Could Saul have Been a Forerunner of the Messiah son of Joseph? Project Benjamin
Saul & the She-Donkeys. A Project Benjamin Article
The Asses of Saul. The Hidden Meanings of Scripture. Project Benjamin
Saul had gone searching for the asses of his father. As an outcome of this search he was to be consecrated as King of Israel. We saw that searching for asses represented the quest to return "Lost Souls" of Israel to their source. In the Song of Deborah there is an expression most correctly translated in the KJB (other translations misrepresent it) as,
Judges (KJB) 5:
10 Speak, ye that ride on white asses, ye that sit in judgment...
The Talmud (Eruvin 54;b) says that this refers to the Sages who travel from place to place to teach Torah and pass judgment. Other sources quoted by "Beer Moshe" ( forwarded to us by Rabbi David Feldman) explain that the Lost Asses that Saul went in search of were the Lost Souls of Israel. They meant by this that Saul was to prepare the way for David. Saul was to become king. He would defeat the enemies of Israel, stabilize the borders, and prepare the Hebrews for the rule of David.
1-Samuel (ASV) 14:10 Now when Saul had taken the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, and against the children of Ammon, and against Edom, and against the kings of Zobah, and against the Philistines: and whithersoever he turned himself, he put them to the worse.
The son of Saul was Jonathan. Jonathan was a hero. Saul hoped that Jonathan would succeed him on the throne but David was also a candidate. Jonathan knew that David would be king and pledged loyalty to him.
1-Samuel (NIV) 23:16 And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17 'Don't be afraid,' he said. 'My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this.'
Jonathan was prepared to serve as second-in-command under David. This was not to be since Saul, and Jonathan, and other sons of Saul (Abinadab and Malki-Shua) were slain in battle against the Philistines (1-Samuel 31:2-4). Before that Saul had waged a War against the Amalekites (1-Samuel 15:8).
The Commentary "Pri Tsadik" (Rabbi Tsadok Hacohen of Lublin, 1823-1900. LeRosh Chodesh Kislev in his Commentary to Breishit ) relates the story of Saul to the saying that the Seed of Amalek (an 0ffshoot of Esau i.e. Edom) can only be defeated by the offspring of Rachel (Midrash Breishit Rabah 73;7). Rachel was the wife of Jacob who is otherwise known as Israel. Jacob had four wives. From his wife Rachel he begat two sons Joseph and Benjamin. Joseph had two sons who became separate Tribes in their own right, Ephraim and Manasseh. The offspring of Rachel were therefore the Tribes of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and Benjamin. Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin.
The Talmud (Baba Batra 123;b) says that the seed of Esau can only be defeated by the offspring of Joseph, quoting Prophet Obadiah.
Eventually the tribe of Benjamin was to stay with Judah whereas Ephraim and Manasseh were to lead 8 of the other Tribes and set up a 10-Tribed independent Kingdom of Israel to the North.
Before the Division Judah had always been somewhat separate from the others for whom Joseph was the head.
On the other hand Benjamin had been inclined towards Joseph.
Shimei son of Gera, a Benjamite, presented himself to David as "today I have come here as the first from the tribes of Joseph to come down and meet my lord the king." (2-Samuel 19:20). here we have a Benjaminite describing all the other Tribes as pertaining to Joseph and Benjamin among them.
Shortly afterwards, Sheba son of Bikri, a Benjamite led a rebellion of the other Tribes against David and Judah (2-Samuel 20:1).
This was before the 10 Tribes headed by Joseph had separated from Judah.
Nevertheless, when the Division came Benjamin was the only Tribe to stay with Judah though later many of the Levites came as well as did minority elements from the other Tribes.
Obadiah (NIV) 1: 18 Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.' The LORD has spoken.
In the future tradition says there will be two Messiahs: Messiah son of David (MBD), and Messiah son of Joseph (MBJ).
Messiah son of Joseph will appear first. He will be a leader from the Ten Tribes, and descended from Ephraim. He will defeat the enemies of Israel, help the Jews of Judah return and rebuild the Land, and possibly initiate a return of the Ten Tribes.
Messiah son of David will be from the Tribe of Judah. He will cause the Jews to repent and keep the Torah, defeat the enemies of Israel, complete reunification with the 10 Tries, initiate a process enabling every Israelite know to what Tribe they belong, and eventually fulfill the Prophecies concerning the End Times.
The Messiah son of David will be a descendant of David from Judah. The Messiah son of Joseph will the descendant of Joseph BUT an aspect of his task could have been fulfilled by someone from Benjamin.
The Commentary "Pri Tsadik" quotes the RAMA from Pano (Rabbi Menahem Azariah da Fano, 1548-1620) that when Jehoathan the son of Saul said to David, "I will be second to you"" (1-Samuel 23:17) he meant tht he would play the fulfill of the Messiah son of Joseph preparing the way for the MBD who in this case was David himself! Saul likewise was referred to as the Anointed One [Mashiach] of God (2-Samuel 1:14). The "Pri Tsadik" opines that Saul also had the potential to fulfill the role of the Messiah son of Joseph.
We do not understand these matters properly but neither do we have to.
At all events, what we have learnt above demonstrates that Saul was potentially greater than we realized.
Note: If you are interested in the Rabbis Quoted short biographical sketches are to be found at: