There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish… Using the same formula as at the beginning of 1 Samuel, the author lets you know a new chapter has begun. This man of Benjamin has a son, Saul, with whom you will become well acquainted.
Yesterday’s events hang in the background of the chapters that follow. Remember that Israel’s rejection of the LORD’s kingship, their demand to have a king “like the nations,” was answered. Marry this information with Saul’s intersection with Samuel, and the story takes off on its own.
Pay attention to the signs that Samuel promises, and to how Saul responds to them. Keep an eye on Samuel’s emotions as he speaks to Israel – like Moses in Deuteronomy, there is a tinge of bitterness with which you can wrestle.
Also, and this is critical in the Bible: listen for descriptions of the LORD’s actions and perspective. How the Spirit “rushes” upon Saul; how He refers repeatedly to Israel as “My people” – a reminder that they belonged neither to their judge nor to their king. The LORD also maintains power over men’s hearts, giving Saul a “new” one, and launching hope that this will turn out alright after all.
Throughout these chapters, however, the author drops hints about Saul’s fitness for the kingship. In chapter 9, there is an extensive explanation of Saul’s ineptitude as a shepherd; the only compliments regard his good looks and height. We know at the outset that he is from Benjamin, but we don’t learn until the end of chapter 10 that his hometown is Gibeah: that Gibeah, of that awful story at the end of Judges.
Our verse for this week is Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
1 Samuel chapters 9 through 12. Now let’s read it!
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.