In 1 Samuel 9:16 God tells Samuel that the next day he is sending a man from Benjamin whom Samuel is to anoint as king. Samuel meets Saul and rather than simply anoint him, he invites him to a meal (v24) and has a rooftop conversation with him (v25) it is not until the next day that he actually anoints Saul as king (10:1).

I have not seen any statements from the sages or commentaries which take Samuel to task for delaying the fulfillment of his prophetic directive. I would like to know if any sources discuss whether or not this was considered a sin on his part, and if not why not?

  • יאכלו ענוים וישבעו. See also the Abarbanel here.
    – Shmuel
    Dec 27, 2023 at 20:58
  • @Loani I don't think that's the correct reading of the pesukim and that reading would also make Hashem wrong Dec 27, 2023 at 22:01
  • Yeah you're right, I read the pessukim wrong
    – Lo ani
    Dec 27, 2023 at 23:34
  • Shaul visited with his servant. Perhaps Samuel needed to discern whether to anoint him or the servant. Dec 28, 2023 at 5:32

1 Answer 1


Perhaps, given Shaul's immense humility, Shmuel had to build him up to annoint him. From their first conversation Shaul was taken aback with Shmuel's words of praise.


וַיַּ֨עַן שָׁא֜וּל וַיֹּ֗אמֶר הֲל֨וֹא בֶן־יְמִינִ֤י אָנֹ֙כִי֙ מִקְּטַנֵּי֙ שִׁבְטֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל וּמִשְׁפַּחְתִּי֙ הַצְּעִרָ֔ה מִכׇּֽל־מִשְׁפְּח֖וֹת שִׁבְטֵ֣י בִנְיָמִ֑ן וְלָ֙מָּה֙ דִּבַּ֣רְתָּ אֵלַ֔י כַּדָּבָ֖ר הַזֶּֽה׃ {ס}         And Sha᾽ul answered and said, Am not I a Ben-yemini, of the smallest of the tribes of Yisra᾽el? and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Binyamin? Why then dost thou speak so to me?

And even after this anointment and Shmuel building up Shaul, when in the next perek Shmuel publicly proclaimed Shaul, Shaul was hiding.


וַיַּקְרֵ֞ב אֶת־שֵׁ֤בֶט בִּנְיָמִן֙ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֔ו וַתִּלָּכֵ֖ד מִשְׁפַּ֣חַת הַמַּטְרִ֑י וַיִּלָּכֵד֙ שָׁא֣וּל בֶּן־קִ֔ישׁ וַיְבַקְשֻׁ֖הוּ וְלֹ֥א נִמְצָֽא׃ Then he caused the tribe of Binyamin to come near by its families, and the family of Matri was picked, and Sha᾽ul the son of Qish was picked: and when they sought him, he could not be found. וַיִּשְׁאֲלוּ־עוֹד֙ בַּֽיהֹוָ֔ה הֲבָ֥א ע֖וֹד הֲלֹ֣ם אִ֑ישׁ {ס}        וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהֹוָ֔ה הִנֵּה־ה֥וּא נֶחְבָּ֖א אֶל־הַכֵּלִֽים׃ Therefore they inquired again of the Lord, Did the man come here? And the Lord answered, Behold, he is hidden among the baggage.

So I imagine it would not have been a simple matter to anoint Shaul on the spot.

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