Shmuel 1-Chapter 9: Shaul meets Shmuel

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Chapter 9: Shaul meets Shmuel

1. Who is Shaul?

  • There was a man from the tribe of Benjamin whose name was Kish the son of Aviel, the son of Bechoros, the son of Afiach, the son of a Benjamite. He was a warrior.
  • This man had a son named Shaul, who was a good young lad. There was no one amongst the Jewish people as great as he was. He was a shoulders length taller than everyone else of his nation.

2. Shaul searches for his father’s lost mules:

  • Kish, the father of Shaul, lost His mules and he asked his son Shaul to take with him one of the young lads and go search for the mules.
  • So, he traveled throughout the mountains of Efraim, and to the lands of Shalisha although he did not find them. He traveled to the land of Shalim, and they were not to be found. He traveled to the land of Benjamin, and they were not to be found.
  • They arrived at the land of Tzuf, and Shaul turned to the lad and told him they should go and return home as his father may be worried about them and this worry will override the worry of his mules.

3. Shaul decides to approach Shmuel to help him find his father’s last mules:

  • The deliberations of traveling to Shmuel: The lad said to Shaul behold there is a man of G-d in this city and the man is very well respected whatever he says comes to fruition. Let us now go there as perhaps you can tell us the direction that we should take. Shaul replied to the lad that if we go what will we bring to the man, as we have used up all our last bread, and we have no gift to bring to the man of G-d, what can we do? The lad continued to speak and replied to Shaul: I have in my hands a quarter of a shekel of silver, and I will give it to the man of G-d and he will tell us the direction that we should be following [i.e. that which occurred to our mules[1]]. Indeed, at that time it was accustomed amongst Israel that the man who went to search G-d would go to the seer, as the prophet of that day was called a seer. Shaul said to his lad: Your words our good, let us go to the city in which the man of G-d is found.
  • Traveling to meet Shmuel and the asking of girls for directions: They traveled to the city in which the man of God is found. They were walking up the steps of the city and they found young girls who went to draw water and they ask them if there is a seer in this city. The girls replied that indeed there is a seer before them, and that they should hurry now as he just arrived at the city today, as today is the day the nation brings sacrifices on the Portable altar. When you arrive to the city, you will [need to] find him prior to going up to the altar to eat, as the nation will not eat until he arrives, as he blesses the offerings, and afterwards all those invited eat from it. Now, hurry and go, as you will only find him today. So, they went up to the city, and as they were coming into the city, Shmuel went towards them to go up the altar.
  • G-d forewarned Shmuel of the arrival of Shaul and instruction to anoint him: G-d had revealed to the ears of Samuel the day before Shaul’s arrival, that the next day, at this time, He will send to him a man from the tribe of Benjamin. G-d instructed him as follows: You are to anoint him to become a leader for My nation of Israel, as he will save My nation from the hands of the philistines, as I have seen the pain that My nation is experiencing and their cry towards me.

4. Shmuel and Shaul finally meet:

  • Shmuel saw Shaul approaching and G-d said to him “Here is the man that I spoke to you about that will be appointed leader of My nation.” Shaul approached Shmuel by the gate of the city, and he asked him “Please tell me where the house of the seer is?”
  • Shmuel invites Shaul to eat with him and relates to him that the mules were found: Shmuel replied to Shaul saying “I am the seer that you were looking for. Come up with me to the altar and let us eat together today. I will send you off in the morning and will tell you all that is on your heart. Now, regarding the mules that have already become lost to you for three days, do not pay any attention to them anymore as they have been found. To whom belongs all the glory [i.e. fields, orchards[2], and kingship[3]] of Israel if not to you and your father’s household.”
  • Shaul is taken aback by Shmuel’s description of him: Shaul replied saying: “Am I not the son of a Yemini, who is the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and is my family The youngest from all the families of the tribe of Benjamin! why then do you speak to me in such a way?”

5. Shmuel and Shaul dine together:

  • Shaul is given a special portion of meat to eat: Shmuel took Shaul and his lad and brought them to his office. He sat them at the head of the table, before all the dignitaries who were invited to the meal, which was about 30 people. Shmuel instructed the cook to give him the portion of meat that he had handed him [the day before[4]] and had him to guard. So, the cook took the thigh and the leg and he placed it before Shaul, and Shmuel told him “Behold, this leftover meat of the offerings I place before you to eat, as it was guarded on your behalf for this time, as I’m the one who invited the guests [and know how many portions each one must receive[5]].”
  • So Shaul ate with Shmuel on that day.
  • Shmuel and Shaul descended from the altar and went to the city to the roof of Shmuel’s house. He spoke with Shaul while on the roof [about matters of fear of heaven[6]].

6. Shmuel teaches Shaul the word of G-d:

  • They woke up, and towards the morning Shmuel called Shaul from the roof telling him to get up so he can be sent out. So Shaul got up and him and Shmuel went outside. They descended to the end of the city and Shmuel said to Shaul: “Tell the lad that he should pass in front of us, in order so you can stay alone today with me and I will teach you the word of G-d.”


[1] Rashi 9:6

[2] Pirush Rav Yosef Karo 9:20

[3] Rashi 9:20

[4] Pirush Rav Yosef Karo 9:23

[5] See Rashi and other Mefarshim on 9:24

[6] Rashi 9:25

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