Dr. Tremper Longman on Emergence of Kings

Why is Saul chosen? He is tall. When David is chosen it's said that God does not look at external appearance, but at the heart. Saul's heart turns out to be a cowardly heart. David Gunn's study of David and Saul takes a more sympathetic view of Saul and a more suspicious view of David, and that's the case with many other contemporary scholars.

In 1 Samuel 9 you get the designation phase in the private anointing of Saul. "Do what you must do" (10:7) Long argues, refers to attacking the Philistine garrison. Saul of course does not do this. Therefore there's a second designation, but this time it's public (10:17-27).

This is followed by a demonstration phase where the king shows that he can behave like a king -- this was supposed to be his attack on Philistia. Now we get a substitute demonstration in Saul's attack on Ammon and freeing the people of Jabesh-Gilead (chapter 11). Then at Gilgal Israel makes Saul king.

This leads to chapter 12 which is a covenant renewal ceremony--the confirmation phase--which negotiates the role of the human king and the role of the divine king. It begins with an historical prologue (12:6-12), followed by stipulations and sanctions--blessing and curse (12:13ff.). Here you have the transformation of Samuel from judge to prophet (esp. v.23; the prophet is first and foremost one who prays).

Jonathan ends up defeating Philistine garrison Saul was supposed to defeat. When Saul offers the sacrifice at Gilgal before Samuel arrived, Saul loses the dynasty.

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