The first king of Israel, Saul, the son of Kish, from the tribe of Benjamin, was anointed by Samuel the Prophet approximately 400 years after the Israelites conquered the land of Israel. Until the reign of Saul, the Israelites had been a loose commonwealth of tribes led by various prophets and judges.

The change in leadership occurred at the request of the people, who demanded a king in order to be “like all other nations.” God fulfilled their request, although He was greatly disappointed. God’s objective for the Jewish king and for the entire Jewish nation was precisely NOT to be like all other nations.

Saul was an exemplary figure. He was extraordinarily handsome, and his towering height gave him a majestic appearance. He was extremely honest, righteous and humble.

Being King of Israel was the last thing that Saul wished for himself. He first met Samuel while searching for his father’s lost donkeys and asked Samuel for assistance. Instead, the prophet informed Saul that he would become the King of Israel and anointed him secretly.

When Samuel gathered the people of Israel together to officially choose the next king (done by lottery), Saul hid in the fields! When he was brought forward, however, the people were taken by his appearance and began chanting his name.

While Saul may not have wished for the crown, he proved his mettle not long thereafter when the Ammonites attacked the city of Jabesh-Gilead. Fearlessly, Saul led a united army of Israelites to victory.

Thus began the reign of Saul, the first King of Israel.

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