The Tragedy of King Saul

This is from 1 Samuel 8 – 10; 1 Samuel 11; 1 Samuel 13; 1 Samuel 14; 1 Samuel 15; 1 Samuel 16 – 20; 1 Samuel 21 – 22; 1 Samuel 28; 1 Samuel 31; 1 Chronicles 10\

The people of Israel, tired of the problems with the judges, for there certainly WERE, asked for a king like all of the other nations. God warned them, via Samuel, but they insisted and so God gave them what they wanted. He sent Samuel to appoint Saul, a young man who was a farmer and was humble.

Saul really didn’t seem up to the job and even tried to hide from it. At one point though, the town of Jabesh was under attack, and Saul rose to the occasion and helped save it, by getting all of Israel to help out. Saul was crowned king. It seemed well. Saul was a great military man. However, his confidence in the military would soon be the beginning of his undoing.

On time, he was fighting some bad guys, and was waiting for Samuel to make the sacrifices. However, Samuel was taking a long time to get there and Saul finally felt that he needed to do it himself to assure victory. Despite knowing that only the priest, Samuel, could do it, he did it himself. This was a real boneheaded decision on his part for right after he had finished doing the offering, Samuel showed up (Bet he felt like an idiot!!!) Samuel said that now his line wouldn’t continue after him as king (well, one did, but not for very long, and he was almost more of a puppet king.) as a result of his sin.

Saul would later, in his rashness, give an order during a fight that nobody would be allowed to stop to eat until the end of the day, and anybody, no matter who, that did would be put to death. Saul’s son Jonathan, who didn’t quite hear the order, was whooping up on the bad guys. He helped them win, but also ate honey. Saul’s oath caused God to be upset and they drew straws and found that Jonathan was guilty. Saul was actually gonna do it (not exactly material for father of the year!!!) but the people stopped him.

When Saul was asked to go and wipe out the Amalekites, Saul went from ignoring what God would have him to do to disobeying Him. Saul and his guys clobbered the evil Amalekites, but they kept some of the stuff and also spared the evil King Agag. When Samuel showed up, Saul had said that he was going to offer the Amalekite loot cattle as an offering, but Samuel said that God was more interested in obedience than offerings. Samuel then killed the evil King Agag himself. Samuel foretold Saul’s fall from power.
David, a boy of little renown, was secretly anointed to be Saul’s successor by Samuel at the direction of God. David would go and defeat the Philistine giant Goliath and would also become Saul’s harp-player. Things didn’t last well between David and Saul, as Saul soon surmised that the David was more popular with the people than he was. He thus tried to kill David. When that didn’t work, he tried to sneakily have him killed, by sending him into dangerous battles. But that didn’t work either. Eventually, Saul tried to get his army after David, but Saul’s good son Jonathan was able to help David escape. David escaped and went to hide with the high priest.

Saul next went from disobedience to God to outright hostility to Him. David was able to get away, but Saul killed the high priest and his family in retaliation. Only one son, now the new high priest, was able to get away. Saul no longer could communicate with God (though David could as he had a high priest with him.)

By this time, Saul was neglecting his duties and wasting a lot of time hunting his innocent officer David. David spared Saul’s life, and the second time seemed to have gotten him off of David’s back for good (it never says he went for him again, though he might have had he had the chance.)

Things were going very badly for Saul by this point. The armies of Israel were under distress, especially from the Philistines. Saul tried to get help from God, but got none. Saul’s disobedience reached its worst level, deciding that God couldn’t help him, he decided to get help via Satan. He got a medium to call up Samuel. Samuel told him that he and his sons would be with him the next day and that they would die in battle. (This comment about them being with him may have meant that, in spite of all of the bad that Saul had done, he was still a saved man. Jonathan and Samuel were certainly saved.)

The next day, Saul was gravely wounded in battle. Not wanting to die painfully at the hand of the Philistines, Saul ultimately took his own life. What a tragic end for what could have been a promising King. Let us all follow God and not end up like Saul!


3 thoughts on “The Tragedy of King Saul

  1. I keep seeing this popping up everywhere on Christian websites; that King Saul could possibly have been redeemed and gone to heaven after his death. This is not so. You see, King Saul committed the one sin that is unpardonable : suicide. The reason why suicide is unpardonable is that after one takes one’s own life, one cannot ask God’s forgiveness, simply because one is not alive to do so. Saul’s soul was,therefore, not redeemed. In fact, in the end, Saul chose pride over spiritual redemption; he took his own life to avoid what, from his perspective, was the bleaker and more shameful prospect: being forever remembered as the Israelite king who was slain in battle.


    • The unpardonable sin is rejection of the Holy Spirit and I don’t believe it’s a one time thing. The Pharisees committed it because they kept repeatedly rejecting Jesus. However, this could not possibly have been the case for all Pharisees for Saul of Tarsus and Nicodemus were Pharisees and yet were saved.


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