Summary: The kingship was given by God to Saul, but unfortunately he took the grace of God for granted and did all kinds of evil. He lived against the will and purpose of God. Finally ended up his life in disgrace, dishonor and shameful manner. He brought curse.
I Sam 10:17-24: The Elected King
This Bible Passage can be divided into three parts with three sub headings for our clear understanding. God made a covenant with Abraham to be his God, Lord and king, that covenant continued to his descendants as that of the blessings of the promises. But now after nearly 1000 years of the covenant the Israelite's wanted to get rid of that covenant and go for a separate king. What happened afterwards are the stories followed on.
10:17-19: The Role of God in Israel
YHWH was their tribal God, who was their leader, king, guide, law giver, healer, protector, provider. He was their mother bird, guarding angel, warrior, captain of the armies, pillar of cloud and pillar of fire. He had chosen them, elected them, called them out of slavery of Egypt and captivities of the philistines and the mighty kings of Syria, Palestine, Babylon and the roman empire in the later stages. He raised leaders to fight for them. He was their redeemer, fellow traveler, walked along the roads of calamities, diseases, distress and made them to dissuade, met their daily needs. After nearly 800 years of their long History and enjoyment with the kingship of YHWH, they wanted to try with a King. God explained to the people the regulations of the kingship and the challenges they will be facing(1 Sam 8:9-21).
God is in the Church, he never appointed rulers but elders in the Church. God set the example of serving and not to be served. The people who were very near to Him were asking and seeking the leadership of one on to the right and the other on to left to him but later the same persons understood the call and were ready to be martyred. God never made Bishops as Rulers of the Church but made them to serve. They are custodians of the Properties not the owners of the Church. Pastors and the pastorate Committee are stewards of God’ redeemed community and not the rulers of the Church.
10:20-21a: The choosing of a King by Ballot
The method of election was ballot. Secret or open we are not sure. The election of early Church was also ballot. The election of king took many rounds like electing our Bishops in many denominations and organizations.
First by Tribe, secondly by Clan, thirdly by family finally by individual name. So first Benjamin tribe, second Matri Clan, third Kish family and fourth Saul by name. It was very coincidence the election of God and election people were same person.
Who selected and elected the King - God or People. God foretold about Saul to Prophet Samuel(1 Sam 9:16a,17) and he ordained him as King(1 Sam 10:1). God exalts(I Sam.2:7, Ps.75:7) God makes the rulers(2 Sam.7:8). God raises up a leader(I Ki.14:7). God sets up the Kings(Da.2:21). God chose Zerubbabel as signet ring- powerful instrument to fulfill his will(Hag.2:23). God chose all of us(Jn.15:16). Chosen instrument for carrying Gospel and to suffer(Ac 9:15). God chose the foolish, weak and the lowly(I Cor.1:27-29).
Does God control the Democracy? Does God directs the hearts of the voters? If a person comes to power by spending huge amount in election, still God controls? How to understand the results of the democratic nations? How to understand the role of God in the dynasties of the nations? How to understand the role of God in the military coup? Are they all from God or human efforts? The answer is not available only every one needs to have their own theological interpretation about the verses.
However certain incidences in the Bible are very clear that God promoted Joseph(Gen.39:5), Mordecai(Est.6:11), and Daniel(Dan.2:48) as the leaders of their respective ages.
Does God work today in the Church politics? Are the Bishops are God’s Chosen people or they emerged out of Money and men power? The answer belongs to each persons perspectives and understandings.
10:21b-24 The Positive and Negative attitudes of King Saul.
First of all he was not ready to take up the kingship. He was hiding himself. He was elected in absentee. He never went to people seeking their votes, support. He searched the ass which brought a good luck to him.
He was impressive young man, Handsome, fine choice and goodly man(1 Sam 9:2). He stood above all(I Sam 9:2,10:23). He was a searched Leader( I Sam 10:24)and also appointed leader, called by God( I Sam. 9:15-17) also elected by God. He was full of humility (I Sam 9:21, 10:22). He had a different heart(I Sam 10:9,10:10), spent a night with the man of God(I Sam 9:25-26). Received the anointing of oil & spirit from God through the Prophet(I Sam 10:1,10). He was mute for praises(I Sam 10:24) and for the criticisms of people(10:27). He was very concern in his work(11:6). They shouted “Long live King”.