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Saul

(Aids to Bible Studies)

With Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew monarchy had its beginning, and there were features of his personality and character pointing to the fitness of his call to the kingship. He had a kingly stature, towering head and shoulders above his fellows. He was unassuming, and yet decided and brave when occasion demanded. He made no haste to wear royal honors, preferring to wait till he had earned them by distinguished services against his country’s foes, at Jabesh-gilead, before surrounding himself with the pomps of a court. There was a magnanimous and lovable aspect of his nature. He had the gift of drawing to himself men of distinction from different parts of the land. His task was not an easy one. It was an age of transition. Strong currents and counter-currents whirled in perilous eddies around the new throne, and even a saner mind would have found it hard to steer a safe course. But in Saul there was a fatal streak of willfulness and jealousy, and gradually his whole life and reign turned into a tragedy. He lost the friendship of Samuel. He turned against David, and pursued him with unrelenting fury. For no just cause he had the priest Ahimelech, eighty-five other priests, and the entire population of Nob, slain. He even threatened the life of his own son Jonathan. In a last desperate venture he consulted the witch of Endor. Then the next day he perished on Mount Gilboa, after thousands of men of his army and his own three sons had fallen.

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