1 Samuel 9
Saul looks for his father's donkeys
1 Kish was a strong, brave man from the tribe of Benjamin. Kish was the son of Abiel. Abiel was the son of Zeror. Zeror was the son of Becorath. Becorath was the son of Aphiah. Aphiah came from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 Kish had a son whose name was Saul. He was a very handsome young man. No other Israelite was more handsome than Saul. When Saul stood with other people, you could see his head and shoulders above everyone else's head.
3 Kish had some donkeys. But nobody could find them. Kish said to Saul, ‘Go and look for the donkeys. Take one of the servants with you when you go to find them.’ 4 So Saul and the servant went through the hills in Ephraim's land. Then they went to Shalisha and the places near to it. But they did not find the donkeys there. Then they went to Shaalim's place. The donkeys were not there. The people from the tribe of Benjamin lived all round them. So, Saul and the servant went through all their fields. But they did not find the donkeys.
5 They reached the fields near Zuph. Saul said to his servant, ‘We must return to our home now. My father was afraid that he had lost the donkeys. But he will start to think that he has lost us. We must return now.’
6 The servant replied, ‘There is a man of God in this town. Everything that he says becomes true. So people give honour to him. We should go there now. Perhaps he will tell us where to find the donkeys.’
7 Saul said to his servant, ‘If we go to visit this man we must give a gift to him. But we do not have a gift. We do not even have any food. What can we give to him?’
8 The servant answered, ‘I have a small piece of silver. I will give it to the man of God. Then he will tell us which way we should go.’ 9 (Sometimes a man from Israel wanted to ask God something. This is what he said to other people: ‘Come with me. We will go to the seer.’ We now call this man a prophet. But years ago, the Israelites called him a ‘seer’.)
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 good. We should visit this man of God.’ So, they went to the town where he was.
11 They went up the hill to the town. Some young women came out of the town to get some water. Saul and his servant said, ‘Is the seer here?’
12 They said, ‘Yes, he is here. He is in front of you. You must hurry. He came to the town today because the people have a sacrifice. They will sacrifice at the place for worship. 13 When you go into the town, you will find the seer. He is going to the place for worship. The people will not start to eat until he comes. The seer must first ask God to accept the sacrifice. Then the people with him will eat. You will find the seer if you go now.’
Saul meets Samuel
14 Saul and his servant went up to the town. When they went into the town, Samuel came towards them. He was going to the place for worship. 15 God had spoken to Samuel the day before this. God said, 16 ‘Tomorrow I will send a man to you. He comes from the land of Benjamin. He will arrive at about this time of day. Anoint him as the leader over my people, Israel. He will save my people from the Philistines. I have seen the way that they have hurt my people. I heard the people when they shouted for help.’
17 Samuel saw Saul. God said to Samuel, ‘Here is the man that I told you about. He will rule my people.’
18 Samuel was near the gate of the town. Saul went to him and said, ‘Please tell me where the seer's house is.’
19 Samuel said, ‘I am the seer. You must go in front of me to the place for worship. I want both of you to eat with me today. Tomorrow morning I will answer all your questions. Then you can go to your home. 20 Do not think about the donkeys that you lost three days ago. Someone has found them. I will tell you what all Israel's people want. 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 group is the least important group in the tribe of Benjamin. Why have you said all this to me?’
22 Then Samuel took Saul and his servant into the place where he would make the sacrifice. He caused them to sit in the most important seats. Samuel had asked about 30 men to come to the meal. 23 Samuel spoke to the cook. He said, ‘Please bring me the piece of meat that I gave to you. I said that you must keep it separate.’
24 So the cook took the leg of meat and he put it down in front of Saul. Samuel said to Saul, ‘I kept this piece of meat for you. Eat it because this is a special meal. When I first asked the other men, I kept this piece of meat for you.’ So, Saul ate with Samuel that day.
25 They left the place for worship and they went into the town. Samuel took Saul on to the roof of his house. They talked together on the roof. 26 They got up at dawn the next day. Saul was on the roof of the house. Samuel shouted up to him. He said, ‘Get up and get ready to leave. I will send you on your journey.’ Saul got ready to leave. Saul and Samuel went out into the street. 27 They walked to the edge of the town. Samuel said, ‘Say to your servant that he must go on in front of us. But you must stay, because I have a message from God for you.’