King Saul

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King Saul

Saul was the first king of the ancient Kingdom of Israel. Saul, whose name means "asked for", reigned from around 1047 BC - 1007 BC. His story is told in 1 Samuel.

He was succeeded by David.

Saul's reign in its theological context

The two Books of Samuel focus on God's kingship over Israel, showing the contrasts between the reigns of King David and King Saul. There are some important similarities between the two kings: both were appointed by God (1 Samuel 9:19, 1 Samuel 16:13); both had popular support (1 Samuel 10:24, 1 Samuel 11:12, 1 Samuel 18:7); and importantly, both gave exclusive worship to God, unlike David's son King Solomon, who worshipped foreign gods.

There are, however, significant differences in their reigns. In particular, the Old Testament shows that David honored God as the divine king, whereas Saul did not and as such God rejected Saul's dynasty but blessed David's dynasty (1 Samuel 15:26). Saul's dishonor of God as the divine king can be seen particularly when he refused to heed the message of God's instruction through a prophet (1 Samuel 13:13, 1 Samuel 15:22-24). David on the other hand, repented and accepted God's message through the prophet Nathan (2 Samuel 24:18-19).

The Bible explains that God ended the dynasty of Saul and did not bring about the final conquest of the land under Saul's reign because Saul did not adequately honor God.



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