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Who is Saul?
        (desired). 1. A king of Edom. Gen 36:37-38; called Shaul in 1 Chr 1:48-49. 2. The first king of Israel, the son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin. His personal appearance was so remarkably fine and noble as to be particularly mentioned by the sacred historian. His search for his father's asses was the occasion of his visit to Samuel, whom he consulted as a "seer," on the advice of his servant. Samuel, having been divinely admonished of the approach of Saul and instructed what to do, invited him to his house and treated him with marked distinction. The next day Samuel made known to him privately that he was to have the rule over Israel, and while they were in the way he took a vial of oil, and, pouring it on his head, anointed him for the regal office. To convince Saul that this thing was of the Lord, Samuel predicted three signs, the last Saul's power to "prophesy," which would be fulfilled on his home-journey. The events happened as Samuel had foretold and Saul prophesied. By prophecy we are to here understand excited proclaiming or singing, and not a foretelling of the future. 1 Sam 9; 1 Sam 10:1-16. At this point we are obliged to depart from the order in First Samuel. The brutal insult of Nahash was avenged by Israel under the leadership of Saul, who from his home at Gibeah, whither he had gone after his secret anointing, sends an urgent order upon every man in the nation to follow him. Some 330,000 assembled under his leadership, and a great victory was gained. 1 Sam 11. Thus the Lord prepared the way for Saul's acceptance by the people as their king. 1 Sam 10:17-25. At first, Saul lived unpretendingly, almost as a private citizen - indeed, his sway seems to have been limited. But after a little while (comp. 1 Sam 10:26-27, 1 Sam 13:2) he lived in more regal fashion. It is impossible to say how old he was at this time, but perhaps about forty years. He was emphatically a military king, and so successful was he that the borders of Israel must have been considerably enlarged and the fear of Israel very widespread. His reign opened favorably. But he soon proved he was no ideal prince. So impatient was he that he could not wait at Gilgal for Samuel to come, as he had appointed, and so he offered sacrifice; for doing which he was reproved by the old prophet, 1 Sam 13:14, yet the divine favor was not withdrawn. Very strange, if not the result of madness, was his insisting that Jonathan should die, though the army interfered in time. The declaration of Samuel that the Lord would not establish his house preyed upon his mind, and he was a changed man from this time forth. He treated God's command carelessly, 1 Sam 15, and was again severely rebuked by Samuel; nor did he show any real repentance. He looked upon his attendants with suspicion. He played the coward before the Philistines. Music relieved him, but his malady was no ordinary lunacy. His treatment of David, his first love for him, his failure to remember him, the return of his affection, and then the complete turn against him, indicated the state of his mind. He pursued David, though twice he was momentarily softened by David's words and deeds. 1 Sam 24:16; 1 Sam 26:21. We can understand how jealousy, nourished, became madness at last. Then, too, we see the hand of God. Saul breaks down completely. On the eve of a battle, which his unsettled mind forebodes will be decisive, he seeks a witch, and of her demands an interview with Samuel. The woman performs her incantations, but, to her horror, she herself sees an apparition and hears the voice of the dead. Samuel charged Saul with his disobedience to the divine command in the matter of Amalek, assured him that all his efforts to obtain aid elsewhere were vain if God had become his enemy, and admonished him that defeat and ruin were at hand, and that he and his sons should the next day be inhabitants of the world of spirits. 1 Sam 28. The last flicker of the old fire of courage sufficed to enable Saul to man himself for the conflict, notwithstanding this crushing intelligence. He gave the Philistines battle, but was routed with dreadful slaughter. Among the killed were Saul's three sons. Saul, finding himself wounded and likely to fall into the hands of the enemy, threw himself upon the point of his own sword. When the Philistines found the body of Saul they severed the head from it and fastened the body on the city wail, from which it was afterward taken in the night by some of his friends from a distance, and carried to Jabesh-gilead and buried. 1 Sam 31.

Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'saul' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary". - Schaff's

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