“Unit 17: Day 3, 1 Samuel 9–11,” Old Testament Study Guide for Home-Study Seminary Students (2014)
“Unit 17: Day 3,” Old Testament Study Guide
After the Israelites insisted upon having a king to rule them, the Lord led Saul to Samuel, who 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.
Whom would you seek direction from in the following scenarios, and why would you choose that person?
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 don’t know the answer.
Ponder other situations in which you could benefit from seeking and receiving the Lord’s direction. As you study Saul’s experiences in 1 Samuel 9, look for truths that could help you when you need direction.
Read 1 Samuel 9:1–2, looking for characteristics Saul possessed.
According to 1 Samuel 9:3–5, the donkeys belonging to Saul’s father were lost, and he sent Saul and a servant to look for them. After searching without success, Saul suggested they return home to his father. Read 1 Samuel 9:6, looking for how the servant responded to Saul’s suggestion.
Read 1 Samuel 9:9, looking for other titles by which this man of God was known in the time of Saul.
It may help to know that a seer is “a person authorized of God to see with spiritual eyes things that God has hidden from the world (Moses 6:35–38). He is a revelator and a prophet [see Mosiah 8:13–17]” (Guide to the Scriptures, “Seer”; scriptures.lds.org). Review 1 Samuel 9:6, and notice the qualities the servant gave of the seer. (You may want to mark these qualities.)
In 1 Samuel 9:7–14 we read that Saul and his servant decided to visit the man of God. Upon arriving in the city, the man of God came toward them as he was going to bless a sacrifice in behalf of the people. Scan 1 Samuel 9:14, and find the name of the man of God.
Remember that despite Samuel’s warnings of the dangers of having a king, the Israelites demanded that they be given a king to rule over them so they could be like other nations (see 1 Samuel 8:4–22).
Read 1 Samuel 9:15–17, looking for how the Lord helped Samuel find the person whom the Lord had chosen to be Israel’s earthly leader.
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What principle can we learn from this experience about how the Lord calls people to serve in His kingdom?
Why is it important to understand that callings to serve in the Lord’s kingdom come from the Lord?
Remember that Saul and his servant went to Samuel to ask for direction in finding the lost donkeys. However, Saul had not yet spoken to Samuel about the donkeys.
Read 1 Samuel 9:18–21, looking for what Samuel told Saul.
When Samuel said that “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. Samuel not only gave Saul direction concerning the donkeys, but he also gave him direction on the way his life should go.
From this account we learn that if we seek the Lord’s direction through His prophets and seers, they will show us the way we should go.
Who are the 15 men we sustain as prophets and seers in our day? Can you think of their names?
Since we usually are not able to meet personally with them, how can we seek and receive the Lord’s direction through His modern-day prophets and seers?
- Some ways we receive the Lord’s guidance and direction through His prophets and seers are by listening attentively to general conference talks and by studying the teachings of prophets and apostles in Church magazines and other Church materials. Think of three situations in our day in which youth need direction regarding what they should do or what the will of the Lord is for them. In your scripture study journal, write a brief description of the situations you thought of and what direction the Lord has given through His prophets and seers that can help youth in these situations.
- Answer one or both of the following questions in your scripture study journal:
When have you, or someone you know, sought the Lord’s direction through His prophets and seers and been shown the way to go?
Ponder whether you need direction regarding what you should do or what the will of the Lord is for you in a situation in your life. What is one specific thing you will do to seek the Lord’s direction through His prophets and seers for this situation?
In 1 Samuel 9:22–26, Samuel brought Saul and his servant to a feast where he honored Saul. The next morning Samuel gave instructions for Saul’s servant to go ahead of them while he revealed to Saul “the word of God” (1 Samuel 9:27).
Read 1 Samuel 10:1, looking for what Samuel did next for Saul.
Anointing with oil was symbolic of an outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord on the person and was a way of separating or setting that person apart for a task. Three groups of people—prophets, priests, and kings—were anointed in Old Testament times to fulfill their roles, all in symbolic reference to the great Prophet, Priest, and King—Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One.
If you were Saul, how might you have felt after receiving this calling from the Lord?
In 1 Samuel 10:2–6, Samuel prophesied that Saul would have three experiences as he traveled. One of these would involve prophesying, or speaking inspired words, with a group of prophets.
Read 1 Samuel 10:7–10, looking for what Samuel further taught Saul and how Samuel’s words were fulfilled.
According to verse 7, who did Samuel say was with Saul?
From this experience we learn that God will be with those He calls to serve Him as they act in righteousness.
Why might this truth be comforting to people who receive callings to serve God?
In 1 Samuel 10:11–23 we learn that the 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 the Lord had chosen to be the earthly leader of Israel. Read 1 Samuel 10:24, looking for how the people responded to Saul being selected.
Not everyone was supportive of Saul’s selection as king. One group of people, referred to as the “children of Belial” (sometimes translated as “wicked men,” meaning troublemakers; see Bible Dictionary, “Belial”), questioned Saul’s abilities and despised him, but Saul did not retaliate against them (see 1 Samuel 10:27).
- Answer the following questions in your scripture study journal:
What are some different ways you have seen people respond when they experience success?
Why do you think it matters how a person responds to success?
As you study 1 Samuel 11, think about how you respond when you experience success and why your response is important.
According to 1 Samuel 11:1–3, sometime after Saul’s appointment as king of Israel, the Ammonites threatened to attack some Israelites living east of the Jordan River. Read 1 Samuel 11:4–8, searching for how Saul responded when he heard about the threatened attack and saw the people of Gibeah weeping.
Read 1 Samuel 11:11–13, looking for the outcome of the battle.
To whom did Saul give credit for the Israelites’ success?
From Saul’s example we learn that when we experience success, we should acknowledge the hand of the Lord.
Think about the attributes we demonstrate when we acknowledge the hand of the Lord in our successes.
- Answer the following question in your scripture study journal: How might we be blessed as we acknowledge the hand of the Lord in our successes?
In 1 Samuel 11:14–15 we learn that Samuel gathered the people together and they confirmed Saul as their king before the Lord.
- Write the following at the bottom of today’s assignments in your scripture study journal:
I have studied 1 Samuel 9–11 and completed this lesson on (date).
Additional questions, thoughts, and insights I would like to share with my teacher: