The Kingdom of Saul
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Saul, David, Jonathan, Samuel
Click colored sequential icons for summaries and scripture links.
Saul rallies the Israelite forces at Bezek and defeats the Ammonites at Jabesh.
Jabesh Gilead (Saul)
King Nahash of Ammon beseiges Jabesh Gilead.
Saul is confirmed as king at Gilgal.
Saul prepares to fight the Philistines by luring them into the hill country of Ephraim, north of Jebus (Jerusalem).
Samuel condemns Saul at Gilgal.
Samuel arranges to make an offering to the LORD before the battle begins. But as Samuel hasn't arrived seven days later, Saul goes ahead and makes the burnt offering himself. Samuel then arrives at Gilgal and rebukes Saul for usurping his priestly authority. Samuel condemns Saul and prophesies his downfall.
Michmash Pass (Jonathan)
Jonathan secretly attacks and kills twenty Philistines at Michmash Pass. As a result, the Philistines are thrown into panic.
Jonathan’s forces at Geba join battle at Michmash and beat the Philistines, who are in total confusion. They pursue them along the floor of the valley all the way to Beth Aven.
Jonathan unknowingly breaks his father’s orders not to eat before sunset. His father finds out and decrees that Jonathan must die; but Jonathan is saved by the Israelite men who recognize him as the hero of the day.
Saul defeats the Amalekites of Havilah and pursues them to Shur.
Gilgal (Samuel 2)
Samuel seeks out Saul. Saul has brought sheep taken from the defeated Amalekites to offer as a sacrifice at Gilgal. But Samuel condemns him for allowing the Israelites to plunder the land. Although it is less than twelve months since Saul was anointed king, Samuel tells Saul that God has rejected him because he has disobeyed the LORD’s command.
Having rejected Saul as God's chosen king, Samuel goes secretly to Bethlehem and anoints Jesse’s youngest son David as king. Samuel then returns to Ramah.
David goes to the royal court at Gibeah to play the lyre for Saul, who is feeling increasingly depressed. David is soon promoted to become one of Saul’s trusted armor bearers.
Later that year (in c.1012BC), David kills the Philistine champion, Goliath of Gath, with a sling shot at Ephes Dammim, near Beth Shemesh in the Elah Valley (between Jerusalem and Ashkelon). The Israelites pursue the fleeing Philistines to Gath and the gates of Ekron.
David is promoted to a high-ranking position in Saul’s army, and becomes a close friend of Saul’s son Jonathan. He is given the hand of the king’s daughter Michal as a reward for killing two hundred Philistines.
However, Saul soon becomes jealous of David and plots to kill him.
Saul sends his men to kill David, but David escapes from Gibeah and flees to Samuel at Ramah. Saul pursues David, but is prevented by God from harming him.
David flees to the sanctuary at Nob, where he seeks out the priest for some food. As there is no ordinary bread available, Ahimelech gives David and his men the consecrated ‘shewbread’ to eat. (The ‘shewbread’ was a permanent display of twelve loaves, showing God’s bountiful provision of the staple food of the Israelites.) David seeks refuge with the Philistine king of Gath.
David is forced to escape to the cave at Adullam, above the Elah Valley, before appealing for protection for his family to the king of Moab. David then hides from Saul in the Forest of Hereth. Meanwhile, Saul kills Ahimelech and the priests of Nob for aiding and abetting David.
David defeats the Philistines at Keilah then escapes and hides from Saul at Horesh, near Ziph in the Judaean wilderness
Saul pursues David to the Desert of Maon (Paran) but is forced to leave in order to fight the Philistines. The place is called Sela Hammahlekoth (meaning ‘rock of parting’).
En Gedi (David)
David hides in the caves at En Gedi (meaning the ‘spring of the goats’) near the Wild Goat Crags – in the desert overlooking the Dead Sea.
Desert of Paran (David)
David goes south to the Desert of Maon (Paran), south of Hebron (see 11 on Map 55). He sends some of his men to request food from Nabal, a wealthy man who lives at Carmel in Judah and owns large flocks of sheep and goats that David’s army have been protecting. Nabal refuses, but his wife, Abigail, averts further conflict by bringing food for David’s men.
When Nabal dies shortly afterwards, David marries Abigail.
David spares Saul's life once again when he creeps at night into Saul’s camp at the Hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon in the Judaean wilderness (the Desert of Ziph)
David and his men escape and become mercenary soldiers employed by the Philistine king of Gath. David and his Hebrew mercenaries are given a base at Ziklag.
Mt. Gilboa (David)
The next year, in c.1011BC, the Philistines start to move north along the coastal plain and gather near Shunem, in the Vale of Jezreel, to attack the Israelites on Mt Gilboa.
Saul consults a medium at Endor (an act forbidden by God – see Leviticus 19:26 & Deuteronomy 18:9-13). This attempt at clairvoyance confirms Saul’s imminent downfall.
David is sent back to Ziklag which has been attacked by the Amalekites. David pursues the Amalekite raiding party across the Negev Desert beyond the Besor Ravine and defeats them. David recovers everything the Amalekites have taken – including his two wives.
Mt. Gilboa (Jonathan)
The Philistines attack and defeat the Israelites at Mt Gilboa. Jonathan and two other sons of Saul are killed in battle.
Beth Shan (Saul)
Facing capture, Saul takes his own life. His body is fastened to the city walls at Beth Shean by the Philistines and his armour is displayed inside the Temple of Ashtoreth.
Saul’s body is rescued by the men of Jabesh Gilead who live across the River Jordan in the Wadi al-Yabis. The reign of King Saul has lasted a little less than two years.
Underlay map-Courtesy of KNOWING THE BIBLE.NET
Icons courtesy of “Map Icons Collection” created by Nicolas Mollet