Gilbert House Fellowship #346: 1 Samuel 8–12

Locations in this week’s study. Courtesy

The story of Saul is a record of the transformation of Israel from a theocracy to a kingdom.

The sons of the prophet Samuel followed in the footsteps of the sons of the former high priest, Eli, pursuing wealth and taking bribes. (Interestingly, they set up shop in Beersheba, located in the Negev in southern Israel. We need to do more study into the significance of Beersheba to figure out why they went there instead of staying in the region of Benjamin and Ephraim like their father.)

Oppression by the Ammonite king Nahash, and the bad behavior of Samuel’s sons, prompted the Israelites to demand a king. In a classic example of being careful of what you wish for, God consented. And then He called a man based on the characteristics we humans often use to choose our leaders: Saul was tall and handsome.

As we’ll see in the weeks ahead, that’s really not good criteria for picking a national leader!

We also point out more hidden references to the Holy Spirit and the Messiah in the Old Testament. While the doctrine of the Trinity is not spelled out by the name in the Bible, we see all three members—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—throughout the scriptures if we pay attention.

For more on the Jewish belief in two powers in heaven, a teaching that was not heretical until the second century AD, visit

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  1. The people wanted a king to be a judge over them, and Saul never fulfilled that role. Also, what kind of a king couldn’t even find his father’s donkeys???

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