Bible Study Guides – The First King of Israel

August 2, 2015 – August 8, 2015

Key Text

“All the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the Lord.” I Samuel 11:15.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 607–636.


“Through the prophet Samuel the Lord instructed Saul that as king of Israel his course of action must be one of strictest integrity.” Conflict and Courage, 174.


  • Despite his clear rebuke to the children of Israel for choosing a monarchy, what were the last words of Samuel’s speech? I Samuel 12:20, 25.

Note: “Samuel did not leave the people in a state of discouragement, for this would have prevented all effort for a better life.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 615.

  • Though God was not pleased that the children of Israel chose a monarchy (Hosea 13:11), why did He set a king over them? I Samuel 12:13; Ezekiel 14:4. In what sense were they blind by their own sins?

Note: “The days of Israel’s greatest prosperity had been those in which they acknowledged Jehovah as their King—when the laws and the government which He had established were regarded as superior to those of all other nations. … But by departing from God’s law the Hebrews had failed to become the people that God desired to make them, and then all the evils which were the result of their own sin and folly they charged upon the government of God. So completely had they become blinded by sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 605.


  • What promised blessing was brought repeatedly to the attention of the chosen people since the days of Moses? Deuteronomy 7:6, 11, 14, 18.

Note: “The purpose which God seeks to accomplish through His people today is the same that He desired to accomplish through Israel when He brought them forth out of Egypt. By beholding the goodness, the mercy, the justice, and the love of God revealed in the church, the world is to have a representation of His character. And when the law of God is thus exemplified in the life, even the world will recognize the superiority of those who love and fear and serve God above every other people on the earth. The Lord has His eye upon every one of His people; He has His plans concerning each. It is His purpose that those who practice His holy precepts shall be a distinguished people.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 12.

  • How were the Israelites unqualified to evangelize the Gentiles during the time of the judges? I Chronicles 5:25.

Note: “Fathers and mothers in Israel became indifferent to their obligation to God, indifferent to their obligation to their children. Through unfaithfulness in the home, and idolatrous influences without, many of the Hebrew youth received an education differing widely from that which God had planned for them. They learned the ways of the heathen.” Education, 45, 46.

  • Though Israel’s form of government changed, how did Samuel warn his generation of God’s purpose for them to be a light to the Gentiles? I Samuel 12:15.

Note: “The discipline and training that God appointed for Israel would cause them, in all their ways of life, to differ from the people of other nations. This peculiarity, … was to them unwelcome.” Education, 49.


  • What shows that the Israelites despised the privilege of being a peculiar nation? I Samuel 8:20.

Note: “God had separated the Israelites from every other people, to make them His own peculiar treasure. But they, disregarding this high honor, eagerly desired to imitate the example of the heathen! And still the longing to conform to worldly practices and customs exists among the professed people of God. As they depart from the Lord they become ambitious for the gains and honors of the world.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 607.

  • How are God’s people today warned against repeating the error of the Jews? I Peter 2:9; II Corinthians 6:17, 18.

Note: “Christians are constantly seeking to imitate the practices of those who worship the god of this world. Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their customs they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue this course thereby separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming the friends of the world, they are the enemies of God. For the sake of earthly distinction they sacrifice the unspeakable honor to which God has called them, of showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (I Peter 2:9).” Patriarchs and Prophets, 607.

  • Against what danger will faithful servants of God continually warn their congregation? James 4:4; I John 2:15, 16.

Note: “Jesus is coming; and will He find a people conformed to the world? and will He acknowledge these as His people that He has purified unto Himself? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will He acknowledge as His. Those who have been purified and made white through suffering, and have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world, He will own as His.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 133.


  • What happened when the Israelites tried to secure peace with the invading Ammonites? I Samuel 11:1–4, 8, 11. Instead of trusting in the Lord when put to the test, what sin did Saul commit? I Samuel 13:5–13. Nevertheless, how did God still help the Israelites? I Samuel 14:31.

Note: “The time for the proving of Saul had come. He was now to show whether or not he would depend on God and patiently wait according to His command, thus revealing himself as one whom God could trust in trying places as the ruler of His people, or whether he would be vacillating and unworthy of the sacred responsibility that had devolved upon him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 618.

  • How did Saul show presumption for the second time and also self-exaltation? I Samuel 14:24–29, 43–45.

Note: “Even at the sacrifice of his [Saul’s] son, he would impress upon his subjects the fact that the royal authority must be maintained. … When his own command was disobeyed—though the command was unreasonable and had been violated through ignorance—the king and father sentenced his son to death. The people refused to allow the sentence to be executed.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 625.

  • What lessons should we, and especially the ministers and workers, learn from the mistakes of King Saul? Matthew 7:2.

Note: “Those who are most ready to excuse or justify themselves in sin are often most severe in judging and condemning others. Many, like Saul, bring upon themselves the displeasure of God, but they reject counsel and despise reproof. Even when convinced that the Lord is not with them, they refuse to see in themselves the cause of their trouble. They cherish a proud, boastful spirit, while they indulge in cruel judgment or severe rebuke of others who are better than they.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 625.


  • When tested again, how did Saul show that kingly authority and honor were more important to him than obedience to the command of God? I Samuel 15:1–3, 7–9, 20, 21.
  • Why did God, finally, have to reject King Saul? I Samuel 15:22–24.

Note: “It is a perilous step to slight the reproofs and warnings of God’s word or of His Spirit. Many, like Saul, yield to temptation until they become blind to the true character of sin. They flatter themselves that they have had some good object in view, and have done no wrong in departing from the Lord’s requirements. Thus they do despite to the Spirit of grace, until its voice is no longer heard, and they are left to the delusions which they have chosen.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 635.

“When Saul chose to act independently of God, the Lord could no longer be his guide, and was forced to set him aside.” Ibid., 636.

  • After the Spirit of God departed from the king, where did Saul try to find help? I Samuel 16:14; 28:6, 7; Isaiah 8:19.

Note: “All through his course of rebellion Saul had been flattered and deceived by Satan.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 680.


1 What warning did Samuel give Israel at the coronation of Saul?

2 After the death of Samuel, how did the Israelites show they were disqualified for evangelizing the Gentiles?

3 How did the Israelites despise the privilege of being a peculiar nation?

4 How are we warned against a similar danger?

5 What lessons should all of us learn from the mistakes of King Saul?

© 2014 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.