1 Samuel 10:1 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB):

Then Sh’mu’el took a flask of oil he had prepared and poured it on Sha’ul’s head. He kissed him and said, “Adonai has anointed you to be prince over his inheritance.

I am familiar with the anointing with oil, but was wondering why Samuel kiss Saul? When David is anointed in a similar fashion no kiss takes place.

1 Samuel 16:13 Complete Jewish Bible (CJB):

Sh’mu’el took the horn of oil and anointed him there in his brothers’ presence. From that day on, the Spirit of Adonai would fall upon David with power. So Sh’mu’el set out and went to Ramah.

  • 1
    The mere presence of the word why presupposes that some amount of forethought or intention must have been involved. But what if there wasn't any ? Then the very question is wrongly phrased, and wrong questions can never beget correct answers, since their very essence is corrupt. Or perhaps Samuel felt understandably more emotional upon consecrating Israel's first king ever, then he did the second time around. As an aside, the gestures from the quoted passage somehow remind me of Luke 15:20-23.
    – Lucian
    Jul 27, 2017 at 18:05

6 Answers 6


Because Saul became a king after Samuel poured oil to anoint him, and as a king , Samuel kissed him, (could be his hand) to honor him. As in Psalms we see when the king was anointed "Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion" (Ps. 2:6 KJV) then he was meant to be kissed "Kiss the Son..." (Ps. 2:12 KJV). Samuel probably did not kiss David because Saul was still technically a king, even after David's anointment we read in Samuel 24:6 that David referred to Saul as "Master" and "Lord's Anointed".

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To kiss both cheeks is a common form of greeting and respect in middle eastern countries.

The omission of the detail at David's anointing doesn't mean it didn't occur, it simply wasn't mentioned.

  • I agree that this is a possibility, but the problem then becomes. why does the writer include it in one instance and conceals it in the next.
    – Ted DeRose
    Apr 20, 2017 at 19:26
  • Consider citing internal Biblical arguments such as Genesis 27:27, 29:11, 48:10, 50:1, Exodus 4:27, 18:7, II Samuel 14:33, 19:39 and others to support your argument. What is common about these instances that is different from the occasion of the anointing of David? There is no indication of a kiss on both cheeks in the OP citation. The practice that you cite is also common in parts of Europe, no need to go all the way to the middle East.
    – user17080
    Apr 21, 2017 at 12:12

Why no? I mean he was the 1st God`s chosen King so he expressed himself with a holy kiss:

2 Sam 19:39 And all the people went over Jordan. And when the king was come over, the king kissed Barzillai, and blessed him; and he returned unto his own place.

1 Pet 5:14 Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity.

1 Thes 5:26 Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.

There is also a commandment : to kiss Lord`s Anointed One (but I prefer to translate it as love him rather that literally kiss him.

Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish [from] the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed [are] all they that put their trust in him.

*ασπασμός means kiss too, but always refers to salutation .


From what I gather, Samuel being a man of God and representing Him; this kiss is symbolic. It simply expresses the attachment that The Lord has with Saul. Even though he would later mess up real bad, his attachment with God could never be severed because The Lord Himself chose him. And that kiss released that chemical from the brain producing the feeling of being bonded.

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    Jul 26, 2020 at 19:11

Before Samuel anointed Saul, there were already quite a bit of interactions between the two.

1 Samuel 9:18 Saul approached Samuel in the gateway and asked, “Would you please tell me where the seer’s house is?” ...

19“I am the seer,” Samuel replied. “Go up before me to the high place, for you shall eat with me today. And when I send you off in the morning, I will tell you all that is in your heart. 20As for the donkeys you lost three days ago, do not worry about them, for they have been found. And upon whom is all the desire of Israel, if not upon you and all your father’s house?” ...

25And after they had come down from the high place into the city, Samuel spoke with Saul on the roof of his house.

26 They got up early in the morning, and just before dawn Samuel called to Saul on the roof, “Get ready, and I will send you on your way!” So Saul arose, and both he and Samuel went outside together.

They had known each other for a day. A friendship had started.

1 Samuel 10:1 Then Samuel took a flask of olive oil and poured it on Saul's head and kissed him, saying, "Has not the LORD anointed you ruler over his inheritance?

Samuel anointed Saul as a sign of respect and kissed him as a sign of friendship and affection.

When Samuel anointed David, they just met each other for the first time.

1 Samuel 16:11 So he asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?”

“There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered. “He is tending the sheep.”

Samuel said, “Send for him; we will not sit down until he arrives.”

12So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features.

Then the Lord said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.”

13So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.

Samuel didn't kiss David here because they were not yet friends. They hadn't done things together before the anointing.

When Zadok anointed Solomon, he didn't kissed him either.

1 Kings 1:39 Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the sacred tent and anointed Solomon. Then they sounded the trumpet and all the people shouted, "Long live King Solomon!"

The most famous friendship kiss in history is in Matthew 26:

49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”


R. Solomon Alkabetz and R. Moses Alshikh explain that because Saul was from the House of Benjamin, not Judah, he did not truly deserve to hold the kingship, so Samuel had to "kiss" him to give from his own spirit to supplement Saul's ability/right to the throne. R. Betzalel Ashkenazi explains that Samuel kissed Saul in order to symbolize that even as Saul will ascends to greatness, he will still remain "attached" to Samuel, even though Samuel will be subordinate to him. Source: Google Books: קובץ חצי גבורים - חוברת ז - אלול תשע"ד - מכון פליטת סופרים

  • What support is there in the MT itself for the view that the king must come from the tribe of Judah? If Saul wasn't worthy of the position then why did God explicitly command Samuel to anoint Saul in I Samuel 9:15? Where does the idea of a kiss transferring something spiritual come from? Did Moses kiss Joshua, or Elijah kiss Elisha? These explanations read late theological ideas back into the text and raise more questions that they answer.
    – user17080
    Apr 21, 2017 at 12:26
  • See Genesis 49:10. Apr 24, 2017 at 11:15
  • Re Genesis 49:10, this verse is part of a prophecy of Jacob. It is not a commandment in anyone's counting of the commandments and the simple meaning of the verse (פשט) is not clear to anyone. There is in fact no such commandment that the king must come from Judah, only that the king cannot be a stranger (Deuteronomy 17:15). And in fact, David and Solomon were the only kings over all of the house of Jacob until the return from exile, so the prophecy was never fulfilled.
    – user17080
    Apr 24, 2017 at 12:06

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