We pick up where we left off yesterday: Samuel and Saul wait for Saul’s servant to get ahead of them, because Samuel has a prophetic message for Saul (9:27). And Samuel begins by pouring oil on Saul, a symbol of God’s anointing (10:1). The Hebrew of this verse actually only says: “has not the Lord anointed you to be leader over His inheritance.” This shows the responsibility of the king is first and foremost to God. In verses 3-7, Samuel tells Saul exactly what will happen to him on his way home as proof of God’s choice of him as king. Notice in verse 5 the passing mention of a garrison of the Philistines in Gibeath-elohim. Under Samuel, the leader chosen by God, the Philistines were removed from the land (7:13). Now, with Israel’s desire for a king like the nations, they are back.
Saul is encouraged to respond to God’s sovereign grace with obedience (v. 8). In verse 9, we are told that God gave Saul “another heart.” This is God given faith. In verse 10 we see that Saul is a pointer – however imperfect – to Christ, the Perfect. Saul is the Spirit empowered and anointed king and prophet of God. In verse 17-19, we again see the willing rejection of the Lord by Israel. God points out what He has done, because Israel should have responded in faith. Implied in verse 19 is that their rejection of God will result in calamities and distress. God then publicly chooses Saul to be king. Note in verse 24 that the people are seeing with worldly eyes. In verse 25, Samuel likely recounts what God commanded in Deuteronomy 17:14-20. We see, though, that not everyone is happy with this king (v. 27).
Chapter 11 begins with the Ammonite siege of a city of East Manasseh (the half-tribe on the eastern side of the Jordan – 11:1). We see how willing to surrender the Israelites are. Nahash’s condition of the gouging of the right eye was to hinder effective fighting in the case of a later revolt by those surrendering (v. 2). We see in verse 4 the lack of courage, and of faith, by Israel. But God would save them through the anointed king. In verse 6, the Spirit of God empowers Saul for victory. And the victory is indeed won (v. 11). We see at this point in his life that God granted Saul great faith to lead. He gave God the glory for the victory (v. 13). We see the custom in the ancient world of crowning a king only after a military victory (vv. 14-15).
In chapter 12, we read Samuel’s “retirement” as judge of Israel now that there is a king. The time of the judges has officially ended. Samuel asserts that he has done no wrong to the people in his time as judge (v. 3), and Israel confirms that this is so (vv. 4-5). This is further admonition by Samuel for their choice. There was no reason to establish a king. Then, Samuel continues his admonition by pointing out that God has always provided leaders for Israel (vv. 8-11). And yet they rejected God (v. 12).
In verse 14 we see that obedience is still due to God, not the king, who is also subject to God. God puts in on both the people and the king to obey to keep the blessings He has provided (vv. 14-15). And like Samuel predicted God’s proof to Saul that he had been chosen, he predicts God’s proof that Israel has indeed sinned gravely in wanting a king (v. 17). And God provides that proof (v. 18). In verses 19-20, we see that even after sin, God will forgive His people if they repent. And because of that gracious forgiveness, Israel should respond in obedience (vv. 21-24). Samuel ends with a final warning against further sin (v. 25).