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 1 Samuel 10:1-31:13. It is a sad and admonitory narrative. The morning of his reign was bright with special divine favors, both providential, and spiritual, 1 Samuel 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, 1 Samuel 31:1-13 2 Samuel 1:1-27 1 Chronicles 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.