy of Saul’s seeking, at least in those ancient times, when simplicity, humility, and industry were in fashion among persons of quality.

And the asses of Kish, Saul's father, were lost,.... Had got out of the stables or fields, in which they were kept, and strayed from thence:

and Kish said to Saul his son, take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go seek the asses; he chose not to send his servants only, who might not be so careful and diligent in searching for them, but his son, and not him alone, but a servant with him to wait upon him, and assist him. And it was quite agreeable to the simplicity of those times for persons of equal or greater substance to be employed in such an affair; asses made a considerable part of the wealth and riches of men, were rode upon by persons of quality, and were fed and taken care of by the sons of dukes and princes; see Job 1:3. The Jews (w) have a tradition, that this servant was Doeg the Edomite.

(w) Hieron. Trad. Heb. in Paralip, fol. 83. A.

And the asses of Kish Saul's father were lost. And Kish said to Saul his son, Take now one of the servants with thee, and arise, go {c} seek the asses.

(c) All these circumstances were means to serve God's providence, by which Saul (though not approved by God) was made king.

3–10. Saul’s search for his Father’s Asses

3. the asses] In the East asses are valuable property, indispensable for farm-work and travelling. The possession of a drove of asses, and several servants, indicates that Kish was a man of some substance.

Verse 3. - The asses of Kish...were lost. So strangely is the trivial ever united with events most solemn and weighty, that Saul set out upon this journey, in which he was to find a kingdom, with no other object than to look for some lost asses - Hebrew, "she-asses." As used for riding (Judges 10:4), the ass was valuable, and as these were probably kept for breeding, they were allowed more liberty than the males, and so strayed away. 1 Samuel 9:3Having been sent out by his father to search for his she-asses which had strayed, Saul went with his servant through the mountains of Ephraim, which ran southwards into the tribe-territory of Benjamin (see at 1 Samuel 1:1), then through the land of Shalishah and the land of Shaalim, and after that through the land of Benjamin, without finding the asses; and at length, when he had reached the land of Zuph, he determined to return, because he was afraid that his father might turn his mind from the asses, and trouble himself about them (the son and servant). מן חדל, to desist from a thing, to give it up or renounce it.

As Saul started in any case from Gibeah of Benjamin, his own home (1 Samuel 10:10., 1 Samuel 10:26, 1 Samuel 11:4; 1 Samuel 15:34; 1 Samuel 23:19; 1 Samuel 26:1), i.e., the present Tuleil el Phul, which was an hour or an hour and a half to the north of Jerusalem (see at Joshua 18:28), and went thence into the mountains of Ephraim, he no doubt took a north-westerly direction, so that he crossed the boundary of Benjamin somewhere between Bireh and Atarah, and passing through the crest of the mountains of Ephraim, on the west of Gophnah (Jifna), came out into the land of Shalishah. Shalishah is unquestionably the country round (or of) Baal-shalishah (2 Kings 4:42), which was situated, according to Eusebius (Onom. s.v. Βαιθσαρισάθ: Beth-sarisa or Beth-salisa), in regione Thamnitica, fifteen Roman miles to the north of Diospolis (Lydda), and was therefore probably the country to the west of Jiljilia, where three different wadys run into one large wady, called Kurawa; and according to the probable conjecture of Thenius, it was from this fact that the district received the name of Shalishah, or Three-land. They proceeded thence in their search to the land of Shaalim: according to the Onom. (s.v.), "a village seven miles off, in finibus Eleutheropoleos contra occidentem." But this is hardly correct, and is most likely connected with the mistake made in transposing the town of Samuel to the neighbourhood of Diospolis (see at 1 Samuel 1:1). For since they went on from Shaalim into the land of Benjamin, and then still further into the land of Zuph, on the south-west of Benjamin, they probably turned eastwards from Shalishah, into the country where we find Beni Mussah and Beni Salem marked upon Robinson's and v. de Velde's maps, and where we must therefore look for the land of Shaalim, that they might proceed thence to explore the land of Benjamin from the north-east to the south-west. If, on the contrary, they had gone from Shaalim in a southerly or south-westerly direction, to the district of Eleutheropolis, they would only have entered the land of Benjamin at the south-west corner, and would have had to go all the way back again in order to go thence to the land of Zuph. For we may infer with certainty that the land of Zuph was on the south-west of the tribe-territory of Benjamin, from the fact that, according to 1 Samuel 10:2, Saul and his companion passed Rachel's tomb on their return thence to their own home, and then came to the border of Benjamin. On the name Zuph, see at 1 Samuel 1:1.

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