Poole on 1 Samuel 9:11-14: Search for the Seer, Part 2
Verse 11: And as they went up the hill to the city (Heb. in the ascent of the city), (Gen. 24:11) they found young maidens going out to draw water, and said unto them, Is the seer here?
[To draw water] From a fountain, which was flowing past the foot of the hill (Mendoza).
Going out, that is, out of the city, and down to the bottom of the hill, where the fountain or river was.
Verse 12: And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste now, for he came to day to the city; for (Gen. 31:54; 1 Sam. 16:2) there is a sacrifice (or, feast) of the people to day (1 Kings 3:2) in the high place…
[Behold before thee] That is, he goeth (Mendoza).
[For he came today unto the City] That is, Ramah. Question: How does she thus speak, since Samuel always dwelt there? Response: Either Samuel dwelt in a suburb, whence he would come into the city: or he came into the city is the same thing as he went out from his house into the city, appearing in public (Mendoza).
He came today to the city: she so speaks, though this was his own constant habitation, because he had been travelling abroad, possibly in his circuit, described 1 Samuel 7:16, 17, and was now returned to his own house in Ramah, as he used to do, and so she implies they come in a good and seasonable time to meet with him.
[Because there is a sacrifice today] Some maintain that it was a common feast (thus Rupertus and Hugo in Mendoza, certain interpreters in Lyra, a great many interpreters in Malvenda, the Hebrews and Josephus in Serarius, Junius, Piscator). Since Samuel had heard that the king was coming on the following day, he wanted him to be received with honor (Martyr). They observe that זֶבַח/sacrifice often signifies a feast, as in 1 Samuel 28:24; likewise in Genesis 31:54; 1 Kings 19:21 (Malvenda); Genesis 43:16 (Mendoza). But others understand this of a true sacrifice (thus Lyra, Estius, Menochius, Tirinus, Lapide, Sanchez, Mendoza, Tostatus). It was an eucharistic sacrifice, or of peace-offerings (thus Munster, Vatablus, Drusius, Martyr, Mendoza). The good parts of which were returned to the offerer (Martyr, similarly Munster, Mendoza). It is proven: 1. זֶבַח properly signifies this. 2. A Prophet was not needed to bless a common feast; but the individual guests were blessing their own feast. 3. The Hebrews were wont to sacrifice peace-offerings for the obtaining of blessing. And Samuel was wanting to obtain from God the successful outcome of choosing a King (Mendoza). 4. Its place was separated from the houses of Samuel and the other citizens, and elevated, verses 25, 26. 5. How would the maidens have known of a common feast of Samuel or any other (Serarius)? Objection: But this place was not proper for sacrifices. Response: It was proper by special privilege (Mendoza). When these things were done, there was no place in which was the Tabernacle, or the house of God; because, although the structure of the ancient Tabernacle was yet standing, it was without the Ark, which was the form and life of the Tabernacles, as it were; but, with the Ark separated from the Tabernacle, it was not able to be called the House of God. Moreover, at that time high places seemed most apt for sacrifices (Sanchez). At that time, on account of the frequent changes of abode, there was no certain place for sacrifice. See what things are said on Deuteronomy 12:8 (Grotius).
[There is a sacrifice of the people (thus Munster), לָעָם] For the people (Pagnine, Martyr, Junius and Tremellius, Malvenda), or by the people (Vatablus), that is, because the people are going to celebrate a feast today from the remainers of the peace-offerings (Vatablus). It is called a sacrifice of the people, both because individuals were presenting victims to be sacrificed; and because individuals were carrying back their parts of the things sacrificed (Mendoza). It was a solemn sacrifice of the people; perhaps because they were of the New Moon. Yet Samuel, being advised of the coming of the King the day before, of himself added more sacrifices; which is indicated, 1. Inasmuch as he invited him, verse 24. And, 2. He gives to his guests places, verse 22, and portions, verse 23 (Serarius).
[In the high place, בַּבָּמָה] Chaldean: in the house of sitting, that is, where they were sitting to eath; that is, in an upper room (Vatablus). In the high place, that is, in a more elevated placed, in which public feasts were wont to be held (Vatablus). This was a certain house in which these sacrifices were performed; and good men gathered there to eat with Samuel (Munster). A high place appeared to be more suitable for sacrifices, because deluded Paganism consecrated for their religion places depressed and obscure, because of the dense groves of their gods; although it also polluted these high places (Sanchez).
There is a sacrifice, otherwise feast; but it seems to be understood of a sacrifice. First, Because so the Hebrew word signifies most properly, and most frequently. Secondly, Because this eating was in the high place, which was the common place for sacrifices, but not for private feasts. Thirdly, The prophet’s presence was not so necessary for a feast as for a sacrifice. Of the people; so this sacrifice is called, because this was a public solemnity, and possibly the new moon, when the people brought several sacrifices, to wit, peace-offerings, whereof part fell to the offerer’s share; and of those parts united together, they here made a common feast; not without Samuel’s direction, who being forewarned the day before by God, of Saul’s coming, made this feast more solemn for his entertainment, 1 Samuel 9:22-24. In the high place; upon the hill mentioned 1 Samuel 9:11, and near the altar which Samuel built for this kind of use, 1 Samuel 7:17, by Divine dispensation, as was there noted; otherwise to sacrifice in high places was forbidden by the law, after the building of the tabernacle.
Verse 13: As soon as ye be come into the city, ye shall straightway find him, before he go up to the high place to eat: for the people will not eat until he come, because he doth bless the sacrifice; and afterwards they eat that be bidden. Now therefore get you up; for about this time (Heb. to day) ye shall find him.
Ye shall straightway find him, at home and at leisure. To eat the relics of the sacrifices, according to the manner.
[For the people will not eat until he come, etc.] Where note both the modesty of the people, and the religion of Samuel (Mendoza).
[He will bless the sacrifice] That is, he is going to give thanks on occasion of the peace-offering (Vatablus). Question: Was then Samuel, merely a Levite, able to bless a sacrifice? Or, if it were previously offered by a Priest, for what purpose then was there a new blessing? Response: The Hebrews had a custom, just as also the Christians do now, to bless food and drink (Estius, similarly Lyra, Vatablus). They were wont to begin meals with prayers (Kimchi in Mendoza), and also to close them with prayers; according to Deuteronomy 8:10. See Matthew 14:19; 26:30 (Mendoza); Luke 9:16; 24:30; Psalm 22:29. But now the Jews bless food and drink separately (Sanchez). Samuel gives thanks to God before the meal made of the peace-offering, and consecrates it with some customary formula (Menochius). The Hebrews were giving thanks before meals: moreover, it was customary among them, that whoever had given thanks over the present food would also break and distribute them. But mention is only made here of the giving of thanks, for the breaking and distribution were readily understood from custom. The Chaldean paraphrast only makes mention of the breaking, when he says, for he is going to divide the sacrifice (Vatablus).
He doth bless the sacrifice, that is, either, first, The meat left of the sacrifice, which is the matter of the following feast; as this is commonly understood. Or rather, secondly, The sacrifice itself. For what reason is there to depart from the proper signification of the word? For that the sacrifices under the law were accompanied with confession, or petition, or thanksgiving, may be gathered from divers places of Scripture, as Leviticus 5:5; 16:21; Numbers 5:7; Luke 1:10. And who so proper to perform this work as Samuel, an eminent prophet? And the blessing of this sacrifice seems to have consisted both of thanksgiving, this being a thank-offering, and of prayer to God for his acceptance, Psalm 20:3.
[Get ye up] Previously they had said, make haste, in the singular number, either, because Saul alone had asked; or, from his bearing they were concluding him to be more noble; they, regarding their familiar fellowship, now say, get ye up (Mendoza).
Now therefore get you up with speed, lest he be set down before you come.
[For today ye shall find him (thus the Syriac, Arabic, Jonathan, Munster, Tigurinus), כִּֽי־אֹת֥וֹ כְהַיּ֖וֹם תִּמְצְא֥וּן אֹתֽוֹ׃] Verbatim: for him, as in the day, ye shall find him (Montanus). Among the Hebrews there is a presentation of a twofold relative, although one would suffice. And the repetition of אֹתוֹ/him is serviceable for judging the swiftness and certainty; that is to say, certainly at this very time him ye shall find. There are similar things in Genesis 27:34, בָּרֲכֵ֥נִי גַם־אָ֖נִי, bless me, me, I say; 2 Kings 20:19; Proverbs 23:15; 1 Samuel 25:24, בִּי־אֲנִי, upon me, upon me (Glassius’ “Grammar” 220). Just like days ye shall find him; that is, most certainly. A form of speech used by the Hebrews emphatically to assert anything, concerning which see Genesis 25:31, 33 (Mariana): that is to say, as certain as it is that the present day has begun to dawn; so certain it is that Samuel is going to appear in your path (Mendoza out of Cajetan and Tostatus, similarly Drusius). According to the day, that is, at this very point of time (Vatablus). It is able to be translated, at this very hour (Piscator, Pagnine). Some: verily at that time ye shall find him; for it is a כ ἀληθινὸν, agreeable to truth (Drusius).
Verse 14: And they went up into the city: and when they were come into the city, behold, Samuel came out against them, for to go up to the high place.
[And while they were walking about in the midst of the city] But in verse 13, they say, entering into the city, ye shall immediately find him; that is, he is in the very entry of the city; therefore, not in the midst. Response: בְּתוֹךְ signifies within the city (Vatablus, Mendoza). Thus it is taken in Isaiah 6:5; Jeremiah 50:8; Micah 3:3 (Mendoza).
[Coming out] Namely, from his house (Vatablus), so that he might meet Saul. For, he knew beforehand that he was going to arrive at that hour (Mendoza).
Samuel came out; out of his own house, just as they passed by.
 Hebrew: הֵ֗מָּה עֹלִים֙ בְּמַעֲלֵ֣ה הָעִ֔יר וְהֵ֙מָּה֙ מָצְא֣וּ נְעָר֔וֹת יֹצְא֖וֹת לִשְׁאֹ֣ב מָ֑יִם וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ לָהֶ֔ן הֲיֵ֥שׁ בָּזֶ֖ה הָרֹאֶֽה׃  Hebrew: בְּמַעֲלֵ֣ה הָעִ֔יר.  Hebrew: וַתַּעֲנֶ֧ינָה אוֹתָ֛ם וַתֹּאמַ֥רְנָה יֵּ֖שׁ הִנֵּ֣ה לְפָנֶ֑יךָ מַהֵ֣ר׀ עַתָּ֗ה כִּ֤י הַיּוֹם֙ בָּ֣א לָעִ֔יר כִּ֣י זֶ֧בַח הַיּ֛וֹם לָעָ֖ם בַּבָּמָֽה׃  Hebrew: זֶבַח.  1 Samuel 28:24: “And the woman had a fat calf in the house; and she hasted, and killed it (וַתִּזְבָּחֵהוּ), and took flour, and kneaded it, and did bake unleavened bread thereof…”  Genesis 31:54: “Then Jacob offered sacrifice (וַיִּזְבַּ֙ח יַעֲקֹ֥ב זֶ֙בַח֙) upon the mount, and called his brethren to eat bread: and they did eat bread, and tarried all night in the mount.”  1 Kings 19:21: “And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them (וַיִּזְבָּחֵהוּ), and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.”  Genesis 43:16: “And when Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the ruler of his house, Bring these men home, and slay (וּטְבֹ֤חַ טֶ֙בַח֙), and make ready; for these men shall dine with me at noon.”  Hebrew: כְּבֹאֲכֶ֣ם הָעִ֣יר כֵּ֣ן תִּמְצְא֣וּן אֹת֡וֹ בְּטֶרֶם֩ יַעֲלֶ֙ה הַבָּמָ֜תָה לֶאֱכֹ֗ל כִּ֠י לֹֽא־יֹאכַ֤ל הָעָם֙ עַד־בֹּא֔וֹ כִּֽי־הוּא֙ יְבָרֵ֣ךְ הַזֶּ֔בַח אַחֲרֵי־כֵ֖ן יֹאכְל֣וּ הַקְּרֻאִ֑ים וְעַתָּ֣ה עֲל֔וּ כִּֽי־אֹת֥וֹ כְהַיּ֖וֹם תִּמְצְא֥וּן אֹתֽוֹ׃  Hebrew: כְהַיּוֹם.  Hebrew: עֲלוּ.  1 Samuel 9:12: “And they answered them, and said, He is; behold, he is before you: make haste (מַהֵר) now, for he came to day to the city; for there is a sacrifice of the people to day in the high place…”  Proverbs 23:15: “My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine (יִשְׂמַ֖ח לִבִּ֣י גַם־אָֽנִי׃).”  Genesis 25:31, 33: “And Jacob said, Sell me this day (כַיּוֹם) thy birthright…. And Jacob said, Swear to me this day (כַּיּוֹם); and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.”  Hebrew: וַֽיַּעֲל֖וּ הָעִ֑יר הֵ֗מָּה בָּאִים֙ בְּת֣וֹךְ הָעִ֔יר וְהִנֵּ֤ה שְׁמוּאֵל֙ יֹצֵ֣א לִקְרָאתָ֔ם לַעֲל֖וֹת הַבָּמָֽה׃  Isaiah 6:5: “Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and in the midst (וּבְתוֹךְ) of a people of unclean lips I dwell: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.”  Jeremiah 50:8: “Remove out of the midst (מִתּוֹךְ) of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be as the he goats before the flocks.”  Micah 3:3: “Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within (בְּתוֹךְ) the caldron.”