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Poole on 1 Samuel 10:22-25: The Manner of the Kingdom

Verse 22:[1] Therefore they (1 Sam. 23:2, 4, 10, 11) enquired of the LORD further, if the man should yet come thither. And the LORD answered, Behold, he hath hid himself among the stuff.

[And after these things they consulted the Lord (similarly Pagnine), וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ־עוֹד֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה] And they yet enquired in the Lord (Montanus), or of the Lord (Munster). Samuel asked of the Lord (Arabic, similarly the Septuagint, Syriac). Question: How was this done? Responses: 1. Perhaps by the high priest (whom it is reasonable to believe to have been present in a matter of such moment), with the Ephod employed, concerning which see 1 Samuel 23:9 (Menochius, thus Lapide, Sanchez). 2. They asked through the prophet, that is, through Samuel himself. For this entire matter was managed by him (Mendoza).

They inquired of the Lord; either by Urim or Thummim, which was the usual way of inquiry, Numbers 27:21; 1 Samuel 23:9; 28:6; or by Samuel, who by his prayer procured an answer.

[Behold, he is hidden at home, הִנֵּה־ה֥וּא נֶחְבָּ֖א אֶל־הַכֵּלִֽים׃] Behold, he is hidden (hides himself [Pagnine, Strigelius], lies hidden [Syriac, Tigurinus]) by, or among, the vessels (Jonathan, Pagnine, Malvenda, similarly the Septuagint, Munster); among the provisions (Syriac), equipment (Tigurinus, Vatablus), baggage (Junius and Tremellius, Osiander, Vatablus). אֶל/to/towards in the place of ב/ in/among, as elsewhere (Drusius). That is, among domestic furniture (Menochius); among the bundles of the people that had assembled (Lapide out of Vatablus): and that out of humility, whereby he was judging himself unworthy of the kingdom, and was dreading the burden of ruling (Lapide). For, since he had heard Samuel chiding the Israelites for asking for a King, he conceived thence a certain new fear of coming to the kingdom (Mendoza). See here, how honor flees those pursuing, and pursues those fleeing (Lapide). Saul acted modestly and prudently, so that he might appear to have come to the kingdom at the call of the Lord, not by evil stratagems in ambition (Menochius). Since Saul was changed into another man, a new light shined upon his previously uncultivated character, that he might conduct himself prudently, and show that the prefecture was not so much ambitiously sought, as voluntarily offered (Sanchez).

Among the stuff; among the carriages or baggage of the people there assembled. This he might do, because he either had, or at least would be thought to have, a modest sense of his own unworthiness, which was a likely way to commend him to the people.

Verse 23:[2] And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, (1 Sam. 9:2) he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.

[He was higher, etc.] Thus Anchises,[3] Æneid 8, …was walking, taller than all: and Turnus,[4] Æneid 7, …is taller by an entire head (Lapide).

Verse 24:[5] And Samuel said to all the people, See ye him (2 Sam. 21:6) whom the LORD hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people? And all the people shouted, and said, (1 Kings 1:25, 39; 2 Kings 11:12) God save the king (Heb. let the king live[6]).

[None like him] He commends him, not for the endowments of his souls, which the people were not seeing; but for his body’s height and build, in which something Regal was appearing: that is to say, Ye see the external appearance of the man, according to which no one is better than he; from that conclude ye the rest (Sanchez). Note here that Samuel is urged by no goads of jealousy; indeed, he praises and commends him (Mendoza).

There is none like him among all the people; as to the height of his bodily stature, which was in itself commendable in a king, and some kind of indication of great endowments of mind.

[Let the King live] To live here and elsewhere is to act prosperously (Grotius). Chaldean: Let the King be happy; that is, May all things fall out happily for the King (Vatablus).

God save the king; Hebrew, Let the king live, to wit, long and prosperously; for an afflicted life is reputed a kind of death, and is oft so called. Hereby they accept and own him for their king, and promise subjection to him.

Verse 25:[7] Then Samuel told the people (see Deut. 17:14, etc.; 1 Sam. 8:11) the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house.

[The law of the Kingdom] This is a different law from that law in 1 Samuel 8. Whence some observed that it is there called the law of the King, that is, to be usurped; but here, the law of the Kingdom, that is, legitimate, which also was renewed, 1 Samuel 11:14 (Estius). The Greeks translate it, δικαίωμα τοῦ βασιλέως, the judgment/ordinance of the kingdom, which Josephus interprets as the evils about to come from the accustomed license of Kings. See 1 Samuel 2:13. Others prefer it to be the precepts, ὑποθήκας/instructions, of ruling well, of which sort Isocrates[8] and Stobæus[9] have exceptional ones. An edifice was constructed upon the foundations that are found in Deuteronomy 17:16, etc. (Grotius). He explained to the people the right of Royal dignity, which the King had over his subjects. It was not containing the rights of tyranny, but the rights of the Kingdom, and of equitable administration (Vatablus). It was containing the mutual duties of the King and his subjects (Menochius, similarly Sanchez, Lapide, Mendoza, Malvenda, Drusius). Lest either the King should exercise a tyranny over his subjects; or the subjects despise the commands of the King (Grotius). Or, by this law the form of the Republic was set forth, as much to the King as to the people (Menochius). With the magistrate changed, it was necessary to introduce new laws, lest the people transgress in ignorance (Martyr). Or the Acts of the Assembly are called the Law of the Kingdom, whereby Saul was elevated to the Kingdom (Menochius).

The manner of the kingdom; not the manner of the king, of which he had spoken before, 1 Samuel 8:11, etc., but of the kingdom: to wit, the laws and rules by which the kingly government was to be managed, agreeable to those mentioned Deuteronomy 17:16, etc., which peradventure Samuel did expound and apply to their particular case.

[He wrote it in a book] This book has perished, with many others (Mendoza, Menochius, Sanchez).

[He laid it up before the Lord] That is, in the Tabernacle (Mendoza, Menochius, Sanchez); in which also were preserved the weights and measures, which are in a manner laws that test the quantity of things (Menochius out of Sanchez); beside the ark of the Lord (Vatablus, similarly Lapide, Sanchez), lest they should be corrupted: Those whose morals were suspect and of wily character were not admitted into the Sanctuary (Sanchez); so that they might be kept more securely, since all were kept from the entrance of the Sanctuary, except the high priest once in the year.[10] You will say, but the King was obliged to read it. Response: Therefore, this book was copied, as the Hebrews say of Deuteronomy (Mendoza).

Before the Lord; before the ark, or in the sanctuary, where it was kept safe from depravation.

[And Samuel dismissed the people] Saul did not do this; because, although he was now having the power of commanding, he was abstaining from it because of natural modesty (Mendoza).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ־עוֹד֙ בַּֽיהוָ֔ה הֲבָ֥א ע֖וֹד הֲלֹ֣ם אִ֑ישׁ וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֔ה הִנֵּה־ה֥וּא נֶחְבָּ֖א אֶל־הַכֵּלִֽים׃ [2] Hebrew: וַיָּרֻ֙צוּ֙ וַיִּקָּחֻ֣הוּ מִשָּׁ֔ם וַיִּתְיַצֵּ֖ב בְּת֣וֹךְ הָעָ֑ם וַיִּגְבַּהּ֙ מִכָּל־הָעָ֔ם מִשִּׁכְמ֖וֹ וָמָֽעְלָה׃ [3] In Greco-Roman mythology, Anchises was a member of the royal family of Troy, and father of Æneas. [4] Turnus was the King of Rutuli in Italy, and the principal antagonist of Æneas. [5] Hebrew: וַיֹּ֙אמֶר שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל אֶל־כָּל־הָעָ֗ם הַרְּאִיתֶם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּֽחַר־בּ֣וֹ יְהוָ֔ה כִּ֛י אֵ֥ין כָּמֹ֖הוּ בְּכָל־הָעָ֑ם וַיָּרִ֧עוּ כָל־הָעָ֛ם וַיֹּאמְר֖וּ יְחִ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃ [6] Hebrew: יְחִ֥י הַמֶּֽלֶךְ׃. [7] Hebrew: וַיְדַבֵּ֙ר שְׁמוּאֵ֜ל אֶל־הָעָ֗ם אֵ֚ת מִשְׁפַּ֣ט הַמְּלֻכָ֔ה וַיִּכְתֹּ֣ב בַּסֵּ֔פֶר וַיַּנַּ֖ח לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה וַיְשַׁלַּ֧ח שְׁמוּאֵ֛ל אֶת־כָּל־הָעָ֖ם אִ֥ישׁ לְבֵיתֽוֹ׃ [8] Isocrates (436-338 BC) was one of the most influential rhetoricians of his day. [9] Joannes Stobæus was a late-fifth century compiler of Greek antiquities. [10] See Leviticus 16.

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