Today, I am reading and commenting on 1 Samuel 11-13.
One of the reasons I am hesitant to draw conclusions about Saul’s attitude when he was selected as king is because of his actions regarding the situation at Jabesh-Gilead. First, when he heard the news, he did not just curl up in sorrow. He got angry and decided to take action to protect his fellow Israelites. Second, after his victory, when his supporters wanted to kill those who had earlier refused to support Saul, he forcefully rejected the idea.
Saul’s decision to not punish those who had not initially supported him as king shows a certain instinctive understanding of the politics of ruling a nation. However, this same political pragmatism led to his downfall. Later when Saul had gathered his forces to combat the Philistine army, he needed to offer a sacrifice to God before going into battle. He waited for Samuel to come and perform the sacrifice, but Samuel was late. Saul was afraid that if he did not make the sacrifice and strike soon, his army would return home. So, he decided that the politically expedient thing to do was to perform the sacrifices himself. Saul failed to trust God and patiently wait for Samuel.