The Allegory of Saul
by David Neal
This paper concerns the allegory of the two “Sauls” as related to the larger understanding of God’s dealing with mankind. An allegory is a figurative discourse, in which the principal subject is described by another subject resembling it in its properties and circumstances. The principal subject is thus kept out of view and is revealed by the Spirit to those who seek God’s wisdom. The first Saul was chosen of God to be the first king to lead His people ( Israel ). Saul was a Benjamite – a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people (1 Sam 9:2). Saul went on a journey where he crossed the path of Samuel the prophet. 1 Samuel 9:15-17, “Now the LORD had told Samuel in his ear a day before Saul came, saying, To morrow about this time I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel, that he may save my people out of the hand of the Philistines: for I have looked upon my people, because their cry is come unto me. And when Samuel saw Saul, the LORD said unto him, Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! this same shall reign over my people.” Samuel anointed Saul to be king and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (1 Sam 10:1, 6).
God specifically chose Saul and he was initially blessed of the Lord. 1 Samuel 10:10-12, “And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?” Therefore, Saul was initially in God’s good graces and was filled with the Holy Spirit to serve the Lord’s purposes – to rule justly over God’s people Israel .
God’s requirement of Saul was obedience to the Lord’s commands (to explicitly follow directions). The Lord had spoken through Samuel and said, 1 Samuel 12:13-15, “Now therefore behold the king whom ye have chosen, and whom ye have desired! and, behold, the LORD hath set a king over you. If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the LORD your God: But if ye will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then shall the hand of the LORD be against you, as it was against your fathers.” Disobedience to God makes you the Lord’s enemy – at enmity!
This is how Satan separates man from God. He entices you to seek your way (the way of the flesh) and thereby makes you a transgressor. The devil then accuses you before God (Rev 12:10). It soon became apparent that Saul was disobedient to the Lord’s will. To disobey God is to transgress God’s purposes – to choose your will or way over the Lord’s purposes. This is rebellion against God! Saul’s first failure to comply with God’s direction occurred when the Philistines gathered together to battle Israel . The Philistines came up with a great host and filled the country. 1 Samuel 13:6-14, “When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits. And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead . As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling. And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him. And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him. And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash; Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering. And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel for ever. But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.”
Saul was suppose to exercise faith toward God. Faith is that which goes beyond the ability and reasoning of the flesh. Faith denies the flesh its strong will or desire. Saul was allowing the flesh (that which opposes the Spirit, Gal 5:17 ) to rule his actions rather than trust in the Lord. Essential elements of faith are patience, obedience and trust. The flesh never wants to wait on anything, but wants what it wants when it wants it.
God requires us to wait upon Him and this is mostly a just in time proposition (Ps 37:9, Is 40:31). Trust is confidence in God and becomes an outwardly expressed validation of belief (application to your life’s circumstances). This is committing one’s very life into the hands of God (hopes, future, lifestyle, daily and eternal existence, etc.). When Saul feared the Philistines he committed himself to his own way or reasoning (as man mostly does). This trust in SELF must die in us before we can truly trust in God and commit our very soul to the Lord (surrender of will). Our love toward God manifests itself through our obedience. Love is the sacrifice of self for the benefit of another (first God then our neighbor). Our supreme love of God is the sacrifice of SELF for the purpose of God’s will (total surrender to God’s authority). Consider this verse: Mark 8:35 , “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it (also Mt 10:39, 16:25, Lk 9:24, 17:33, Jn 12:25 , what an emphasis!).” What this is saying is: “live for SELF and die; die to SELF and live (2 Cor 5:15-16).” Romans 8:13 , “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Your way (the way of the flesh) is opposite of God and will always produce “death” – thou shalt surely die (the penalty for transgression of God’s will, Gen 2:17 ).
God is the giver of life and apart from Him there is only death. You must obey the Spirit in putting to death the things of the flesh. Therefore, love, trust, patience and obedience deny the flesh it’s way which is always opposed to God’s purposes. Saul sought his way which is an exaltation of SELF above God – to rise above the throne of God. This was manifested as impatience, self reliance, intemperance (lack of self control) and unbelief – taking matters into your own hands (your way/path/opinions). These are the fruits of the flesh and reveal the fallen nature of man. The Lord God sought a replacement for Saul that day – a man after His own heart (one who would obey and live in true faith).
Saul was given a second task from the Lord. 1 Samuel 15:1-3, “Samuel also said unto Saul, The LORD sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel : now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel , how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt . Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.” Saul was again disobedient to the Word of the Lord. 1 Samuel 15:7-9, “And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt . And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword. But Saul and the people spared Agag, and the best of the sheep, and of the oxen, and of the fatlings, and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them: but every thing that was vile and refuse, that they destroyed utterly.”
The Lord spoke to Samuel: 1 Samuel 15:10-11, “Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.” If man is ever to be reconciled to God, there must be obedience to the Word of God. Disobedience is transgression which is rebellion and produces separation and death. Saul was told to destroy everything of the Amalekites, but spared their king and the best of the livestock. What could possibly have been his reasoning? 1 Samuel 15:15 , “And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.” Saul “religiously” disobeyed God. He felt his way was better than God’s command. He disobeyed God to perform religious service to bring God glory?
Perhaps you can see the confusion in this? This is what man (religious man) always does. They seek to please God their way, through the flesh, rather than God’s way, through the Spirit. God repented that He set up Saul – for Saul was disobedient. Consider how Saul felt about the situation: 1 Samuel 15:13 , “And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.” There seems to be a rather large disconnect here? Man through the flesh always believes that he is serving God. Proverbs 21:2, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.” AND Proverbs 16:2, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.” God requires man to obediently live by His Word, but man prefers to live by his opinions and sentiments. 1 Samuel 15:22-23, “And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.”
Witchcraft is the sacrifice of others for the benefit of self (hatred) – very manipulative. Stubbornness is as iniquity (sin) and idolatry because it exalts SELF (your opinions and sentiments) above God. Refusal to comply with God’s way is clinging to your way. This is to feel that your way is more noble, valid and worthy of compliance (consideration) than God’s way. This is unbelief!
The Lord then directed Samuel to anoint David (a man after His own heart) to be the next king. 1 Samuel 16:14, “But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.” This is so significant!!! Due to Saul’s disobedience, the Holy Spirit departed from him. Woe! An evil spirit took the place. Saul’s free will actions (rebellion against God) drove the Spirit out (do not grieve the Holy Spirit, Eph 4:30 ). Scriptures reveal: 1 Corinthians 3:16 , “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God , and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” AND 1 Corinthians 6:19 , “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (also 2 Cor 6:16 )” When that which opposes God (the flesh, SELF) seats itself in the place of God (foremost – in the heart) then you are a transgressor who has grieved the Spirit.
If the flesh rules over your actions, then the Spirit doesn’t! 1 Corinthians 3:17, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” Disobedience to the will of God defiles the temple. Transgression of God’s will has only one outcome: thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17 ). The Lord had departed from Saul and become his enemy (1 Sam 28:16). The Lord becomes the enemy of those who live in the flesh in disobedience to God’s will – they are rebellious transgressors (just like their father, the devil, Jn 8:44 ).Once God’s Spirit departed from Saul, he became a persecutor of those following God’s purposes, namely David.
God stopped speaking to him and Saul eventually sought the counsel of a witch (of Endor, woman that hath a familiar spirit, 1 Sam 28:3-20). Seeking of the flesh is always living in darkness. The day following Saul’s visit to the witch he died at the hands of his enemies (the Philistines, 1 Sam 31:1-13). The interesting thing is that Saul actually was killed by an Amalekite (2 Sam 1:1-15, those he was suppose to have utterly destroyed, but was disobedient in doing). 1 Chronicles 10:13-14, “So Saul died for his transgression which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he kept not, and also for asking counsel of one that had a familiar spirit, to enquire of it; And enquired not of the LORD: therefore he slew him, and turned the kingdom unto David the son of Jesse.” We can conclude that Saul was initially chosen of God and filled with His Spirit and given great authority to walk in the Lord’s purposes. Through disobedience, Saul lost relationship with God and actually became a persecutor of those submitted to God’s authority (i.e. David).
The second Saul (later to be called Paul) started out as a very religious man (also a Benjamite, Php 3:5) who considered himself a servant of God. Saul lived as a Pharisee after the most straitest sect of religion; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church. (Acts 26:5, Php 3:6). Saul believed that he was serving God by persecuting those who were submitted to Christ (the church, The Way). Acts 26:9-11, “I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem : and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.”
Saul “religiously” disobeyed God, yet thought he was serving the Lord. This was quite a disconnect for such a religious man who considered himself to be God’s servant. Saul disobeyed the will of God and was a rebellious transgressor. Later, Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute the believers there. Acts 9:2, “And desired of him (religious leader) letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem .” Paul would later relate the story of his journey: Acts 26:13-18, “At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
Once confronted with the truth, Saul’s life was completely transformed due to his obedience of the truth. This is the mark of a true “follower,” they will change significantly to obey (apply) the truth in their lives. A “religious” hypocrite will only make great profession while still walking in error (disobedience and transgression) basically unchanged (maybe with a form of godliness). Saul died to his “religiosity” (which he then considered dung, Php 3:8) and obeyed the Lord from that point forward (26:19-20). Paul (no longer Saul) was baptized (in repentance) and received the filling of the Holy Ghost (Acts 9:17-19). Paul later became an Apostle to the gentiles and suffered much (imprisonment, stoning, beatings, etc.) for the cause of Christ. Paul gave all for Christ as he later layed down his life. Therefore, the second Saul started out as a persecutor of the Lord’s people and became an obedient servant of God (opposite of the first Saul). Though obedience, Saul was filled with the Spirit and served God the rest of his life.
We can now conclude from the two “Sauls” that the first Saul was initially chosen of God (appointed) and filled with His Spirit to perform the Lord’s purposes. However, through disobedience, he lost the Spirit and became an enemy of God. He became a persecutor of God’s chosen and did not perform the will of God. The second Saul started out as disobedient and a persecutor of God’s purposes and was void of the Spirit (did not have). However, through obedience to God’s will (truth), he was chosen of God, filled with the Holy Spirit and performed God’s purposes.
These men lived opposite lives. These two lives are actually an allegory of God’s dealings with man. In the beginning, man (Adam, then Eve) was created for God’s purposes (good pleasure, Gen 1:26-27, Rev 4:11 ). Man was to rule over God’s creation (given great authority, Gen 1:28). God required that man love, trust, surrender to (humbleness) and obey Him (faith). Through the serpent’s enticement, man disobeyed God in favor of self (Gen 3:11-13). Man sought to be as a god (Gen 3:4-5) in determining his own way (path, desire). In order for man to seek his own authority, he had to reject God’s authority (through disobedience to God’s will). Man’s original disobedience (eating the forbidden fruit) was the rejection of God’s authority in favor of the desires of the flesh.
Man’s fallen nature is now that of pride (self exaltation – seeking your way) and disobedience (unbelief). The serpent’s (Satan’s) Lie proposed that man could transgress the will of God (disobey) and not die (ye shall not surely die, Gen 3:4). In so doing the Lie further proposed that man would be able to independently seek his own will (way). God told man if he disobeyed, “thou shalt surely die.” The devil told man that if he disobeyed, “ye shall not surely die.” Which one held true? Regardless, man still clings to this “Lie” in seeking his own way in disregard of God’s Word (even and mostly religiously). Therefore, man was created perfect and in God’s will (chosen of God) and given great authority (over the creatures of the earth), but disobeyed God and became rebellious and a transgressor of the Lord’s will. All men are now born with this fallen nature.
However, God has made a way of reconciliation whereby man can renounce his rebellion and come back under God’s authority and be restored as prior to the fall of man. God showed perfect love in sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, for our benefit (Jn 3:16 ). Jesus Christ came to this world and perfectly obeyed the Father in total love, surrender, and trust. Jesus showed perfect love in sacrificing Self for our benefit (He laid His life down). Jesus invites us to: “Come follow me.” John 12:26 , “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.” Christ went back to the Father. Those that follow Christ will also go back to the Father. Jesus reconciles us back to God – He restores that which He took not away (Ps 69:4). For it is said: Psalms 23:3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Romans 5:10, “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” AND 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Jesus will put all things back into right order: 1 Corinthians 15:27-28, “For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”
Our life is found in “FOLLOWING.” We must walk as He walked (1 Jn 2:6). Jesus came and led BY EXAMPLE! We follow in Christ’s steps (1 Pt 2:21 ). Jesus said it like this: Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me (also Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34, 10:21, such an emphasis).” To deny self is to make sacrifices (of the flesh) for the benefit of God. Taking up the cross spells death to self (the flesh, your way). Jesus further stated: Luke 14:27 , “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” This is not an optional request! In following Christ, we must surrender ALL. Luke 14:33, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” All that you hold dear (more cherished, valued and precious than Jesus): Luke 14:26, “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Christ offers us new life (in Him). 2 Corinthians 5:17 , “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (also Rm 6:4).” The old things are that life of self seeking which transgresses and rebels against the will of God (the fallen nature). The new things are love, surrender, trust and obedience to God (faith). You actually come back under God’s authority and renounce (die to) your own. John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus sends His Spirit to lead, guide and teach us in following Him in “The Way” – the very narrow way (2 Cor 4:10 )! Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Those following the flesh are condemned while they yet live. Romans 8:8, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Take note: Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Therefore, men who are born into transgression and rebellion against God (disobedience) can repent and live in obedience through Christ and be “born again (Jn 3:3)” into the kingdom of God . We follow Christ in faith which is surrender, humbleness, trust, love, patience and obedience. Romans 5:1-2, “Therefore being justified by faith (obedience and following Jesus), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (reconciliation): By whom also we have access by faith (love, trust, obedience, surrender) into this grace (influence of the Holy Spirit in renewing the heart and conforming you to the image of Christ, Rm 8:29) wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Our hope is in yielding to God and allowing Him to transform us into the likeness of our Lord. This occurs as we walk the narrow way in obedience to Christ.
The first Saul (king) was representative of the fallen rebellious nature of man. He was initially chosen of God (and filled with the Spirit), but cast aside that relationship through disobedience and the seeking of self (grieved the Spirit who departed from him). Similarly, Adam (and Eve) were chosen (created) of God, but cast aside their perfect relationship with God through disobedience and the seeking of self. The second Saul (known as Paul) started out as disobedient to God (but initially considered himself a servant of God in the Lord’s good graces) and was a persecutor of God’s people (and purposes). Paul became a chosen vessel of the Lord (on the road to Damascus ) and through repentance and obedience was filled with God’s Spirit. Paul spent the rest of his life dying to self and surrendering to the will of God. Similarly, man is born with a fallen nature and is disobedient and rebellious toward God (full of iniquity). God draws man to Himself through Christ (Jn 6:44, 6:65, Rm 8:30). Through repentance and obedience man can receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32 ). Death to self (your way) and submission and obedience to Christ (following, abiding, faith) brings man back to God (1 Pt 1:9, 2 Cor 4:18 ). Romans 5:19 , “For as by one man’s disobedience (Adam) many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus) shall many (not all – those who follow) be made righteous.” Jesus leads in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Ps 23:3). Also demonstrated in Paul’s life is the fact that those who follow Christ will endure much persecution and tribulation (Acts 14:22 , Mt 10:22 ). If you walk as Christ walked then you will naturally enter into the fellowship of His sufferings (Rm 8:17, 36, Php 1:29, 3:10 ). The way back to God will never be comfortable to the flesh. No one walking after the flesh (desires of the flesh, things of this world/love of, seeking self with a form of godliness) would ever be able to walk such a path. This path is set up to pull down the things of the flesh such that one is totally surrendered to God.