Villain or Tragic Hero: Resurrecting the Life of King Saul

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Perhaps one of the most forgotten and unappreciated stories from the Old Testament is that concerning the first king of Israel. Saul’s successor, David, overshadows his rival in the amount of literary work completed concerning the character and life of the “man after God’s own heart.” There is a disturbing lack of emphasis given to Saul who offers one of the most compelling and scary lessons for the Christ-follower today. Western commentators have been quick to give King Saul short shrift with little apparent regret or mention of his relevance to everyone. Jewish commentators have not succumbed as easily to the overshadowing of David and have given King Saul more thought, depth, and sympathy. Saul’s story should cause the reader’s heart to jump as one realizes that Saul probably started off more humbly, spiritually mature, and wise than they did. His tragic ending does not simply conclude a tale depicting a poor wretch who “didn’t have what it takes,” but his end shows how fragile our faith is when suffering under the weight of pride, self-gain, and irreverence. This thesis will assert that King Saul has often been ignored/under – or at least - interpreted in the Christian west, when compared with his treatment in Jewish interpretation. His story contains a compelling, relevant lesson for today’s believers.
King Saul, Research Subject Categories::HUMANITIES and RELIGION