A selection of verses telling us about king Saul - Israel's first king.

Saul the son of a Benjamite, Kish, was selected by God to be the first king of Israel:

1 Samuel 9 verses 15 - 16

15 Now the LORD had revealed to Samuel a day before Saul came, saying, 16 “Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man out of the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be prince over my people Israel. He will save my people out of the hand of the Philistines; for I have looked upon my people, because their cry has come to me.” 

He was a tall and impressive man, although initially reluctant to accept his new role:

1 Samuel 10 verses 23 - 24

23 They ran and got him there. When he stood amongst the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. 24 Samuel said to all the people, “Do you see him whom the LORD has chosen, that there is no one like him amongst all the people?” 
All the people shouted and said, “Long live the king!” 

After his rescue of the city of Jabesh Gilead, the people established his position as king:

1 Samuel 11 verses 14 - 15

14 Then Samuel said to the people, “Come! Let’s go to Gilgal, and renew the kingdom there.” 15 All the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal. There they offered sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly. 

Sadly Saul’s commitment to serving God wavered on a number of occasions. In a crisis of confidence, when Samuel was late in coming, Saul wrongly offered a burnt offering to God:

1 Samuel 13 verses 13 - 14

13 Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which he commanded you; for now the LORD would have established your kingdom on Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom will not continue. The LORD has sought for himself a man after his own heart, and the LORD has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept that which the LORD commanded you.” 

In a later incident Saul, swayed by the people and covetousness, failed to carry out God’s instructions fully regarding the destruction of the Amalekites. Samuel confirmed that Saul would be replaced as king:

1 Samuel 15 verses 26 - 28

26 Samuel said to Saul, “I will not return with you; for you have rejected the LORD’s word, and the LORD has rejected you from being king over Israel.” 27 As Samuel turned around to go away, Saul grabbed the skirt of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today, and has given it to a neighbour of yours who is better than you.

David was chosen to succeed Saul. Saul wrongly saw David as a threat and relentlessly attempted to kill him as detailed in 1 Samuel chapters 18 to 26. For example:

1 Samuel 23 verse 14

14 David stayed in the wilderness in the strongholds, and remained in the hill country in the wilderness of Ziph. Saul sought him every day, but God didn’t deliver him into his hand.

Saul was successful in limiting the domination of the Philistines during his reign. However he finally died in a battle fighting against them. Before this final conflict, he consulted a medium of which God disapproved:

1 Chronicles 10 verses 13 - 14

13 So Saul died for his trespass which he committed against the LORD, because of the LORD’s word, which he didn’t keep; and also because he asked counsel of one who had a familiar spirit, to enquire, 14 and didn’t enquire of the LORD. Therefore he killed him, and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse. 

These chapters have links to this theme: