Saul: The State Builder


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How to Cite

Bar, S. (2024). Saul: The State Builder. Old Testament Essays, 36(3), 736–753.


This article takes a closer look at Saul’s achievements as the first king of Israel. There are scholars who minimize Saul’s accomplishments as the king who transformed Israel into a monarchy. This article will demonstrate that Saul laid the foundation of monarchy that would ultimately be fully developed under David and Solomon. It was Saul who introduced a new class of officials and functionaries at his court. As a military hero, he laid the foundation of a skilled army and introduced a new weapon, and he was the first to use protective gear. He also established two units of bodyguards. States cannot exist in the fullest form if they do not have the power of taxation; therefore, it was Saul who introduced state taxes. As a religious leader, Saul established a cultic centre in Nob and battled against idolatry. Independent states have capital, so after Saul’s successful campaign against the Philistines and their expulsion from the Benjaminite territory, Saul established his capital at Gibeah.

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