King Saul appeared to have had a "born again" experience:

9 When he turned his back to leave Samuel, God gave him another heart. And all these signs came to pass that day. 10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. [1 Samuel 10:9-10 ESV]

But then we are told the following:

14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him. [1 Samuel 16:14 ESV]

15 Then Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul answered, “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams. Therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do.” 16 And Samuel said, “Why then do you ask me, since the Lord has turned from you and become your enemy? 17 The Lord has done to you as he spoke by me, for the Lord has torn the kingdom out of your hand and given it to your neighbor, David. 18 Because you did not obey the voice of the Lord and did not carry out his fierce wrath against Amalek, therefore the Lord has done this thing to you this day. 19 Moreover, the Lord will give Israel also with you into the hand of the Philistines, and tomorrow you and your sons shall be with me. The Lord will give the army of Israel also into the hand of the Philistines.” [1 Samuel 28:15-19 ESV]

4 Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. 5 And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him. 6 Thus Saul died, and his three sons, and his armor-bearer, and all his men, on the same day together. [1 Samuel 31:4-6 ESV]

Did King Saul lose his salvation?

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    I do not know how final judgement will play out for Saul, but I am grateful for the fact that I will not be his judge. Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 22:04
  • Just having spiritual gifts does not save a man. Where do we read of Saul being 'saved'. Or, from what was he 'saved' ? Though I speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge : yet without real love to God and to one's brethren (to David, for example, whom Saul hated) one is nothing. Absolutely nothing. (Up-voted +1.)
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 22:06
  • @NigelJ - we are told that God changed his heart (1 Samuel 10:9), so there is that.
    – user38524
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 22:08
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    Saul hated David and wanted to murder David. And would have done so, had he not been prevented. He that hateth his brother without a cause is a murderer. And no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. But it's an excellent question and I would vote it up again had I the capacity to do so.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 22:14
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    Jesus was talking to Nicodemus - a highly educated, Old Testament literate member of the Sanhedrin - and he didn’t have a clue about what Jesus was talking about. Ever wonder why?
    – Dave
    Commented Apr 11, 2021 at 1:15

4 Answers 4


I am not sure that this question is definitively answerable because we cannot know the judgements of God. However, the evidence is compelling:

  • Saul wan anointed with oil and consecrated for a special task, 1 Sam 10:1
  • Saul was given a "new heart", 1 Sam 10:9
  • Saul had the gift of the Holy Spirit, 1 Sam 10:9
  • Saul prophesied, 1 Sam 10:10, 12
  • Saul used the power of the God's Spirit at other times, 1 S6am 11:6
  • Saul was initially kind and generous, 1 Sam 11:13

But Saul, slowly turned his back on God and returned to his old habits and became self-centered, narcissistic and paranoid. He wanted to murder David, was very impatient (1 Sam 14), became depressed and ultimately sank so low that he consulted a witch and then committed suicide.

We cannot know Saul's "heart" at the end and what God will do with Saul at the resurrection. So the question cannot be finally answered until Jesus reveals all things.


The question "Did King Saul lose his salvation?" makes a very large assumption.

What reason is there to believe that Saul was ever offered salvation?

In the Hebrew scriptures, "salvation" tends to be of a physical kind, very unlike the salvation that Christians believe in.

It's not possible to lose something that one never had.

  • What about Saul's change of heart at 1 Samuel 10:9? hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/58216/…
    – user38524
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 16:35
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator, "God gave him another heart" simply means a new outlook or understanding of the situation. Strong's says "the heart; also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect". There's nothing there to imply salvation. Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 17:57

1 Samuel 10:10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them.

Note that the Spirit was not in him.

1 Samuel 16:14 Now the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and a harmful spirit from the Lord tormented him.

Did King Saul lose his salvation?

It depends on how you define salvation. The word "salvation" does not appear in any of the passages that you have quoted. Saul did lose the Spirit that was given him.

In fact, Saul understood salvation this way:

1 Samuel 11:11 The next day Saul organized the troops into three divisions, and during the morning watch they invaded the camp of the Ammonites and slaughtered them, until the hottest part of the day. And the survivors were so scattered that no two of them were left together.

12Then the people said to Samuel, “Who said that Saul should not reign over us? Bring those men here so we can kill them!”

13 But Saul ordered, “No one shall be put to death this day, for today the LORD has worked salvation in Israel.”

To him, a meaning of salvation was physical deliverance from God.


To receive the Holy Spirit is to receive salvation from the power and penalty of sin. It is a gift and is given to those whom God chooses just like today. God chose Saul and gave him the Spirit and a new heart (circumcision) and faith in God.This is the same way Paul communicates regeneration in his letters to believers. God blessed him and started disciplining him which God only does to those whom He loves and are His children. The Spirit rushing upon Saul is no different than the filling of the Spirit at Pentecost which was experienced by the apostles and thousands of believers then and today. Jesus said that baptism of the Spirit was the Advocate/Holy Spirit who is given to help and guide and gift which is what Saul experienced. It doesn’t mean the Spirit wasn’t inside them, but that they received a larger amount of God’s Spirit and power to accomplish His purposes. The same thing happened to David but no one questions whether David was saved yet David prayed that God wouldn’t take His Spirit from him like he saw happen to Saul so I think David understood that salvation is a gift of the Spirit and can be quenched and lost/forfeited through disobedience. I wouldn’t read too much into different words thinking that they must mean something completely different rather than another way of describing something.

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