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People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Saul (sawl), asked for, desired. 1. The first king of Israel. He was the son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin. 1 Samuel 9:1-2; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 10:21; 1 Samuel 10:23-24 In personal appearance he was tall, remarkably fine and noble. After his signal defeat of the Ammonites, Saul was confirmed on the throne by the army at Gilgal, 1 Samuel 11:1-15, though the continuance of the theocracy was earnestly insisted on by Samuel. 1 Samuel 12:1-25. He carried on successful wars against the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Moabites, and the Amalekites. 1 Samuel 13:1-21; 1 Samuel 14:46-52. Saul, however, in two instances, forgot that he was subject to Jehovah, the invisible King. 1 Samuel 13:11-14; 1 Samuel 15:1-35. Hence Jehovah commanded Samuel to anoint David privately, as Saul's successor to the kingdom. 1 Samuel 16:1-13. From this time Saul is exhibited as the slave of jealousy, duplicity, and malice; he fell at last into a deep melancholy. David was introduced to the court to soothe Saul, and there he became acquainted with the manners of the court, and the business of government. 1 Samuel 16:14-23. See David. The Philistines mustered an army so formidable, that Saul, finding himself abandoned of God, applied in his emergency to a witch at Endor. Disheartened by the ambiguous answer of the wily sorceress, Saul advanced against the Philistines. The Hebrews were routed, and Saul, finding himself wounded, fell upon his own sword, b.c. 1056, after a reign of forty years. 1 Samuel 28:1-25; 1 Samuel 31:1-13. There is no character in history more pitiable than this wretched king, swayed by evil impulse, tormented by his own conscience, powerless as it seemed for everything but mischief. His better thoughts, if temporarily awakened, were stings and scourges to him. 1 Samuel 24:17; 1 Samuel 26:21.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Saul'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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