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PALESTINE AFTER THE CONQUEST

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London

John Murray, Albemarle Street

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bidding, accompanied by a trustworthy servant,' traditionally believed to have been Doeg the Edomite, who acted as guide and guardian of the young man. After a three days' circuit they arrived at the foot of a hill surmounted by a town, when Saul proposed to return home, but was deterred by the advice of the servant, who suggested that before doing so they should consult a “man of God,'a 'seer,' as to the fate of the asses, securing his oracle by a present (bakhshish) of a quarter of a silver shekel. They were instructed by the maidens at the well outside the city to catch the seer as he came out on his way to a sacred eminence, where a sacrificial feast was waiting for his benediction. At the gate they met the seer for the first time. It was Samuel. A Divine intimation had indicated to him the approach and the future destiny of the youthful Benjamite. Surprised at his lan- The call of guage, but still obeying his call, they ascended to the high place, and in the inn or caravanserai at the top found thirty or seventy“ guests assembled, amongst whom they took the chief seats. In anticipation of some distinguished stranger, Samuel had bade the cook reserve a boiled shoulder, from which Saul, as the chief guest, was bidden to tear off the first morsel. They then descended to the city, and a bed was prepared for Saul on the housetop. At daybreak Samuel roused him. They descended again to the skirts of the town, and there the servant having left them) Samuel poured over Saul's head the consecrated oil, and with a kiss of salutation announced to him that he was to be the ruler and deliverer of the nation. From that moment, a fresh life dawned upon him. Under the outward garb of his domestic

Saul.

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The word is na'ar, .servant,' not 'ebed, .slave.'

2 1 Sam. ix. 11-13. The situation of the town is wrapt in the same geographical obscurity that tracks the whole journey of Saul. See Lecture

XVIII. p. 407.

1 Το κατάλυμα, LΧΧ., ix. 27.

* LXX.; and Joseph. Ant. vi. 4, $1.

5 LXX., ix. 22-24.
• LXX., ibid. 25-1. 1.

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vocation, the new destiny had been thrust upon him. The trivial forms of an antiquated phase of religion had been the means of introducing him to the Prophet of the Future. Each stage of his returning, as of his outgoing route, is marked with the utmost exactness, and at each stage he meets the incidents which, according to Samuel's prediction, were to mark his coming fortunes. By the sepulchre of his mighty ancestress-known then, and known still as Rachel's tomb-he met two men, who announced to him the recovery of the asses. There his lower cares were to cease. By a venerable oakdistinguished by the name not elsewhere given, the oak: of • Tabor’- he met three men carrying gifts of kids and bread, and a skin of wine, as an offering to Bethel. There, as if to indicate his new dignity, two of the loaves were offered to him. By the hill of God' (whatever may be the precise spot indicated—seemingly close to his own home), he met a 'chain’ of prophets descending with musical instruments. There he caught the inspiration from them, as the sign of a grander, loftier life, than he had ever before conceived.

This is what may be called the private, inner view of his call. There was yet another outer call, which is related independently. An assembly was convened by Samuel at Mizpeh, and lots (so often practised at that time) were cast to find the tribe and the family which was to produce the king. Saul was named, and found hid in the circle of baggage which surrounded the encampment. His stature at once conciliated the public feeling, and for the first time the shout was raised, afterwards so often repeated down to modern times, ' Long live the King!'6 The Monarchy, with

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i 1 Sam. x. 2-6, 9, 10.

? At Zelzah, or (LXX.) ‘leaping for joy.'

* Mistranslated in A. V. 'plain.'

* See Ewald, iii. 31.

1 Sam. x. 17-22.
• Ibid. 23, 24 (Heb.).

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that conflict of tendencies, of which the mind of Samuel is the best reflex,' was established in the person of the young Prophet, whom he had thus called to this perilous eminence.

Up to this point Saul had been only the shy and retiring youth of the family. He is employed in the common work of the farm. His father, when he delays his return, mourns for him, as having lost his way. He hangs on the servant for directions as to what he shall do, which he would not have known himself. At every step of Samuel's revelations he is taken by surprise. “Am not I a Benjamite ? of the smallest

of the tribes of Israel ? and my family the least of all the • families of the tribe of Benjamin ? wherefore then speakest *thou so to me?'4 He turns his huge shoulder 5 on Samuel, apparently still unconscious of what awaits him. The last thing which those that knew him in former days can expect, is that Saul should be among the Prophets. Long afterwards the memorial of this unaptness for high aspirations remained enshrined in the national proverbs. Even after the change had come upon him, he still shrunk from the destiny which was opening before him. “Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel

. said unto thee. And Saul said unto his uncle, He told 'us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter

of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not." On the day of his election, he was nowhere to be found, and he was as though he were deaf. Some there were, who even after his appointment still said, “How shall this man

save us ?' ' and they brought him no presents. 9 And he shrank back into private life, and was in his fields, and with his yoke of oxen, 10

I See Lecture XVIII.
2 1 Sam. ix. 5; X. 2.
: Ibid. ix. 7-10.
• Ibid. 21.

Ibid. x. 9; A. V. 'back.'

6 Ibid. x. 11, 12.
? Ibid. 16.

Ibid. 21, 22; 27 (Heb.).
✓ Ibid. 27.
10 Ibid. xi, 5, 7.

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