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Regular readers of this blog have already met Saul of Tarsus, who became St Paul.

Another Saul was an important character in the Old Testament. I mentioned him in my post about Kings.

The prophet Samuel anointed Saul as king. He began his reign well, but had to deal with war-like nations, threats from a giant and fits of rage or insanity.

His son Jonathan had no ambitions to become King and supported his friend, the shepherd boy, David, who had killed the giant with a stone slung from a low-tech device, which would hardly count as a catapult in modern-day terminology.

Goliath was the name of the giant.

Samuel anointed David as king in obedience to God’s command, although Saul was still alive. David spent some time playing his harp to Saul to calm him. When Saul’s jealousy became too great, David lived in hiding and supporters gathered around him. Although he could easily have killed Saul, he would not harm the Lord’s anointed king. The adventures of these first two kings are told in the first books of Kings and Chronicles.

This year for the A to Z Challenge I have taken my 2013 Challenge as a starting point for most of the posts. I have written a post based around something or usually someone from the Bible. Sometimes it is a fictional story, for example when I have added some back stories (as a writing exercise). Sometimes it is a summary.

I hope my readers will be challenged to consider the original texts in more depth. (If only to discover what liberties I have taken with them!)

My S post from 2013 does not mention either person named Saul.


The first book of Samuel

The ladies’ Bible study group I attend has been studying the first book of Samuel this academic year. For readers who are unfamiliar with the books of the Old Testament I’ll mention briefly what the book is about. It is the story of how the people of Israel appointed their first king, Saul, picked out by the prophet, Samuel and the adventures of Saul’s son, Jonathan and David, who is arguably the most famous Old Testament character.
We used a commentary by Dale Ralph Davis, (1 Samuel: Looking on the Heart). Davis is now retired, having been pastor of Woodland Presbyterian Church, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi.
I found it helpful that we had some American ladies in our group, who were able to explain some of his humorous comments. (We use different brands of glue, for instance.) The commentary breaks the book up unto 29 sections and we doubled up for some of our studies to enable us to complete the whole book in the number of meetings we scheduled.
Although these events occurred thousands of years ago, there is much to be learned from them about how God deals with people and situations. There are discussion questions after each chapter of the commentary, which we prepared before each meeting. We have been enjoying the study so much that we intend to continue in the autumn with the second book of Samuel, using 2 Samuel: Out of every adversity, also by Dale Ralph Davis.