1 Samuel 16:14-15, King Saul’s downfall

But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

//Most casual Bible readers imagine David to be the first king of Israel. He wasn’t. Saul, Israel’s first king, seems to be quite a manly sort, but he proves to be politically and religiously inept, and is superseded in time by King David. Whatever went wrong with Saul?

Today’s verse may provide the answer. Immediately following a verse in which we’re told the Spirit of the LORD settles upon David (verse 13), we read that it is taken away from Saul. In fact, not only is it taken, but it is replaced by an evil spirit, which begins to harass poor Saul. What we might today label as schizophrenia begins to take hold, and Saul begins to develop symptoms of paranoia. The music that used to soothe him no longer works. He behaves erratically, becomes deeply depressed, and is plagued by strange voices and visions.

David, of course, is waiting in the wings. Saul’s violent outbursts and bizarre behavior causes a switch in Israel’s allegiance to David, which only heightens Saul’s torment. Saul loses control … of his kingdom, his family, his mind. And David supplants him, to become Israel’s second king.



  1. Anonymous

    Wait, back up. God holds the reins of evil spirits? So he is responsible for the misery in this world? What happened to the free will theory?

    Another example of how man created gods, demons, spirits so explain what they don’t understand.

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