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The word `asses' in verse 3 signifies she-asses, and were probably valuable breeding
stock. At this period in Jewish history the horse was forbidden, consequently asses
would be in great demand. They were used not only as a means of transport, but also on
the farm for agricultural purposes. They were therefore valuable stock, and Kish would
be anxious to recover those that had been lost.
The word `servant' used here in verse 3 is not that of an ordinary farm hand. It has the
meaning of a trusted member of the household staff, one on familiar terms with his young
master. We read of him giving wise advice to Saul in verse 6, he was in charge of the
money (8), and in verse 22 we find that he was treated as an honoured guest at the
sacrificial feast at Ramah.
Tradition has handed down the belief that this man was Doeg, the Edomite, referred to
in chapter 21: 9-18. If this is so, then he alone of all the chief captains in Saul's army
dared to slay Ahimelech the priest and his entire household and family for helping David
unwittingly when Saul was hunting him down. This act of barbarous cruelty has labeled
the man as one of the most callous butchers of O.T. history.
Having searched in vain throughout the whole region, Saul and his companion come
near to Ramah, the town where the prophet Samuel lived. Maybe, the tower on the hill,
Samuel's famous residence known throughout Israel, could be seen by them. So the
suggestion is put to Saul by his companion that they should go and enquire of Samuel.
This may seem a strange thing to do, but it shows the close relationship that Samuel
obviously enjoyed among the people. It illustrates also the old prophet's kindly and
unselfish disposition that they should take their problem to him and expect to receive help
In verse 15 we read: "Now the Lord had told Samuel in his ear, saying ...". "In his
ear", literally "had uncovered the ear of Samuel", indicating the pushing aside of the
head-dress in order the more audibly to whisper. References abound in the Scriptures of
the need for opened ears to hear the word of God. On eight separate occasions the Lord
during His earthly ministry uttered the curious phrase "he that hath ears to hear, let him
hear", and the risen Christ eight times again uses this expression to the apostle John in the
book of Revelation. Each of these occasions marks out something of special importance,
as being sent to ears that the Lord had opened. Samuel was such a man, and his opened
ear received the message from the Lord, as follows:
"Tomorrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, 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 looked upon My people, because their cry is
come unto Me" (I Sam. 9: 16).
How wonderfully the grace and kindness of God shine through this verse. His
displeasure at the rejection of Him as their King did not provoke Him into turning a deaf
ear to their cry of deliverance from the Philistines who were harassing His people. Their
request for a king "like the nations" is met by the provision of one so eminently suitable