Saul united the contending tribes into one fighting force, ready to meet the Philistines – no easy task, since the Philistines had better weapons (iron) and the Israelites still used bronze swords, which were no match for iron.
Philistine warrior, Egyptian wall carving
But God was on their side, and they managed to drive the Philistines back into their coastal cities. Despite this, Saul was superceded by the handsome, courageous and extremely shrewd young David. ‘The spirit of the Lord came mightily upon David’ (Samuel 16:13).
The Book of 1 Samuel finishes with the death of Saul, when his sons are killed and he falls on his sword rather than be captured by the enemy.
2 Samuel picks up the story to describe the reign of David. It is a frank report, since it shows his failures as well as his successes.
David is a born diplomat – 2 Samuel 1-5 shows how he wins over Saul’s followers, using propaganda when he can and war when he must.