Useful Bible Studies > 1 Samuel Commentary > chapter 9

Saul, Israelís first king

1 Samuel 9:1-2

When the people in Israel decided to appoint a king, they were not just trying to please themselves. They were not trying to impress themselves or anyone else, for example by means of the wealth of their king. They made their decision because their country was in a very desperate situation. They needed someone who could lead their armies against two very powerful enemies.

On the west side, the army of Philistia (called the Philistines) had become powerful again. For many years while Samuel led Israel, the Philistines had been weak (7:13-14). Now, however, that army had begun to have power over Israel again. They would not allow the men in Israel to work with metal. The result was that Israelís men had no swords (13:19-22).

On the east side, the army of Ammon (called the Ammonites) were approaching Israel (11:1). They were a very cruel enemy (11:2). Israelís men had realised that, soon, they must fight the Ammonites. That caused Israelís people to be very afraid (12:12).

Israelís decision to appoint a king was because of lack of trust in God. It was a wrong decision, but God still cared about his people, Israel. He decided that he would allow them to have a king in order to rescue them from their enemies (9:16).

That king, Saul, was not the perfect king that God had promised to Israel (2:10). Saul came from the tribe (group of families) of Benjamin - not the tribe of Judah, from which Israelís king must come (Genesis 49:10; Hebrews 7:14).

However, Saul did have the qualities that Israelís people wanted for their king. Saul was impressive, tall and strong. He was not a very young man; his son Jonathan was already an adult (13:2). However, he was younger than the old men who led Israel until then (1 Samuel† 8:4).

Next part: Saulís donkeys (1 Samuel 9:3-5)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.