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Saul Bible story summary. Who was Saul?

Who was Saul? In Bible, we find out that he is characterized at his good times as a responsible, humble, and faithful man of God. If you want to know more about him, keep reading this article.

King Saul became a man destroyed by jealousy. Saul was the one who was offered the honor of being Israel’s first king. His life transformed by itself into a tragedy. The reason for it is that he didn’t trust God. He looked just like a royalty character: handsome, tall, and noble. Saul became king at the age of 30 and ruled over Israel for 42 years. He disobeyed God by not doing what God asked him to do, as He commanded.

Where was King Saul born?

Saul, the biggest King of Israel was born in Tall al Ful in the city of Jerusalem. He also died at the battle from the Gilboa Mountain in his sword.

King Saul was the first king of Israel (1029-1005). Until his reign, the Israelites were ruled by a series of Judges. The Israelites decided it was time to centralize and organize the nation. To better defend themselves against their hostile neighbors, especially the Philistines. The Israelites asked Samuel to choose somebody to be a king to be just like the other nations. Although Samuel warns the Israelites of the exploitation they will endure under a king. They insist and Samuel anoints Saul, of the tribe of Israel, king.
King Saul spent most of his reign in wars with Israel’s enemies. Including the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, and Philistines.

Saul becomes king Bible story

The first king of biblical Israel was Saul. King Saul becomes King by-election and anointing of him also raised several questions. Was this election good or bad? Did God want to punish his people by anointing Saul? The election was a way for the Lord to show the Israelites the harm that a king could do to the people. We can not imagine portraying God as an angry man who takes childish revenge on those who hold different opinions. The Lord shows that Saul is the one who will respond to the needs of the people.

From the very beginning, the author creates a very special image of Saul. His physical appearance presents the son of Kish as a special man, unlike any other in Israel: “young and handsome, so that there was no one in Israel more handsome than he; he was taller from the shoulders up than all the people” (I Kings 9:2). His description was meant to show that the Lord had chosen the best of them to be king so that the Israelites would accept God’s choice. 

Biblical text about Saul’s qualities

If Saul was young, handsome, and tall, did these physical qualities make him a moral, God-fearing person worthy to lead the chosen people? Saul was a very beautiful, wise, and moral person. The biblical text shows that it is not always the case that outward beauty is matched by an inward, spiritual beauty. But in Saul’s case, things seem to fit: the chosen one also had the spiritual qualities for it.

The meeting between Saul and Samuel is prompted by the fact that the latter was out looking for his father’s donkeys. The biblical text shows that the search was extremely intense.
Saul seems to follow the image of the good shepherd looking for his lost sheep, only in this case the sheep are replaced by donkeys. But the image of the responsible shepherd is identical. Moreover, when this search fails to reach its goal, Saul’s thought, at the urging of his servant, turns to the man of God. He does not ask for help from a witch, as he will do later, but turns to the God of his fathers.

Read more: Who is Jacob in the Bible summary. What did Jacob do in the Bible?

Witch of Endor in the Bible

When Samuel died, Saul went to a witch to raise Samuel from death. Before a decisive battle with the Philistines, Saul calls on a witch in the town of Endor, who he asks to “raise” Samuel. The woman listens to him and describes what she sees: “I see as it were a god coming out of the earth” (I Kings 28:13). Saul asks her for details of the vision, and the witch continues, “There comes out of the earth a very old man dressed in a long robe”. Now comes the most interesting part: “Then Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he fell on his face and worshipped him.”

It would seem, as the biblical text goes, that the prophet Samuel was raised from the dead by witches and delivered very real messages to Saul, even foretelling his future.
Incidentally, the witch is called in Hebrew ballet or, literally “mistress of the dead spirit”, and it would be understood, from the Hebrew, that she did indeed have supernatural powers.
On the other hand, summoning the dead was forbidden in the Old Testament, with both those who “summon the spirits of the dead” and “search the dead” being criminalized.

King Saul accomplishments

Saul had many accomplishments but the great ones were that he fought many battles for God and win them all and that he became King of Israel. When Samuel tries to reveal to him the choice the Lord has made, Saul shows him his social position. Saul’s origin was a humble one: from the smallest tribe and the least family of that tribe. And he was aware of this descent. But from this perspective, his choice fits the pattern of the divine choices by which the Lord intended to deliver Israel: simple men, powerless so that the Israelites would understand that help comes from God.

Although Samuel had revealed to him that he would be king, Saul seems to reject this position in Israel. When the Lord shows the people their future leader, all the tribes are brought in. The nomination is narrowed down to the tribe of Benjamin, to Saul, but he does not come out to welcome his role as king but hides among things from the eyes of the people. He does not desire this royal responsibility and dignity. Even after his anointing and recognition as king, Saul does not take advantage of his prerogatives. When the inhabitants of Jabesh Gilead come to ask for his help, the “great” king of Israel was “in the field following the oxen” (I Kings 11:5). His activity is nothing like that of an ordinary king. Saul went about his old business.

Lessons from the life of King Saul. Why it happened the fall of Saul?

The fall of Saul happened because of several sins.

Greatness and power change man. The same thing happens to Israel’s first king, as Saul changes not even a year after being elected king. The first mistake mentioned by the biblical author is related to the battle against the Philistines, the enemies of God’s people. The scriptural text describes in detail the events and the place where they take place. The idea is that Saul waited 8 days, the time appointed by Samuel, but seeing that Samuel was delayed, he decided to offer sacrifice to God himself so that he could proceed more quickly to the battle against the Philistines (I Kings 13).

The coming of the prophet also brings rebuke to Saul for exceeding his authority. In the first place, the sacrifice could only be offered by the Lord’s servants, those who had been chosen from the tribe of Levi to serve in the Holy Tent. Later, another king who tried to do a similar thing would be struck with leprosy (II Chronicles 26). Second, Saul was supposed to wait for Samuel, but the desire to fight the Philistines was stronger than obedience to the prophet.

Read more: Who is Esau in the Bible? What did Esau do in the Bible?

King Saul’s second sin

King Saul’s second sin is also related to the war with the Philistines and his desire to defeat Israel’s enemies. In essence, these were God’s words to him about his service. “He shall deliver my people out of the hand of the Philistines” (I Kings 9:16). Such was the intention behind Saul’s prohibition on the people, that no one should eat. Until the Philistines were defeated (I Kings 14:24). Jonathan did not know of it, he still had to be punished for breaking it. Saul’s decision, though extremely well-intentioned, was to fight against Israel’s enemies. Ultimately leads to the people’s fall into sin: the people ate meat with blood in it (I Kings 14:32). Something forbade since the time of the noetic covenant (Acts 9:4).

When did King Saul die?

Saul died in 1010 before Christ in the Valley of Jezreel, Israel. Saul no longer has the strength to turn to God. He asks for forgiveness, but his plea is devoid of remorse, of regret. St. Gregory the Great observes that Saul has lost the humility that characterized him. In the beginning and has become full of himself and proud.

Fully convinced that he is God’s chosen and anointed one. The king loses what was most important: his connection with God. In all his actions up to this point, Saul wanted to serve the Lord and fulfill his word. Out of a desire to destroy the Philistines, the enemies of the chosen people, he brings sacrifice and imposes a ban on the people from eating. The same zeal for God causes him to keep Amalek’s flocks, to be sacrificed to the God of the covenant.

What did Saul believed about himself?

Up to this point, Saul has had no regard for himself or his self-interest. The biblical text seems to show that the divine interest almost always took precedence. By comparison, it can be said that King Saul erred in wanting to serve God. While King David sinned by following only his interests.

Saul started to believe that HE is God’s unique tool; that he is the chosen one. Him and no other. In wanting to fulfill God’s word, King Saul loses his connection with the Lord. Humility is replaced by pride, obedience by self-righteousness, love by hatred. So his covetousness, devoid of humility, obedience, and love, though directed towards God, ultimately leads him to sin.

If you enjoyed our article, please check out our Bible Trivia section for a Quiz about Saul’s life. Thank you! Have a good day! Also, I recommend you to check our articles about King David and Solomon, which are related to this one.