Saul as King
I Samuel 8:9 “Now therefore hearken unto their voice: howbeit yet protest solemnly unto them, and show them the manner of the king that shall reign over them.” (KJV) The decision of having a king over the nation of Israel so that they could be like the other nations would cost them their children,their land, and they themselves would become his servants. And then Samuel warned them that there would be a day in the future that they would cry out to the Lord to deliver them from the king, but God would not answer them. However, the people refused to listen to Samuel’s warnings. They wanted a king like all the other nations who would judge them and go before them to fight their battles. This was the setting for the selection of Saul.
Was the selection of Saul God’s decision or the children of Israel? In I Samuel 9:2 Saul is described as a choice and handsome man who was taller than any other man. There was not a more handsome person than him in the entire country. The decision to chose Saul was done by lots. First the tribe of Benjamin was taken, then the Matrite family was taken, and then Saul the son of Kish was chosen. But during this time Saul hid himself among the baggage. Why? There are many answers, but he soon realized that he could not hide from the Lord. When he did appear he was taller than any of the other people from his shoulders upward. What a sight for the people of Israel to see. A king that looked like a king, a man of great physical ability. Soon, after the anointing, Saul departed to his house in Gileah, with valiant men whose hearts God had touched. God gave them a king like all the other nations.
Saul’s first battle was against Nahash the Ammonite. Saul summon Israel to join him in a forceful way by sending pieces of the yoke of oxen throughout the kingdom with the message if you do not come after Saul and Samuel your oxen will be destroyed. The dread of the Lord came upon all the people and they came out as one man. This message summoned 330,000 men for battle. God gave them a great victory over the Ammonites and the nation renew the kingdom with Saul as their king. This was the event that finalized the passing of leadership of the tribes of Israel from Samuel to become the nation of Israel under the leadership of King Saul. In this event at Gilgal the tribes of Israel made Saul their king before the Lord. Saul was wise in the way he handle the earlier group of people that did not want him as king. Instead he offered up praise and thanksgiving to the Lord as the one who gave them this deliverance. Saul now started the process of building his kingdom with a strong army of 3000 men.