Darth Vader and the first king of Israel

In Star Wars, you have Anakin Skywalker who becomes Darth Vader. 

Anakin starts off from very humble beginnings. He’s a slave, but unbeknownst to him, he is set aside for a historic task. 

A Jedi meets young Anakin and senses that Anakin has a strong presence of the force and that he is the chosen one who will be the Jedi who will restore power to the force. 

And at first, Anakin does a lot of good things. He’s a heroic figure. He’s serving honorably as a Jedi. He saves an entire planet. 

He has this priestly figure in Obi Wan Kenobi who trains him in the ways of the Jedi. 

But then. 

He joins the dark side. 

He becomes Darth Vader. He’s evil. He is vengeful. He destroys entire planets. He nearly wipes out the Jedi. He kills his teacher, Obi Wan Kenobi. 

I give those details because the life of Saul follows the same trajectory of that of Darth Vader. 

In our passage today, we’re first introduced to Saul, who is a man of humble beginnings. Without knowing it, he finds out that he will be the king of Israel. Saul starts out well and has everything he needs to succeed before turning to sin in later chapters. 

And he goes on a downward spiral of destruction and murder. 

Darth Vader kills off most of the Jedi. Saul kills off all of the priests but Abiathar. 

Both are replaced by greater men. Darth Vader’s son Luke Skywalker restores order to the force. Saul is replaced by David, the greatest of the Israelite kings. 

Darth Vader fights his son, Luke Skywalker. Saul has a son – Jonathan who opposes Saul and abdicates any opportunity to sit on the throne. 

Both Vader and Saul have daughters who oppose the evils of their fathers. Princess Leia is a Jedi. Saul’s daughter marries King David. 

Saul and David are both anointed by Samuel. Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker are both trained by Obi Wan Kenobi. 

Darth Vader dies on a moon called Endor. Saul dies in battle at a place near Endor! 

1  Samuel 28:7

7 Then Saul said to his servants, “Seek out for me a woman who is a medium, that I may go to her and inquire of her.” And his servants said to him, “Behold, there is a medium at En-dor.” 

He dies in chapter 31 at Gilboa. 

I think the Star Wars writers might have had a Bible handy when they were writing their script! 

Humble origins, early successes, a turn to evil and a downward spiral of muder that ends in violent death. I think the comparison is helpful as we consider the long story arc of King Saul in the Book of First Samuel. 

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