1 A Benjaminite from the mountain village of Gibeah who became Israel’s first king. Saul was divinely appointed in response to a popular demand for a king. He was anointed by the prophet Samuel (1Sam 9-10) and distinguished himself through military prowess against the Philistines (1Sam 14:47-48). But when Saul failed to carry out instructions given him by Samuel, he was rejected by God (1Sam 13:7-14; 1Sam 15:10-29), who sent Samuel to Bethlehem to anoint a new king (1Sam 16:1-13). The biblical account of the latter years of Saul’s reign (1Sam 16:14-31:13) presents him mainly as a foil against which David’s rise to power appears all the more glorious. David surpasses Saul in military prowess (1Sam 18:6-7), he wins the loyalty of all Israel, including Saul’s eldest son, Jonathan (1Sam 18:1-4), and he marries Saul’s daughter Michal (1Sam 18:20-27). Saul, now tormented by “an evil spirit from the Lord” (1Sam 16:14), becomes increasingly obsessed with jealousy and suspicion, persecuting David relentlessly. The conflict is not resolved until Saul, defeated in a battle with the Philistines on Mt. Gilboa, kills himself by falling on his own sword (1Sam 31:4). 2The Jewish name of the NT apostle and missionary also known as Paul (Acts 7:58; Acts 9:1).