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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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , 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.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.)
..... Click the link for more information. .
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.