1 Samuel 10:1—Does the Scripture give contradictory accounts of the anointing of Saul?

Problem: According to 1 Samuel 10:1, Samuel anointed Saul at the outskirts of Ramah in the territory of Zuph (cf. 9:5). However, 1 Samuel 10:17–24 asserts that Saul was appointed king of Israel at Mizpah. Are these accounts contradictory?

Solution: No. The only passage that describes the anointing of Saul is found in 1 Samuel 10:1. In 1 Samuel 10:17–24 we read of the public appointment of Saul in the presence of the whole nation. There is no statement of anointing him at this time. Also, in 1 Samuel 12 we find the confirmation ceremony of Saul’s appointment as king of Israel and Samuel’s farewell address to the nation. Nowhere in this section is there any reference to an anointing. According to the biblical record, Saul was anointed only once, and there is no contradiction among these accounts.

See All Problems

This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.