Poole on 1 Samuel 9:15-17: God's Revelation of Saul to Samuel
Verse 15: (1 Sam. 15:1; Acts 13:21) Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear (Heb. revealed the ear of Samuel; 1 Sam. 20:2) a day before Saul came, saying…
[He had revealed the ear, גָּלָ֖ה אֶת־אֹ֣זֶן וגו״] He had revealed (or had uncovered [Piscator]) the ear of Samuel (Pagnine, Montanus, Piscator, Septuagint, Drusius, Vatablus). It signifies the removal of a veil wherewith the ear would be covered. See Ruth 4:4 (Piscator). This expression occurs in 1 Samuel 20:2; 22:8. It signifies by Metalepsis to signify something to someone. For, he that reveals or uncovers the ear desires it to be exposed, and ready to hear, not deaf and stopped up; but he that makes it ready, reveals something to it (Mendoza). To reveal the ear to someone is to indicate to him some secret, like things spoken into the eart (Vatablus in Tigurinus Notes). He reveals the ear, who discloses to some one what he wills to be done; likewise who advises one concerning a matter. See Job 36:10, 15 (Drusius). He had revealed into the ear (Junius and Tremellius); he had foretold (or indicated [Tigurinus], or had revealed [Arabic]) to Samuel (Syriac).
In his ear, that is, secretly.
[One day before] So that he might prepare those things that were pertaining to an honorable reception of Saul (Mendoza out of Tostatus). But not earlier, lest perhaps he should prepare an immoderate feast (Mendoza).
A day before Saul came, that he might prepare himself for Saul’s reception.
Verse 16: To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, (1 Sam. 10:1) and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have (Ex. 2:25; 3:7, 9) looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me.
[I will send to thee] By the secret leading of the Spirit, with him thinking one thing, but doing another (Malvenda out of Junius).
I will send thee a man; I will by my secret providence so dispose of matters, and of the hearts of Saul and his father, that Saul shall come to thee, though with another design.
[And thou shalt anoint him] All Kings were anointed, even the impious ones; for, although the person of the King was profance, nevertheless there was a sacred dignity because of which he was to be honored (Mendoza).
[A captain, לְנָגִיד] For a captain (Pagnine, Montanus); a prince (Septuagint); a king (Jonathan). A leader (Junius and Tremellius); that is to say, one that goes before, who in a time of war goes before the army (Junius). Formerly the King was ἡγεμὼν τῶν πρὸς τὸν πόλεμον, a leader of those to the battle: Aristotle’s Politics 3:14. Homer: —Ἀμφότερον βασιλεὺς τ᾽ ἀγαθὸς, κρατερός τ᾽ αἰχμητὴς, he was both a good king, and stout warrior. And Tacitus: however much other things might be dissembled, a general’s (add, or king’s) virtue belongs to a good captain (Grotius). נָגִיד/captain is from נֶגֶד, in front of, before; that is to say, one in front of the battle standard, because subordinates set their faces continually before him, and regard him in all their needs (Drusius). It signifies one that lives in our sight (Piscator). It signifies rather a herald, a leader, a teacher, who teaches the people by action, to whom the people look and refer all things (Malvenda).
[And he shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines] Question 1: How was this done? Responses: 1. This promise was conditional, if Saul had not set in opposition the obstancle of sin. 2. He freed them in part, as it is evident out of 1 Samuel 14; 19, in comparison with 1 Samuel 13 (Mendoza). Question 2: Why does he not say, from the hand of the Ammonites, who had already oppressed them, and from whom he actually liberated them? Responses: 1. The Ammonites were not so cruel and powerful as the Philistines; therefore, with a promise given concerning the restraint of the Philistines, the casting down of the Ammonites was sufficiently understood. 2. God often bestows more than He promises (Mendoza).
[He shall save, etc.] God also knows how to elicit good out of evil counsels (Grotius).
That he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines; for though they were now most pressed with the Ammonites, as we read, 1 Samuel 12:12, yet they looked upon these as a land-flood, which they hoped would be soon up, and soon down again; but the Philistines, their constant, inveterate, and nearest enemies, they most dreaded. And from these Saul did in some measure save them, and should have saved them much more, if his and the people’s manifold sins had not hindered it.
[I have looked upon the people] That is, the affliction of my people imploring my aid (Vatablus). Thus the Lord renders to them good for evil, teaching us to do the same (Mendoza).
[Their cry] Extorted by the cruelty of the Philistines (Piscator). That is to say, they deposit before me their just complaints concerning the Philistines, the Ammonites, and the sons of Samuel (Mendoza).
I have looked on my people, to wit, with compassion and resolution to help them; a usual synecdoche. Their cry, that is, their earnest prayers to me for help.
Verse 17: And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, (1 Sam. 16:12; Hos. 13:11) Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over (Heb. restrain in) my people.
[He said (thus Junius and Tremellius, Piscator)] Hebrew: He answered to him (Munster, Montanus, Septuagint). Of this word the Hebrews make use, even when a speech is beginning (Mariana).
[Behold the man] Previously He had revealed that a man was to be sent, etc.; now He points him out; lest Samuel should be deceived in meeting others, or even the very servant accompanying Saul (Mendoza). God said this by secret inspiration. Thus below, in 1 Samuel 16:8, 12 (Piscator).
Unto him, in his ear, as before, verse 15, by secret instinct, so as none but he could hear it.
[He shall reign over my people (thus the Syriac, Piscator, similarly the Arabic, Septuagint, Munster, Junius and Tremellius), זֶ֖ה יַעְצֹ֥ר בְּעַמִּֽי׃] עָצַר properly signifies to retain in office, and to enclose (Vatablus). It belongs to the King to restrain his people, lest they go on and do something without his licence (Kimchi in Munster). Let them not hurl themselves precipitately into wars; nor act unjustly against their neighbors in times of peace (Menochius). He shall shut up, of shall restrain; that is, he shall restrain from sin by commandments and punishments. Or he shall shut up, shall hem in; that is, he shall compel to order by certain commands and prohibitions (Piscator). Jonathan has, he shall take away the dominion (namely, of the Philistines) from my people (Drusius out of Munster). He shall have superior power among my people (Malvenda).
 Hebrew: וַֽיהוָ֔ה גָּלָ֖ה אֶת־אֹ֣זֶן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל י֣וֹם אֶחָ֔ד לִפְנֵ֥י בֽוֹא־שָׁא֖וּל לֵאמֹֽר׃  Hebrew: גָּלָ֖ה אֶת־אֹ֣זֶן שְׁמוּאֵ֑ל.  1 Samuel 20:2: “And he said unto him, God forbid; thou shalt not die: behold, my father will do nothing either great or small, but that he will shew it me (יִגְלֶ֖ה אֶת־אָזְנִ֑י, uncover mine ear): and why should my father hide this thing from me? it is not so.”  Ruth 4:4: “And I thought to advertise thee (אֶגְלֶ֧ה אָזְנְךָ֣, I would uncover thine ear), saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.”  1 Samuel 22:8: “That all of you have conspired against me, and there is none that sheweth me (וְאֵין־גֹּלֶ֤ה אֶת־אָזְנִי֙, there is none that uncovereth mine ear) that my son hath made a league with the son of Jesse, and there is none of you that is sorry for me, or sheweth unto me (וְגֹלֶ֣ה אֶת־אָזְנִ֑י, or uncovereth mine ear) that my son hath stirred up my servant against me, to lie in wait, as at this day?”  Job 36:10: “He openeth also their ear (וַיִּ֣גֶל אָ֭זְנָם) to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.”  Job 36:15: “He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression (וְיִ֖גֶל בַּלַּ֣חַץ אָזְנָֽם׃).”  Hebrew: כָּעֵ֣ת׀ מָחָ֡ר אֶשְׁלַח֩ אֵלֶ֙יךָ אִ֜ישׁ מֵאֶ֣רֶץ בִּנְיָמִ֗ן וּמְשַׁחְתּ֤וֹ לְנָגִיד֙ עַל־עַמִּ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וְהוֹשִׁ֥יעַ אֶת־עַמִּ֖י מִיַּ֣ד פְּלִשְׁתִּ֑ים כִּ֤י רָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־עַמִּ֔י כִּ֛י בָּ֥אָה צַעֲקָת֖וֹ אֵלָֽי׃ נָגִיד/ruler/prince is related to the verbal root נָגַד, to be conspicuous. Agricola 89.  See 1 Samuel 11.  See 1 Samuel 8:1-5.  Hebrew: וּשְׁמוּאֵ֖ל רָאָ֣ה אֶת־שָׁא֑וּל וַיהוָ֣ה עָנָ֔הוּ הִנֵּ֤ה הָאִישׁ֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר אָמַ֣רְתִּי אֵלֶ֔יךָ זֶ֖ה יַעְצֹ֥ר בְּעַמִּֽי׃  Hebrew: יַעְצֹ֥ר בְּעַמִּֽי׃.  Hebrew: עָנָהוּ.