Saul in the Bible

Compiled by The BibleStudyTools Staff on 01/31/2019
Saul in the Bible

Who was Saul in the Bible?

Saul, as told in the Bible, was the original ruler of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah. His reign is historically set in the late 11th century BC and designated a development from a tribal society to statehood.

Saul was chosen by the prophet Samuel and ruled from Gibeah. He fell on his blade (committing suicide) to evade capture in the fight versus the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, during which three of his sons were also murdered. The next ruler of his throne was challenged by Ish-bosheth, his only surviving son, and his son-in-law David, who ultimately won control.

Discover the many Bible verses about Saul in this collection of scripture quotes!

2 Kish had a son named Saul, as handsome a young man as could be found anywhere in Israel, and he was a head taller than anyone else.
8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
2 Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men,
11 “What have you done?” asked Samuel. Saul replied, “When I saw that the men were scattering, and that you did not come at the set time, and that the Philistines were assembling at Mikmash,
12 I thought, ‘Now the Philistines will come down against me at Gilgal, and I have not sought the LORD’s favor.’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering.”
13 “You have done a foolish thing,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.
14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”
17 So Saul said to his attendants, “Find someone who plays well and bring him to me.”
18 One of the servants answered, “I have seen a son of Jesse of Bethlehem who knows how to play the lyre. He is a brave man and a warrior. He speaks well and is a fine-looking man. And the LORD is with him.”
19 Then Saul sent messengers to Jesse and said, “Send me your son David, who is with the sheep.”
20 So Jesse took a donkey loaded with bread, a skin of wine and a young goat and sent them with his son David to Saul.
21 David came to Saul and entered his service. Saul liked him very much, and David became one of his armor-bearers.
22 Then Saul sent word to Jesse, saying, “Allow David to remain in my service, for I am pleased with him.”
23 Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
1 Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David. But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David
2 and warned him, “My father Saul is looking for a chance to kill you. Be on your guard tomorrow morning; go into hiding and stay there.
3 I will go out and stand with my father in the field where you are. I’ll speak to him about you and will tell you what I find out.”
4 Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king do wrong to his servant David; he has not wronged you, and what he has done has benefited you greatly.
5 He took his life in his hands when he killed the Philistine. The LORD won a great victory for all Israel, and you saw it and were glad. Why then would you do wrong to an innocent man like David by killing him for no reason?”
6 Saul listened to Jonathan and took this oath: “As surely as the LORD lives, David will not be put to death.”
7 So Jonathan called David and told him the whole conversation. He brought him to Saul, and David was with Saul as before.
8 Once more war broke out, and David went out and fought the Philistines. He struck them with such force that they fled before him.
9 But an evil spirit from the LORD came on Saul as he was sitting in his house with his spear in his hand. While David was playing the lyre,
10 Saul tried to pin him to the wall with his spear, but David eluded him as Saul drove the spear into the wall. That night David made good his escape.
11 Saul sent men to David’s house to watch it and to kill him in the morning. But Michal, David’s wife, warned him, “If you don’t run for your life tonight, tomorrow you’ll be killed.”
12 So Michal let David down through a window, and he fled and escaped.
13 Then Michal took an idol and laid it on the bed, covering it with a garment and putting some goats’ hair at the head.
14 When Saul sent the men to capture David, Michal said, “He is ill.”
15 Then Saul sent the men back to see David and told them, “Bring him up to me in his bed so that I may kill him.”
16 But when the men entered, there was the idol in the bed, and at the head was some goats’ hair.
17 Saul said to Michal, “Why did you deceive me like this and send my enemy away so that he escaped?” Michal told him, “He said to me, ‘Let me get away. Why should I kill you?’ ”
18 When David had fled and made his escape, he went to Samuel at Ramah and told him all that Saul had done to him. Then he and Samuel went to Naioth and stayed there.
19 Word came to Saul: “David is in Naioth at Ramah”;
20 so he sent men to capture him. But when they saw a group of prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing there as their leader, the Spirit of God came on Saul’s men, and they also prophesied.
21 Saul was told about it, and he sent more men, and they prophesied too. Saul sent men a third time, and they also prophesied.
22 Finally, he himself left for Ramah and went to the great cistern at Seku. And he asked, “Where are Samuel and David?” “Over in Naioth at Ramah,” they said.
23 So Saul went to Naioth at Ramah. But the Spirit of God came even on him, and he walked along prophesying until he came to Naioth.
24 He stripped off his garments, and he too prophesied in Samuel’s presence. He lay naked all that day and all that night. This is why people say, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.
2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family.
3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.
4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.
5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul’s officers as well.
6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres.
7 As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.”
8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”
9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.
10 The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand
11 and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice.
12 Saul was afraid of David, because the LORD was with David but had departed from Saul.
13 So he sent David away from him and gave him command over a thousand men, and David led the troops in their campaigns.
14 In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him.
15 When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.
16 But all Israel and Judah loved David, because he led them in their campaigns.
17 Saul said to David, “Here is my older daughter Merab. I will give her to you in marriage; only serve me bravely and fight the battles of the LORD.” For Saul said to himself, “I will not raise a hand against him. Let the Philistines do that!”
18 But David said to Saul, “Who am I, and what is my family or my clan in Israel, that I should become the king’s son-in-law?”
19 So when the time came for Merab, Saul’s daughter, to be given to David, she was given in marriage to Adriel of Meholah.
20 Now Saul’s daughter Michal was in love with David, and when they told Saul about it, he was pleased.
21 “I will give her to him,” he thought, “so that she may be a snare to him and so that the hand of the Philistines may be against him.” So Saul said to David, “Now you have a second opportunity to become my son-in-law.”
22 Then Saul ordered his attendants: “Speak to David privately and say, ‘Look, the king likes you, and his attendants all love you; now become his son-in-law.’ ”
23 They repeated these words to David. But David said, “Do you think it is a small matter to become the king’s son-in-law? I’m only a poor man and little known.”
24 When Saul’s servants told him what David had said,
25 Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’ ” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.
26 When the attendants told David these things, he was pleased to become the king’s son-in-law. So before the allotted time elapsed,
27 David took his men with him and went out and killed two hundred Philistines and brought back their foreskins. They counted out the full number to the king so that David might become the king’s son-in-law. Then Saul gave him his daughter Michal in marriage.
28 When Saul realized that the LORD was with David and that his daughter Michal loved David,
29 Saul became still more afraid of him, and he remained his enemy the rest of his days.
30 The Philistine commanders continued to go out to battle, and as often as they did, David met with more success than the rest of Saul’s officers, and his name became well known.