Bible Review 12:6, December 1996

Saul as Sacrifice

The tragedy of Israel’s first monarch

By L. Daniel Hawk

Few figures in biblical literature provoke as many questions as King Saul. Was he a man of noble aspirations brought down by some tragic flaw (impulsiveness, ineptitude, irresolution?) or an arrogant tyrant infatuated with power? Was he a pitiable pantywaist, easily swayed by the dictates of others, or a hero, dignified by his struggle against an inscrutable fate and an implacable deity? Why was he rejected so quickly and decisively? And why did Yahweh punish him so severely?

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