King Saul’s Treatment of Family and Friends

By Douglas W. Hill

Remember the story of Saul? He was the first king of Israel. He began very humbly, but in the end, his self- will, anger, and jealousy began to be displayed (1 Sam. 9-11).

In facing the Philistines, Saul was to wait for Samuel to come and sacrifice. Yet, as Samuel did not come immediately, Saul took it upon himself to offer the sacrifice even though it was not his place to do so. For this cause, God promised to remove the kingdom from him and to give it to a man after his own heart (1 Sam. 13:8-14). From this we see that Saul sought his own, rather than God’s, will.

As time passed, we again see Saul facing the Philistines. In this case, Israel stands intimidated and afraid of Goliath’s challenge to them to send out a champion. When the young man David came and slew Goliath, the Philistines fled before Israel. Then a song was sung, “Saul hath slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.” Saul was very wroth and displeased by this, and “eyed David from that day forward” (1 Sam. 17-18).

Rather than humbling himself and admitting his errors, Saul allowed jealousy and bitterness to remain in his heart. He came to the point where he was enraged against his own son, Jonathan, for being a friend to David (even though neither Jonathan nor David had done any wrong). Saul even threw a spear at Jonathan in 1 Samuel 20.

What does all of this illustrate? It shows how a self- involved person, one who trusts in self rather than God, can be defensive, mistreating, and persecuting even those who have done him no wrong. Saul’s guilt and defiled conscience simply waxed worse and worse, for he did not repent, confess, and forsake his sins as he should have. Instead, he became jealous and angry, and he sought to destroy those who (in his skewed view) challenged his will and desires.

Can such happen today? It certainly can, if we allow it (Jas. 3:13-18). Do we allow sin to remain in our lives? Do we truly repent, confess and forsake sin (Acts 8:22; 1 John 1:9)? Or do we harbor ill will and resentment because things have not gone our way?

Brethren, let us always behave like true followers of Christ. Beloved, let us always behave ourselves like brethren. And remember, this behavior begins in the heart (Prov. 23:7).