1 Samuel 10:1 MEANING

1 Samuel 10:1
(1) Then-Samuel took a vial of oil.--The vial was a narrow-necked vessel, from which the oil flowed in drops. It was, of course, no common oil which the prophet used on this momentous occasion, but the oil of holy ointment, the sacred anointing oil which was used at the consecration of the priests, and also of the Tabernacle and the sacred vessels. (See Exodus 29:7; Exodus 30:23-33, &c.) The solemn anointing took place in the ceremony of consecration in the case of some, but not of all, the Hebrew sovereigns. We hear of it at the accession of David, Absalom, Solomon, Joash, Jehoahaz, And Jehu. In cases of regular succession the anointing was supposed to continue its effect--that is, the regular succession needed no new anointing. Hence it is that only the above named kings are mentioned as having been anointed, all founders of dynasties or irregularly advanced to the throne. (See Erdman in Lange here.)

And kissed him.--Rather as a customary sign of reverential homage than as a mark of affection, which at that early date of their acquaintance it was hardly possible to assume that the old man felt for the younger. (Compare Psalm 2:12 : "Kiss the son, lest he be angry": that is, "Do homage, O ye kings of the earth, to Him who is your anointed King.")

The Lord hath anointed thee.--Samuel replies to the look and gesture of extreme astonishment with which the young Saul received the anointing and the kiss with these words: "Do you mutely ask me why I pay you this formal homage? why I salute you with such deep respect? Is it not because you are the chosen of the Eternal? Are you still incredulous respecting your high destiny? See now, as you go on your way home, you will meet with three signs; they will prove to you that what I do, I do not of myself, but in obedience to a higher power."

Verse 1. - A vial of oil. Hebrew, "the vial of oil," because it was that same holy oil with which the priests were anointed (Exodus 29:7). Throughout Holy Scripture the office of king appears as one most sacred, and it is the king, and not the priest, who is especially called Messiah, Jehovah s anointed (1 Samuel 2:10, 35; 1 Samuel 12:3, 5; 1 Samuel 16:6, etc.), because he represented the authority and power of God. And kissed him. I.e. did homage to him, and gave him the symbol and token of allegiance (see Psalm 2:12). Is it not?.... A strong affirmation often takes the form of a question, especially when, as probably was the case here, surprise is manifested. Saul, on whom the occurrences of the previous day must have come as strange and unintelligible marvels, was no doubt still more embarrassed when one so old and venerable, both in person and office, as Samuel solemnly consecrated him to be Israel's prince (see 1 Samuel 9:16), and gave him the kiss of fealty and allegiance. Samuel, therefore, answers Saul's inquiring looks with this question, and, further, gives him three signs to quiet his doubts, and convince him that his appointment is from God.

10:1-8 The sacred anointing, then used, pointed at the great Messiah, or Anointed One, the King of the church, and High Priest of our profession, who was anointed with the oil of the Spirit, not by measure, but without measure, and above all the priests and princes of the Jewish church. For Saul's further satisfaction, Samuel gives him some signs which should come to pass the same day. The first place he directs him to, was the sepulchre of one of his ancestors; there he must be reminded of his own mortality, and now that he had a crown before him, must think of his grave, in which all his honour would be laid in the dust. From the time of Samuel there appears to have been schools, or places where pious young men were brought up in the knowledge of Divine things. Saul should find himself strongly moved to join with them, and should be turned into another man from what he had been. The Spirit of God changes men, wonderfully transforms them. Saul, by praising God in the communion of saints, became another man, but it may be questioned if he became a new man.Then Samuel took a vial of oil,.... Out of his pocket very probably, which he brought along with him on purpose for the use he made of it: this, as the Jews (y) say, was not the anointing oil that was in the tabernacle, which was at another and distant place, and with which only the kings of the house of David were anointed; but common oil, or, as they say, oil of balsam; and this was not an horn, but a vial, which held a small quantity, and was brittle; and they observe that Saul and Jehu, who were anointed with a vial, their reigns were short, whereas David and Solomon, who were anointed with a horn, their reigns were long; and as oil is a symbol of the gifts and graces of the Spirit, it may denote a smaller measure conferred on Saul than on David and Solomon:

and kissed him; congratulating him on the dignity he was raised to, and in reverence and respect to him, because of the high office he was arrived to; and as a token of subjection and homage, and to testify his well pleased in his being king, and that he readily, willingly, and with pleasure resigned the government to him:

and said, is it not because the Lord hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance? the people of Israel, so called, Deuteronomy 32:9 and which is observed here to show, that though Saul was anointed king over them, they were the Lord's possession still, and he was accountable to him for his government and usage of them, over whom he was to be a captain, leader, and commander, to go before them, and fight their battles for them, of which his being anointed with oil was a token; and therefore it is said, "is it not?" or dost thou not see by this? or knowest thou not, as R. Isaiah supplies it, that this is of the Lord? for it was the Lord that anointed him, or Samuel by his orders; and such questions as these, as Kimchi observes, are for the greater confirmation of what is spoken; and if Saul had any doubt upon his mind, as perhaps he might because of his meanness, and the high honour designed hereby, not only this question is put, but three following signs are given him, whereby he might be assured of the truth of it.

(y) T. Bab. Horayot, fol. 11. 2. & 12. 1.

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