Saul

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Saul,

first king of the ancient Hebrews. He was a Benjamite and anointed king by Samuel. Saul's territory was probably limited to the hill country of Judah and the region to the north, and his proximity to the PhilistinesPhilistines
, inhabitants of Philistia, a non-Semitic people who came to Palestine from the Aegean (probably Crete), in the 12th cent. B.C. Their control of iron supplies and their tight political organization of cities made them a rival of the people of Israel for centuries.
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 brought him into constant conflict with them. The Bible tells his story dramatically, for it is really the story of DavidDavid,
d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure.
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, first the protégé, then the rival, and finally the successor, of the king. Saul's son JonathanJonathan
[short for Jehonathan, Heb.,=Yahweh has given]. 1 In the Bible, Saul's son and David's friend, killed at the battle of Mt. Gilboa. David showed kindness to his son Mephibosheth. 2 David's nephew.
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 was David's friend—a fact that adds pathos to the story of Saul's attempts to destroy David. David would not harm Saul, who nevertheless met a melancholy end after he went to the witch of Endor and heard his defeat and death prophesied. Saul, defeated and wounded in battle with the Philistines on Mt. Gilboa, committed suicide rather than be captured. Though Saul was unsuccessful in defeating the Philistines, he paved the way for enhanced national security and unity under David. The Saul of the Book of Genesis is elsewhere called ShaulShaul
, in the Bible. 1 Son of Simeon, eponym of the Shaulites. 2 King of Edom. An alternate form is Saul. 3 Same as Joel (13.)
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Saul

 

founder of the united kingdom of Israel and Judah (late 11th century B.C.). Saul first gained prominence as a military commander in the war with the Ammonites over the city of Ja-besh-gilead (in Transjordan). He was elected king at a popular assembly of the league of Israelite tribes. Under Saul’s leadership, the Israelite tribes freed themselves from the rule of the Philistines. After being defeated in a battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa (c. 1004 B.C.), Saul committed suicide.

Saul

contravening God, takes spoils from conquered Amalekites. [O.T.: I Samuel 15:17–19]

Saul

becomes Christian proselytizer after Lord’s visitation. [N.T.: Acts 9:1–22]

Saul

falls on sword to avoid humiliation of capture. [O.T.: I Samuel 31:4–6]
See: Suicide

Saul

1. Old Testament the first king of Israel (?1020--1000 bc). He led Israel successfully against the Philistines, but was in continual conflict with the high priest Samuel. He became afflicted with madness and died by his own hand; succeeded by David
2. New Testament the name borne by Paul prior to his conversion (Acts 9: 1--30)