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Samuel promises to meet Saul within seven days at Gilgal

1 Samuel 10:8 NIV

8 “Go down ahead of me to Gilgal. I will surely come down to you to sacrifice burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, but you must wait seven days until I come to you and tell you what you are to do.”

In the meantime Nahash the Ammonite king besieges the men of Jabesh and gives them a seven day ultimatum.The men of Jabesh sends a distress call to Saul who eventually rescues them.This confrontation seems to last several days.(1 Samuel 11)

Again king Saul has another confrontation with the Phillistines and waits for Samuel for seven days before he goes ahead with the sacrifices(1 Samuel 13)

Samuel finally pitches up at Gilgal and confronts Saul who by then had offered the sacrifices.Could the above events have taken place within the prescribed seven days

1 Samuel 13:8 NIV

8 He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel; but Samuel did not come to Gilgal, and Saul’s men began to scatter. 9 So he said, “Bring me the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings.” And Saul offered up the burnt offering. 10 Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived, and Saul went out to greet him.

Did Samuel pitch up within the seven days or there is a chronological issue here?

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    I don't understand what you don't understand here. Samuel said he'd be there in seven days. Saul got impatient and couldn't wait till the end of the day, when Samuel did arrive.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 11, 2020 at 1:38

6 Answers 6

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According to Ellicott, 1 Samuel 10:8 happened years earlier.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(8) And he tarried seven days.—When was this “set time” appointed? It seems difficult at first to refer back to the day of Saul’s mysterious prophetic consecration (1Samuel 10:8), which took place at least some three or four years—perhaps much longer—before the event here related, especially as we know that Saul and Samuel had been together on one occasion certainly at Gilgal in the meantime (1Samuel 11:14-15);

Still, it foreshowed/warned what was going to happen in 1 Samuel 13:8

and yet the extraordinary solemnity of the warning of the seer at the time of the anointing at Ramah evidently pointed to some event which should in the future happen at Gilgal, and which would be a most important epoch in King Saul’s career. All these conditions are satisfied in the meeting between the prophet and the king, here related. It is best, then, to understand this event as the one alluded to on the day of anointing at Ramah, and to conclude that this grave warning and positive direction had been repeated, probably more than once, since then by the seer to the king.

More precisely, on the appointed day:

Saul, we read, waited seven days, but before the seventh expired, gave up waiting, and offered the sacrifice without the seer, and thus, as Josephus says, “he did not fully obey the command.” His faith failed him under pressure at the last, and he acted on his own responsibility, quite irrespective of the positive command of God.

Any way you slice it, It is certain that Saul sinned.

If you want a second opinion, here is Barnes' Notes on the Bible:

Had appointed - This appointment has of course nothing whatever to do with that made years before 1 Samuel 10:8, the keeping of which is expressly mentioned at the natural time 1 Samuel 11:15. But Samuel had again, on this later occasion, made an appointment at the end of seven days. It seems to have been as a trial of faith and obedience, under which, this time, Saul unhappily broke down.

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According to the scriptures, yes, he arrived with he said. Seven days

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    Mar 9, 2020 at 15:42
  • One key point within our tour is that regarding questions and answers, we'd like to see Biblical text to analyze. Thanks. Mar 12, 2020 at 15:53
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Saul was told to wait 7 days. He still should be waiting at the end of the 7th day. Samuel could’ve come on 8th n not break his instructions to Saul. I believe Samuel came in late afternoon of 7th. Saul wasn’t willing to wait, much less obey the prophets word

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  • Welcome and thanks for your contribution! Could you flesh out your answer a bit more with scriptural references. Also when you get a chance, please visit the Tour to see how the site works.
    – agarza
    Feb 21, 2021 at 17:05
  • 'I believe Samuel came ...' is not an hermeneutical approach. Could you substantiate please.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 23, 2021 at 15:23
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Thanks for answer ppl. I had trouble interpreting since it was clear Sammuel arrived in Gilgal for Saul’s consecration so it seemed to me that what transpired in chapter 13 had nothing to do with 1 Sammuel 10.

It must be after consecration of Saul as king in Gilgal where Sammuel again tells Saul to wait 7 days but is not recorded in scripture. I really dislike the fact a lot of the internet searches just casually refer you to 1 Sammuel 10 as clearly the timelines don’t match up and creates greater confusion.

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    – agarza
    Jun 24, 2023 at 2:28
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From the reference 1 Sam 13:9, Samuel didn't come as appointed; Based on the pressure of war from every side and his army reduced drastically, he was tempted to make the sacrifice to God which was a priestly duty though not his right duty. On the other hand, Samuel came late to the sacrifice in the face of war pressure when Israelites safety was at stake. Secondly, Samuel was too hash with Saul

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    Oct 12, 2023 at 13:55
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Whether 1 Samuel 10:8 position correctly in the book is plausible. There are strong evidences that 1 Samuel 10:8 did not urge Saul go to Gilgal immediately. In between, a few incidences happened;

  1. Saul received the Spirit of God and fulfilled the prophesy Samuel told him, as a sign for Saul to know God is with him. (1 Samuel 10:7)
  2. In Mizpah, Saul was taken by lot to be king. But not all Israelites trusted the result. After that Saul went to his home in Gibeah. (1 Samuel 10:17-27)
  3. Saul defeated Ammonite to rescue the city of Jabesh. Saul was finally accepted by all Israel as king. (1 Samuel ch11)
  4. Samuel made a farewell speech to all Israel in Gilgal, on the day Saul was crowned king. (1 Samuel ch12)
  5. 1 Samuel 13:1 read: "Saul was ?? years old when he became king, and he reigned over Israel (42 or 2) years.

The evidence that Saul disobeyed Samuel's instruction is strong, as 1 Samuel 13:8 reads: "He waited seven days, the time set by Samuel...". This can only refer to Samuel's instruction in 1 Samuel 10:8. However, it is possible that over thousands of year, the original script has become deficient. For instance, the age of Saul is missing in 1 Samuel 13:1. Therefore 1 Samuel 10:8 is possible not positioned correctly. It is also possible that it belongs within other narrative that is also missing.

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