1 Samuel 10:9 (ESV):

When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.

What does it that "God gave him another heart"? Did Saul get saved or have a conversion experience at that moment?

  • Did King Solomon get saved or have a conversion experience? What about Father Abraham from being Abram?
    – יהודה
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 21:38

2 Answers 2


The "heart" is a frequent metaphor in the OT that has been adopted by many cultures 9including our modern culture) - the heart is viewed as a metaphor for the seat of emotions and the true self.

  • Deut 6:5 - Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.
  • Deut 10:12 - And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
  • Deut 10:16 - Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.
  • Deut 11:18 - Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
  • Ps 40:8 - I desire to do your will, my God; your law is within my heart."
  • Jer 24:7 - I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the LORD. They will be my people, and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.
  • Jer 31:33 - “But this is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD. I will put My law in their minds and inscribe it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they will be My people.
  • Jer 32:39 - I will give them one heart and one way, so that they will always fear Me for their own good and for the good of their children after them.
  • Eze 11:19 - I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.
  • Eze 18:31 - Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel?
  • Eze 26:36 - I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Thus, a "new heart" is equivalent to a conversion to serve God faithfully. The "new heart" is a reference to the inner, true will of a person and is frequent in the OT. See the copious references to this idea in the meaning given in BDB in the appendix below.


Thus, when 1 Sam 10:9 discusses Saul's "new heart" it is Hebrew idiom for an inner conversion to serve God. The Cambridge Commentary suggest this:

9 God gave him another heart] Lit. “turned him another heart.” Cp. 1 Samuel 10:6. The divine inspiration transformed the simple countryman into the King and Deliverer of Israel. The heart in Scripture denotes “the centre of the whole mental and spiritual life of will, desire, thought, perception, and feeling.”

APPENDIX - BDB meaning for לֵבָב = "heart"

251 noun masculinePsalm 104:15 inner man, mind, will, heart; — absolute ׳ל Deuteronomy 28:28 31t.; construct לִבַב Deuteronomy 20:8 22t.; suffix לְבָבִי Isaiah 21:4 24t.; לְבָֽבְךָ Deuteronomy 4:29 35t.; לְבָבֶ֑ךָ Deuteronomy 4:39 21t.; לְבָבֵךְ 1 Samuel 1:8 3t.; לְבָבוֺ Deuteronomy 2:30 37t.; לְבָבָהּ Zephaniah 2:15 3t.; לִבָבֵנוּ Deuteronomy 1:28 3t.; לְבַבְכֶם Deuteronomy 10:16 37t.; לְבָבָם Leviticus 26:41 22t.; plural with suffix לִבְבֵהֶן Nahum 2:8 (Sta§ 353 a reads לְבַבְהֶן, but see Köii. 78); plural לְבָבוֺת 1 Chronicles 28:9. — The inner, middle, or central part:

I. seldom of things בִּלְבַב יַמִּים in the Midst of the seas Jonah 2:3 (poetry); עד לבב השׁמים unto the midst of heaven Deuteronomy 4:11 (so ⅏ but ᵑ0 לב).

II. usually of men:

1 the inner man in contrast with the outer, כלה שׁארי ולבבי my flesh and my heart (soul) doth fail Psalm 73:26; antithesis with garments Joel 2:13; hands Psalm 73:13; Lamentations 3:41 ?; eyes Numbers 15:39 (H) 1 Samuel 16:7; ears Ezekiel 3:10; mouth Deuteronomy 30:14; speech Psalm 28:3; Psalm 78:18; מְתֹפֲפֹת עַללִֿבְבֵהֶן tabering upon their breasts Nahum 2:7 (inner for outer).

2 the inner man, indefinite the soul, comprehending mind, affections and will, or, in connection with certain verbs, having more specific reference to some one of them. בכללֿבב ובכלנֿפשׁ with all the heart and with all the soul Deuteronomy 4:29; Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 10:12; Deuteronomy 11:13; Deuteronomy 13:4; Deuteronomy 26:16; Deuteronomy 30:2,6,10; Joshua 22:5; Joshua 23:14; 1 Kings 2:4; 1 Kings 8:48 (= 2 Chronicles 6:38 לב ?) 2 Kings 23:25; 2Chronicles 15:12; 34:31 ( = 2 Kings 23:3 לב ?) Jeremiah 32:41; abbreviated בכללֿבב 1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Samuel 12:20,24; 1 Kings 14:8; 2 Kings 10:31; 2Chronicles 15:5; 22:9; 31:21; Psalm 86:12; Psalm 111:1; Jeremiah 29:13; Joel 2:12; אשׁר בלבב what is in the heart (mind) Deuteronomy 8:2; 1 Samuel 9:19; 1 Samuel 14:7; 2 Samuel 7:3 ( = 1 Chronicles 17:2) 2 Kings 10:30; 2Chronicles 32:31; compare Job 10:13; Psalm 84:6 (?); עם לבב with the heart (mind), with ידע Deuteronomy 8:5, שִׂיחַ Psalm 77:7, usually with היה, of a thought or purpose, Deuteronomy 15:9; Joshua 14:7; 1 Kings 8:17,18 (twice in verse) ( = 2Chronicles 6:7,8 (twice in verse)) 2Chronicles 10:2 ( = 2 Chronicles 9:1) 1 Chronicles 22:7; 1 Chronicles 28:2; 2Chronicles 1:11; 29:10 (compare 2 Chronicles 24:4 לב); כלבב according to the heart 1 Samuel 13:14; 1 Samuel 14:7; Psalm 20:7. We may add Deuteronomy 5:26; Deuteronomy 11:16,18; Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Samuel 2:35; 2 Samuel 19:15; 1 Kings 8:39 (twice in verse) ( = 2Chronicles 6:30 (twice in verse)) 2Chronicles 11:2,3 (לב an error) 2 Chronicles 11:4; 2 Chronicles 11:9; 1 Chronicles 12:17; 1 Chronicles 22:19; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Psalm 62:9; Psalm 86:11; Psalm 139:23; Isaiah 7:2; Daniel 11:27,28.

3 specific reference to mind (characteristic of לבב):

a. אַנְשֵׁי לֵבָב men of mind Job 34:10,34; גם לי לבב I also have a mind Job 12:3; ׳הוֺלֵלוֺת בִּל madness is in (their) mind Ecclesiastes 9:3 (?); ,וַתִּגְנֹב לְבָבִי and thou didst steal my mind Genesis 31:26 (E, the לֵב of Genesis 31:20 should be corrected to לבב compare 'steal me' Genesis 31:27).

b. knowledge, with ידע Deuteronomy 8:5; Deuteronomy 23:14; 1 Kings 2:44; הבין Isaiah 6:10; Isaiah 32:4; חֲכַם לֵבָב wise of mind Job 9:4; לְבַב חָכְמָה mind of wisdom Psalm 90:12.

c. thinking, reflection, with חשׁב Isaiah 10:7; Zechariah 7:10; Zechariah 8:17; (שׂיּח Psalm 77:7 above); ׳יצר מחשׁבות ל conception of thoughts of mind 1 Chronicles 29:18; ׳מַשְׂכִּיּוֺת ל imaginations of (their) mind Psalm 73:7; ׳מוֺרָשֵׁי ל possessions (thoughts) of (my) mind Job 17:11; שׂם לבב set the mind, consider Haggai 2:15,18 (twice in verse), with לְ Deuteronomy 32:46, על Haggai 1:5,7.

d. of memeory שׂם בלבב lay up in the mind 1 Samuel 21:13; Job 22:22; ׳השׁיב אל ל lay to heart, call to mind Deuteronomy 4:39; Deuteronomy 30:1; 2Chronicles 6:37 ( = 1 Kings 8:47 לב ?); ׳עלה על ל come upon the mind Jeremiah 51:50; Ezekiel 38:10 (compare לֵב 3d); ׳סוּר מל depart from the mind Deuteronomy 4:9; ׳שׁמר בתוך ל keep in the midst of (thy) mind Proverbs 4:21; ׳על ל upon the mind Deuteronomy 6:6.

4 specific reference to inclinations, resolutions determinations of the will (characteristic of ׳ל): ׳הכין ל set the mind, with אֶל 1 Samuel 7:3; 1 Chronicles 29:18, לְ2Chronicles 20:33 לדרשׁ2Chronicles 19:3; 30:19; Ezra 7:10; אֶל׳הטה ל Joshua 24:23 (E) 1 Kings 8:58; לדרשׁ ׳נתן ל 1 Chronicles 22:19, compare 2Chronicles 11:16; פנה מעם ׳ל mind turn away from Deuteronomy 29:17; Deuteronomy 30:17; ׳פ ׳יֵהָפֵךְ ל Pharaoh's mind was changed Exodus 14:5 (E).

5 specific reference to conscience לא יחרף לבבי my heart (conscience) shall not reproach me Job 27:6.

6 specific reference to moral character (characteristic of ׳ל): God tries the ׳ל 1 Chronicles 29:17:

a. ׳ישֶׁר ל uprightness of heart Deuteronomy 9:5; 1 Chronicles 29:17; Psalm 119:7 (?); ׳יִשְׁרֵי ל2Chronicles 29:34; ׳יִשְׁרַת ל 1 Kings 3:6; יָשָׁר ׳ל 2 Kings 10:15 (3 t. in verse); ׳תָּסלֿ integrity of heart Genesis 20:5,6 (E) 1 Kings 9:4; Psalm 78:72; Psalm 101:2; שָׁלֵם (עִםׅ ׳ל heart perfect (with) 1 Kings 8:61; 1 Kings 11:4; 1 Kings 15:3,14 (= 2 Chronicles 15:17) 2 Kings 20:3 (= Isaiah 38:3 לֵב ?) 1 Chronicles 12:39; 1 Chronicles 29:19; 2Chronicles 16:9; 19:9; 25:2; ׳בַּרלֿ pure in heart Psalm 24:4; ׳בָּרֵי ל Psalm 73:1. We may add 2 Kings 22:19 2Chronicles 34:27; Nehemiah 9:8; Jeremiah 32:40.

b. it is the seat of naughtiness 1 Samuel 17:28 (?), erring Psalm 95:10; is forward Psalm 101:4.

c. seat of pride, Psalm 101:5; Isaiah 9:8; Isaiah 10:12; Isaiah 60:5 (?) Ezekiel 28:5,6 (?) Daniel 8:25; ׳רָם ל heart is lifted up Deuteronomy 8:14; Deuteronomy 17:20; Ezekiel 31:10; Daniel 11:12.

d. is circumcised Deuteronomy 10:16; Deuteronomy 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4, or uncircumcised Leviticus 26:41 (H); is hardened ׳אמּץ ל Deuteronomy 2:30; Deuteronomy 15:7; 2Chronicles 36:13; ׳כבּד ל 1 Samuel 6:6 (?); ׳הקשׁה ל Psalm 95:8.

7 = the man himself (meaning characteristic of נֶפֶשׁ) ׳אמר בל say in the heart (to oneself) Deuteronomy 7:17; Deuteronomy 8:17; Deuteronomy 9:4; Deuteronomy 18:21; Psalm 4:5; Isaiah 14:3; Isaiah 47:8; Isaiah 49:21; Jeremiah 5:24; Jeremiah 13:22; Zephaniah 1:12; Zephaniah 2:15; ללבב Hosea 7:2 (?); ׳דבר בל Psalm 15:2; ׳ברכו בל Job 1:5; ׳התברך בל Deuteronomy 29:18; יְחִי לְבַבְכֶם let your heart (you yourselves) live Psalm 22:27; Psalm 69:33 (compare Psalm 119:175).

8 specifically as the seat of the appetites (for which usually נֶפֶשׁ) ׳סעד ל stay the heart (with food) Psalm 104:15; Judges 19:8 (?); יִיטַב לְבָבֶ֑ךָ that thine heart may be merry (with wine) Judges 19:9 (?); יַיִן ׳יְשַׂמַּח ל wine gladdens the heart Psalm 104:15.

9 specifically of seat of the emotions and passions (for which usually נפשׁ):

a. of joy Isaiah 30:29; Jeremiah 15:16; Ezekiel 36:5, gladness Deuteronomy 28:47, desire Proverbs 6:25 (?); דבּר ׳על ל speak into the heart (comfortably) 2 Chronicles 32:6 (elsewhere לֵב).

b. of trouble 1 Kings 8:38; Psalm 25:17; Psalm 73:21; weakness, faintness Leviticus 26:36 (H) Deuteronomy 20:3,18; 2Chronicles 13:7; Isaiah 1:5; Isaiah 7:4; Jeremiah 51:46, grief Deuteronomy 15:10; 1 Samuel 1:8 sorrow Psalm 13:3, fear Deuteronomy 28:67, dismay Isaiah 21:4, astonishment Deuteronomy 28:28, anger Deuteronomy 19:6, hate Leviticus 19:16 (H); ׳ימּס ל the heart melteth Deuteronomy 20:8; Joshua 2:11; Joshua 5:1; Joshua 7:5 (all D) Isaiah 13:7; Isaiah 19:1; ׳המס ל Deuteronomy 1:28 (so read probably also Joshua 14:8, where לֵב error).

10 seat of courage (for which usually רוּחַ), יָעֵר כֹּחוֺ וּלְבָבוֺ stir up his power and his courage Daniel 11:25; יַאֲמֵץ לְבַבְכֶם let your heart take courage Psalm 31:25.

לְבַב noun masculineDan 4:13 heart (see Biblical Hebrew; so Egyptian Aramaic S-CB 12+); — construct ׳ל Daniel 4:13; Daniel 7:4; suffix לִבְבָח Daniel 2:30; Daniel 5:22, בֵהּ- Daniel 4:13; Daniel 5:20,21.

  • Great answer. I only have one question: does Saul's change of heart have any bearing on his salvation? Or are salvation and change of heart independent processes?
    – user38524
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 21:21
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator - certainly salvation involves a change of heart which I believe is what happened with Saul. However, this is not necessarily always the case. In Saul's case, Saul was given a change of heart, given special leadership abilities, but later apostatized and sought the advice of a witch and then committed suicide. A great tragedy of Shakespearian dimensions.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 21:34
  • Hence my other question: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/57186/38524
    – user38524
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 21:40
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator - Just added added an answer for that question.
    – Dottard
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 21:53

1 Samuel 10:9 (ESV):

When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day.

What does it that "God gave him another heart"? Did Saul get saved or have a conversion experience at that moment?

Gill answers it this way:

God gave him another heart; not in a moral or spiritual sense, not a new heart, and a new spirit, as in conversion, but in a civil sense, a right heart, a heart fit for government; filled with wisdom and prudence to rule a people; with courage and magnanimity to protect and defend them against their enemies, and fight for them; a heart not taken up with the affairs of husbandry, with care for his father's asses, and looking after his herds, but filled with concern for the civil welfare of Israel, and with schemes and contrivances for their good, and with warm resolutions to deliver them out of the hands of their enemies:

I'd agree with Gill. It is problematic to apply the NT concept of salvation to OT persons. The OT concept of salvation is more ambiguous. The OT concept of the heart is also polysemic.

  • 1
    What arguments did Gill offer to support his affirmations? The quoted paragraph claims many things, but the argumentation behind it is missing. As it stands, this answer looks like an argument from authority (because Gill said so).
    – user38524
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 15:31
  • Right. Good point.
    – user35953
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 15:33
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator I would suggest that Gill is interpreting and that Tony Can is merely referencing that interpretation. The nature of the question takes us into the realm of spiritual matters which are sensitive and are matters of discernment, not obvious to the novice and the inexperienced in inward spiritualities.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 17:01
  • Agreed that the 'heart' referred to is an administrative matter of office, not a spiritual matter of regeneration. Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 17:03

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