King Saul

Israel's first king was a controversial ruler.

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By contrast, Philistine urban civilization was flourishing in the 11th century B.C.E. as revealed by recent excavations at Ashdod, Tel Gerisa, Tel Miqne (biblical Ekron) and Askkelon.

Saul's reign ended in total failure with his tragic death. After the rout on Mt. Gilboa, the Israelite revolt against Philistine domination seemed hopeless. Under the leadership of Saul's adversary, David, however, the fight for independence from the Philistines--the raison d'etre of Saul's kingship--was taken up once again.

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Andre Lemaire

Andre Lemaire is director d'etudes at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, History and Philology Section, of the Sorbonne, in Paris.