Saul was not trying to become Israelís king. In fact, probably he had never even thought about the matter.
Saul was just carrying out his duties on his fatherís farm. Then, an extraordinary series of events happened, which led him to Samuel.
Saulís father, Kish, owned several animals. They included some donkeys (animals like a small horse). Usually, a tame donkey is a very loyal animal, as Isaiah 1:3 says. A tame donkey can find its own way back to its masterís home.
However, on one particular day, Kishís donkeys did not return home. Perhaps a wild animal had scared them; perhaps thieves had taken them. Kish was a very old man, but his son Saul could try to find them. Kish would have marked his animals so that other people could recognise them. Saul was strong and tall enough to frighten the thieves, if he found any thieves.
Saul realised that he might have to walk through the entire region. He and his servant packed enough food to last for two or three days (compare 1 Samuel 9:7 and 1 Samuel 9:20). Wherever they went, they would have asked about the donkeys. Someone may have seen the animals; if so, that person could direct them. However, the search was unsuccessful, so they had to walk a long way.
In fact, God was leading the two men, but they were unaware of that fact. When they reached Zuph, Saul wanted to return home. His servant replied that, first, they should inquire of God.
The servant was right: God did have a message for Saul. But it was about something much more important than the donkeys.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.