‘When then these signs and tokens which I foretell have come to pass, doubt no more, but follow all that thine own soul divineth, for the Lord God will be thy strength and help. Be bold in the service of the Lord.’

Then Samuel blessed Saul and bade him farewell until they should meet again; and Saul and his servant went on their way. As Samuel had foretold, so it was. Near the rock-hewn tomb of Rachel—where in the bare and stony way of Ephrath, after the birth of her son, the beautiful mother of Joseph and Benjamin had laid herself down to die—there they met two men who told Saul that his father’s asses had long since been found and restored to him.

‘Hasten on,’ they said, ‘for thy father is in distress for thee and fears only for thy safety.’

When they came to the solitary sacred oak on the plain of Tabor, they met also three wayfarers who with their offerings of wine and bread and kids were on their way to the sacrifice at the sanctuary at Bethel. They greeted one another, and when they parted, the man who carried the loaves of bread, seeing that Saul and his servant had no food left, gave them two of his loaves, which they broke and ate as they journeyed on together.

Few words were exchanged between them, for Saul’s mind was overcharged with thought. In a single day his inward life and being seemed to have changed their course, like the dark waters of a river issuing from the gloom and solitude of a forest into the splendour of noon.

And last, when they came to the foot of the hill of God which is at Geba and were nearing home, their ears caught strains of music from the height.

And lo, a company of prophets were descending from the sanctuary, accompanied by musicians playing upon a psaltery or lyre, a tambourine, a pipe or flute, and a harp. Their music rang wild and sweet upon the air, and as the prophets came on, they leapt and danced, chanting in shrill high voices, and proclaiming their prophecies.

They drew near, and Saul stood where he was, motionless and intent, his eyes fixed hawklike, his face transfigured as he listened to their wild chantings. It was as though his soul within him had escaped like a bird from out of its cage.

And the spirit of the Lord fountained up in his mind. He became rapt, and filled with a strange ardour and exaltation, and scarcely aware of what he did, he mingled with the company of the priests, and himself joined in their chantings, and uttered prophecies.

Now, amid the throng of the curious who stood near and watched and listened as the procession of the prophets passed by, there were a few—friends of his own father—who recognized him. They knew how quiet and simple a life he was wont to lead, and were astonished to see him in such a company. They eagerly questioned one another.

‘Surely,’ they said, ‘this is the young man who lives on the outskirts of Gibeah! What change is this? What can have happened to him? Is Saul also among the prophets?’

Another standing near overheard the question, and curious to learn more, asked: ‘Who, then, is this young man’s father?’

They answered: ‘His name is Kish. We know him well. He would be as much amazed as we are ourselves to see this sight.’

In times soon to come, when Saul’s name had become renowned throughout Israel, the people remembered this day, and the question became a proverb or byword among them: ‘Is Saul also among the prophets?’

  By PanEris using Melati.

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