Shmuel I 10:10-12:

וַיָּבֹ֤אוּ שָׁם֙ הַגִּבְעָ֔תָה וְהִנֵּ֥ה חֶֽבֶל־נְבִאִ֖ים לִקְרָאת֑וֹ וַתִּצְלַ֤ח עָלָיו֙ ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֖א בְּתוֹכָֽם׃ וַיְהִ֗י כָּל־יֽוֹדְעוֹ֙ מֵאִתְּמ֣וֹל שִׁלְשׁ֔וֹם וַיִּרְא֕וּ וְהִנֵּ֥ה עִם־נְבִאִ֖ים נִבָּ֑א וַיֹּ֨אמֶר הָעָ֜ם אִ֣ישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵ֗הוּ מַה־זֶּה֙ הָיָ֣ה לְבֶן־קִ֔ישׁ הֲגַ֥ם שָׁא֖וּל בַּנְּבִיאִֽים׃ וַיַּ֨עַן אִ֥ישׁ מִשָּׁ֛ם וַיֹּ֖אמֶר וּמִ֣י אֲבִיהֶ֑ם עַל־כֵּן֙ הָיְתָ֣ה לְמָשָׁ֔ל הֲגַ֥ם שָׁא֖וּל בַּנְּבִאִֽים׃‏

And when they came there, to the Hill, he saw a band of prophets coming toward him. Thereupon the spirit of God gripped him, and he spoke in ecstasy among them. When all who knew him previously saw him speaking in ecstasy together with the prophets, the people said to one another, “What’s happened to the son of Kish? Is Saul too among the prophets?” But another person there spoke up and said, “And who are their fathers?” Thus the proverb arose: “Is Saul too among the prophets?”

Shmuel I 19:22-24:

וַיֵּ֨לֶךְ גַּם־ה֜וּא הָרָמָ֗תָה וַיָּבֹא֙ עַד־בּ֤וֹר הַגָּדוֹל֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בַּשֶּׂ֔כוּ וַיִּשְׁאַ֣ל וַיֹּ֔אמֶר אֵיפֹ֥ה שְׁמוּאֵ֖ל וְדָוִ֑ד וַיֹּ֕אמֶר הִנֵּ֖ה בנוית [בְּנָי֥וֹת] בָּרָמָֽה׃ וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ שָׁ֔ם אֶל־נוית [נָי֖וֹת] בָּרָמָ֑ה וַתְּהִי֩ עָלָ֨יו גַּם־ה֜וּא ר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֗ים וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ הָלוֹךְ֙ וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֔א עַד־בֹּא֖וֹ בנוית [בְּנָי֥וֹת] בָּרָמָֽה׃ וַיִּפְשַׁ֨ט גַּם־ה֜וּא בְּגָדָ֗יו וַיִּתְנַבֵּ֤א גַם־הוּא֙ לִפְנֵ֣י שְׁמוּאֵ֔ל וַיִּפֹּ֣ל עָרֹ֔ם כָּל־הַיּ֥וֹם הַה֖וּא וְכָל־הַלָּ֑יְלָה עַל־כֵּן֙ יֹֽאמְר֔וּ הֲגַ֥ם שָׁא֖וּל בַּנְּבִיאִֽם׃‏

So he himself went to Ramah. When he came to the great cistern at Secu, he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” and was told that they were at Naioth in Ramah. He was on his way there, to Naioth in Ramah, when the spirit of God came upon him too; and he walked on, speaking in ecstasy, until he reached Naioth in Ramah. Then he too stripped off his clothes and he too spoke in ecstasy before Samuel; and he lay naked all that day and all night. That is why people say, “Is Saul too among the prophets?”

How are these two passages to be reconciled? Which story is the origin of the expression, or does it somehow derive from both of them?


1 Answer 1


Malbim to 19:24 (h/t Heshy) writes:

על כן יאמרו רצה לומר בזה התחזק שנית המשל שהושם בפי כולם על כל המתנבא בלא הכנה, לאמר עליו הגם שאול בנביאים

”Therefore they say” - that is to say, with this the parable which was placed in everyone’s mouth regarding anyone who prophesied without preparation was strengthened a second time, to say about him, “Is Sha’ul also among the prophets?”

In a similar vein, Metzudas David ad. loc. writes:

על כן יאמרו וכו׳. כי בפעם הראשון שניבא בעת המלכו, לא נתחזק עדיין המשל בפי הבריות לומר הגם שאול בנביאים, וכשניבא שנית אז התחזק המשל לומר על כל הבא למעלה שלא הורגל בה, הגם שאול בנביאים:

”Therefore they say, etc.” - For the first time when he prophesied in the time of his reign, the parable did not yet strengthen in the mouth of people to say, “Is Sha’ul also among the prophets?” When he prophesied a second time, then the parable strengthened to say regarding anyone who received from Above who was not accustomed to it, “Is Sha’ul also among the prophets?”

This interpretation makes sense in the wording of the Pesukim as well: the first time it “became a proverb,” but it was only after the second time that “they say” it.


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