Samuel Anoints Saul as King
1Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it over Saul’s head. He kissed Saul and said, “I am doing this because the lord has appointed you to be the ruler over Israel, his special possession.# Greek version reads over Israel. And you will rule over the Lord’s people and save them from their enemies around them. This will be the sign to you that the Lord has appointed you to be leader over his special possession. 2When you leave me today, you will see two men beside Rachel’s tomb at Zelzah, on the border of Benjamin. They will tell you that the donkeys have been found and that your father has stopped worrying about them and is now worried about you. He is asking, ‘Have you seen my son?’
3“When you get to the oak of Tabor, you will see three men coming toward you who are on their way to worship God at Bethel. One will be bringing three young goats, another will have three loaves of bread, and the third will be carrying a wineskin full of wine. 4They will greet you and offer you two of the loaves, which you are to accept.
5“When you arrive at Gibeah of God,# Hebrew Gibeath-haelohim. where the garrison of the Philistines is located, you will meet a band of prophets coming down from the place of worship. They will be playing a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre, and they will be prophesying. 6At that time the Spirit of the lord will come powerfully upon you, and you will prophesy with them. You will be changed into a different person. 7After these signs take place, do what must be done, for God is with you. 8Then go down to Gilgal ahead of me. I will join you there to sacrifice burnt offerings and peace offerings. You must wait for seven days until I arrive and give you further instructions.”
Samuel’s Signs Are Fulfilled
9As Saul turned and started to leave, God gave him a new heart, and all Samuel’s signs were fulfilled that day. 10When Saul and his servant arrived at Gibeah, they saw a group of prophets coming toward them. Then the Spirit of God came powerfully upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy. 11When those who knew Saul heard about it, they exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet? How did the son of Kish become a prophet?”
12And one of those standing there said, “Can anyone become a prophet, no matter who his father is?”# Hebrew said, “Who is their father?” So that is the origin of the saying “Is even Saul a prophet?”
13When Saul had finished prophesying, he went up to the place of worship. 14“Where have you been?” Saul’s uncle asked him and his servant.
“We were looking for the donkeys,” Saul replied, “but we couldn’t find them. So we went to Samuel to ask him where they were.”
15“Oh? And what did he say?” his uncle asked.
16“He told us that the donkeys had already been found,” Saul replied. But Saul didn’t tell his uncle what Samuel said about the kingdom.
Saul Is Acclaimed King
17Later Samuel called all the people of Israel to meet before the lord at Mizpah. 18And he said, “This is what the lord, the God of Israel, has declared: I brought you from Egypt and rescued you from the Egyptians and from all of the nations that were oppressing you. 19But though I have rescued you from your misery and distress, you have rejected your God today and have said, ‘No, we want a king instead!’ Now, therefore, present yourselves before the lord by tribes and clans.”
20So Samuel brought all the tribes of Israel before the lord, and the tribe of Benjamin was chosen by lot. 21Then he brought each family of the tribe of Benjamin before the lord, and the family of the Matrites was chosen. And finally Saul son of Kish was chosen from among them. But when they looked for him, he had disappeared! 22So they asked the lord, “Where is he?”
And the lord replied, “He is hiding among the baggage.” 23So they found him and brought him out, and he stood head and shoulders above anyone else.
24Then Samuel said to all the people, “This is the man the lord has chosen as your king. No one in all Israel is like him!”
And all the people shouted, “Long live the king!”
25Then Samuel told the people what the rights and duties of a king were. He wrote them down on a scroll and placed it before the lord. Then Samuel sent the people home again.
26When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them.
[Nahash, king of the Ammonites, had been grievously oppressing the people of Gad and Reuben who lived east of the Jordan River. He gouged out the right eye of each of the Israelites living there, and he didn’t allow anyone to come and rescue them. In fact, of all the Israelites east of the Jordan, there wasn’t a single one whose right eye Nahash had not gouged out. But there were 7,000 men who had escaped from the Ammonites, and they had settled in Jabesh-gilead.]# This paragraph, which is not included in the Masoretic Text, is found in Dead Sea Scroll 4QSama.