1 Samuel 10:22
So again they inquired of the LORD, "Has the man come here yet?" And the LORD replied, "Behold, he has hidden himself among the baggage."
Among the StuffT. Davies.1 Samuel 10:22
ResponsibilityPatrick Wilson.1 Samuel 10:22
We Should not Shrink from the Path of Duty1 Samuel 10:22
Saul Chosen KingW. G. Blaikie, D. D.1 Samuel 10:17-25
Saul Chosen KingMonday Club Sermons1 Samuel 10:17-25
Saul Chosen KingA. Maclaren, D. D.1 Samuel 10:17-25
Saul Chosen, KingWilliam E. Barton.1 Samuel 10:17-25
Saul Publicly ChosenB. Dale 1 Samuel 10:17-25
The Public Recognition of Incipient KingshipJoseph S. Exell, M. A.1 Samuel 10:17-25
There are critical days in the history of nations as well as in the life of individuals. One of these days in the history of Israel was that which is here described. What had taken place hitherto was only private and preparatory. The people themselves must now take their part in relation to the choice of a king; yet in such a way as to recognise the fact that he was really chosen by God, "the only difference between God's appointment of the judges and Saul being this, that they were chosen by internal influence; he by lots, or external designation" (Warburton). For this purpose Samuel summoned a national assembly to Mizpah, the site of an altar to Jehovah, and the scene of signal victory over the Philistines (ch. 7.). Thither the chief men of the tribes repaired in great numbers, and, collecting their travelling baggage in one place (ver. 22), presented themselves before him for his instructions. He was desirous of correcting the wrong state of mind which they had exhibited in requesting a king; of showing them that Saul was appointed by the Lord, and not by himself merely (1 Samuel 8:5); of securing their united and hearty acceptance of "him whom the Lord chose," so that the purpose of his appointment might be effected; and of guarding as far as possible against the abuse of the royal power. With these ends in view he spoke and acted on that eventful day. The choice of Saul was -


1. Based upon the gracious help which their Divine Ruler had afforded them. He brought them out of Egypt, delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh and his hosts, and saved them from all who afterwards fought against them and oppressed them. Remembrance of the compassion, faithfulness, and aid of God, so great, so long continued, and so effectual, should lead men to cleave to him with all their heart (Joshua 23:11), even more than fear of the consequences of disobedience (1 Samuel 8:11). The goodness of God, as displayed in "his wonderful works to the children of men," is the mightiest incentive to repentance of sin and the practice of righteousness.

2. Consisting of a charge of flagrant disloyalty. "And ye have this day rejected your God," etc. Their conduct was unreasonable, inasmuch as no other could do for them what he had done; ungrateful, viewed in the light of the past; and wilful, because, in spite of expostulation, they had said, "Nay, but a king thou shalt set over us" (ver. 19). It was, therefore, inexcusable, and deserving of severest reprobation. And it must be plainly set before them, that they might be convinced of their guilt, humble themselves before the Lord, and seek his pardon. "Therefore will the Lord wait, that he may be gracious unto you" (Isaiah 30:18). "The Lord will not forsake his people for his great name's sake" (1 Samuel 12:22).

3. Associated with instruction concerning the proper course they should pursue. "And now present yourselves before the Lord," etc., at his altar, where your relation to him may be set right, and his guidance may be afforded. Although sinful requests may be granted by God, yet the spirit in which they are made must be renounced. And the ready submission of the people to the direction of Samuel shows that his reproof was not without effect.


1. He determined, by means of the sacred lot, who should be their king. As the result of the lot was regarded as a Divine decision, not only was Saul to be accredited by this act in the sight of the whole nation as the king appointed by the Lord, but he himself was also to be more fully assured of the certainty of his own election on the part of God" (Keil). "The lot is cast into the lap (bosom of a garment), but from Jehovah is all its decision" (judgment) (Joshua 7:19; 1 Samuel 14:37; Proverbs 16:33). "A lot is properly a casual event, purposely applied to the determination of some doubtful thing. As all contingencies are comprehended by a certain Divine knowledge, so they are governed by as certain and steady a providence. God's hand is as steady as his eye. Now God may be said to bring the greatest casualties under his providence upon a twofold account: -

(1) That he directs them to a certain end;

(2) oftentimes to very weighty and great ends" (South, 1:61).

2. He indicated, in answer to special inquiry, where he was to be found. Assured beforehand of what the result would be, and out of the same diffidence, modesty, and humility as he had previously exhibited (1 Samuel 9:21), Saul "preferred to be absent when the lots were cast." Hence inquiry was made (apparently by Urim and Thummim) concerning him (1 Samuel 22:10; 1 Samuel 23:2), and the response of the oracle was definite and conclusive. God mercifully adapts his modes of communication with men to their common modes of thought, their capacity and need; and those who humbly and sincerely seek his guidance are not long left in uncertainty. His communications to men, moreover, carry in themselves the evidence of their Divine origin to those who truly receive them, and are further verified by the events to which they lead (ver. 23).

3. He presented him before them, through his recognised servant, as chosen by himself. "See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?" (ver. 24). The conduct of Samuel herein was singularly generous and noble. He did not exhibit the slightest trace of jealousy or distrust of the king into whose hands his own power as civil magistrate was just about to be transferred. "No man ever resigned the first power in the state into other hands with so much courtesy, tenderness, dignity, and grace." Having ascertained the will of the Lord concerning his people, he aimed at nothing else but to carry it into effect.

III. CONFIRMED BY THE GENERAL APPROBATION OF THE PEOPLE (vers. 23, 24). Although the choice was of God, it was necessary that it should be recognised and accepted by them; and their approbation -

1. Accorded with the commendation of Samuel.

2. Was influenced by Saul's outward appearance: "higher than any of the people from his shoulders upward" - just such a man as they wished "to go out before them and fight their battles. "

3. And was expressed in the acclamation, "God save the king" (literally, May the king live). The people had now the object of their desire; but the Divine providence which had guided Saul guided them to the result. Nations, as well as individuals, are subject to the direction and control of him "who stilleth the noise of the sea and the tumult of the people." "Every act of every man, however it may have been against God in intention, falls exactly into the even rhythm of God's world plan."

IV. FOLLOWED BY PERMANENT REGULATIONS FOR THE MONARCHY (ver. 25). "The manner (mishpat) of the kingdom" - "the laws and rules by which the kingly government was to be managed" (Poole), and differs from "the manner (mishpat) of the king" (1 Samuel 8:11); being designed by the wisdom and forethought of Samuel to guard against the evils incident to royalty. "Thus under the Divine sanction, and amidst the despotism of the East, arose the earliest example of a constitutional monarchy" (Kitto). But there was no stipulation or compact between the people and the king. His rights and duties were prescribed by the will of God, whose servant he was. His power was restrained by the living voice of prophecy, and sometimes justly opposed by the people themselves (1 Samuel 14:45). "This much, however, is clear upon the whole, that the king of Israel was not an unlimited monarch, as the defenders of the Divine right of kings and of the passive obedience of subjects are wont to represent him" (Michaelis, 'Laws of Moses,' 1:286). The regulations for the monarchy were -

1. Founded upon the existing law of Moses (Deuteronomy 17:14-20), although, doubtless, not entirely confined to it. The king must not be ambitious, occupied in military preparations and aggressive wars, vying with heathen despots, relying on "an arm of flesh" rather than on God. He must not be given to sensual indulgence, forming a large harem and luxurious court; nor to the accumulation of wealth, taxing and oppressing the people for that purpose. But he must make himself familiar with "the law," and humbly obey it like his brethren (2 Kings 11:12). His work was not to make new laws, but to administer those which Jehovah had given, and "do all his pleasure." "Then must he constantly bear in mind that above him there abides another King - the Eternal; and that only in as far as he works together with God, and consequently with all spiritual truth, can any earthly monarch be a king after the heart of the King of kings" (Ewald). O that Saul had borne these things in mind!

2. Expounded in the hearing of the people.

3. Recorded and carefully preserved for future reference. "That the law of the king should not be a dead letter, that royal self-will should be kept within bounds, was to be the care, not of a representative popular assembly, but of prophecy, which stood as theocratic watchman by the side of royalty" (Oehler). - D.

He hath hid himself amongst the stuff.
When , the Arian Bishop of Milan, had expired, there was much excitement among the Christians in that City. Both Catholics and Arians had assembled in the principal church for the purpose of electing a new bishop, and each party was eager that some priest who held the same views as itself should be appointed to the vacant see. When the words of the governor had ceased to reverberate through the lofty arches of the church, the clear voice of a little child broke the silence which succeeded, repeating the words "Ambrose Bishop — Ambrose Bishop." At once the cry was caught up by that vast assemblage. In vain did protest that he was only a Catechumen, that he had not even been baptised; in vain did he urge that the sacred office of a bishop was one utterly foreign to his previous thoughts and studies (for he had been educated as a lawyer); the people would take no denial; and so, at last, he fled from their presence, in order to escape consecration to the Bishopric of Milan. This is no solitary instance. We read in the history of the Christian Church of many similar shrinkings from responsibility on the part of those who were elected to high office in that church; of many who, when called to assume the care of some diocese, or even the sacred office of the priesthood, endeavoured, like Saul the Benjamite, to go and hide themselves among the stuff. Now what was the cause of this strange behaviour: what was the cause of that flight of S. Ambrose, when elected to the Bishopric of Milan? Was it not a sort of nervous fear: was it not what may be called shamefacedness, or as it is better rendered in the revised version of the New Testament "shamefastness"? We can see countless instances of its disastrous effects in the Christian Church of the present day. But let us not be too ready to condemn our timid brethren. S. Ambrose became a mighty pillar of the Church: Saul, for many years, made an excellent king, and proved himself a courageous warrior after he had been drawn forth from his inglorious retreat. It is a hard thing to lead a holy life in a world given to unrighteousness. Our Lord told His disciples that the world would hate them and persecute them, just as it had hated and persecuted Him. It is the public declaration of our loyalty to Christ which forms the difficulty with most of us. And so this shamefastness leads men to live two lives — one in the Church and one in the family circle: another in the office or in the club. If we investigate the causes of this lack of helpers, what do we find? We find hundreds of young men and women attending our churches: many of them regular communicants — all at least making some outward profession of Christianity — all at least hoping to be saved through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You implore them to labour in some one of those many fields which lie fallow for want of a sower, and they respond but too frequently with that parrot cry that "charity begins at home." They are asked to join some society, to teach in some Sunday School; the call of God comes to them in a hundred different ways to come forth boldly and testify in His name; but, alas, when they are thus summoned, they flee like Saul the son of Kish, and hide themselves among the stuff and baggage of such excuses as they can drag together to conceal their lack of courage. We read day after day in the public journals, that, as each regiment embarks for service at the seat of war, not a man is found wanting when the muster roll is called — none of the soldiers of our Queen are evading the call of duty — none are hiding themselves among the stuff. And shall we, the soldiers of Christ, suffer such a reproach to be cast at us, shall we suffer it to be said that our Christianity is pure selfishness, that all we care for is to save our souls; and that we care not to come forward and make public avowal, to take up this or that public duty which Christ calls upon us to perform for the love which we profess to bear Him?

(Patrick Wilson.)

For the fulfilment of high offices in Church and State men need the fellowship of those whose experience will impart a new impulse to life as well as a new education.

1. Men hide themselves among feeling arising from a sense of unworthiness. Such a sentiment must be cherished, but not elevated above the call of God. We have a large number of good people who withhold their persons and their influence from the Church of Christ, because they are unfit. Poor stuff! Come to your own coronation, God is calling. Your first fitness is obedience to the call. Be ruled by a sense of the greatness of the Saviour.

2. Men hide themselves among their good intentions. Intentions are good when they are followed by actions, but they are bad when they are mere substitutes. Some lives are made up of intentions, and, like castles in the air, they are blown down by the rough winds of circumstances. Many would be rich without work, wise without learning, and famous without a passport. Very many people sincerely hope to become serious and religious some day.

3. Men hide themselves among their doubts and unbeliefs. Those who set themselves up as harmonisers of the Divine method and fail are not a few. No vessel anchors in fogs on the Banks of Newfoundland, but every one drives through. To live in doubt is to anchor in a fog. Every one knows something of the perplexities of belief. The unrest of the soul calls for the rest of faith; but, he who rests in the unrest of doubt is condemned already.

4. Men hide themselves among worldly cares and anxieties. The motto of many is, "Business must be attended to." Certainly, and religion must be attended to likewise.

5. Men hide themselves among the pleasures of life. The pleasure seeker is everywhere, and is catered for most extensively, but it is poor stuff.

(T. Davies.)

Joan of Arc is a striking example of strong resolve and lofty purpose conquering a naturally timid disposition. When convinced that she was called of God to deliver France from English rule, the timid village maiden became a leader in battlefields and sieges, and unawed by the presence of the highest personages in the land. The conviction of her mission made her strong.

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