King Saul - Bible study activities

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Saul the warrior

Saul's story 

Scroll of the Bible

The Bible text

A young princess

Saul's daughter Michal

Veiled woman with downcast eyes

Rizpah, Saul's 
tragic concubine

Warrior, drawing, da Vinci

Bible Warriors

Map of Bible lands in ancient times

Where it happened

Use of helmets, different types, archaeology: helmets in the Bible


Different types of armour in the ancient lands of the Bible: archaeology






Activities for individuals or groups

Courage in Today’s WorldA roaring lion, symbol of courage

Discuss instances in your own life when you have needed great courage. Describe one incident, then answer the following questions:

  • What helped you in this situation?

  • On whom did you rely?

  • What were the results for your own self-confidence?

Movies about courage

Courage is one of the most admired and universal qualities. To prove this, you'll find that almost every movie you see has a character who must summon up their courage to deal with a situation that is about to overwhelm them.

Shawshank RedemptionTo test this, google a list of 100 favorite films. Choose the ones you like best. 

  • Shawshank Redemption? 

  • Casablanca? 

  • To Kill a Mockingbird? 

  • Toy Story? 

  • Titanic? 

  • Gladiator? 

  • or something else entirely?

Find instances in them where a person has to face their fear and overcome it. They may be dogged by fear or doubt and never overcome it completely, but they face up to it and try to overcome or at least control it.

Now look at your own story. Have there been times when you needed to hold on to your courage with both hands until things got better?

Think about your own courage, or discuss it with a learning partner.

The reality of War


World War I soldiers gather round a fallen comrade - like Saul at Gilboa?

World War I soldiers gather round a fallen comrade - like Saul at Gilboa?

When we read about warfare in the Bible, we tend to forget that it was every bit as bloody and ruthless as fighting today. Distance and time have made it seem unreal. But it was perhaps even more brutal than warfare today, since most of the fighting was hand-to-hand. A soldier could see and smell the man with whom he struggled.

Moreover, battles took place near or inside cities and towns. The defending soldiers knew that, if they lost the battle, their parents would be murdered, their wives raped and killed, and their children either killed on the spot or sold into a harsh life of slavery.

This photograph captures the grim reality of battle: dirt, exhaustion, sudden death. It was much the same for soldiers who fought in Saul's army, or David's - or in a modern war.

Assisted Suicide

In the last moments of the battle,When Saul sees that death is inevitable, he asks his fellow-soldier to kill him. 

The soldier refuses, and Saul is forced to kill himself. He props his sword against a rock and falls forward onto it. This is not a quick or easy way to die. When Japanese samurai did something similar, they made sure they had a friend nearby, to finish them off quickly by beheading.

  • Was Saul justified in committing suicide?

  • Should the soldier have helped him?

  • Is it ever permissible to help someone commit suicide?

  • What might be the repercussions for someone who helps a friend/relative to die?

Consider these questions with a learning partner or group.


Ancient swords

Ancient swords

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Bible Study Resource: Bible People: The life and times of Saul, king of the Israelites

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Copyright 2006 Elizabeth Fletcher