The unsung hero in the story of Samuel and Saul is the servant. I am pretty sure I have never heard a sermon about his role in the crowning of Saul as king. He is never named and only referred to as a servant (na ar). He had a “God part” to do and did it well. He is easily compared to Ananias (Acts 9) in the story of Saul the Apostle. He did the job that needed to be done and was never heard of again. Na ar is mentioned nine times before Saul’s signs and only once after them.
In the Strong’s/Vines Concordance the first definition listed is probably not the description of this servant. I think he would have been younger than Saul but not a boy. He was certainly trusted and displayed knowledge of his physical surrounding. He was also spiritually aware because he encouraged Saul to “see the prophet” when he was ready to go home. He had brought his own money, and was willing to use it to resolve the “donkey problem.” He was obedient and loyal to Saul and followed Saul’s leading when the uncle asked about Samuel.
He was honored at the sacrifice because he got to eat with Saul in the main room. But he was not allowed to witness the actual pouring of the oil. He would have seen the results of the anointing because the oil would have been all over Saul’s head. He observed/witnessed the three signs and I cannot believe Saul was not talking about them as they went.
God used an unnamed servant to affect the history of Israel; sometimes we have to do things “just because.” It turned out well for him. Who knows maybe he was Ziba the servant in 2 Samuel 9 who did play a part in the life of Mephibosheth and the story of Lo Debar.
Samuel, the last Judge of Israel, got to anoint the first two kings of Israel. The anointing of Saul, son of Kish, is told in 1 Samuel 9 & 10, while the anointing of David is in Chapter 16. Samuel had lead Israel since his youth and had been a prophet (seer) as well as the judge/leader of the nation. God revealed Himself to Samuel by visitation and His written Word and had used him in mighty ways.
Even with these credentials, the anointing of Saul and David was a faith act for Samuel. He got the “word of knowledge” about the tribe of Saul and his mission; he was even given the knowledge about the donkeys, but no name. Samuel had even made dinner plans (9:23), especially for Saul.
In 1 Samuel 10, the actual applying of the oil occurs with a very intriguing set of “signs” that had to be fulfilled. These were Saul’s faith builders; I will have more on them in another post.
There are some differences and similarities in the anointings that Samuel performed. Both Saul and David were anointed a second time in front of the nation. Saul’s first anointing was a very private affair; while David’s first one was done in front of his family and the other guest (possibly) at the sacrifice. Saul received the list of signs that were to be done and it seems that he took his office fairly soon. David, on the other hand, waited many years for the second anointing and him receiving his kingdom. It seems to me that Samuel spent quality time with Saul after the meal (9:25, 26) and again when they met in Gilgal (10: 8), but David only had the time when they were hiding from King Saul (19:18).