Saul and Agag — Saul and Me

When Saul was anointed first king of Israel by the judge Samuel, he swore his allegiance to God’s commands. For many years he was a good ruler adored by his people as a fearless warrior.

When it happened that Samuel had given him a message from God to go out and do battle against the attacking Amalekites, King Saul was instructed to take no booty, no spoils of war, and was told to slay all the Amalekites.

Together with his army, Saul went out to battle. Many of the Amalekites lay slain on the field of battle and many fled.

King Saul rejoiced in his great victory and proudly returned home. He was greeted by an angry Samuel.

“God commanded you to take no spoils of war and behold you return with sheep and many cattle”. Saul defended himself saying that it was his men who sought to inherit spoils of the war.

But when Samuel saw the Amalekite King Ahab in chains, his anger turned to fury. “Why have you not slain the enemy king?” he inquired. And Saul replied that he was bringing Ahab as a trophy of the war to parade him before all the tribes of Israel so that they might rejoice in Saul’s victory.

The angry judge Samuel shouted at him. “Since you have disobeyed the commandment of our God, the crown of kingship shall be removed from your head”.

Saul begged for forgiveness and mercy. He knelt before Samuel and tore a piece of his robe. Samuel told him that as he had torn the robe, the kingdom of Israel would be torn away from him.

Sometime later, Saul led his army into battle against the warring Philistines. In that battle, Saul and his son Jonathan were slain on a mountain top.

When David, son of Jesse, was informed of their deaths he wept bitter tears. “Jonathan Jonathan, my love for you surpassed the love of women. How have the mighty fallen!”

Shortly after the death of Israel’s first king, David was anointed by Samuel and reigned successfully for seventy years.

Saul’s grievous mistake was the capture of Agag, King of the Amalekites, bound in heavy chains.

I understand Saul and despite his disobedience to one of God’s commands, I regard him as a noble king and warrior in the defense of his kingdom and his people.

Across the centuries and the ancient kingdom of Israel, there is another Saul who is worthy of my respect and praise. He is Saul Chapnick of the American sunshine state of Florida.

Although he and I have never met, we know much about one another.

Saul is an avid and devoted reader of the TIMES OF ISRAEL and in particular he is one of the greatest, if not the real greatest reader of my 790 published articles. He responds favorably and gives me commendations for which I am far from deserving.

He and I often share the same opinions regarding politics and religion in the country we both love.

I always look forward to reading Saul’s comments on my most recent postings. He has always been a gentleman, a devoted Zionist, and a true friend albeit in absentia.

Not many readers take the time to respond with comments, positive or negative. Regardless, their comments are most welcome. They help an octogenarian like me to express my honest feelings and opinions even when they disagree with me.

That is the joy of writing. To await the opinions of my words from faithful readers.

Saul the Floridian may not be equal to Saul , king of the Israelites, but I would prefer the kindly gentleman over a crowned king. May he live for many years in good health.

Keep reading and keep sending welcome remarks.

Hebrew, Yiddish or English are welcome.   Because I know they come from a very warm heart.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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