King Saul The Lovely – By Daniel W. Sheridan
“The beauty of Israel is slain…tell it not in Gath…lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice…Ye mountains of Gilboa, let there be no…rain, upon you…for there the shield of the mighty was vilely cast away…Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided…Ye daughters of Israel, weep over Saul…” 2 Samuel 1:19-23
The Apostle Paul, the famous minister to the Gentiles, was named after the first king of Israel, Saul. King Saul is infamous to many, and some of these go so far as to consign Saul to the nightmarish orthodox “hell.” Saul did some foolish things, to be sure; he didn’t keep his word, pursued David, tried to kill him a few times, almost killed Jonathan, disobeyed God regarding Amalek, and, worst of all, consulted a medium! All bad. But his whole life wasn’t bad. In the Scriptures quoted above, King David said, “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives.”
David praised the man who persecuted him, calling him “lovely.” Saul had some terrible moments, evil moments, but David never mentions any of those! He didn’t let Saul’s temporary lapses, though many, define his whole life. Saul didn’t rejoice in iniquity, but he, motivated by love, bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things regarding Saul. Look at the string of verses quoted above. Notice the following points:
- David calls the man who tried to kill him “beautiful.”
- After Saul falls on the battlefield, David commands that the news not be published lest his enemies rejoice. He issued an executive decree stifling the liberty of the press on this event.
- David wanted the place where Saul died to be wiped off the map. He didn’t want a permanent reminder of his death.
- David remembers Saul as lovely and pleasant.
- David calls upon the women in Israel to mourn with him over Saul.
How refreshing to read such an account of love, loyalty, and friendship in a world where people become eternally offended and sever ties over the pettiest things.
Let us be as gracious as David. David, after all, had his evil moments too, and so do we. Paul’s message of grace and love is anticipated from David’s actions regarding Saul (Paul’s other name was Saul). For “charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth…Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” – The Apostle Paul, a.k.a. SAUL of Tarsus, the former persecutor of God’s people.