Yesterday’s post raises to issues: the first is humorous, the second is thought-provoking in the best sense of that phrase.
How tall was Saul? 1 Samuel 9:2, 10:23
Or we might ask, how long was his neck? At least according to NAS, NKJV, ESV.
1 Samuel 9:2
He had a son whose name was Saul, a choice and handsome man, and there was not a more handsome person than he among the sons of Israel; from his shoulders and up he was taller than any of the people.
And he had a choice and handsome son whose name was Saul. There was not a more handsome person than he among the children of Israel. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
And he had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he. From his shoulders upward he was taller than any of the people.
Must have been difficult with such a long neck or extended head…
Here are a few other translations:
He had a son named Saul, an impressive young man. There was no one more impressive among the Israelites than he. He stood a head taller than anyone else.
His son Saul was the most handsome man in Israel—head and shoulders taller than anyone else in the land.
He had a son named Saul, a handsome, young man. No man in Israel was more handsome than Saul. He stood a head taller than everyone else.
Was Saul King?
I think most of us have assumed that Saul was “king.” But David Firth makes an interesting point in his book on 1 & 2 Samuel.
and the curious fact that the word “king” (melek) never appears…
Saul’s exact status is not made clear to him, although ch. 8 has already shown there is to be a move towards kingship. Indeed, there are a number of points of deliberate ambiguity within this narrative. The word “king” will again be used in 10:19 and 24, though in the former it is simply Samuel’s quoting the people’s words back at them, while in 10:24 it is the people’s acclamation of Saul. Curiously, at no point in the kingship’s initiation is Yahweh said to have appointed Saul as king, a striking omission considering this is a part of Samuel’s pro-monarchic section… (p. 120)
Firth, David G. 1 & 2 Samuel (Apollos Old Testament Commentary, Vol. 8). First Edition ed. IVP Academic, 2009.
So, David was the anointed king by Samuel, and Saul was less than king (Hebrew: נָגִיד, English: nagid)? Perhaps, for he could be “tribal leader” (2 Chronicles 19:11), “royal, military leader” (1 Chronicles 13:1), or “priestly leader“ (2 Chronicles 31:12).