Shaul had Yonatan and Michal who were around Dovid's age. So how old is Shaul? I could not find any meforesh that said anything about it. asking on a Jewish perspective. Thanks!


1 Answer 1


As mentioned, according to the pure Tanach, he was one year old. The Mefarshim don't really think this is meant to be interpreted factually, and so they have a number of ways to explain this, see Shmuel and Sabbahillel's answers.

Edit: Never mind, they've been deleted. See Meafrshim here.

Being that no one else seems to be quoting this, I would like to quote the commentary attributed to Ri Kara, which quotes Seder Olam Rabbah (13) saying that he was 25 when he was anointed king:

בן שנה שאול במלכו – שנינו בסדר עולם: שמואל אמר לשאול בשעה שמשחו: וירדת לפני הגלגל עד ויחזק בכנף מעילו ויקרע, ואומר קרע י״י את ממלכות ישראל מעליך היום, ואחר כך ויקח את קרן השמן וימשח אותו בקרב אחיו ותצלח רוח י״יא אל דוד ויקם שמואל וילך הרמתה. והוא בן כ״ה שנה. וזהו בן שנה שאול במלכו – כל זה עשה בשנה ראשונה שבא לשמואל ומשחו והכה לנחש העמוני.

However, our versions of Seder Olam Rabbah 13 have 29:

(ש"א יג, א): "בֶּן שָׁנָה שָׁאוּל בְּמָלְכוֹ וְגוֹ'", שמואל אמר לשאול בשעה שמשחו (שם י, ח) "וירדת לפני הגלגל וגו' ", ירד שנה ראשונה והכה נחש העמוני, ומשחוהו ישראל, שניה ירד, ולא שמר הבטחתו, (שם יג, יג) "וַיֹּאמֶר שְׁמוּאֵל אֶל שָׁאוּל נִסְכָּלְתָּ (כי) לֹא (שמעת) שָׁמַרְתָּ וְגוֹ'", ואותו הפרק נמשח דוד, שנאמר (שם טז, א) "וַיֹּאמֶר ה' אֶל שְׁמוּאֵל עַד מָתַי וְגוֹ'", ואחר כך (שם, יג) "וַיִּקַּח שְׁמוּאֵל אֶת קֶרֶן הַשָּׁמֶן וְגוֹ'", והוא היה בן כ"ט שנים,

Note that there are some Mefarshim that say he only started ruling a year after he was annointed, not sure if these dates are at anointing or ruling.

  • So, why did tanach write he was 1?
    – Dr. Shmuel
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 3:12
  • @Shmuel It's not the question asked (in fact, consider asking it yourself), but I included it in my answer in case people ask... "וזהו בן שנה שאול במלכו – כל זה עשה בשנה ראשונה שבא לשמואל ומשחו והכה לנחש העמוני." Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 3:32
  • i am still confused to how he had a son who could be a general in the army (i thought the minimum age was 20) Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 23:35
  • @Ailuropodamelanoleuca Why are you confused?
    – ezra
    Commented Apr 23, 2018 at 2:56
  • if shaul was 25 or 29 when he became king he couldn't have had a son who was at least twenty. he would have had to have him at the age of five or nine. Commented Apr 25, 2018 at 0:54

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