Saul is Anointed King
When Samuel was old, he decided to make his sons judges over Israel, because he thought they were young and better able to manage the affairs of the people than he was. But his sons were not good men; they walked not in the ways of the Lord, but were bent on making money, and taking bribes, and had little care whether justice was done or not.
Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to see Samuel and told him: "Samuel, you are old, and your sons do not walk in the ways of the Lord, and they are not good judges. You must select a king to rule over us like other nations that we know."
When the people asked Samuel to give them a king he was displeased, and did not know what to do. So he prayed to the Lord for guidance. The Lord told him: "Listen to the voice of the people and hear all they say to you. They have not rejected you but they have rejected me. If they will have a king, let it be as they wish, but tell them the kind of king I shall send over them." And the Lord told him the kind of king that He would send.
Samuel went forth before the people and said as the Lord had told him: "This shall be the kind of king that shall reign over you: He shall take your sons and make them work for him, and make them take care of his chariots and horses. He will make them cultivate the ground and reap the harvests, and make implements of war. He will take your daughters and make them cooks and bakers. He will take your fields and your vineyards, and your olive trees and give them to his servants, and he will take all your servants, and your asses and make them do his work."
Notwithstanding all this, the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel and said: "Nay; but we will have a king over us. We wish to be like other nations and have a king that will judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles."
When Samuel told all this to the Lord, He said to Samuel: "Listen to what they say and make them a king." And Samuel told all the elders to go back to their cities and he would find them a king.
There was a man of Benjamin named Kish, and he had a son whose name was Saul. There was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than Saul. From his shoulders up he was taller than any other of the people. Saul took care of his father's asses and one time when some of them were lost, Kish said to his son:
"Take one of the servants, and arise, go find the asses which have strayed away and are lost."
Saul wandered through many places looking for the lost asses, but nowhere were they to be found. When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant: "Come, let us return, lest my father cease to worry about the asses and begin to worry about us." But the servant replied: "There is in this city a man of God. All that he says shall surely come to pass. Let us go seek him, probably he can show us the way we should go."
"If we go, what shall we give the man of God?" answered Saul. "The bread is gone and I have no present for him." But the servant said he had a small silver coin to give the seer, for so the man of God was called. Then they went into the city to find the seer, and ask of him the way they should go.
As they went up the hill they found young maidens coming out to get water from the wells, and asked them: "Is the seer here?" The maidens replied that the seer was coming into the city that day to make a sacrifice, and that, if they would make haste, they would find him. Then Saul and his servant hurried into the city to find the seer, who was no other than Samuel, the prophet and the man of God.
The Lord had already told Samuel: "Tomorrow, about this time, I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be captain over my people." When Saul and his servant came near to the place where Samuel was, the Lord said again to him: "Behold the man of whom I spoke to you. This is he who shall reign over my people."
Saul did not know Samuel and asked him to show him the house where the seer lived. But Samuel answered: "I am the seer. Go up to my house, for you shall eat with me today, and tomorrow I will let you go. As for the asses, worry no longer about them for they are found. As for yourself, all the desire of Israel has come upon you and your father's house."
Saul was greatly astonished at these words and replied to the old prophet: "I am a Benjamite, the smallest tribe of Israel. My family is the least of that tribe. Why do you speak thus to me?"
Samuel made no answer but brought Saul and his servant into the parlor, and made them sit in the best place among all the guests he had invited, and made the cook bring the best meat and put it before them.
After the feast was over Samuel took Saul to the top of the house and talked with him a long time, and found out many things about him and his family, and told him many things about the children of Israel: When they came down from the top of the house, Samuel made Saul send away his servant, in order that he might show him more of the word of God.
Then Samuel took a small bottle of oil and poured the oil upon the head of Saul, and kissed him, and said: "This is because the Lord has anointed you to be captain over His people." And the old prophet then told him many things which would happen to him as he went his way.
And it happened as Samuel had foretold. When Saul came to the place of Rachel's sepulchre, he found two men and they said to him: "The asses which you went to seek are found, and your father has ceased to worry over the asses, and now is concerned for the safety of his son."
Then Saul came to the plains of Tabor and there he met three men, one carrying three kids, one carrying three loaves of bread, and one carrying a bottle of wine. The men greeted Saul and one of them gave him two loaves of bread which he took from them. Saul went on his way and came to a place where there was a garrison of the Philistines. There he met a company of prophets coming down with musical instruments, and they began to prophesy. The spirit of the Lord came upon Saul and he began to prophesy also and became a changed man from that time.
When all those who had known Saul before this heard him prophesy, they said one to another: "What is this that has come to the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?" And this saying became a proverb with the people of Israel.
Saul's uncle said to him: "Where did you and the servant go?" And Saul told him that while they were seeking the asses they also went to Samuel, and that Samuel told them that the asses were found. But Saul did not tell his uncle the other things the old prophet had said to him.
When Samuel called the people together at Mizpeh, in order to have a king set over them as they wished, he told them to present themselves by tribes and by their thousands. When all the tribes had assembled, the tribe of Benjamin was selected to be the one from which a king was to be chosen.
When the tribe of Benjamin came by their families, the family of Matri was taken, then the household of Kish was taken, and out of that household Saul was chosen to be king over Israel. When they sought to find the young man he could not be found.
Therefore, they asked of the Lord: "Shall the young man come and be king, and where shall he be found?" And the Lord told them that Saul had hidden himself, and that they would find him among the stuff of the fields.
The people ran and found Saul as the Lord had said and brought him in before them and as he stood among them he was taller than any other of the people from his shoulders upwards.
Then Samuel cried out: "See him whom the Lord has chosen to be your king! There is none like him among all the people."
And all the people shouted: "God save the king!"