King Saul was the first king of Israel. The name Saul (shaw-ool), means “asked.” Saul was the son of Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. Saul was chosen by God to be the king of Israel (1 Samuel 10:1), after the people asked to have a king to lead them into battle like the rest of the nations (1 Samuel 8:5). He was taller than any of the people from his shoulder and upward (1 Samuel 9:2).
At the beginning of his reign, King Saul was humble and filled by the Spirit of God. And the Lord gave him many victories over Israel’s enemies. But slowly the spirit of pride started to grow in his heart which led him to rebel and disobey God. In one incident, he offered a sacrifice which only the priests were authorized to perform (1 Samuel 13:9-12). This disobedience to God continued over the years and God was displeased with him.
His final major fall took place when he failed to obey God’s command to eliminate all of the Amalekites and their livestock (1 Samuel 15:3). Finally, God rejected him. Samuel mourned God’s rejection to Saul but the Lord told him that He has found a substitute to king Saul – David the son of Jesse. Samuel went secretly to anoint David to be king (1 Samuel 16:1-13). When God’s spirit left Saul, an evil spirit took over him (1 Samuel 16:14).
With time, Saul became more depressed and discouraged and could no longer lead the Israelites into battle. So, when the Philistines challenged Israel in the valley of Elah to fight Goliath the giant, Saul could not take their challenge for 40 days. But David courageously fought Goliath and overcame him by the power of God (1 Samuel 17).
The Israelites loved David and cheered his victories saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). This made the King very jealous of David and he was determined to kill David. And, instead of focusing his power on destroying Israel’s enemies, he set on chasing after David to kill him. The Philistines took advantage of his weakness and warred against Israel causing them defeat. King Saul who was utterly discouraged fell on his sword and killed himself and his sons died in that battle (1 Samuel 31:6).
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