I Sam. 8:1-10:27
As Samuel became an old man, he appointed his sons, Joel and Abijah to be judges over Israel. They were corrupt in their dealings with the people by taking bribes and perverting justice. The elders of Israel confronted Samuel with their dissatisfaction of his sons’ leadership and demanded that they have a king like the other nations around them.
Samuel was displeased at their rejection of his leadership and took his problem to the Lord. God instructed him to do as the people said, “For they have not rejected you, but have rejected Me…” In allowing their demands, Samuel was to let them know how they would be treated by their future kings. Their final response was, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.”
Saul was a young Benjamite man. His father, Kish sent him and a servant out to find his lost herd of donkeys. After failing to find them after three days of searching, Saul suggested that they return home because his father would be concerned about them instead of the donkeys. As a last effort, Saul decided to seek out the man of God that was in the city at that time. Perhaps he could direct them to their donkeys.
Meanwhile, God had notified Samuel that He was sending a man about that time the next day for him to anoint as, “commander over My people Israel.” When he met Saul, he told him that his donkeys had been found, but he added, “And on whom is all the desire of Israel. Is it not on you and on all your father’s house?” Saul was amazed that he, of the least of the families of Benjamin who was also the least of the tribes of Israel would hear a man of God speak to him in that manner. God has used the lowly and humble to do many great works.
The day following their first meeting, Samuel anointed Saul by pouring a flask of oil on his head. That indicated God’s favor upon the king, prophet or priest that had been anointed. He would serve under God’s direction. Samuel gave Saul three signs that would prove to him that he indeed was God’s anointed.
Samuel called the people together for a formal selection/presentation of their new king. He reminded them of their rejection of God, who had led them out of Egypt and later delivered them from their oppressors. In a type of lot casting, Saul was chosen. He was a tall handsome man and stood head and shoulders above all of the people. His physical appearance indicated strength and power in a leader. The people were happy and shouted, “Long live the king!”
After the ceremony, Samuel sent everyone home and Saul returned to his home in Gibeah about three miles north of Jerusalem. But, there were some rebels who were unhappy with the day’s events.