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Israel’s first king, seems to be quite a manly sort, but he proves to be politically and religiously inept, and is superseded in time by King David.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.

    • Ellis Tripp

      Thank you, fellow atheist.

    • Edith Baker

      God holds all things; God, by his nature is all powerful. This does not take away our free will, in fact, it supports our free will. There are principles/laws that are established. For instance, gravity (simple), if you jump from a tall building, the principle/law of gravity will following is course. Now you have free will to jump, not jump. Saul was well aware of the principles of God written into the scriptures. Saul chose to follow his own will, and ignore God’s. God place Saul as King over Israel, but God had Prophets to perform the spiritual acts/needs for the nation. Saul, in arrogance as a King, felt he could also step into the realm of prophet or spiritual leader. By this Saul violated God’s principle and in violation, opened himself to the consequences of that violation ( must like jumping from a building). Principles are established by God. These principles are eternal realities, if we violate these there are consequences.

      • Mc Donald

        The reprimand of Saul is a good lesson to all humanity. It shows that you don’t do as you wish, but in accordance with the whims of God.

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