1 Samuel 9:5
And when they were come to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.
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(5) The land of Zuph.—This was believed to be in the south-west of Benjamin.

Lest my father . . . take thought for us.—“Saul’s tender regard for his father’s feelings here is a favourable indication of character.”—Dr. Kitto.

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 land of Shalisha was somewhere near Gilgal, i. e., Jiljulieh. It is thought to derive its name from "three" (Shalosh) wadys which unite in the wady of Karawa. The situation of Shalim is not known: its etymology connects it more probably with the land of Shual 1 Samuel 13:17, apparently round Taiyibeh, which was about nine miles from Gibeah.

Zuph - 1 Samuel 9:5, see 1 Samuel 1:1 note.

4, 5. he passed through mount Ephraim—This being situated on the north of Benjamin, indicates the direction of Saul's journey. The district explored means the whole of the mountainous region, with its valleys and defiles, which belonged to Ephraim. Turning apparently southwards—probably through the verdant hills between Shiloh and the vales of Jordan (Shalisha and Shalim)—he approached again the borders of Benjamin, scoured the land of Zuph, and was proposing to return, when his servant recollected that they were in the immediate neighborhood of the man of God, who would give them counsel. The land of Ziph; in which was Ramah, called also

Ramah, or Ramathaim-zephim, the place of Samuel’s birth and habitation, 1 Samuel 1:1 7:17.

And when they were come to the land of Zuph,.... In which was Ramathaimzophim, the native place of Samuel, 1 Samuel 1:1 and so the Targum here,"the land in which was the prophet"

Saul said to the servant that was with him, come, and let us return; home, despairing of finding the asses after so long a search in divers places:

lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us; fearing some evil should have befallen his son and his servant, in comparison of whom, and especially his son, the asses would be of no account, and so give himself no concern for them, but be in great care and uneasiness for his son and servant; wherefore Saul thought it most advisable to return home as soon as possible, lest his father should be overwhelmed with grief and trouble.

And when they were come to the land of {d} Zuph, Saul said to his servant that was with him, Come, and let us return; lest my father leave caring for the asses, and take thought for us.

(d) Where was Ramath Zophim, the city of Samuel.

5. take thought for us] i.e. “be anxious,” as in Matthew 6:25. Cp. 1 Samuel 10:2.

Verse 5. - The land of Zuph. See on 1 Samuel 1:1. This Levite ancestor of Samuel had probably occupied and colonised this district after the disasters recorded in the last chapters of the Book of Judges. Lest my father, etc. A mark of good feeling on Saul's part, and a proof of the affectionate terms on which Kish and his family lived. 1 Samuel 9:5Having 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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