Old Testament Story List

Saul

When Samuel was old, he made his sons judges over Israel. But his sons were not like him. They were dishonest, took bribes, and did not judge fairly. So the elders of the tribes of Israel came to Samuel and complained. They insisted that he choose a king to rule over Israel, to go out before them and fight their battles like the rulers of all the other nations. Samuel

was very displeased that the Hebrews should reject God as their leader and want a king instead.

He pointed out that their sons would be taken to be the king's horsemen and charioteers, soldiers and workers; their daughters would be taken as cooks and bakers; the king would take the best of their fields, their flocks and their servants. When all these things had happened, they would regret it and cry out, but in that day it would be too late and the Lord would not hear them. Nevertheless, the people refused to follow this advice and insisted on a king. The Lord told Samuel to do as the people wished, and give them a king. He said that he would send to Samuel a man from the land of Benjamin, and this man would be king over Israel.

Now there was a man of the tribe of Benjamin whose name was Kish, and he had a son whose name was Saul. There was not among the children of Israel a more presentable person than Saul. He was handsome and a head taller than any of his fellows.

It chanced that the asses of Kish had strayed, and Saul took one of his father's servants to seek them. In his search he came to Samuel's town, and went to the temple to ask the prophet where to look for the lost animals.

When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said to him, "Behold the man of whom I spoke! This same shall reign over my people."

Though Saul protested that the Benjamites were the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and his family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin, Samuel ordered a feast for him and anointed him with oil.

Then Samuel called all the tribes of Israel, brought Saul before them, and said, "See him whom the Lord has chosen. There is none like him among all the people."

As the people beheld Saul, towering head and shoulders above the crowd, they shouted: "Long live the king!" And Saul was made king at Gilgal.

After two years, King Saul built a standing army of three thousand soldiers. He stationed two thousand at Michmash and put one thousand under his son Jonathan at Gibeah.

Again the Philistines were causing much trouble in Israel. They were not afraid of King Saul. Throughout the land they had forts and garrisons.

Saul sent messengers through the land. "The Philistines are marching atainst us. Let every man come to Saul at Gilgal."

Because Saul was king, the people answered his call, but they were afraid! The Philistines were a fighting people, and the Israelites did not even have weapons.

When Samuel heard about the trouble, he sent word to Saul that he would come to Gilgal in seven days. Then he would offer sacrifices to God and pray for the king and the people. God would show Samuel what they should do.

At Gilgal, King Saul and his men waited for Samuel, but Samuel did not come. While they waited the Philistines grew stronger. With each new Philistine soldier, the Israelites became more afraid. They were so frightened that they hid in caves, thickets, deep holes, and between rocks. Some even deserted and crossed the Jordan.

When Saul saw his men becoming even more afraid, he thought he had to do something to give them courage. Finally, he said, "Bring the sacrifices to me and I will offer them." And Saul offered the sacrifices even though he knew God had commanded that only the priests and Levites should do this.

When Samuel arrived, he said to Saul, "You have been very foolish. If you had not disobeyed the Lord, your family would have ruled Israel down through the years. Now your kingdom cannot endure. The Lord is looking for a man who will follow in his ways. He will become king over the people because you have disobeyed the Lord."

Instead of telling Saul what to do about the Philistines, Samuel walked away. When Saul counted his soldiers, there were only six hundred still with him. He marched them back to Gibeah, and the Philistines held their garrison at Michmash.


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