The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The First Book of Kings
And now Samuel took out his phial of oil, and poured it out over Saul’s head; then he kissed him, and said, Hereby the Lord anoints thee to be the leader of his chosen people; thine it shall be to deliver them from the enemies that hedge them round. Wouldst thou have proof that this unction comes from the Lord? Listen, then;
When thou leavest me to-day, and hast gone southward as far as Rachel’s tomb, on the frontiers of Benjamin, thou wilt meet two men bringing thee news that the lost asses thou art looking for have been found; that thy father has forgotten them in his anxiety, and only asks how he is to find his son.
Then, passing further on thy way, thou wilt reach the oak of Thabor, and fall in with three men on pilgrimage to Bethel; one with three goats, one with three loaves of bread, one with a flagon of wine;
from these thou wilt have greeting, and two of their loaves for a gift.
So at last thou wilt come to the Hill of God, where the Philistines have set a garrison; and here, upon entering the city, thou wilt meet a company of prophets coming down from the sacred height.✻ With harp and tambour, flute and zither at their head, they will be uttering words of prophecy;
and with that the spirit of the Lord will fall upon thee, making thee prophesy with the rest, and turning thee into a new man.
When all these signs have been granted, go about the work that lies before thee; the Lord is at thy side.
At need, betake thyself to Galgal, where I will come to meet thee, to present there thy burnt-sacrifice and thy welcome-offering; wait for me seven days, till I come and give thee thy orders.✻
So parted Saul from Samuel, and as he went on his way, the Lord gave him a new heart. All the signs he looked for were fulfilled that day,
and when at last he came to the Hill, there was a company of prophets on its way towards him; whereupon the spirit of the Lord fell on him, and he prophesied with the rest.
None that had known him hitherto but marvelled, upon seeing him prophesy in the company of the others, what had befallen the son of Cis; Is Saul, too, they asked, among the prophets?
Why, said one to another, who can tell the parentage of any of them?✻ (This was how the saying grew up, Is Saul, too, among the prophets?)
His trance over, Saul went on, back to the hill-country.
There was an uncle of his, that asked where they had been, and was not content with their story of consulting Samuel about the strayed asses.
Tell me, said he, what message did the prophet give thee?
Why, answered Saul, he told me the asses were found. But of the kingship promised him he said no word.
And now Samuel bade the whole people gather in the divine presence at Maspha,
and this message he gave them from the Lord God of Israel: It was I that rescued you from Egypt, I that protected you from the clutches of these and of all your oppressors.
And now you have cast away your God, your only shield against so many misfortunes and afflictions; A king, you say, appoint a king to reign over us! Come then, present yourselves before the Lord, tribe by tribe, clan by clan.
Then Samuel brought forward all the tribes of Israel by name, and the lot fell on Benjamin;
brought forward all the families of Benjamin by name, and the lot fell on Matri’s; and in the end he reached Saul, the son of Cis. When they looked for him, he was nowhere to be found; was he on his way to Maspha?
They asked the Lord, and the answer came that Saul was there, hiding in his tent.
Whereupon they ran to fetch him, and before long he stood in their midst, a head and shoulders taller than any of them.
The Lord’s chosen! cried Samuel. Look at him, and see if he has his like in Israel! And all the people shouted, Long live the king!
And now Samuel proclaimed to the people what the king’s rights were; wrote it down, too, in a book, which he laid up in the Lord’s presence; then he bade them disperse to their homes.
Saul went back to Gabaa, and with him went some of the fighting men, whom God so inspired.
There were others, graceless folk, who asked contemptuously whether such a man as this could bring them victory; and no gift would they offer him. But Saul made as if he could not hear their mutterings.
The Holy Bible