“Lesson 84: 1 Samuel 9–11,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2014)
“Lesson 84,” Old Testament Seminary Teacher Manual
After the Israelites insisted upon having a king to rule them, the Lord led Saul to Samuel and revealed to him that Saul was to be king. Samuel anointed Saul as the earthly leader of Israel, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Saul, and he was later publicly proclaimed as the king of Israel. After Saul led Israel to victory in battle against the Ammonites, the Israelites gathered together and confirmed him as king.
Ask students whom they would seek direction from in each of the following scenarios and why they would choose that person (or create scenarios that might be more relevant to the lives of your students):
You are traveling and cannot find your desired destination.
You are approaching graduation and wondering what to do next in life.
You are asked a challenging question about the Church, and you don’t know the answer.
Ask students to ponder situations in their lives in which they could benefit from seeking and receiving the Lord’s direction. Invite students as they study 1 Samuel 9 to look for truths that can help them when they need direction.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 9:1–2 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for characteristics of a man named Saul.
What were some of Saul’s characteristics?
Summarize 1 Samuel 9:3–5 by explaining that the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father were lost, and he sent Saul and a servant to look for them. After they searched without success, Saul suggested they return home to his father. Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 9:6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the servant responded to Saul’s suggestion.
What did Saul’s servant suggest?
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 9:9 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for the titles by which this man of God was known in the time of Saul.
How did the people refer to this man of God?
Explain that the word seer means a person who sees. A seer is a man of God who can see or know of things in the past, present, or future that others may not perceive (see Mosiah 8:13–17).
To prepare students to identify principles in 1 Samuel 9, you may want to invite them to review verse 6 and suggest that they mark the qualities of a seer: “he is an honourable man”; “all that he saith cometh surely to pass”; and “he can shew us our way that we should go.”
Summarize 1 Samuel 9:7–14 by explaining that Saul and his servant decided to visit the man of God. Upon their arrival in the city, the man of God came toward them as he was going to bless a sacrifice on behalf of the people. Ask students to scan 1 Samuel 9:14 and find the name of the man of God.
Remind students that despite Samuel’s warnings of the dangers of having a king, the Israelites had demanded that they be given a king to rule over them so they could be like other nations (see 1 Samuel 8:4–22).
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 9:15–17 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Lord helped Samuel find the person whom the Lord had chosen to be Israel’s earthly leader.
How did Samuel know whom he was to anoint as Israel’s earthly leader?
What can we learn from this experience about how the Lord calls people to serve in His kingdom? (Students may use different words, but make sure they identify the following principle: The Lord calls people to serve in His kingdom through inspiration to His authorized servants.)
Why is it important to understand that callings to serve in the Lord’s kingdom come from the Lord?
Remind students that Saul and his servant had come to Samuel to ask for direction in finding the lost donkeys. However, Saul had not yet spoken to Samuel about the donkeys.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 9:18–21 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Samuel told Saul.
What did Samuel tell Saul about his father’s donkeys? What can Samuel’s instruction teach us about the power of seers? (You may want to point out that Samuel’s instruction regarding the donkeys was likely given to strengthen Saul’s faith in preparation for the call to be king.)
What did Samuel tell Saul about the will of the Lord for him? (You may need to explain that when Samuel said all the desire of Israel was on Saul [1 Samuel 9:20], he was saying that Saul was the man the Lord had chosen to fulfill Israel’s desire to have a king.)
How do Samuel’s words to Saul about the will of the Lord for him relate to the words of Saul’s servant when he said the man of God might be able to show them the “way that [they] should go” (1 Samuel 9:6)? (Samuel had taught Saul the way his life should go.)
Based on Saul’s experience, what principle can we learn about seeking the Lord’s direction through His prophets and seers? (Students may identify a variety of principles, but be sure to emphasize that if we seek the Lord’s direction through His prophets and seers, they will show us the way we should go.)
Help students understand this principle by asking the following questions:
Whom do we sustain as prophets and seers in our day? (Members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.)
What are some ways we can seek direction from the Lord through His prophets and seers in our day?
Divide students into groups of three. Ask them to identify several situations in which youth need direction regarding what they should do or what the will of the Lord is for them. Ask students also to identify direction from the Lord’s prophets and seers that can help youth in these situations. (You might consider providing each group with a copy of For the Strength of Youth [booklet, 2011] to help them in their efforts.) Invite each group to share the examples they discussed.
Invite students to share experiences they have had when they received direction from the Lord through His prophets and seers and to explain how that direction helped them. You may also want to share an experience. Invite students to seek the will of the Lord through His prophets.
Summarize 1 Samuel 9:22–26 by explaining that Samuel brought Saul and his servant to a feast where Samuel honored Saul. The next morning Samuel instructed that Saul’s servant go ahead of them while he revealed to Saul “the word of God” (see 1 Samuel 9:27).
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 10:1 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what Samuel did for Saul.
According to Samuel, who was responsible for Saul’s calling and anointing? (The Lord.)
If you were Saul, how might you have felt after receiving this calling?
Summarize 1 Samuel 10:2–5 by explaining that after Samuel anointed Saul, he prophesied that Saul would have three experiences as he traveled. One of these would involve meeting a group of prophets who would prophesy, or speak inspired words.
Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from 1 Samuel 10:6–10. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else Samuel taught Saul and how Samuel’s words were fulfilled.
How were Samuel’s words fulfilled?
According to verse 7, who was with Saul? (God.) How might experiencing these signs have helped Saul to know God was with him?
What truth can we learn about those who are called to serve God? (One truth students may identify is that God will be with those He calls to serve Him as they act in righteousness.)
Why might this truth comfort you when you receive a calling to serve God?
Summarize 1 Samuel 10:11–23 by explaining that people who knew Saul were surprised to see him prophesy with the group of prophets. After this event, Samuel gathered the Israelites together and reminded them that they had rejected the Lord by seeking to have a king. He then announced that Saul was the man whom the Lord had chosen to be the earthly leader of Israel.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 10:24 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the people responded to Saul being selected.
Explain that not everyone supported Saul’s selection as king. One group of people questioned Saul’s abilities and despised him, but Saul did not retaliate against them (see 1 Samuel 10:26–27).
What are some different ways you have seen people respond when they experience success?
Do you think the way in which we respond to success matters? Why?
Invite students as they study 1 Samuel 11 to think about how they respond when they experience success and why the way in which they respond is important.
Summarize 1 Samuel 11:1–3 by informing students that sometime after Saul’s appointment as king of Israel, the Ammonites threatened to attack some Israelites living east of the Jordan River.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 11:4–8 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how Saul responded when he heard about the threatened attack.
What did Saul do to rally the Israelites?
Invite students to read 1 Samuel 11:11 silently, looking for the outcome of the battle. Ask them to report what they find.
Invite a student to read 1 Samuel 11:12–13 aloud. Ask the class to follow along and look for Saul’s response to the Israelites’ success in this battle.
To whom did Saul give credit for the Israelites’ success?
What principle can we learn from Saul’s example? (Students may use different words, but make sure it is clear that when we experience success, we should acknowledge the hand of the Lord.)
What attributes do we show when we acknowledge the hand of the Lord in our successes? Why might it have been important for Saul to have possessed these attributes?
How might we be blessed as we acknowledge the hand of the Lord in our successes?
Summarize 1 Samuel 11:14–15 by explaining that Samuel gathered the people together, and they confirmed Saul as their king before the Lord.
Conclude the lesson by sharing your testimony of the truths discussed in today’s lesson and inviting students to act on these truths.