|King of Israel (united monarchy)|
David Plays the Harp for Saul, by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1650 and 1670.
|Reign||c. 1050 – 1012 BCE|
|Born||c. 1080 BCE|
|Died||c. 1012 BCE
Jezreel Valley, United Monarchy of Israel
Saul (//; Hebrew: שָׁאוּל, Šāʼûl; "asked for, prayed for"; Latin: Saul; Arabic: طالوت, Ṭālūt or Arabic: شاؤل, Sha'ūl), according to the Hebrew Bible, was the first king of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah. His reign, traditionally placed in the late 11th century BCE, marked a transition from a tribal society to statehood.
Saul's life and reign are described in the Hebrew Bible. He was anointed by the prophet Samuel and reigned from Gibeah. He fell on his sword (committing suicide) to avoid capture in the battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, during which three of his sons were also killed. The succession to his throne was contested by Ish-bosheth, his only surviving son, and his son-in-law David, who eventually prevailed. A similar yet different account of Saul's life may be given in the Qur'an. Neither the length of Saul's reign, nor the extent of his territory are given in the Hebrew Bible; the former is traditionally fixed at twenty or twenty-two years, but there is no reliable evidence for these numbers. According to the New Testament account, Saul reigned for a period of forty years (Acts 13:21).