The Threefold Fall of Saul (1 Samuel)

The Threefold Fall of Man

Fall #1: Adam's rebellion in the garden (Gen. 3)

  • Sanctuary setting (Garden)
  • Sin related to worship (sacramental trees)
  • Rebellion of son against Father
  • Sin is driven by impatience and refusal to submit to authority

Fall #2: Cain's murder of Abel (Gen. 4)

  • Takes place in the land
  • Sin related to work (fruit of one's labor)
  • Brother murders brother (son of their father)
  • Sin is driven by envy and pride

Fall #3: Sons of God intermarry with daughters of men (Gen. 6)

  • Takes places in the world (outside the land of Eden)
  • Sin related to the witness among the nations
  • Sin against the stranger
  • Sin is driven by lust for power

The Threefold Fall of Saul

Fall #1: Saul's unlawful sacrifice (1 Sam. 13)

  • Sin related to worship (disobeys Samuel's instructions; 1 Sam. 10:8)
  • Rebellion of son (king) against father (prophet)
  • Sin was driven by impatience and fear. Saul sought God's favor with disobedience(!)

Fall #2: Saul's sin against Jonathan (1 Sam. 14)

  • Sin takes place in the land in the context of battle (involves food)
  • Saul pronounced a curse against anyone who ate during the battle, which put his men at a great disadvantage. This foolish oath also set them up to be tempted to eat raw meat. Saul consulted the Lord but then ordered the priest to stop before hearing the Lord's answer (1 Sam. 14:19). God did not answer the next time (14:37). Instead of recognizing his own sin, Saul assumed this was Jonathan's fault and almost killed him (14:44).
  • Sin was driven by envy and pride (Saul rebuked Jonathan with the same words Samuel had used; 14:43 & 13:11)

Fall #3: Saul's failure to destroy Amalek (1 Sam. 15; cf. Ex. 17:8-16)

  • Sin takes place in the world and involves the Gentile nations (cf. book of Esther)
  • Saul led the people into sin by sparing the king and keeping the best of the animals, which were supposed to have been destroyed.
  • Saul's motives are unclear, but it seems that he desired to use King Agag to advance his own political power.

How much fruit is enough?
Do Numbers Matter? Is Biblical Numerology Legit?

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