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The King Saul Syndrome

By Batya Medad
5/20/2009, 12:00 AM
As many know, King Saul is far from being my favorite Biblical figure.  I consider him horrendously over-rated.  Yesterday it seemed like he was following me around.

Today, two of the four lectures I heard in Matan were about the Biblical King Saul, the first king of the Jewish Nation. But before I write more of my thoughts about him, there was news about a "Shaul/Saul" from the archaeologists working in Jerusalem's Ir David.
A Bone Seal Engraved with the Name Shaul, from the Time of the First Temple, was Found in the IAA Excavations in the Walls Around Jerusalem National Park, in the City of David. (complete article)
King Saul wasn't the only person with that name, so we can't say that the artifact was his.

Back to our first king...
To fully understand who King Saul was and why he failed, it's best to read the Bible.  Read it as a narrative, without the commentaries.  Start here in Samuel, and read it until Saul's death.

Shmuel Hanavi, Samuel the Prophet, was the leader of the Jewish People, but the people wanted a change.  They wanted a king, like the other nations.  They didn't ask for a king to observe the Mitzvah, the commandant of establishing a kingship, so Samuel objected.  But G-d told him to listen to the people.

And then G-d "arranged things" so that Saul would meet Samuel and Samuel could anoint him king.  From the text, it seems that Samuel was in charge, relaying to Saul the word of G-d.  Whenever Saul took the initiative, he fouled up.

When things got very bad, G-d told Samuel to find another king.  Samuel was told to get one of Yishai's sons, and that was David our second king.

This time Samuel let go and allowed David the chance to handle things on his own, and that included dealing with the then paranoid King Saul who was out to kill him.

David didn't have the impressive looks of Saul, but he had natural charisma and leadership.

We need a leader like King David.  We need a leader who isn't constantly asking for advice and approval.

Obama vs Bibi, Judge For Yourself

Are today's world leaders more Saul than David?  What about Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama?

Hat tip,

The transcript is