7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Saul


The son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king of the Israelites, anointed by Samuel, B. C. 1091, and after a reign of forty years filled with various events, slain with his sons on Mount Gilboa. He was succeeded by David, who was his son-in-law, and whom he had endeavored to put to death. His history is contained in 1Sa 10-31. It is a sad and admonitory narrative. The morning of his reign was bright with special divine favors, both providential, and spiritual, 1Sa 9:20; 10:1-11,24-25. But he soon began to disobey God, and was rejected as unworthy to found a line of kings; his sins and misfortunes multiplied, and his sun went down in gloom. In his first war with the Ammonites, God was with him; but then follow his presumptuous sacrifice, in the absence of Samuel; his equally rash vow; his victories over the Philistines and the Amalekites; his sparing Agag and the spoil; his spirit of distracted and foreboding melancholy; his jealousy and persecution of David; his barbarous massacre of the priests and people at Nob, and of the Gibeonites; his consulting the witch on Endor; the battle with the Philistines in which his army was defeated and his sons were slain; and lastly, his despairing self-slaughter, his insignia of royalty being conveyed to David by an Amalekite, 1Sa 31; 2Sa 1; 1Ch 10:13-14. The guilty course and the awful end of this first king of the Hebrews were a significant reproof of their sin in desiring any king but Jehovah; and also show to what extremes of guilt and ruin one may go who rebels against God, and is ruled by his own ambitious and envious passions.

SAUL was also the Hebrew name of the apostle Paul.

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asked for. (1.) A king of Edom (Ge 36:37-38); called Shaul in 1Ch 1:48.

(2.) The son of Kish (probably his only son, and a child of prayer, "asked for"), of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king of the Jewish nation. The singular providential circumstances connected with his election as king are recorded in 1Sa 8-10. His father's she-asses had strayed, and Saul was sent with a servant to seek for them. Leaving his home at Gibeah (1Sa 10:5, "the hill of God," A.V.; lit., as in R.V. marg., "Gibeah of God"), Saul and his servant went toward the north-west over Mount Ephraim, and then turning north-east they came to "the land of Shalisha," and thence eastward to the land of Shalim, and at length came to the district of Zuph, near Samuel's home at Ramah (1Sa 9:5-10). At this point Saul proposed to return from the three days' fruitless search, but his servant suggested that they should first consult the "seer." Hearing that he was about to offer sacrifice, the two hastened into Ramah, and "behold, Samuel came out against them," on his way to the "bamah", i.e., the "height", where sacrifice was to be offered; and in answer to Saul's question, "Tell me, I pray thee, where the seer's house is," Samuel made himself known to him. Samuel had been divinely prepared for his coming (1Sa 9:15-17), and received Saul as his guest. He took him with him to the sacrifice, and then after the feast "communed with Saul upon the top of the house" of all that was in his heart. On the morrow Samuel "took a vial of oil and poured it on his head," and anointed Saul as king over Israel (1Sa 9:25-10:8), giving him three signs in confirmation of his call to be king. When Saul reached his home in Gibeah the last of these signs was fulfilled, and the Sprit of God came upon him, and "he was turned into another man." The simple countryman was transformed into the king of Israel, a remarkable change suddenly took place in his whole demeanour, and the people said in their astonishment, as they looked on the stalwart son of Kish, "Is Saul also among the prophets?", a saying which passed into a "proverb." (Comp. 1Sa 19:24.)

The intercourse between Saul and Samuel was as yet unknown to the people. The "anointing" had been in secret. But now the time had come when the transaction must be confirmed by the nation. Samuel accordingly summoned the people to a solemn assembly "before the Lord" at Mizpeh. Here the lot was drawn (1Sa 10:17-27), and it fell upon Saul, and when he was presented before them, the stateliest man in all Israel, the air was rent for the first time in Israel by the loud cry, "God save the king!" He now returned to his home in Gibeah, attended by a kind of bodyguard, "a band of men whose hearts God had touched." On reaching his home he dismissed them, and resumed the quiet toils of his former life.

Soon after this, on hearing of the conduct of Nahash the Ammonite at Jabeshgilead (q.v.), an army out of all the tribes of Israel rallied at his summons to the trysting-place at Bezek, and he led them forth a great army to battle, gaining a complete victory over the Ammonite invaders at Jabesh (1Sa 11:1-11). Amid the universal joy occasioned by this victory he was now fully recognized as the king of Israel. At the invitation of Samuel "all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal." Samuel now officially anointed him as king (1Sa 11:15). Although Samuel never ceased to be a judge in Israel, yet now his work in that capacity practically came to an end.

Saul now undertook the great and difficult enterprise of freeing the land from its hereditary enemies the Philistines, and for this end he gathered together an army of 3,000 men (1Sa 13:1-2). The Philistines were encamped at Geba. Saul, with 2,000 men, occupied Michmash and Mount Bethel; while his son Jonathan, with 1,000 men, occupied Gibeah, to the south of Geba, and seemingly without any direction from his father "smote" the Philistines in Geba. Thus roused, the Philistines, who gathered an army of 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen, and "people as the sand which is on the sea-shore in multitude," encamped in Michmash, which Saul had evacuated for Gilgal. Saul now tarried for seven days in Gilgal before making any movement, as Samuel had appointed (1Sa 10:8); but becoming impatient on the seventh day, as it was drawing to a close, when he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, Samuel appeared and warned him of the fatal consequences of his act of disobedience, for he had not waited long enough (1Sa 13:13-14).

When Saul, after Samuel's departure, went out from Gilgal with his 600 men, his followers having decreased to that number (1Sa 13:15), against the Philistines at Michmash (q.v.), he had his head-quarters under a pomegrante tree at Migron, over against Michmash, the Wady esSuweinit alone intervening. Here at Gibeah-Geba Saul and his army rested, uncertain what to do. Jonathan became impatient, and with his armour-bearer planned an assault against the Philistines, unknown to Saul and the army (1Sa 14:1-15). Jonathan and his armour-bearer went down into the wady, and on their hands and knees climbed to the top of the narrow rocky ridge called Bozez, where was the outpost of the Philistine army. They surprised and then slew twenty of the Philistines, and immediately the whole host of the Philistines was thrown into disorder and fled in great terror. "It was a very great trembling;" a supernatural panic seized the host. Saul and his 600 men, a band which speedily increased to 10,000, perceiving the confusion, pursued the army of the Philistines, and the tide of battle rolled on as far as to Bethaven, halfway between Michmash and Bethel. The Philistines were totally routed. "So the Lord saved Israel that day." While pursuing the Philistines, Saul rashly adjured the people, saying, "Cursed be the man that eateth any food until evening." But though faint and weary, the Israelites "smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon" (a distance of from 15 to 20 miles). Jonathan had, while passing through the wood in pursuit of the Philistines, tasted a little of the honeycomb which was abundant there (1Sa 14:27). This was afterwards discovered by Saul (ver. 42), and he threatened to put his son to death. The people, however, interposed, saying, "There shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground." He whom God had so signally owned, who had "wrought this great salvation in Israel," must not die. "Then Saul went up from following the Philistines: and the Philistines went to their own place" (1Sa 14:24-46); and thus the campaign against the Philistines came to an end. This was Saul's second great military success.

Saul's reign, however, continued to be one of almost constant war against his enemies round about (1Sa 14:47-48), in all of which he proved victorious. The war against the Amalekites is the only one which is recorded at length (1Sa 15). These oldest and hereditary (Ex 17:8; Nu 14:43-45) enemies of Israel occupied the territory to the south and south-west of Palestine. Samuel summoned Saul to execute the "ban" which God had pronounced (De 25:17-19) on this cruel and relentless foe of Israel. The cup of their iniquity was now full. This command was "the test of his moral qualification for being king." Saul proceeded to execute the divine command; and gathering the people together, marched from Telaim (1Sa 15:4) against the Amalekites, whom he smote "from Havilah until thou comest to Shur," utterly destroying "all the people with the edge of the sword", i.e., all that fell into his hands. He was, however, guilty of rebellion and disobedience in sparing Agag their king, and in conniving at his soldiers' sparing the best of the sheep and cattle; and Samuel, following Saul to Gilgal, in the Jordan valley, said unto him, "Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he also hath rejected thee from being king" (1Sa 15:23). The kingdom was rent from Saul and was given to another, even to David, whom the Lord chose to be Saul's successor, and whom Samuel anointed (1Sa 16:1-13). From that day "the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him."

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Hebrew SHAUL

1. An early king of Edom (Ge 36:37-38).

2. Ge 46:10.

3. 1Ch 6:24.

4. First king of Israel. The names Kish and Ner, Nadab and Abi-nadab, Baal and Mephibosheth, recur in the genealogy in two generations. The family extends to Ezra's time. If the Zimri of 1Ch 9:42 be the Zimri of 1 Kings 16 it is the last stroke of the family of Saul for the kingdom. Saul was son of Kish, son of Ner, son of Abiel or Jehiel. 1Sa 9:1 omits Ner, the intermediate link, and makes Kish son of Abiel; 1Ch 8:33 supplies the link, or Ner in 1 Chronicles is not father but ancestor of Kish (1Ch 9:36-39), and Ner son of Abi-Gibeon (father or founder of Gibeon, 1Ch 8:29) is named only because he was progenitor of Saul's line, the intermediate names mentioned in 1 Samuel 9 being omitted. The proud, fierce, and self willed spirit of his tribe, Benjamin, is conspicuous in Saul (see Judges 19; 20; 21). Strong and swift fooled (2Sa 1:23), and outtopping the people by head and shoulders (1Sa 9:2), he was the "beauty" or "ornament of Israel," "a choice young man," "there was none goodlier than he."

Above all, he was the chosen of the Lord (1Sa 9:17; 10:24; 2Sa 21:6). Zelah was Kish's burial place. Gibeah was especially connected with Saul. The family was originally humble (1Sa 11), though Kish was "a mighty man of substance." Searching for Kish's donkeys three days in vain, at last, by the servant's advice, Saul consulted Samuel, who had already God's intimation that He would send at this very time a man of Benjamin who should be king. God's providence, overruling man's free movements to carry out His purpose, appears throughout the narrative. Samuel gave Saul the chiefest place at the feast on the high place to which he invited him, and the choice portion. Setting his mind at ease about his asses, now found, Samuel raised his thoughts to the throne as one "on whom was all the desire of Israel." "Little then in his own sight" (1Sa 15:17), and calling himself "of the smallest of the tribes, and his family least of all the families of Benjamin" (1Sa 9:21), Saul was very different from what he afterward became in prosperity; elevation tests men (Ps 73:18).

Samuel anointed and kissed Saul as king. On his coming to the oak ("plain") of Tabor, three men going with offerings to God to Bethel gave him two of three loaves, in recognition of his kingship. Next prophets met him, and suddenly the Spirit of God coming upon him he prophesied among them, so that the proverb concerning him then first began, "is Saul also among the prophets?" The public outward call followed at Mizpeh, when God caused the lot to fall on Saul. So modest was he that he hid himself, shunning the elevation, amidst the baggage. A band whose hearts God had touched escorted him to Gibeah, while the worthless despised him, saying "how shall this man save us?" (compare Lu 14:14, the Antitype, meekly "He held His peace"; Ps 38:13). NAHASH'S cruel threat against Jabesh Gilead, which was among the causes that made Israel desire a king (1Sa 8:3,19; 12:12), gave Saul the opportunity of displaying his patriotic bravery in rescuing the citizens and securing their lasting attachment.

His magnanimity too appears in his not allowing any to be killed of those whom the people desired to slay for saying "shall Saul reign over us?" Pious humility then breathed in his ascription of the deliverance to Jehovah, not himself (1Sa 11:12-13). Samuel then inaugurated the kingdom again at Gilgal. In 1Sa 13:1 read "Saul reigned 40 years"; so Ac 13:21, and Josephus "18 years during Samuel's life and 22 after his death" (Ant. 16:14, section 9). Saul was young in beginning his reign (1Sa 9:2), but probably verging toward 40 years old, as his son Jonathan was grown up (1Sa 13:2). Ishbosheth his youngest son (1Ch 8:33) was 40 at his death (2Sa 2:10), and as he is not mentioned among Saul's sons in 1Sa 14:49 he perhaps was born after Saul's accession. In the second year of his reign Saul revolted from the Philistines whose garrison had been advanced as far as Geba (Jehu, N.E. of Rama), (1Sa 10:5; 13:3) and gathered to him an army of 3,000.

Jonathan smote the garrison, and so brought on a Philistine invasion in full force, 30,000 chariots. 6,000 horsemen, and a multitude as the sand. The Israelites, as the Romans under the Etruscan Porscna, were deprived by their Philistine oppressors of all smiths, so that no Israelite save Saul and Jonathan had sword or spear (1Sa 13:19-21). Many hid in caves, others fled beyond Jordan, while those (600: 1Sa 13:15) who stayed with Saul followed trembling. Already some time previously Samuel had conferred with Saul as to his foreseen struggle against the Philistines, and his going down to Gilgal (not the first going for his inauguration as king, 1Sa 11:14-15; but second after revolting from the Philistines) which was the most suitable place for gathering an army.

Samuel was not directing Saul to go at once to Gilgal, as seen as he should go from him, and wait there seven days (1Sa 10:8); but that after being chosen king by lot and conquering Ammon and being confirmed as king at Gilgal, he should war with the Philistines (one main end of the Lord's appointing him king, 1Sa 9:16, "that he may save My people out of the hand of the Philistines, for I have looked upon My people, because their cry is come unto Me"), and then go down to Gilgal, and "wait there seven days, until I come, before offering the holocaust." The Gilgal meant is that in the Jordan valley, to which Saul withdrew in order to gather soldiers for battle, and offer sacrifices, and then advance again to Gibeah and Geba, thence to encounter the Philistines encamped at Michmash. Now first Saul betrays his real character. Self will, impatience, and the spirit of disobedience made him offer without, waiting the time appointed by Jehovah's prophet; he obeyed so far and so long only as obedience did not require crossing of his self will.

Had he waited but an hour or two, he would have saved his kingdom, which was now transferred to one after God's own heart; we may forfeit the heavenly kingdom by hasty and impatient unbelief (Isa 28:16). Saul met Samuel's reproof "what hast thou done?" with self justifying excuses, as if his act had been meritorious not culpable: "I saw the people scattered from me, and thou camest not within the days appointed (Samuel had come before their expiration), and the Philistines gathered themselves. ... Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto Jehovah; I forced myself therefore (he ought to have forced himself to obey not disobey; necessity, is often the plea for sacrificing principle to expediency) and offered." Jonathan's exploit in destroying the Philistine garrison (1 Samuel 14) eventuated in driving the Philistines back to their own land. (See JONATHAN.)

The same reckless and profane impatience appears in Saul; he consults Jehovah by the priest Ahiah (1Sa 14:18 read with Septuagint, "bring here the ephod, for he took the ephod that day in the presence of Israel"; for the ark was not usually taken out, but only the ephod, for consultation, and the ark was now at Kirjath Jearim, not in Saul's little camp); then at the increasing tumult in the Philistine host, impatient to join battle, interrupted the priest, "withdraw thine hand," i.e. leave off. Contrast David's patient and implicit following of Jehovah's will, inquired through the priest, in attacking in front as well as in taking a circuit behind the Philistines (2Sa 5:19-25). Saul's adjuration that none should eat until evening betrayed his rash temper and marred the victory (1Sa 14:29-30). His scrupulosity because the people flew upon the spoil, eating the animals with the blood (1Sa 14:32-35), contrasts with true conscientiousness which was wanting in him at Gilgal (1 Samuel 13).

Now he built his first altar. Jonathan's unconscious violation of Saul's adjuration, by eating honey which revived him (1Sa 13:23, "enlightened his eyes," Ps 13:3), was the occasion of Saul again taking lightly God's name to witness that Jonathan should die (contrast Ex 20:7). But the guilt, which God's silence when consulted whethe

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1. Son of Kish, a Benjamite, the first king of Israel. We first meet him about to abandon the search for his father's asses, when his servant suggested consulting Samuel. As it was customary to bring a present to a seer, and the wallet was empty, Saul hesitated till the servant produced the fourth part of a shekel of silver to give to the man of God. The seer, Divinely prepared for their arrival, met them as he was on his way to the high place to sacrifice. A banquet was made ready, and special honour paid to Saul by Samuel. The seer told the seekers that the asses had been found, and broached the matter of the kingdom to Saul, and anointed him as he was leaving. Saul was given certain signs in attestation of Samuel's message, and after leaving the seer's house, where he and his servant spent the night, he met a band of prophets, and soon was prophesying among them, to the marvel of his acquaintances (1Sa 10:10). This narrative gives no hint that the people asked for a king, or that his selection would be displeasing to either Samuel or Jehovah.

The account is interrupted at 1Sa 10:17 by one of a different temper. The people demand a king, which Samuel interprets to be a rejection of Jehovah, their true king, and Saul, after protest, is elected by lot at Mizpah. He remained quietly at home till Nahash's cruel demand that the men of Jabesh-gilead should surrender to him, and each one lose the right eye, roused him. He was ploughing in the field when the news reached him, and immediately sacrificed the oxen, sending out parts of the sacrifice to his brethren with the command that they should follow him. When the army was mustered he marched to Jabesh-gilead and administered a crushing defeat to Nahash, after which his grateful countrymen made him king at Gilgal (ch. 11). A still greater necessity for a king appears in the encroachments of the Philistines. Saul and Jonathan, his son, were encamped in Michmash and Gibeah (Geba), when Jonathan smote the 'garrison' (?) of the Philistines in Geba, thus precipitating the struggle. The plan of the Philistines was to send out plundering parties, and Jonathan threw the whole camp into confusion by surprising one of its guerilla headquarters (1Sa 13:1-3; 14:1 f.). When Saul heard of the flight of the enemy he inquired of the oracle what to do, but the rout was so apparent that he joined pursuit without the answer. The destruction of the enemy would have been greater had not Saul put a taboo on food. In the evening the famished warriors fell upon the cattle, and ate without sacrificing till the reported impiety reached the ears of Saul, who legitimated the meal by sacrificing at a great stone. As he failed to receive an answer from the oracle, when he Inquired whether he should pursue the Philistines farther, Saul concluded that some one had sinned. An inquiry was taken to the oracle, and the fault was found to lie with Jonathan, who confessed to having tasted honey. He was, however, delivered by the people from the penalty, for Saul had sworn that he should die (1Sa 14:17-45).

This narrative (chs. 13, 14) is interrupted at 1Sa 13:8 to 1Sa 15:35 by an account which represents Samuel as taking issue with Saul for sacrificing at the end of an appointed period of seven days, and announcing his rejection (See art. Samuel, p. 823). We have from another source (ch. 15) a story of the encounter with Amalek, against whom Samuel sent Saul with instructions to destroy men, women, children, and spoil. Saul, however, spares Agag, and part of the booty. This is now assigned as the reason for his rejection. Saul acknowledged his fault, but begged Samuel to honour him before the people by sacrificing with him. In his importunity he lays hold of Samuel's garment, which is rent, and becomes the symbol of the kingdom wrested from Saul. Samuel relents and worships with him.

The second stage of Saul's life concerns his relations with David. Saul is advised to employ music as a relief from a deep-seated mental trouble, called 'an evil spirit from the Lord.' David, a skilled harper and celebrated soldier, is engaged. Saul loves him, and makes him his armour-bearer (1Sa 16:14-23). The Philistines again assemble, this time at Socoh; Goliath issues his challenge, but no one responds. The lad David, who had come to the camp to visit his brethren, learns of the proffered reward, meets the boaster in single combat, and kills him. In this story Saul seems weak, irresolute, and unacquainted with David (ch. 17). David's growing popularity and prowess lead Saul to attempt his life. Michal, Saul's daughter, is offered to him in marriage in return for one hundred Philistines. The hazard involved failed to accomplish his death. Then David's house is surrounded, but Michal manages David's escape through a window (1Sa 18:6-9; 20:29; 19:11-17). Merab, Saul's elder daughter, was also offered to David, but withdrawn when he should have had her. This seems to be an effort to explain why David did not receive Saul's daughter after he had slain the giant. David flees to Ramah, and Saul, seeking him there, is seized with the prophetic frenzy and rendered powerless (1Sa 19:18-24). David again flees, and receives help from the priests at Nob. So enraged was Saul that he ordered the slaughter of the entire priesthood there (chs. 20

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One of the ancient kings of Edom. Ge 36:37-38. Called SHAUL in 1Ch 1:48-49.


Son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, and the first king of Israel. He was anointed by Samuel by God's direction when the Israelites demanded a king. As the king whom they had chosen and desired, 'a new heart' was given him, and he had a fair start in his reign; but he signally failed in obedience to God, by the word of Samuel. He was rejected, and David was anointed, whom for years he malignantly persecuted. Being forsaken of God, without faith or conscience he resorted to one with a familiar spirit, and there heard his doom. (See DIVINATION.) He was conquered by the Philistines, the very people he was to have overcome. Thus royalty, as everything else committed to man by God, at once failed. For details of Saul's life see SAMUEL, FIRST BOOK OF.

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(desired), more accurately Shaul.

1. One of the early kings of Edom, and successor of Samlah.

Ge 36:37-38; 1Ch 1:48

(B.C. after 1450.)

2. The first king of Israel, the son of Kish, and of the tribe of Benjamin. (B.C, 1095-1055.) His character is in part illustrated by the fierce, wayward, fitful nature of the tribe and in part accounted for by the struggle between the old and new systems in which he found himself involved. To this we must add a taint of madness. which broke out in violent frenzy at times leaving him with long lucid intervals. He was remarkable for his strength and activity,

2Sa 1:25

and, like the Homeric heroes, of gigantic stature, taller by head and shoulders than the rest of the people, and of that kind of beauty denoted by the Hebrew word "good,"

1Sa 9:2

and which caused him to be compared to the gazelle, "the gazelle of Israel." His birthplace is not expressly mentioned; but, as Zelah in Benjamin was the place of Kish's sepulchre.

2Sa 21:14

it was probable; his native village. His father, Kish, was a powerful and wealthy chief though the family to which he belonged was of little importance.

1Sa 9:1,21

A portion of his property consisted of a drove of asses. In search of these asses, gone astray on the mountains, he sent his son Saul It was while prosecuting this adventure that Saul met with Samuel for the first time at his home in Ramah, five miles north of Jerusalem. A divine intimation had made known to him the approach of Saul, whom he treated with special favor, and the next morning descending with him to the skirts of the town, Samuel poured over Saul's head the consecrated oil, and with a kiss of salutation announced to him that he was to be the ruler of the nation.

1-Samuel/9/25'>1Sa 9:25,1; 10:1

Returning homeward his call was confirmed by the incidents which according to Samuel's prediction, awaited him.

1Sa 10:9-10

What may be named the public call occurred at Mizpeh, when lots were cast to find the tribe and family which was to produce the king, and Saul, by a divine intimation was found hid in the circle of baggage which surrounded the encampment.

1Sa 10:17-24

Returning to Gibeah, apparently to private life, he heard the threat issued by Nahash king of Ammon against Jabesh-gilead. He speedily collected an army, and Jabesh was rescued. The effect was instantaneous on the people, and the monarchy was inaugurated anew at Gilgal.

1Sa 11

It should be, however, observed that according to

1Sa 12:12

the affair of Nahash preceded and occasioned the election of Saul. Although king of Israel, his rule was at first limited; but in the second year of his reign he began to organize an attempt to shake off the Philistine yoke, and an army was formed. In this crisis, Saul, now on the very confines of his kingdom at Gilgal, impatient at Samuel's delay, whom he had directed to be present, offered sacrifice himself. Samuel, arriving later, pronounced the first curse, on his impetuous zeal.

1Sa 13:5-14

After the Philistines were driven back to their own country occurred the first appearance of Saul's madness in the rash vow which all but cost the life of his soil.

1Sa 14:24,44

The expulsion of the Philistines, although not entirely completed, ch.

1Sa 14:52

at once placed Saul in a position higher than that of any previous ruler of Israel, and he made war upon the neighboring tribes. In the war with Amalek, ch.

1Sa 14:48; 15:1-9

he disobeyed the prophetical command of Samuel, which called down the second curse, and the first distinct intimation of the transference of the kingdom to a rival. The rest of Saul's life is one long tragedy. The frenzy which had given indications of itself before now at times took almost entire possession of him. In this crisis David was recommended to him. From this time forward their lives are blended together. [DAVID] In Saul's better moments he never lost the strong affection which he had contracted for David. Occasionally, too his prophetical gift returned, blended with his madness.

See David

2Sa 19:24

But his acts of fierce, wild zeal increased. At last the monarchy itself broke down under the weakness of his head. The Philistines re-entered the country, and just before giving them battle Saul's courage failed and he consulted one of the necromancers, the "Witch of Endor," who had escaped his persecution. At this distance of time it is impossible to determine the relative amount of fraud or of reality in the scene which follows, though the obvious meaning of the narrative itself tends to the hypothesis of some kind of apparition. ch.

2Sa 19:28

On hearing the denunciation which the apparition conveyed, Saul fell the whole length of his gigantic stature on the ground, and remained motionless till the woman and his servants forced him to eat. The next day the battle came on. The Israelites were driven up the side of Gilboa. The three sons of Saul were slain. Saul was wounded. According to one account, he fell upon his own sword,

1Sa 31:4

and died. The body on being found by the Philistines was stripped slid decapitated, and the headless trunk hung over the city walls, with those of his three sons. ch.

1Sa 31:9-10

The head was deposited (probably at Ashdod) in the temple of Dagon

1Ch 10:10

The corpse was buried at Jabesh-gilead.

1Sa 31:13

3. The Jewish name of St. Paul.

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SAUL, the son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king of the Israelites, 1Sa 9:1-2, &c. Saul's fruitless journey when seeking his father's asses; (See Ass;) his meeting the Prophet Samuel; the particulars foretold to him, with his being anointed as king, about A.M. 2909; his prophesying along with the young prophets; his appointment by the lot; his modesty in hiding himself; his first victory over the Ammonites; his rash sacrifice in the absence of Samuel; his equally rash curse; his victories over the Philistines and Amalekites; his sparing of King Agag with the judgment denounced against him for it; his jealousy and persecution of David; his barbarous massacre of the priests and people of Nob; his repeated confessions of his injustice to David, &c, are recorded in 1 Samuel 9-31. He reigned forty years, but exhibited to posterity a melancholy example of a monarch, elevated to the summit of worldly grandeur, who, having cast off the fear of God, gradually became the slave of jealousy, duplicity, treachery, and the most malignant and diabolical tempers. His behaviour toward David shows him to have been destitute of every generous and noble sentiment that can dignify human nature; and it is not an easy task to speak with any moderation of the atrocity and baseness which uniformly mark it. His character is that of a wicked man, "waxing worse and worse;" but while we are shocked at its deformity, it should be our study to profit by it, which we can only do by using it as a beacon to warn us, "lest we also be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

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