[My reaction to the One Year Bible's May 13-15 readings]
Saul, Israel's first king, is a pretty tragic character. I feel for him. He doesn't have the ear of God the way Moses and Joshua did. He doesn't resist the mantle of kingship, but he wasn't looking for it either. And it seems that Samuel never gets over the fact that Israel demanded a king, something Samuel takes personally.
Saul's problems are also regular people problems. He is impatient, he makes rash promises, he stretches orders and he is vain. But of course, he also wins all kinds of battles and he motivates his troops. And, like I said, it's not like he asked for the job.
Saul seems to be a moderately competent leader who had the decks stacked against him. Also, a meta-note, it intrigues me to read characters that are so subtly drawn.