Over the topic of the next two articles here on para-DOX parABLEs we will be trace the events of the Kingship of Saul and David. We will take a look at each and explain when and how each kept or violated the Covenant.
One of the first things that is obvious to anyone reader is that Saul did not trust Adonai’s prophet or Adonai and in the end turned to a soothsayer. Saul was in the Quorum (the assembly) of the ten who doubted and only had faith in what their arms could do. They faithless speak against the promise of Adonai. Saul was the first king of Israel who fell upon his own sword to avoid capture by the Philistines. Saul ruled from Gibeah his hometown, he ruled from a place of comfort. Saul was a fearful man given to his fear, he didn’t trust, he didn’t have faith. Saul was referred to as the leader (Nagid) of Israel (1 Samuel 9:16; 10:1). His reign seemed short-lived due to the narratives detail of his rise and fall. The Israelites desired a King so they called Saul a King (1 Samuel 11:15). Saul raised an army to defeat the Ammonites who attacked the tribes West of the Jordan.
Sh’muel commanded Saul to wait 7 days until he came to him. Saul was impatient along with Israel who was assembled with him and so Saul offered an unauthorized (or profane) fire before Adonai. He didn’t wait until the prophet set apart the holy sacrifice he offered up strange fire. Sh’muel arrived as Saul was finishing. Saul improperly took the role of a priest by not trusting in the word of Adonai through the Prophet. According to the midrash in the Talmud Saul wasn’t a good person but he looked good in appearance, the Israelites were looking for what looked good not what was good for them. Saul was tall but weak like a branch, he wasn’t a right-just netzer, and he was a weak read. Saul was merciful to his enemies but harsh on his own people. He was a coward. Saul would wave the homage due him when in battle, in spite of the sin offering being due for those who were slain in battle.
Saul’s Kingship was removed as quickly as he became king. Sh’muel told Saul to eradicate all the Amalekites and as we see he didn’t even King David later had to battle them. Saul kept the royal family and their servants alive. Later to behead the king and still leave Amelekite’s alive. This is why to this day we celebrate Purim a holiday reminding us to eradicate all the Amalekites as Haman was a descendent of the Amalekites. Saul didn’t trust Adonai and didn’t keep the mitzvah (command) to wipe out the Amalekites.
Saul became troubled by an evil spirit, he was possessed in the same way that it seems Jobs friends were. David would play his harp to sooth Saul. David became Saul armor bearer. The Philistines gather and have a Rephiam by the name of Goliath taunt Israel. David trust Adonai and defeats the giant, like he did the Lion and the Bear before when he was tending his father’s sheep. Saul wanted David to be his proxy by putting on his armor and battling in Saul name instead David trust Adonai. In this the stark contrast between David and Saul are seen. Jonathan gave David his military clothes to symbolize that David was the be the next King of Israel.
Saul puts David over the army because Adonai was with David. The people proclaim “Saul has slain thousands and David his tens of thousands.” Saul becomes wroth with anger fear David as his successor. While David is playing the harp to sooth Saul’s evil spirit, Saul throws a spear at him on two separate occasions and misses. Saul demotes David to an Officer in the army however David is increasingly successful. Saul then gives his wife Mikal to David hoping to distract David. He really wished David would fall in battle when trying to acquire the bride-price for his wife the 100 foreskins of the Philistines, David returned with 200.
Adonai had warned Israel that kings do devious things. Jonathan prevents Saul from killing David and warns David in the night. Mikal helps David escape but putting a household idol in David’s bed. Saul kills every women and child after Doeg kills the priests. Saul curses his own wife Jonathan’s mother. Adonai departed from Saul because of his wicked deeds.
The Philistines are ready to attack Israel at Mount Gilboa. Saul having failed with Sh’muel decides to consort with the witch of Endor, Saul made bewitchment a capital offense the witch pleaded for her life. The witch conjures up a spirit impersonating Sh’muel and Saul is warned that Adonai isn’t listening to him anymore. Saul is warned that Adonai isn’t hearing his prayer and he will lose. Israel is defeated and Saul commits suicide. Some of the Amalekites who had survived told David they killed Saul David kills the Amalekites. David ordered that the Amalekites be put to death.