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Laura Rivers

BIBL 105 – Section 006?
Essay 2

The time of the judges was when everyone did what was right in his own eyes. Israel
continually fell away from God, disobeying Him, and not following the covenant of Moses. The
consequences of Israel‟s actions led to chaos, confusion, and the need for unity under a single
ruler. While God was ultimately supposed to be the Israelites only king, God graciously listened
to the pleas of the people and raised up their first king – Saul.
Israel wanted a king because, as stated before, the rise and fall of corrupt judges mixed
with widespread paganism created much confusion and unrest. The prophet Samuel had his sons
rule Israel as judges, but they failed as leaders due to perverseness. Samuel was older as well, so
the Israelites asked for a young, strong leader who could fight their battles and rule over them.
God tells Samuel that the Benjamite Saul will be Israel‟s king. While God did tell Samuel
that Saul would be ruler over Israel (1 Samuel 9:17), the process of Saul‟s kingship seems to be
focused on the desires of the people. Saul was “…an impressive young man. There was no one
more impressive among the Israelites than he” (1 Samuel 9:2). Thus, it appears that “The people
seem to focus on Saul‟s outward appearance rather than his heart” (Hindson 164). Eventually
when Saul is victorious against Nahash the Ammonite, there is a celebration in Gilgal, and “…all
the men of Israel greatly rejoiced” (1 Samuel 11:14). Such a celebration only served to gloss
over what kind of king the people of Israel were really getting.
Ultimately, God‟s rejection of Saul as king stems from Saul‟s disobedience. For instance,
during an attack on the Philistines garrison, instead of waiting for Samuel, Saul proceeds with
the sacrifices meant only to be done by the priests – or in this case, Samuel (Hindson, 165).
Later, while Saul leads his army out to fight, he makes a rash oath that forced his men to fast
until they gained victory, leading to a very weak army and a near-execution of Saul‟s son,
Jonathan, for breaking the fast (Hindson 166). His leniency of upholding the oath shows his
character to be very unstable, only upholding God‟s law when it makes sense to him (1 Samuel
). “Finally, Saul‟s disobedience in following the divine command of exterminating the
Almalekites caused Yahweh to reject him as king” (Hindson 166). The collective rebelliousness
of Saul leads Samuel to tell him:

“Does the LORD take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as much as in obeying the LORD?
Look: to obey is better than sacrifice,
to pay attention is better than the fat of rams.”
(1 Samuel 15: 22)

In contrast to Saul, after God tells him he is rejected as king, God anoints David to be His
choice as the next king of Israel (Hindson 166). One of the strongest attributes David had that
made him better than Saul as a king was his bravery in the Lord. David fight with Goliath gives
him the opportunity to show his faith in God and his victory (1 Samuel 17: 45-47). Interestingly,
God brings victory through David, rather than through Saul, which is “…evidenced by the fact
that David refused to use Saul‟s armor” (Hindson 166).
Eventually, the son of David –Solomon - takes the throne. Solomon is known as one of
the wisest kings of the Old Testament. His God-given knowledge and wisdom was unheard of
and sought by many (1 Kings 10:23). Yet, despite his wisdom, we find Solomon to be a man
who gives in to the temptations of the flesh. Solomon has many foreign wives, despite being
forbidden to intermarry with such women (1 Kings 11: 2-3). These women “…turned his heart
away from the LORD” (1 KINGS 11:3). Due to his unfaithfulness, The Lord tells Solomon:
“‟Since you have done this and did not keep My covenant and My statutes, which I commanded
you, I will tear the kingdom away from you and give it to your servant.

However, I will not do it
during your lifetime because of your father David; I will tear it out of your son‟s hand. Yet I will
not tear the entire kingdom away from him. I will give one tribe to your son because of my
servant David and because of Jerusalem that I chose‟” (1 Kings 11:11-13). Solomon‟s sin led to
a simmering turmoil within kingdom, and upon his death, „…disintegration of Solomon‟s empire
was immediately felt as those Solomon once ruled over began to break away” (Hindson 181).
From the time of the Judges up through the kings of Israel, we see God‟s hand on his
people. While the failure of the judges shows “…the necessity of the coming monarchy”
(Hindson 164), the sin of Israel‟s kings reminds us that God should ultimately be the one king of
our lives. The people choosing Saul eventually leads to God rejecting Him. God choosing David
eventually leads to the automatic blessing of Solomon. Despite Solomon‟s failures, God relieves
the curses on Solomon until after his death, because of his father David (1 Kings 11:11-13). We
see the hand of God in the lives of very real men, and can look forward to the day when Jesus
returns to exercise His kingship once and for all.

Works Cited
1. Hindson, Ed and Gary Yates. “The Essence of the Old Testament: A Survey.” Nashville:
B&H Publishing Group, 2012. Print.
2. “Holman Christian Standard Bible.” Holman Bible Publishers, 2009.
Web, 22 May. 2014.