A funny thing happens as Samuel chooses by lot Israel’s new king. Samuel picked the tribe of Benjamin by lot, then the clan of the Matrites by lot, until finally Saul son of Kish was selected to be the new king. There is only a small problem: Saul has decided to hide. In fact, we are told in 1 Samuel 10:22 he is hiding in the “supplies” (also translated baggage or equipment). Saul so fears being king that he hopes to escape his new role by playing adult hide-and-go-seek. In one sense, Saul is showing wisdom, for the task of being king is too great for anyone, especially without God’s complete favor. On the other hand, this action foreshadows how ill-equipped Saul is for the responsibilities that lay ahead.
We could call Saul a coward from this incident, or we could call him wise. Either way, he would not escape from God or Samuel and his particular calling. Saul is the king, and now he must lead. In the days ahead, we will see more of the character flaws foreshadowed through this hiding incident. We will also see evidence that Saul had insight when he chose to hide. Above all else, we will see the problems that arise when Israel desires anyone but God as King.