King Saul was Israel’s first king and monarch. His rise to power was ordained by God, and his life showed lots of promise during the early years of his rule as king. Saul had good favor with God and the people of Israel when he obeyed the Lord. But after a major incident where Saul chose not to follow God’s instructions he was destined to lose his position and power as king. The second half of Saul’s reign was characterized by torment, anger, disobedience and hatred. Eventually, Saul was replaced as king of Israel by David, the son of Jesse. He appears on the Biblical Timeline Chart circa 1100 BC.
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The story of Saul‘s life and reign is outlined in 1 Samuel 9-31, and it begins with the prophet Samuel. In the early days when Israel had become a stable nation, they were ruled by judges. The prophet Samuel was a judge and priest over Israel in (give a date), and the people were governed by a theocratic rule. Samuel had two sons who were destined to take his position as leader once his time was over, but they were not men of faith. The Israelite people did not want to be ruled by them, and they demanded a king. God was against this, but he decided to allow them to have what they wanted but with a price. The people of Israel didn’t care because they were now as the other people in the world because they finally had a king.
Saul was a man from the land of Gibeah, which was a small settlement a few miles outside of ancient Israel. There are three different versions of the Bible about how Saul became the first king of Israel. Saul is appointed to this position by Samuel in 1 Samuel 9:1 – 10:16. The second version is found in 1 Samuel 10: 17-24 and 12: 1-5 and Saul becomes the king by being selected through a lottery process. The last instance of Saul’s appointment happens in 1 Samuel 11: 1 – 11 and 11:15. In this passage of scripture, Saul is appointed king after he defeats a group of Ammonites. Each of these three different passages of scriptures seem like they’re explaining Saul’s appointment to King in three different stories. But these events could have happened in a successive series of events which ultimately designated Saul as king.
Saul’s name means: “lent”, “to lend”, “asked for” or “given” in the Hebrew language. He was considered to be an impressive young man who was taller and probably more handsome than any of his fellow countrymen. Saul apparently had the physical and social characteristics that people look for in rulers (1 Samuel 9:2). Once Saul had become king, he began to win a string of military victories. He defeated the Philistines who were subjecting the Israelites right before his reign (1 Samuel 14:47).
Saul ruled well for many years but ran into problems when he went to war against the Amalekites. God had told Samuel to give Saul specific instructions that he was expected to obey to the letter. Saul didn’t follow through with God’s commands, and God had rejected Saul as king.
Saul then spent the rest of his days being tormented by an evil spirit and tried to kill David, who destined to take his throne. After learning about Samuel’s death, Saul contacted a medium to see if he could get a word from Samuel. God allowed Samuel to return to let Saul know that he was going to die the next day (1 Samuel 31:5), and he did. King David was sad over Saul’s death, and he took over the kingdom after Saul had passed.
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