TJ Steadman has a unique take on why Saul was chosen as Israel’s first king—and I am afraid that while it is a commonsense take on the surface, it does take us to that which I term gigorexia nervosa territory.
He writes the following in his book Answers to Giant Questions:
Understanding the connection between ancient kings and the giants helps to piece together the rationale for Yahweh permitting the people’s choice of Saul as Israel’s first king – the Israelites wanted a giant king of their own, as God Himself had foretold:
Deuteronomy 17:14 “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me.”
1 Samuel 8:4-8 “Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel unto Ramah, And said unto him, Behold, thou art old, and thy sons walk not in thy ways: now make us a king to judge us like all the nations. But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said; Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.”
1 Samuel 9:2 “And he had a son, whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.”
1 Samuel 10:23 “And they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward.”
1 Samuel 11:15 “And all the people went to Gilgal; and there they made Saul king before the LORD in Gilgal; and there they sacrificed sacrifices of peace offerings before the LORD; and there Saul and all the men of Israel rejoiced greatly.”
As is typically a problem with attempting to discern what TJ Steadman is stating, we are left to guess to what he is referring as “giants” in any given usage since he uses that vague, generic, subjective, and undefined English term to mean various things.
Thus, “the connection between ancient kings and the” whom?
We will be able to glean a meaning as we progress but let us pause to note that it has something to do with “the people’s choice of Saul.”
Under the heading “Seven Foot Saul,” he wrote:
Here is yet another example of Yahweh “giving the people over to their desires.” Now Saul was definitely not a Rephaim giant, but he was an imposing figure, standing head and shoulders above everyone else, and that seems to have been part of his appeal as a potential king for Israel.
The Israelites saw the kings of the pagan nations around them and wanted a leader of their own that not only held the office of king but also had the power and imposing presence of a giant. This is reflected in the language of the text where we see in Deuteronomy 17:14 and again in 1 Samuel 8:5 “a king … like as all the nations.” The Israelites didn’t just want a king, but one that was comparable to other kings of Canaan. So, God gave them big Saul as king.
So, God was “giving the people over to their desires” but what was that desire, really?
Let us first, again, note the problems with making statements such as “Rephaim giant” to mean some unspecified amount of unusual height above average. Well, there is no indication that Rephaim were unusually tall, as a whole, but only that some Rephaim subgroups, such as Anakim, were “tall,” which is a subjective term, of course: subjective to Israelite males who averaged 5.0-5.3 ft. in those days—which means that females were shorter, on average.
So, Saul was “head and shoulders above everyone” a 5.0-5.3 ft. average which TJ Steadman sets at 7 ft. which is fine with me.
He specifies that this was not just about having a king but having one that “had the power and imposing presence of a giant”—something vague about unusual height.
But does, “a king … like as all the nations” mean a “giant” king of simply “like as all the nations” they too wanted “a king”?
One stumbling block to TJ Steadman’s claims is that he is asserting that “other kings of Canaan” were unusually tall but this is not the case and, since I am aware of his views, is ultimately based on that upon which all pop-researchers intimately based all of their foundational assertions: one single verse, Num 13:33 which is a rebuked “evil report” that they, for some odd reason, actually believe, run with, and turn into a worldview and hermeneutic.
In any case, note the emphasis of the texts that he, himself, provided to back his claim—that which they state and that which they do not.
Deuteronomy 17:14’s bottom line is “set a king over me, like as all the nations.”
1 Samuel 9:2’s and 1 Samuel 10:23’s is just about that Saul was tall but lack any reference to that his height is what qualified him as being like unto the Rephaim kings.
1 Samuel 11:15 is not relevant as it merely records when he was made king.
1 Samuel 8:4-8 is the key since the emphasis is “make us a king to judge us like all the nations” and “the thing displeased Samuel because this was about “Give us a king to judge us,” which God had been doing personally and via his administrators, Moses, Aaron, etc.
This is emphasized by that “they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them” which was “According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day” so that “they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.”
Thus, the Israelites wanted a human king to administer their kingdom just like the other nations had and it was a rejection of God.
There is no context whereby to simply assert that Rephaim kings were tall or giants (both subjective terms) and thus, Israelites wanted a tall king—what, was God not tall enough for them?
See my books on Nephilim related issues.
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