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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 9


There was a stalwart man from Benjamin named Kish, who was the son of Abiel, son of Zeror, son of Becorath, son of Aphiah, a Benjaminite.


He had a son named Saul, who was a handsome young man. There was no other Israelite handsomer than Saul; he stood head and shoulders above the people.


Now the asses of Saul's father, Kish, had wandered off. Kish said to his son Saul, "Take one of the servants with you and go out and hunt for the asses."


Accordingly they went through the hill country of Ephraim, and through the land of Shalishah. Not finding them there, they continued through the land of Shaalim without success. They also went through the land of Benjamin, but they failed to find the animals.


When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the servant who was with him, "Come, let us turn back, lest my father forget about the asses and become anxious about us."


The servant replied, "Listen! There is a man of God in this city, a man held in high esteem; all that he says is sure to come true. Let us go there now! Perhaps he can tell us how to accomplish our errand."


But Saul said to his servant, "If we go, what can we offer the man? There is no bread in our bags, and we have no present to give the man of God. What have we?"


1 Again the servant answered Saul, "I have a quarter of a silver shekel. If I give that to the man of God, he will tell us our way."


2 (In former times in Israel, anyone who went to consult God used to say, "Come, let us go to the seer." For he who is now called prophet was formerly called seer.)


Saul then said to his servant, "Well said! Come on, let us go!" And they went to the city where the man of God lived.


As they were going up the ascent to the city, they met some girls coming out to draw water and inquired of them, "Is the seer in town?"


3 The girls answered, "Yes, there - straight ahead. Hurry now; just today he came to the city, because the people have a sacrifice today on the high place.


When you enter the city, you may reach him before he goes up to the high place to eat. The people will not eat until he arrives; only after he blesses the sacrifice will the invited guests eat. Go up immediately, for you should find him right now."


So they went up to the city. As they entered it, Samuel was coming toward them on his way to the high place.


The day before Saul's arrival, the LORD had given Samuel the revelation:


"At this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin whom you are to anoint as commander of my people Israel. He shall save my people from the clutches of the Philistines, for I have witnessed their misery and accepted their cry for help."


When Samuel caught sight of Saul, the LORD assured him, "This is the man of whom I told you; he is to govern my people."


Saul met Samuel in the gateway and said, "Please tell me where the seer lives."


Samuel answered Saul: "I am the seer. Go up ahead of me to the high place and eat with me today. In the morning, before dismissing you, I will tell you whatever you wish.


As for the asses you lost three days ago, do not worry about them, for they have been found. Whom does Israel desire ardently if not you and your father's family?"


Saul replied: "Am I not a Benjaminite, of one of the smallest tribes of Israel, and is not my clan the least among the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why say such things to me?"


Samuel then took Saul and his servant and brought them to the room, where he placed them at the head of the guests, of whom there were about thirty.


He said to the cook, "Bring the portion I gave you and told you to put aside."


4 So the cook took up the leg and what went with it, and placed it before Saul. Samuel said: "This is a reserved portion that has been set before you. Eat, for it was kept for you until your arrival; I explained that I was inviting some guests." Thus Saul dined with Samuel that day.


When they came down from the high place into the city, a mattress was spread for Saul on the roof,


and he slept there. At daybreak Samuel called to Saul on the roof, "Get up, and I will start you on your journey." Saul rose, and he and Samuel went outside the city together.


As they were approaching the edge of the town, Samuel said to Saul, "Tell the servant to go on ahead of us, but stay here yourself for the moment, that I may give you a message from God."



1 [8] A quarter of a silver shekel: about a tenth of an ounce of silver.

2 [9] (9)This verse is a later explanation of the term seer, first used in the text in 1 Sam 9:11.

3 [12] On the high place: the local sanctuary on the top of a hill, where the sacrifice was offered and the sacrificial meal eaten.

4 [24] And what went with it: a slight change would give "and the fatty tail" as perhaps the original reading. Sheep in the Near East are exceptionally fat-tailed, and such a portion would be thought a special delicacy by the Hebrews. However, the ritual legislation as we know it ( Lev 3:9) would require that the fat tail be burned on the altar. If this general rule was later than the time of Samuel, the present text may have been retouched so as not to seem to contravene it. A Qumran text has "the festive (leg)" here.

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