1 Samuel 9

Saul looks for his father's donkeys

1 Kish was an important man from the tribe of Benjamin. He was the son of Abiel. Abiel was the son of Zeror. Zeror was the son of Becorath. Becorath was the son of Aphiah. Aphiah was a descendant of Benjamin. 2 Kish had a son whose name was Saul. Saul was a handsome young man. No other Israelite was more handsome than he was. When Saul stood with other people, you could see his head above everyone else.

3 Some of Kish's donkeys had run away. Kish said to Saul, ‘Go and look for my donkeys. Take one of the servants with you.’ 4 So Saul and the servant travelled through the hill country of Ephraim. They went across Shalisha region. But they did not find the donkeys there. Then they went to Shaalim region. The donkeys were not there either. They travelled through all the tribe of Benjamin's land. They still did not find the donkeys anywhere.

5 They reached the land of Zuph's clan. Saul said to his servant, ‘We must return home now. We have been away for a long time. My father will start to think that we have become lost. He will not be thinking about the donkeys any more.’

6 The servant replied, ‘There is a servant of God who lives in this town. Everything that he says will happen really happens. So people respect him very much. We should go to meet him. Perhaps he will tell us which way we should go from here.’

7 Saul said to his servant, ‘That is good, but what will we give to him? We have eaten all the food that we brought with us in our bags. What else do we have? We must give him something.’

8 The servant answered, ‘I still have one small silver coin. I will give that to the servant of God. Then he will tell us which way we should go.’ 9 (That was the custom in Israel. If someone needed to hear a message from God, he would say, ‘We should go and talk with the seer.’ The man that we now call a prophet was called a ‘seer’ at that time.)

9:9A seer could see things that other people could not. God sometimes gave special dreams to a seer about things a long way away in time or in space.

10 Saul said to his servant, ‘That is a good idea. We should go now and see him.’ So they went to the town where the servant of God lived.

11 They went up the hill to the town. Some young women came out of the town to get some water at a well. Saul and his servant asked them, ‘Is the seer here?’

12 They said, ‘Yes, he is here. Go straight along this road. You must hurry. The seer came to the town today because the people will offer a sacrifice. He will go with them to the altar on the hill. 13 When you go into the town, you will find him before he goes up there. The people will not start to eat until he comes. First, he must bless the sacrifice. Then he will eat with the people who are there. Go up into the town now and you will find him.’

Saul meets Samuel

14 Saul and his servant went up towards the town. When they arrived there, Samuel came towards them. He was going up to the altar on the hill. 15 The day before Saul arrived, the Lord had already spoken to Samuel. He had said, 16 ‘Tomorrow I will send a man to you who comes from the land of Benjamin. He will arrive at about this time of day. Anoint him to be the ruler over my people, Israel. He will save my people from the power of the Philistines. My people have called out to me for help. Now I have decided to help them.’

17 When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, ‘Here is the man that I told you about. He will rule over my people.’

18 Saul met Samuel at the gate of the town. Saul said to him, ‘Please tell me where the seer's house is.’

19 Samuel said to him, ‘I am the seer! Go in front of me now to the altar on the hill. You and your servant will eat a meal with me there. Tomorrow morning I will send you back to your home. Before that, I will tell you what you want to know. 20 Someone has already found the donkeys that you lost three days ago. Do not think any more about them. The only thing that the Israelite people want now is you! They want you and all your father's family.’

21 Saul answered, ‘I belong to the tribe of Benjamin. It is the smallest tribe in the nation of Israel. And my family belongs to the smallest clan in that tribe. So why do you speak like this to me?’

22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant into the room where they would eat the meal. He made them sit in the most important seats in front of all the other people. About 30 people had come to eat the meal. 23 Samuel said to the cook, ‘Please bring me the special piece of meat that I gave to you. I told you to keep that piece separate.’

24 So the cook brought the leg of meat and he put it down in front of Saul. Samuel said to Saul, ‘I kept this special piece of meat for you to eat. Eat it now. I kept it separate for this time when we would eat together. I chose it for you when I asked the people to come and eat this special meal.’

So Saul ate the meal with Samuel that day.

25 They came down from the hill and they went into the town. Samuel took Saul onto the roof of his house and they talked together. 26 They got up at dawn the next day. Saul had been sleeping on the roof. Samuel shouted up to him, ‘Get up and prepare to leave. I will send you on your journey.’

9:25The roofs of their houses were flat and people could sit or lie down on them.

Saul got ready to leave to go home. Saul and Samuel went out into the street together. 27 They walked to the edge of the town. Samuel said to Saul, ‘Tell your servant to go on in front of us.’ So he did that.

Then Samuel said, ‘Stay here for a moment. I need to tell you God's message.’