Saul is said to have died by suicide when he "fell on his sword" during a battle with the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, in which three of his sons were killed.
39 Facts About Saul
The biblical accounts of Saul's life are found in the Books of Samuel:.
Saul married Ahinoam, daughter of Ahimaaz, with whom he sired at least seven sons and two daughters.
Saul had a concubine named Rizpah, daughter of Aiah, who bore him two sons, Armoni and Mephibosheth.
Saul died at the Battle of Mount Gilboa, and was buried in Zelah, in the region of Benjamin.
Saul's surviving son Ish-bosheth became king of Israel, at the age of forty.
David then granted the Gibeonites the jurisdiction to individually execute Saul's surviving two sons and five of Saul's grandsons.
The only male descendant of Saul to survive was Mephibosheth, Jonathan's lame son, who was five years old at the time of his father's and grandfather's deaths.
The First Book of Samuel gives three accounts of Saul's rise to the throne in three successive chapters:.
The last of these is that Saul will be met by an ecstatic group of prophets leaving a high place and playing the lyre, tambourine, and flutes.
Later, Saul sends men to pursue David, but when they meet a group of ecstatic prophets playing music, they are overcome by the Spirit of God and join in giving prophetic words.
Saul sends more men, but they too join the prophets.
Samuel arrives just as Saul is finishing sacrificing and reprimands Saul for not obeying his instructions.
Saul kills all the men, women, children and poor quality livestock, but leaves alive the king, Agag, and best livestock.
When Samuel learns that Saul has not obeyed his instructions in full and tries to justify it by using the livestock to perform animal sacrifices in a self-righteous manner, he informs Saul that God has rejected him as king.
Saul offered his elder daughter Merab as a wife to the now popular David, after his victory over Goliath, but David demurred.
On two occasions, Saul threw a spear at David as he played the harp for Saul.
Saul offered his other daughter, Michal in marriage to David.
Saul offers to accept a bride price of 100 Philistine foreskins, intending that David die in the attempt.
Saul sends assassins in the night, but Michal helps him escape, tricking them by placing a household idol in his bed.
Saul is later informed by his head shepherd, Doeg the Edomite, that high priest Ahimelech assisted David, giving him the sword of Goliath, which had been kept at the temple at Nob.
Saul realises he could trap David and his men by laying the city to siege.
The Philistines make war again, assembling at Shunem, and Saul leads his army to face them at Mount Gilboa.
Saul conjures a spirit which appears to be the prophet Samuel, and tells him that God has fully rejected him, will no longer hear his prayers, has given the kingdom to David and that the next day he will lose both the battle and his life.
Saul's death is described by the narrator but a conflicting account is given by a young Amalekite who lies, thinking to win David's favour.
The defeated Israelites flee from the enemy and Saul asks his armour bearer to kill him, but the armour bearer refuses, and so Saul falls upon his own sword.
The majority explanation for the discrepancy is that the narrative originally described the birth of Saul, and was given to Samuel in order to enhance the position of David and Samuel at the former king's expense.
Before, Saul is presented in positive terms, but afterward his mode of ecstatic prophecy is suddenly described as fits of madness, his errors and disobedience to Samuel's instructions are stressed and he becomes a paranoiac.
Josephus writes that Saul's attempted suicide was stalled because he was not able to run the sword through himself, and that he therefore asked the Amalekite to finish it.
Two opposing views of Saul are found in classical rabbinical literature.
The second view of Saul makes him appear in the most favourable light as man, as hero, and as king.
Saul was marvelously handsome; and the maidens who told him concerning Samuel talked so long with him in order to observe his beauty for longer.
When commanded to smite Amalek, Saul said: For one found slain the Torah requires a sin offering; and here so many shall be slain.
Saul expended his own substance for the war, and although he knew that he and his sons would fall in battle, he nevertheless went forward, while David heeded the wish of his soldiers not to go to war in person.
The famine in the reign of David, seemingly blamed on Saul, was in fact the people's fault, for not according Saul the proper honours at his burial.
In Sheol, Samuel reveals to Saul that in the next world, Saul would dwell with Samuel, which is a proof that all has been forgiven him by God.
Saul was distinguished by the greatness of his knowledge and of his physique; it was a sign of his role as King that God brought back the Ark of the Covenant for Israel.
The historicity of Saul's kingdom is not universally accepted and there is insufficient extrabiblical evidence to verify if the biblical account reflects historical reality.
Accounts of Saul's behavior have made him a popular subject for speculation among modern psychiatrists.