|King of Israel (united monarchy)|
David Plays the Harp for Saul, by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1650 and 1670.
|Reign||late 11th century|
|Born||c. 1078 BCE|
|Died||c. 1010 BCE (aged 67–68)|
Jezreel Valley, United Monarchy of Israel
Saul (//; Hebrew: שָׁאוּל, Modern: Ša’ul, Tiberian: Šā’ul, meaning "asked for, prayed for"), 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. According to the Hebrew text of the Bible Saul was one year old when he came to the throne and reigned for two years, but scholars generally agree that the text is faulty and that a reign of twenty or twenty-two years is more probable.