Samuel did not explain to anyone that Saul would become Israelís king. The matter would not become public until God himself showed it in 1 Samuel 10:20-21. Even Saul himself did not know until Samuel appointed him in the private ceremony in 1 Samuel 10:1.
However, Samuel insisted that everyone in his town, Ramah, must show the greatest honour to Saul. That was the purpose of the special meal in 1 Samuel 9:22-24.
The other guests at that meal were the principal citizens of Ramah. Israel then had no proper government, so it had no capital city. However, because everyone recognised Samuel as Israelís judge (leader), Ramah had become a very important town (7:17; 8:4).
Saul, of course, was the most important guest at the meal. That would have seemed extraordinary to Ramahís principal citizens, because none of them knew him. Even Saulís servant sat at the head of the table. That showed that even the servant had a greater rank than Ramahís principal citizens.
The meal itself was a sacrifice; in other words, an animal that Samuel had offered to God. It was the kind called a fellowship offering, in other words, a sacrifice to express friendship. It showed the friendly relations between Israelís people, its priests and God. Here, it expressed in particular friendship between Samuel, Saul, Ramahís principal citizens, and God.
At such a sacrifice, the priest who offered the sacrifice received the right shoulder of the animal (in other words, its right front leg). Saul, as the most important guest, would have received the left shoulder. It was an extraordinary honour for this farm worker, who, just a few minutes earlier, was searching for his missing animals.
Next part: Saul stays with Samuel (1 Samuel 9:25-27)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.