King Saul the Man After the Flesh

By Samuel Ridout


Prefatory Note

The following pages, begun several years ago, and now, in the mercy of God, completed, are an effort to give a brief series of notes upon the first book of Samuel. The title, "King Saul: the man after the flesh," shows us the central figure of the book, a type too of the fleshly condition of the nation as a whole.

The lessons connected with the rise, reign and end of King Saul are many, and all point to the utter unprofitableness of the flesh in its greatest excellence to be aught that is acceptable to God.

The subject in one sense is a depressing one, and the proper effect should be to turn us from the contemplation of the man after the flesh to the man after God's own heart, David, who comes upon the scene in the latter part of the book and shows the contrast between faith and nature. As a type of Christ, he is the antidote to the baleful example and influence of poor Saul, and thus shows how God would ever lead, even through the knowledge of sin in ourselves and of the evil about us, not to occupation with that, but with Him who is the Deliverer of His people. May the Lord use this effort to trace the workings of the flesh and the triumphs of His grace to the blessing of His people!

A word of explanation may not be out of place as to the character of Jonathan spoken of in the body of the book. The matter is one of great delicacy, and the writer shrinks from taking the edge off any wholesome lessons that have been connected with the character and position of Jonathan, but would only call attention to what is said in the body of the book and leave each reader free to draw his own conclusions.