Saul, the First King of Israel

The prophecies made by Jacob as he approached death indicated that Judah would be the tribe of the Messiah. “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come;” (For more information, please click HERE.) I am sure that Samuel knew this prophecy, but under the direction of the Lord, Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, was chosen. Jacob described Benjamin as a ravening wolf, devouring his prey. (Genesis 49:27)

Samuel, the final judge of Israel, was upset that the Israelites were demanding a king. The Lord told Samuel that they were not rejecting him, but were rejecting the Lord, Himself. (First Samuel 8:7) The Lord had already chosen David to begin the Messianic dynasty, but the people could not wait. That is why Saul was chosen to be the first king of Israel.

The story of Saul starts in First Samuel chapter nine where he is described as an “impressive young man without equal among the Israelites.” Saul was also tall, a head taller than anyone else. Saul is introduced as he is sent out to search for his father’s lost donkeys. In many ways, we can see a foreshadow of Jesus in the life of Saul.

Saul was thirty years old when he was chosen by the Lord to lead Israel. He reigned for forty-two years. Jesus was thirty years old (Luke 3:23) when He began His ministry.

On the third day of searching for the donkeys, Saul came to Ramah, the village where Samuel lived. Samuel told Saul that the donkeys had been found and invited Saul to be guest of honor at a banquet. So on the third day the donkeys, a type for the stiff-necked Jews (Exodus 33:3 & 5) were found, and Saul went to be honored at a great banquet. Jesus, according to prophecy, will be honored on the third (Millennial) day in the heights of Heaven at a great banquet - the wedding banquet of Jesus and His Bride, the Church.

Samuel gathered all the people of Israel together at Mizpah. There, the tribe of Benjamin was chosen. The process was continued down to the choice of Saul – but he could not be found! Saul, in his humility, was hiding. This was Saul’s first appearance as king. Some of the people despised him and said, “How can this fellow save us?” But Saul kept silent. (I Samuel 10:27) At His first appearance Jesus was the humble, suffering Messiah. The Jews said, “How can this fellow save us?” Jesus kept His silence as mere men were sentencing Him, the Son of God.

The next recorded event in the life of King Saul was the great victory he won over the Ammonites. (I Samuel 11:11) This was Saul’s second appearance. After the victory, the people said, “Who was it that asked, ‘Shall Saul reign over us?’ Bring these men to us and we will put them to death.” (I Samuel 11:12) When Jesus makes His second appearance, he will have won a great victory over the enemies of Israel and will be unquestionably honored by the Jews.

Later, Saul disobeyed the Lord and was told that his kingdom would not endure. (I Samuel 13:14) At his death, Saul was surrounded by the Philistine army and had been wounded. At this point Saul took his own life. (I Samuel 31:1-6) No one killed Saul. He died of his own hand. No one killed the Lord Jesus. Yes, technically, the Jews and Romans crucified Him. But Jesus laid down his own life. (I John 3:16) Even in death, Saul foreshadowed the Lord Jesus.

BACK to Lesson Archive.