Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s father, were lost. So Kish said to Saul his son, “Take one of the young men with you, and arise, go and look for the donkeys.” And he passed through the hill country of Ephraim and passed through the land of Shalishah, but they did not find them. And they passed through the land of Shaalim, but they were not there. Then they passed through the land of Benjamin, but did not find them.
When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to his servant who was with him, “Come, let us go back, lest my father cease to care about the donkeys and become anxious about us.” But he said to him, “Behold, there is a man of God in this city, and he is a man who is held in honour; all that he says comes true. So now let us go there. Perhaps he can tell us the way we should go.” Then Saul said to his servant, “But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?” The servant answered Saul again, “Here, I have with me a quarter of a shekel of silver, and I will give it to the man of God to tell us our way.” (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.) And Saul said to his servant, “Well said; come, let us go.” So they went to the city where the man of God was.
Comment: This is a pretty easy passage to read and understand. I simply note the following: –
- As a wealthy man Kish may well have owned 20-50 donkeys. In Ethiopia we used to see herds of them being driven along the roads and hundreds of them standing around on market days.
- Saul and a young man had to take their food food with them. There were no 24/7’s for them as they hunted, on foot, an area which is apparently about 40km long by 18 km wide. When ‘coincidentally’ they were near the town where Samuel was, Saul could see the food supply running low so decided to return home, .
- As in English obviously in Hebrew words also changed – thus a seer became a prophet, although seer remained later with a different meaning.
- Saul’s young man had money to give to Samuel which allowed them to go. It is interesting that his associate had money when Saul didn’t. It suggests to me that he was a friend even though a servant.
- So they go to see the seer.
Prayer: As the hymn writer wrote years ago, You certainly do work in mysterious ways, O God.