Tanakh and Talmud
Old Testament
King David

What was the cause of King Saul's downfall?


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January 04, 2008 7:29AM

Saul killed everyone but Agag (the king) and the best of the animals. But still God was furious with Saul for not killing everything as he had been told to do. He said, "it repenteth me that I have set Saul up to be king." 1 Samuel 15:7-26

In 1 Samuel 12:14-15 Samuel explained that obedience was an important requirement of a King. This no doubt included obedience to specific commands or to previously given commands such as the requirements regarding who was to perform religious and ceremonial duties such as sacrifices. Saul was a King and not a priest so when he offered an offering he was in big trouble:

9And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. 10And 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. 11And 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; 12Therefore 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. 13And 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. 14But 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. Together with the occasion mentioned in the first answer, where Saul also was not obedient but chose his own path after having been given very clear instructions, it seems that Saul had a big problem with obedience. Neither the deliberate disobedience above, nor his failure to destroy the cruel Amalekites who had violently opposed Israel almost as soon as they came out of Egypt, were trifling matters and he was consequently rejected as King.

So Saul died for his unfaithfulness which he had committed against the Lord, because he did not keep the word of the Lord, and also because he consulted a medium for guidance.