Saul, First King of the Israelites

By: Fr. Seraphim SlobodskoyRead time: 2 mins4405 Hits

Saul, First King of the Israelites

Saul was the son of a distinguished Jew by the name of Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin. He was tall, among the people he was a whole head higher, and no one of the Israelites was more handsome than he.

Soon after Saul was anointed, Samuel called the people together to elect a king. Lots were cast. The lot fell on Saul, and he was declared king. The people, admiring his height and beauty, cried out, “Long live the King!”

When Saul was made king, Samuel said to all the people: “If ye fear the Lord and serve Him and hearken to His voice and do not resist the mouth of the Lord, and ye and your king that reigns over you follow the Lord, it will be well with you. But if ye do not hearken to the voice of the Lord, and ye resist the mouth of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be upon you and upon your king” (I Samuel 12:14-15).

Saul, in the first years of his reign, acted according to God’s will, showing himself worthy of having been chosen. He gained for himself the people’s love by many victories over the enemy. But when he stopped carrying out God’s commands, having become presumptuous, the Spirit of God left him and Saul became gloomy and cruel.

Samuel grieved over Saul. The Lord said to him, “How long dost thou mourn for Saul? Go to Bethlehem, to Jesse, for I have seen among his sons a king for me.” Samuel went to Bethlehem and at God’s direction anointed David, the son of Jesse, from the tribe of Judah, to be king. The Spirit of God descended on David. David was the younger son of Jesse, blond, with beautiful eyes and a pleasant face. He was agile and brave, had a gentle and kind heart and was famed for his fine playing on the harp.

Saul was sick at heart and depressed from the action of an evil spirit. He was advised to divert himself with music, and he was told that in the town of Bethlehem at the house of Jesse was Jesse’s son, David, who could play the harp well. David was summoned to the palace. When he came and played on the harp, Saul became better and more cheerful. Then the evil spirit left him.

Note: See I Samuel, chaps. 10:17-27,11-16.

(from: The Law of God

by Fr. Seraphim Slobodskoy)