1 Samuel 10:1 - 27
NKJV - 1 Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him and said: " Is it not because the LORD has anointed you commander over His inheritance? 2 "When you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel's tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, 'The donkeys which you went to look for have been found. And now your father has ceased caring about the donkeys and is worrying about you, saying, "What shall I do about my son?"'
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As indicated in the chapter cited in the question, Samuel anointed Saul as king at God's direction in the first verse of the chapter. He was publicly presented to the people as king (indicating the actual beginning of his rule) after Samuel had summoned all the people to Mizpah in that same chapter. The only indication given as to a passage of time in the interim was "seven days", as noted in verse 8 of that chapter. After all the people had been summoned, lots were progressively cast to determine who the king would be, and the selection of Saul as king was confirmed by that process, after which Samuel presented Saul to the people as king in verse 24 of the same chapter. Saul would thus have been the same age (thirty) at both his anointing, and at the beginning of his actual reign. After Saul had rescued the city of Jabesh from its seizure by Nahash the Ammonite, Saul's selection as king was confirmed again at Gilgal, as noted in 1 Samuel 11:15. However, God later withdrew His favor from Saul during his reign because of Saul's failure to carry out God's direction given to Saul through Samuel to completely destroy the Amalekites, including all their livestock (1 Samuel 15:1-11).
This is a good question! There is significant disagreement. 1 Samuel 13:1 is a DIFFICULT passage. How can you tell? There are many variations to how bible versions translate the verse. This indicates that the Bible translators are not sure how to bring the Hebrew into English. The ESV is quite close: 1 Sam. 13:1 Here are some options: NIV - Saul was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel forty- two years. King James - Saul reigned one year; and when he had reigned two years over Israel, Jewish Publication Society - Saul was --years old when he began to reign; and two years he reigned over Israel. Douay-Rheims Bible - Saul was a child of one year when he began to reign, and he reigned two years over Israel. Paul tells us that Saul reigned for "forty years" in Acts 13:21 and some of the Bible versions - like the NIV above - use this number and add it to the "two" mentioned in Hebrew. That is how they arrive at "forty-two." Perhaps only God knows the answer to this perplexing question.
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