King Saul Lesson for Children’s Church

bible lessons

This free Children’s Church lesson plan was first written for elementary aged students. It covers the story of when Samuel anointed Saul to become the first king of Israel. Use this material in your children’s church.

Be sure to consider your own ministry context and modify it as needed. We’ve tried to include enough activities to allow some choice in your lesson planning. Look for additional teaching ideas and resources linked at the bottom of this page. Click here to browse all our children’s Bible lessons.  There is also a preschool version of this lesson plan.

Bible Story: Saul Becomes King
Scripture: 1 Samuel 8:1-9, 19-22, 9:1-2, 10:1, 17-24
Target Age Group: Kindergarten – 5th grade
Learning Context: Children’s Church
Target Time Frame: 40 minutes
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Learning Objectives: After this lesson, the children will demonstrate an understanding of the story by drawing pictures of the main parts of the story.

Items Needed:

  • Bible: 1 Samuel 8:1-9, 19-22, 9:1-2, 10:1, 17-24. There is a detailed explanation below to help bring out some of the important parts of the story.
  • ½ sheet of construction paper per child, magazines, glue, scissors
  • Construction paper shaped as crowns or pre-made blank crowns (made from construction paper), crayons, stickers and other decorating supplies, stapler, glue, marker. You can also use our printable crown template craft.
  • Whiteboard, whiteboard markers, paper, markers/crayons

Worship: Use Family Songs (extra print out) to lead the children to sing before the Bible lesson.

Teaching Plan: Saul Becomes King

Welcome Activity: Welcome activities are things to have out for the children to do as they are arriving for class. These activities will get them engaged as soon as they arrive and will help the transition from their parents.

Have ½ sheets of construction paper, magazines, and glue available for the children. Tell the children that they are going to pretend to be the king (or queen) of their own country. Have the children look through the magazine and cut out any pictures of things they would have in their country. Let them glue the pictures onto their paper.

Worship: Family Songs

Bible Lesson Introduction: Have the children show their pictures, from the Welcome Activity, to the class and explain what they would have in their country and why they chose those items.

Bible Lesson

  • What part of the Bible is 1 Samuel in? The Old Testament
  • What book of the Old Testament is 1 Samuel? #9

Read 1 Samuel 8:1-9, 19-22, 9:1-2, 10:1, 17-24 (NIRV) aloud to the children.

1 When Samuel became old, he appointed his sons to serve as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his oldest son was Joel. The name of his second son was Abijah. They served as judges at Beersheba. 3 But his sons didn’t live as he did. They were only interested in making money. They accepted money from people who wanted special favors. They made things that were wrong appear to be right.
4 So all of the elders of Israel gathered together. They came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old. Your sons don’t live as you do. So appoint a king to lead us. We want a king just like the kings all of the other nations have.”
6 Samuel wasn’t pleased when they said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So he prayed to the Lord.
7 The Lord told him, “Listen to everything the people are saying to you. You are not the one they have turned their backs on. I am the one they do not want as their king. 8 They are doing just as they have always done. They have deserted me and served other gods. They have done that from the time I brought them up out of Egypt until this very day. Now they are deserting you too.
9 “Let them have what they want. But give them a strong warning. Let them know what the king who rules over them will do.”
19 In spite of what Samuel said, the people refused to listen to him. “No!” they said. “We want a king to rule over us. 20 Then we’ll be like all of the other nations. We’ll have a king to lead us. He’ll go out at the head of our armies and fight our battles.”
21 Samuel heard everything the people said. He told the Lord about it. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them. Give them a king.”
Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Each of you go back to your own town.”
1 There was a man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. Kish was a very important person. He was the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror. Zeror was the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 Kish had a son named Saul. Saul was a handsome young man. There wasn’t anyone like him among the people of Israel. He was a head taller than any of them.
1 Then Samuel took a bottle of olive oil. He poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him. He said, “The Lord has anointed you to be the leader of his people.
17 Samuel sent a message to the people of Israel. He told them to meet with the Lord at Mizpah. 18 He said to them, “The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, ‘Israel, I brought you up out of Egypt. I saved you from their powerful hand. I also saved you from the powerful hand of all of the kingdoms that had beaten you down.’
19 “But now you have turned your backs on your God. He saves you out of all of your trouble and suffering. In spite of that, you have said, ‘We refuse to listen. Place a king over us.’
“So now gather together to meet with the Lord. Do it tribe by tribe and family group by family group.”
20 Then Samuel had each tribe of Israel come forward. The tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 Next he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward, family group by family group. Matri’s group was chosen. Finally Saul, the son of Kish, was chosen. But when people looked for him, they realized he wasn’t there. 22 They needed more help from the Lord. So they asked him, “Has the man come here yet?”
The Lord said, “Yes. He has hidden himself among the supplies.”
23 So they ran over there and brought him out. When he stood up, the people saw that he was a head taller than any of them.
24 Samuel spoke to all of the people. He said, “Look at the man the Lord has chosen! There isn’t anyone like him among all of the people.”
Then the people shouted, “May the king live a long time!”

Discuss Bible Lesson
1 When Samuel became old, he appointed his sons to serve as judges for Israel. 2 The name of his oldest son was Joel. The name of his second son was Abijah. They served as judges at Beersheba. 3 But his sons didn’t live as he did. They were only interested in making money. They accepted money from people who wanted special favors. They made things that were wrong appear to be right.
4 So all of the elders of Israel gathered together. They came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old. Your sons don’t live as you do. So appoint a king to lead us. We want a king just like the kings all of the other nations have.”

  • Samuel was a great prophet who followed what God wanted him to do.
  • But, he didn’t raise his sons very well because they did what they wanted. They wanted to get rich.
  • Israel got worried about what was going to happen once Samuel died. They didn’t want his sons to lead them.
  • They ask for a king…so they could be like all of the other nations.
  • God didn’t want them to be like the other nations…just like God doesn’t want us like the world. He set them apart. He was their king!

6 Samuel wasn’t pleased when they said, “Give us a king to lead us.” So he prayed to the Lord.
7 The Lord told him, “Listen to everything the people are saying to you. You are not the one they have turned their backs on. I am the one they do not want as their king. 8 They are doing just as they have always done. They have deserted me and served other gods. They have done that from the time I brought them up out of Egypt until this very day. Now they are deserting you too.
9 “Let them have what they want. But give them a strong warning. Let them know what the king who rules over them will do.”

  • Samuel is upset that the people want a king.
  • He talks to God about it. God reminds Samuel that it isn’t about him…but about God. They have rejected God. Yikes!
  • God reminds Samuel about some of the other times that the people of Israel deserted Him. This was not the first time.
  • God was willing to give the people of Israel what they wanted…but with a strong warning of what was to come.

19 In spite of what Samuel said, the people refused to listen to him. “No!” they said. “We want a king to rule over us. 20 Then we’ll be like all of the other nations. We’ll have a king to lead us. He’ll go out at the head of our armies and fight our battles.”
21 Samuel heard everything the people said. He told the Lord about it. 22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them. Give them a king.”
Then Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Each of you go back to your own town.”

  • Samuel told the people exactly what God had said and they still wanted a king.
  • God said ok.

1 There was a man named Kish from the tribe of Benjamin. Kish was a very important person. He was the son of Abiel, the son of Zeror. Zeror was the son of Becorath, the son of Aphiah from the tribe of Benjamin. 2 Kish had a son named Saul. Saul was a handsome young man. There wasn’t anyone like him among the people of Israel. He was a head taller than any of them.

  • God picked Saul from the tribe of Benjamin.
  • There were 12 tribes of Israel…this stems from the 12 sons of Jacob.
  • Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob.
  • The tribe of Benjamin was the smallest tribe.
  • God doesn’t choose people based on what we as humans would choose someone. He has His own criteria.
  • The Bible says that “there wasn’t anyone like him among the people of Israel”…wow! Usually that means that he was a good person.
  • It also explains that Saul was very tall – “a head taller than any of them”.

1 Then Samuel took a bottle of olive oil. He poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him. He said, “The Lord has anointed you to be the leader of his people.

  • This is how they anointed someone to be king. A prophet would pour oil over their head.
  • What do you think Saul was thinking? When he woke up that morning, he didn’t realize that he would be king of Israel by the time he went to bed.

17 Samuel sent a message to the people of Israel. He told them to meet with the Lord at Mizpah. 18 He said to them, “The Lord is the God of Israel. He says, ‘Israel, I brought you up out of Egypt. I saved you from their powerful hand. I also saved you from the powerful hand of all of the kingdoms that had beaten you down.’
19 “But now you have turned your backs on your God. He saves you out of all of your trouble and suffering. In spite of that, you have said, ‘We refuse to listen. Place a king over us.’
“So now gather together to meet with the Lord. Do it tribe by tribe and family group by family group.”
20 Then Samuel had each tribe of Israel come forward. The tribe of Benjamin was chosen. 21 Next he had the tribe of Benjamin come forward, family group by family group. Matri’s group was chosen. Finally Saul, the son of Kish, was chosen. But when people looked for him, they realized he wasn’t there. 22 They needed more help from the Lord. So they asked him, “Has the man come here yet?”

  • It is time for Samuel to tell the people of Israel who would be their king.
  • He has all of the people gather around and group themselves with their tribes.
  • Each tribe comes forward and Samuel chooses the tribe of Benjamin.
  • He then chose Saul. But he was missing.

The Lord said, “Yes. He has hidden himself among the supplies.”
23 So they ran over there and brought him out. When he stood up, the people saw that he was a head taller than any of them.
24 Samuel spoke to all of the people. He said, “Look at the man the Lord has chosen! There isn’t anyone like him among all of the people.”
Then the people shouted, “May the king live a long time!”

  • God told them where he was…hiding in the luggage!
  • What do you think Saul’s family was thinking then?

Bible Lesson Activities

 

Activity: Crowns

• Give each child a blank crown, Bible Verse and glue
• Let the children glue their Bible Verse onto their crown
• Let the children decorate their crowns
• As the children are decorating their crowns, walk around and make sure that each child’s name gets written on their crown
• As the children finish their crowns, staple them to fit their heads and let them wear them.

Activity: Bible Verse Memorization
“Then Samuel took a bottle of olive oil. He poured it on Saul’s head and kissed him. He said, “The Lord has anointed you to be the leader of his people. “ 1 Samuel 10:1

Then Samuel took a bottle of olive oil: act like you’re holding a bottle
He poured it on Saul’s head: act like you’re pouring it
And kissed him: make a kissing motion
He said, “The Lord: point up
Has anointed you to be the leader: salute (like in the army)
Of his people: point to others in the class
1 Samuel 10: hold up all 10 fingers
1: hold up 1 finger

Do this a few times with the children. Make it fun for them to do the motions and say the words. Involving them in active learning is essential for memorization.

Activity: Missing Halves

Split the children into groups.

Have each group act out the Bible Verse for the other groups.

As the children are acting – they must say the Bible Verse as a group

Evaluation:
Have the children brainstorm the main parts of the story. Write these on the whiteboard.

Split the children into groups.

Give each group a piece of paper and some markers/crayons.

Assign each group a part of the story. They must draw a picture representing their part.

Have the children put their pictures in order as the story happened.

Go through the story using the pictures as references.