Saul Looks for His Father’s Donkeys
9 Kish, son of Abiel from the tribe of Benjamin, was an important man. (Abiel was the son of Zeror, who was the son of Becorath, who was the son of Aphiah of Benjamin.) 2 Kish had a son named Saul, who was a fine young man. There was no Israelite better than he. Saul stood a head taller than any other man in Israel.
3 Now the donkeys of Saul’s father, Kish, were lost. So Kish said to Saul, his son, “Take one of the servants, and go and look for the donkeys.” 4 Saul went through the mountains of Ephraim and the land of Shalisha, but he and the servant could not find the donkeys. They went into the land of Shaalim, but the donkeys were not there. They went through the land of Benjamin, but they still did not find them. 5 When they arrived in the area of Zuph, Saul said to his servant, “Let’s go back or my father will stop thinking about the donkeys and will start worrying about us.”
6 But the servant answered, “A man of God is in this town. People respect him because everything he says comes true. Let’s go into the town now. Maybe he can tell us something about the journey we have taken.”
7 Saul said to his servant, “If we go into the town, what can we give him? The food in our bags is gone. We have no gift to give him. Do we have anything?”
8 Again the servant answered Saul. “Look, I have one-tenth of an ounce of silver. Give it to the man of God. Then he will tell us about our journey.” 9 (In the past, if someone in Israel wanted to ask something from God, he would say, “Let’s go to the seer.” We call the person a prophet today, but in the past he was called a seer.)
10 Saul said to his servant, “That’s a good idea. Come, let’s go.” So they went toward the town where the man of God was.
11 As Saul and the servant were going up the hill to the town, they met some young women coming out to get water. Saul and the servant asked them, “Is the seer here?”
12 The young women answered, “Yes, he’s here. He’s ahead of you. Hurry now. He has just come to our town today, because the people will offer a sacrifice at the place of worship. 13 As soon as you enter the town, you will find him before he goes up to the place of worship to eat. The people will not begin eating until the seer comes, because he must bless the sacrifice. After that, the guests will eat. Go now, and you should find him.”
Saul Meets Samuel
14 Saul and the servant went up to the town. Just as they entered it, they saw Samuel coming toward them on his way up to the place of worship.
15 The day before Saul came, the Lord had told Samuel: 16 “About this time tomorrow I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin. Appoint him to lead my people Israel. He will save my people from the Philistines. I have seen the suffering of my people, and I have listened to their cry.”
17 When Samuel first saw Saul, the Lord said to Samuel, “This is the man I told you about. He will organize my people.”
18 Saul approached Samuel at the gate and said, “Please tell me where the seer’s house is.”
19 Samuel answered, “I am the seer. Go with me to the place of worship. Today you and your servant are to eat with me. Tomorrow morning I will answer all your questions and send you home. 20 Don’t worry about the donkeys you lost three days ago, because they have been found. Soon all the wealth of Israel will belong to you and your family.”
21 Saul answered, “But I am from the tribe of Benjamin, the smallest tribe in Israel. And my family group is the smallest in the tribe of Benjamin. Why are you saying such things?”
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant into a large room and gave them a choice place at the table. About thirty guests were there. 23 Samuel said to the cook, “Bring the meat I gave you, the portion I told you to set aside.”
24 So the cook took the thigh and put it on the table in front of Saul. Samuel said, “This is the meat saved for you. Eat it, because it was set aside for you for this special time. As I said, ‘I had invited the people.’” So Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 After they finished eating, they came down from the place of worship and went to the town. Then Samuel talked with Saul on the roof[a] of his house. 26 At dawn they got up, and Samuel called to Saul on the roof. He said, “Get up, and I will send you on your way.” So Saul got up and went out of the house with Samuel. 27 As Saul, his servant, and Samuel were getting near the edge of the city, Samuel said to Saul, “Tell the servant to go on ahead of us, but you stay, because I have a message from God for you.”
- 9:25 roof In Bible times houses were built with flat roofs. The roof was used for drying things such as flax and fruit. And it was used as an extra room, as a place for worship, and as a cool place to sleep in the summer. See Deuteronomy 22:8.